Interview with Beth Blade
Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters
There is a comfortable atmosphere between band and audience tonight. “We are going to rock your socks off”, Beth announces. A grunt from the audience. “Don’t like your socks? What about your pants then?” this idea seems much more appealing to the beer clutching crowd.
Sunday night at Fuel, a little cave teeming with rock fans tucked away in the city centre of Cardiff, felt like a homage to rock music. As a rock bar, this is not an uncommon feeling, however tonight felt especially honest and fresh. The multiple covers that Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters played paid tribute to their inspirations, allowing the audience snapshots of what the collaborative band was born of. What stood out about BB&TBD was not just the vocalist’s powerful voice, or the brilliant choice of covers, (eg, The Cranberries, Fleetwood Mac, Halestorm, Black Stone Cherry) or the fact the band had only been together two weeks yet sounded like they had been practicing for years. It was that their own songs were just as attention grabbing and enjoyable as the covers. Quite often at a live show, the crowd will perk up for a song they know but settle back to their drinks and conversation for an unknown artist’s unfamiliar own material, but Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters went down a storm.
Considering all the current discussions on how difficult it can be to make a break in the music industry and earn a living from your passion, young musicians could be perhaps forgiven for losing some of the enthusiasm and wonder on the subject of their creations. No chance of that with Beth Blade. Where songs and styles can get tired, a musician with genuine fresh passion for what they do never seems old, and breathes a breath of new life into any genre. Beth Blade describes the feeling of performing as “euphoric”, and talks about music with the same enthusiasm she plays with. Just after their show at Fuel, Beth took the time to have a quick catch up with me.
Beth has always sung, but has been performing seriously since the age of fourteen. She has played enough live shows over the years to banish most feelings of stage fright that so many suffer from, but there is one aspect that still makes her nervous. “I get really awful guitar stage fright, because I play guitar, and I sing, and I usually do it separately, but doing it together absolutely terrifies me, I don’t know why, it just does. When I sing, my hands forget what they’re doing. For a woman, I’m not very good at multitasking!”
Beth herself might not be too nervous about her live performances, but she reveals that someone else is. “My parents have driven down from near Manchester tonight, and my Dad has to stand at the back of the crowd and not look at the stage because he gets stage fright for me, which is nuts”. She spends most of the night hanging out with her parents, and it is clear to see acts of support like this are important, as well as the connection she makes with her audience.
The live sound of Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters is a blend of classic rock and metal, with the vocalist’s ability summon a soaring note as well as a rough rasp. Although drawing on multiple influences, their sound has a personality of its own. “I like to try and cover lots of different genres because I like so many different types of music” Beth explains. To her, the music they make conjures images of “sex! Or old school tattoos, swallows, all that kind of thing. Lots of different colourful shades, like a painting from the 1950s.” We also asked Beth and guitarist Jack Davies what animal their band would be, both responded with “tiger”. “Like Sex Panther, the fragrance”, Beth elaborated.
While their live music feels very current, new and exciting, Beth’s ideal musical era to experience first hand would have been any time before nineties hair metal. “I would love to have been thirteen in New York in 1973. That way you get all the hard rock and Led Zeppelin, I would have grown up loving The Beatles. It would have been amazing to be around when it was all new, like Hendrix, seeing all that for the first time whereas as now it kind of seems like everything is just rehashing the past”. We talk for a bit on the topic of revolutionary music, and discuss how perhaps our generation isn’t completely out of room for progress. On the subject of being a girl in music, Beth admits she does sometimes notice that she is treated differently specifically for being female, but it does seem to be getting better. She dreams of a day when female musicians won’t be referred to as “female musicians”, and just as “musicians”. Female fronted bands won’t be highlighted as “female fronted”, they will just be “a band”. We might not be all the way there in many aspects of equality, but our generation does seem to be discussing the issues. “If I want to sing about sex, love and partying, I should be able to”. Beth draws on examples such as Taylor Momsen and Hayley Williams for being “slut shamed”, and points out how many amazing talented musicians are out there, and are gradually getting closer to being equally appreciated.
Cardiff certainly has room for more new music. “The Cardiff music scene is kind of clique-y”, Beth gives us an insight. “There’s a lot of post-hardcore stuff, and a lot of folky acoustic stuff, which is great, but I really think there is a gap in the market for some really good hard rock and metal. A lot of local bands are doing really well, like Breathe The Silence, Falling With Style, but they’re all in that same kind of genre, Personally I want to see some more hard rock and metal come out. Its getting some attention, and hopefully more stuff like that will start coming out now.” Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters are working on their debut album throughout June and are planning for a release date in July.
The vibe at the show tonight was intimate, but you get the feeling that this sound is entirely capable of filling a much bigger venue.
Words: Rachel Harris