L.A.’s Butcher Babies have been throwing their own brand of towering sass in the face of metal since 2010. To mark their 10th anniversary together, the outfit who brought us the anarchic girl power duo of Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd are unleashing the first taste of their upcoming fourth album to bring this disastrous year to a close on a high (and probably drunk) note. Today Alternative Press is premiering the video for “Bottom Of A Bottle.” It’s a powerful and ultimately very personal ode to pain and past relationships that speaks of drinking to forget and hoping the hangover keeps the memories at bay a little while longer.
The video celebrates some of the band’s favorite moments including rare footage of antics onstage, behind the scenes and beyond. We caught up with Shepherd and Harvey to chat about how far they’ve come in their decade together. And exactly what glasses we need to raise in a toast to their new video.
What does reaching Butcher Babies’ 10th anniversary mean to you? Did you ever expect to hit this milestone and be on the verge of your fourth album together?
HEIDI SHEPHERD: Ten years ago, if you had told me that we’d be celebrating 10 years in this band, I’d have told you that I don’t even expect to live that long. These last 10 years have changed my life in such a positive way. Transforming from a young girl trying to find her place in life–then thrust into being a role model for the younger generation of rock and metal fans–I began living in a much more positive manner. Our fanbase has been so open about how our music has meant to them over the years. That’s all I ever wanted, to be heard and felt. This is our fourth album together, and we’ve had a lot of time to purge all emotions into our music. We can only hope that these new songs make people feel powerful with a sense of unity during the chaos that is 2020.
CARLA HARVEY: We were such a ragtag group of misfits when we started Butcher Babies. For a few of us, it was our last hurrah…our last attempt at making a band “work.” Personally, I was feeling pretty disenfranchised by the entertainment industry as a whole when we started playing shows on the Sunset Strip. So I wasn’t thinking about touring the world or being a role model. I just wanted to play music with my friends. It was therapy. It was the thing that kept us alive…screaming out our emotions, banging our heads, putting music behind our deepest fears and thoughts with our best friends. But as fate would have it, we would end up touring the world together.
But when we are onstage and I look over at Heidi and Henry [Flury, guitarist], I still just see them as the crazy kids I started this with a decade ago. The Butcher Babies 10-year anniversary means everything to me. It literally embodies perseverance, which I believe is the No. 1 thing you need to be successful in the entertainment world.
“Bottom Of A Bottle” is a lot more personal than your average drinking anthem. Who hurt you? Where has all that pain come from that you’re drinking away?
SHEPHERD: The way I see it, there’s nothing like sitting with your best friend and spewing your wildest hopes and dreams over a bottle of whiskey. Heck, that’s how Carla and I decided to go all in on this roller coaster. There are those moments where you just need someone to talk to, whether it’s your best friend, your family or that drunk at the end of the bar. During the writing process of this song, I was feeling particularly lonely. In a way, stuck. I think we all were. We were having a hard time feeling motivated or inspired. So we sat down outside, poured a drink and watched the sun go down. In that exact moment, with my best friends, that’s all I needed. All the inspiration was right with me. I started pouring my emotions onto paper and voilà! A song was born.
HARVEY: True story: Once I called Heidi years ago and said I thought I had a broken heart, but I guess it was just a really bad hangover. Pain and hurt are inevitable in life, and sometimes it’s you who hurts you, and that’s the absolute worst and calls for the most whiskey guzzling. When it comes to “Bottom Of A Bottle,” however, I think the pain stemmed more from a time when all of us in the band were feeling like we didn’t know what was next for Butcher Babies. It felt like our career was in a weird limbo, and that it could all implode at any moment. I think we’re over that melancholy hump… But hey, we’ll still drink about it!
If you could invent a Butcher Babies cocktail to describe your career so far, which ingredients would you use? And what would you call it?
SHEPHERD: I’d probably splash a little bit of vodka, tequila, whiskey, Everclear, absinthe, anything that has a hint of alcohol in it—add a pinch of ghost pepper and call it the Holy Shit. Our whole career has been full of “holy shit” or “oh shit” experiences. Between stepping onstage at the biggest festivals in the world to the brakes going out on our bus while heading down a steep grade, it’s always a rager!
HARVEY: If I could create a drink to signify our career as Butcher Babies so far, it would definitely be whiskey-based with a touch of ginger ale, grenadine and a cherry on top. I feel like the music world is this full-bodied whiskey. Harsh at times, but the grenadine provides the sweet moments that run through it and make it all worth it. Ginger ale adds the fizzy bubbles of excitement you get with every win in your career. And then, of course, there’s that cherry on top to savor. I’d call it the Igniter, after our song of the same name, because of the way our career took off.
The video is packed with unseen clips spanning your history together. What’s been your proudest moment with Butcher Babies over the last decade?
SHEPHERD: When I was a kid, I would crank up my Walkman, with my eyes closed listening to my favorite bands and envisioning myself as the singer. I dreamed of looking into a packed crowd and watching them sing my lyrics back to me. This was my favorite pastime. The first time this dream became a reality was in 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta. We were on tour with Marilyn Manson, and the arena was packed. The crowd started chanting the lyrics to one of the songs off our first EP. I turned around and looked at my band as my jaw hit the floor. That night, after the crowd had left and the lights were off, I sat in the big empty arena and vowed to always remember that moment and to never take it for granted.
HARVEY: I think when people ask you what your biggest accomplishments are as a band, they expect grand answers like, “Oh, this award I won” or “This time we played in front of 50,000 people.” But for me, my proudest moment is simply that we stuck together. We did all of this together. We’re still friends after a decade of building a business and touring the world together. And you know what? Playing in front of 50,000 people is pretty cool, too.
2020 has given us plenty of reasons to drink. What are you drinking to as we move into the new year?
SHEPHERD: Over the years, I’ve really found myself enjoying a glass of wine. In 2020, make that many cases upon cases of wine. We were particularly excited about our 10-year anniversary, so we teamed up with a winemaker to make our very own Butcher Burgundy. I’ve been sipping on that pretty regularly since its release. Shameless plug—others can enjoy that bottle with me at our website.
HARVEY: I’ve been drinking wine like a classy broad all year. I feel like to get through the early part of [the] COVID-19 lockdown, I literally counted the hours between coffee and wine. I’ve been obsessed with wine the last couple of years. We have our own pinot noir, Butcher Burgundy out now. I’ll be sipping, actually guzzling that down the rest of the year!
Raise your goblets (or full bottles) to the Butcher Babies with “Bottom Of A Bottle” below.