She was (the) First Lady of American Metal – back in the 80s in L.A. the outragious and also influential metal band BITCH was rocking and shocking California but after some releases BETSY and her band disappeared … but mmhh … what happened to BITCH? Recently the band showed up to strike and provoke again and we took the chance to talk to Betsy Weiss about the past and future …especially about a new album.
Interview by Dennis Rowehl, photos by courtesy of BITCH & Betsy Weiss, (c) above Mike Gibbens – (c) bottom by BMT Photo
entertaim.net: Hi Betsy, how are you? You are the first Lady of American Metal and your debut album „ “Be My Slave“ has been re-released again. It has been officially released 1983. Really hard and fast stuff. Do you sometimes look back? How does it feel now?
Betsy: Hello Dennis. Im doing great, thanks! I’m honored to have been given the title “First Lady of American Heavy Metal”. I really was one of the first females to front an all male Heavy Metal, Leather & Studs band, so I guess I’m a bit of a pieoneer in that respect. “Be my slave“ wasn’t our first release, it was our 2nd. The first was the 1982 Five-Track-EP „Damnation Alley“. “Be my slave” came out in 1983, both were released by Metal Blade Records. A few years ago, Metal Blade combined both releases, re-mixed and remastered them, included some bonus tracks and a DVD, and put togethera nice package for the re-release. The music was re-released on CD, not vinyl. I look back on the 80’s Metal scene with fond memories, it was a great time for music, especially in Los Angeles.
entertaim.net: You’ve been also one of the first bands with a provoking SM-Image … must have been fun those times, right?
Betsy: Ww wanted to have a visual in addition to the music and an interesting image to capture people’s attention. So we figured we’d back-up our music with an entertainment factor, it was very theatrical and a lot of fun not only to be able to sing for a Metal band but also to be able to play the character of “BETSY BITCH” on stage.
entertaim.net: Your music was inspiring for female-fronted bands such as L7, but even for bands like Savage Grace. Your sound sometimes reminds me a little bit of Lizzy Borden as well with … (laughing) the voice of Pat Benatar. If you look back … what was the reason for not getting the big musical breakthrough?
Betsy: We got a lot further than a lot of Metal bands that came out of L.A., mostly because we were signed to Metal Blade. The fact that our albums were distributed nationally and internationally gave us worldwide notariety. We never really got out on tour, si I think that would have afforted us a little more success. But in those days, Metal Blade was more of an album-producing vehicle. They didn’t really have the budget for tour support. So I think that may have held us back a bit. I’ve heard from several people that I sound like Pat Benatar, I consider that a compliment, she’s a great singer!
entertaim.net: It is !!! You had some revival shows and you still look great! Have you ever thought about making a new album?
Betsy: First of all, thank you for the compliment. Rock & Roll keeps me young! BITCH is currently working on new material and hope to have a new release in the near future!
entertaim.net: Wow, that’ll be awesome! By the way … how was the feedback on your shows?
Betsy: We always get a very favorable response when we play. My current line up is: Chris Cardenas – gtr, Angelo Espino – bass, candall West – drums
entertaim.net: You might have heard about ANVIL, the Canadian band that also influences Motörhead, Metallica without being totally successful, then they released a rockumentary on DVD and …. they got a new record deal 🙂 this movie reminds me of „This is Spinal Tap“, is pretty funny and just awesome. I think there’s no movie about a female-fronted Metal band. Guess problems with the PMRC, prejudices about a girl in Heavy Metal, the S/M-image are definitely worth being shown on video! Couldn’t this be interesting? Doing a rockumentary?
Betsy: (laughing) Of course I’ve heard of Anvil. Lips and I had a photo session outside of the Metal Blade Offices many years ago …
entertaim.net: No kiddin‘ …
Betsy: No. Ive recently been in touch with Robb Reiner. I did see their documentary, it was very absorbing. Parts of it were bittersweet but I loved their resurgence in the end and the fact that the documentary facilitiated their come-back was very up-lifting. I think a documentary about BITCH would be awesome. Especially citing some of the factors you mentioned, such as PMRC, the S&M image etc. … so if any film-makers are out there reading this and are interested in making a documentary about BITCH, please contact me!
entertaim.net: How would you start the movie and is there still some gossip about you?
Betsy: I guess the documentary should begin at the beginning, like when BITCH first formed. The first scene would have to be David, Robby and I writing „Live for the whip“ which was our first song. No gossip that I know of, people are talking about me but it’s all factual.
entertaim.net: Especially in the USA EDM is very successful and DJs are now the Stars … the last real Rock Star was Axl Rose I guess … what happened to Metal and will there be a huge comeback someday? What do you think?
Betsy: (laughing) No reason for a „comeback“ because Metal never went anywhere. It’s always been around and it’s always the Metal concerts that sell out. I don’t understand why DJs are Stars, anybody can spin a record in front of a light show. I really don’t get it … why do they have concerts? I’m not a fan of Axl Rose, I think he really dis-respect hin fans, I can’t admire someone who throws temper tantrums onstage and walks off, disappointing fans who paid to see him perform.
entertaim.net: If you record a new album, will you show up in germany as well?
Betsy: I really hope so! BITCH love to play another Metal Festival.
entertaim.net: Betsy, thank you very much!
Betsy: You’re welcome and thank YOU …