In this day and age, it really takes a substantial manifesto for a new band to rise above the rest and prominently be on the verge of exploding so quickly like Beasto Blanco is on track to do. As they set out to release their second studio album since 2013’s Live Fast Die Loud , this is definitely a band to watch out for. With Chuck Garric (vocals & guitar), Chris Latham (backing vocals & guitar), Jan Le Grow (bass guitar), Tim Husung (drums) and Calico Cooper (vocals) joining forces, any fan who comes into audio or visual contact with Beasto Blanco will become a lifelong fan. Once we experienced their raw, theatrical performance at NAMMJam 2016 in January, it was apparent that an interview was in order and who better to sit down with? None other than the founder of Beasto Blanco and guitarist for Alice Cooper’s band, Chuck Garric.
Garric describes the concept of Beasto Blanco as a vision he had. “Beasto Blanco was started with the intention of having a band vibe. It started off with the question, if you had a band, what would it be” Garric says. “I had written several songs for myself and other artists and was putting all these ideas into a goodie bag and then I started to manifest what exactly it was going to be, what kind of sound would we have, what was the vision and once those thoughts started to come into play so when it actually started to gain momentum and it came to the point of going in and making a record, everything organically fell into place. It was just time for me to get out some of the ideas of what Beasto Blanco supposed to be, what kind of a show did I see us doing in my head, what kind of a record would we make once we got into the studio?
Founded in 2012, Beasto Blanco was founded by Garric and guitarist Chris Latham. As for the name, Garric tells us “when it came to the name, it was just another part of the identity that was manifesting about what I could have if I started the band. I wanted to come up with a name that would be an image that would represent the sound. Something very earthy and organic and very animalistic. When you put yourself out there as an artist you have to find the strength, you have to summon the courage and overcome the fear and find your place where you can just grind through it and work through it and what better way than to summon this beast inside of you to get through all of the obstacles. So the name just came about when I started meditating and putting the idea out there of what I wanted and Beasto Blanco and it just sort of appeared as if it was meant to be.”
Garric goes into detail about what inspired the stage show that Beasto Blanco puts on and after seeing them perform at NAMMJam this year, we were more than impressed and knew there had to be a method to the stunning madness. Garric says, “It starts with the question of whether or not the song is responsible for triggering the idea or is the idea influencing the song? You can’t be closed off to any possibilities. I have always been attracted to theatrics and I wanted to incorporate them into the show. I want the show and the songs to tie into one another” Garrico affirms. “Basically when you start putting the idea out there, you surround yourself with people who will help it grow and add to that vision. So I can bring up the suggestion to Calico about coming out on stage with a baseball bat and she will be all for it and add additional ideas on how we can tie that into certain parts of a song but we typically work incredibly well together in that if one of us comes up with something, we try to work it in for the most part, if it makes sense with the song. We make it a habit not to say no to anything and are constantly questioning how we can make something work or how will this look on stage instead of just walking out and singing, we come out demanding your attention and that is pretty much where we are at when we come up with the outline of the show.” Playing a show like NAMMJam as opposed to a typical concert is a whole different animal according to Garric. “Playing a show like that, it’s intense. You have your peers and people who have heard of us and have seen the pictures and are there with the mentality of “OK, let’s see what you’ve got” so to speak” Garric concludes. One can only imagine the pressure that can carry for a band, but Beasto Blanco dominated the stage and we can safely assume everyone was as impressed as we were. On the other end of the spectrum, Garric tells us that his goal for the audience is that Beasto Blanco can take them away and bring them directly into the energy of the show. Without being political, they are strictly there as entertainment and as things move along or progress, Garric says “we just want you to come along with us for the ride.”
As Garric starts to dive into the subject of the new album, his excitement about how there is lyrical and musical growth present is clearly evident, and his hope is that people just want to be a part of it and that their perception of the album coincides with their performance of each song. In comparing the new record to their first album, Garric feels that they are still the same band on the record as before and while they have progressed as musicians and as a band, there is still that familiar sound so there is no mistaking that it is Beasto Blanco. “We know what works and what we’re about but we also know what’s missing and we know what we want to add” Garric says. “The question you should ask is when you are writing or playing a song, where will it fit in the set, how will it incorporate itself into the show with the theatrical side and the flow of the set. How do we build peaks and valleys and change things around while still keeping the entertainment level going and still be shot out of a canon?” Garric has assured us that there will be new tempos or chords and ideas on the album but it will still keep you going on that journey just like the first record. When Beasto Blanco goes into the studio to write, it is all about centering the songs around the show. “When I write, I don’t try to force it and I just come up with something new” Garric says. To date, Garric’s favorite song they have performed is Breakdown and while at the time of recording, he wasn’t sure of how people would react to it, once they performed it, the audience just relayed so much energy and love for the song that it has become his favorite to perform. Garric assures us though that the new album will have plenty more where that came from.
Being that Garric has worked with Alice Cooper for so many years, he knew Calico, Alice’s daughter and he always thought of her as a rockstar. “She shines on that stage and has so much to offer plus she is super fun to be around” Garric elaborates. When Garric started Beasto Blanco, he felt it was missing that feminine side and that aspect of the Beast. “When Calico came into the picture, it was for a song called Breakdown and as she started to sing, everyone perked up and we realized what the missing link was and that is how Calico was inducted into the band” Garric says. One could say it was fate and it has undeniably paid off. “Calico added a natural progression and she is an important part of the band. She was exactly what I had envisioned in my mind as a female in the band who could offer more and not be a background singer but bring some sex appeal and Calico is real and organic and she breathes it, it’s not about her trying to be something, she is just that, a rock star. She might be playing a character, it just naturally comes out of her and she was the first person I thought of.” Wherever did she get that from?
Musically, Garric realized he didn’t excel in school and in his studies. He was searching for his purpose and what he wanted to do and that is when he found music. Garric recalls that he would play any instrument he could get his hands on and got his start as a trumpet player in the school band and eventually he picked up a bass guitar and started a band with his neighborhood pals. Bands like AC/DC, Rainbow and Ted Nugent were heavily influencing him and once he really learned how to play the bass, he realized how natural it felt to him and he still loves to play the bass.
Starting off as a touring musician for artists like Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Dio and Journey to name a few, starting Beasto Blanco puts Garric in control more or less. Garric passionately expresses that he hopefully won’t ever have to replace or hire anyone else. “I believe I have exactly who I need in this group and we have always had the same lineup. While I never want to cross that bridge, in experiencing that, I have seen guys come and go. It has its benefits but you also want to be more involved or sometimes you are more involved than you want to be. I have been really blessed to work with Alice Cooper and Dio” Garric says fondly. “When you think of them, you know their legacy and what kind of an imprint they have put on the musical world.”
Beasto Blanco is true to their art in every form and once their new album is released and they are out touring the world, the beast will be on the prowl once again.