“Classic rock is the music I live and die for, ” says Beth Blade. “I remember listening to Van Halen on a walkman at six years old and all I’ve ever wanted to do is play in a rock band and write songs.”
For a girl who was getting to grips with Running With The Devil while her schoolmates were still defiling their Barbies, Beth Blade isn’t doing too badly. Now fronting her own, Cardiff-based band (Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters also features guitarist Craig Manning, bassist Nicko Goodwin and drummer Sam Brain), she’s been praised by Black Star Riders’ Ricky Warwick and Halestorm screamer Lzzy Hale, and performed on the Kiss Kruise. And, come April, Beth’s debut album Bad Habit will be in the shops after a successful Pledge Music campaign raised 137% of the band’s target. A fiery collection of turbo-charged riffs and shoutalong choruses, part of the album was recorded the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales, the perfect foundation for an album that’s steeped in classic sounds while retaining a sharp, modern edge.
“Bad Habit is about not being able to give up what you know is bad for you,” says Beth. “Your choice of poison can be a person and sometimes you get in so deep that you can’t breathe without them. Consuming every minute, every thought and every need. It’s about being human and being easily led by your desires. Then you thrive on that rush when you know what you are doing is wrong but it makes you feel alive. When it’s good, it’s good, but when its bad its better.”
How did the band get together?
I moved to Cardiff in 2012 and was really wanting to form a straight ahead hard rock band but found it really difficult, there was more of a folk/hardcore scene here at the time. I had a collection of songs I’d been working on ready to go, luckily the time it took to find the right people was used perfecting them. I was in the local rock bar FUEL chatting to the barman Jack about music and as it turned out him and his friend Sam were musicians who had old school influences. I then roped Nick who was a guitar player into playing bass as a favour, he fell in love with the instrument and that’s how our first lineup was born.
Which acts are your biggest influences?
That’s really tough to narrow down so I’ll go with a solid 5. KISS, Guns N’ Roses, Black Stone Cherry, Thin Lizzy and Halestorm.
Tell us about your first gig.
We had the lineup together for maybe a week when we booked our first gig which was 10 days later! We were playing an hours set and at the time we only had maybe 35 minutes of original material. We did some fun covers to fill in the gaps, Love Walked In by Thunder was one of them. We were the opening act for a club night called Devils Rejects that featured burlesque acts, pole dancers and fire performers. So you know it was a pretty cool start for us.
What’s the best feedback you’ve had?
Honestly, we’ve been really lucky that we’ve had so much support. I always take the positive and the negative and try to apply it in moving forward. There are a couple of things that come to mind that really made me smile. Ricky Warwick and Damon Johnson of Black Star Riders played an acoustic show in Cardiff and we were lucky enough to support. After the gig Ricky said to me that I had an amazing voice and not to stop no matter what because if you want it and work hard enough you can do it. I also gave our debut E.P to Lzzy Hale and she tweeted me telling me she thought it was great and what songs she liked. When people who you admire take the time out to actually connect with you that’s what music is all about. However, the best feedback would have to be my dad telling me I made my mum cry listening to the song Angel With A Dirty Face from the album!
What was working at Rockfield like?
It was easily one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. You can really feel the history there. It’s like all the years of musical magic and debauchery has been absorbed into the wood. It was quite surreal, I’m sat there playing guitar through a Marshall amp that is older than my dad in the same studio that Black Sabbath, Motorhead and Rush have used! Is this really happening? I had to pinch myself a few times for sure. The best thing is that you can hear the place on the record too, just that big, vintage sound and it gives the record a personality of its own. If I have my way for the second album we’ll go back and record everything analogue to tape!
One of your Pledge offers was a home concert for just £300. Have you done any yet? What are they like?
We have our first one for the pledge coming up. The person who bought it is staging it in a local pub near us for his birthday party. So the deal with these concerts was that we would play our stuff but anything you want extra too. So this gentleman has such a wide music taste that we are gonna be playing everything from Ry Cooder and Linda Ronstadt to Allison Kraus and Fleetwood Mac. It’s actually really fun for us to stretch our boundaries as musicians and when we came up with this option we knew it would be fun. We also had an ‘Any Cover Song’ option too and that has also been a blast. Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, David Bowie and even some Shania Twain has been done!
What does 2017 have in store for the band?
You never know what could happen! With the release of the album we just want to get out there to more people and play. We’re quite happy when we can tour, last year we did two full UK tours and we’re hoping to do more than that this year. We have some really cool festival appearances scheduled like Wildfire up in Scotland and Rockwich in Northwich which are really cool events for checking out up and coming bands. We’re trying to make some Irish and European dates happen too so watch this space and if all goes to plan we’re hoping to be back in the studio at the end of the year.
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Why should we buy the album?
It’s so important now that we are coming to the end of an era to support new music. The legends of our genre are getting to the point where they are starting to retire and hanging up their Les Pauls. We even lost Lemmy who we thought would live forever! We put our all into making this record, my blood and tears are right there in the music. So the reason that you should buy this album is simply that you’ll be keeping the music you love alive. I really believe that the new wave of British classic rock coming out right now is going to be a game changer. Also, it’s really good, but I am obviously biased!
What was the wildest thing you saw on the Kiss cruise?
Well outside of the confidentiality agreement, (I’m kidding), the Kiss Kruise was a constant party. As far as the wildest thing I saw? A few members of bands who shall remain nameless doing body shots of tequila from some very lovely ladies on the bar in the casino. Now as far as the night we decided to drink White Russians with our friends from Norway and Sweden, that’s a story for another time!
What other young Welsh bands should we be looking out for?
There is something in the water down here at the moment and I am not complaining! We have a really tight scene here and the talent just blows me away and keeps me on my toes! Florence Black, Pilgrim and Everyday Heroes are all amazing bands we’ve shared a stage with but the list is so long that I’d be writing you an essay if I listed them all.
Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters’ debut album Bad Habit is released on April 3. The band will be playing at the Wildfire Festival in Scotland in June.