Chuck Garric is probably best known for being the bass player in the Alice Cooper band for over ten years. He has recently released an album entitled “Live Fast Die Loud” with his own band Beasto Blanco. We arranged an interview with Chuck as part of the planned promotion for the band’s gig in Belfast in February, during their tour of the UK and Europe. Unfortunately the band had to pull out of the Belfast date, but Chuck was good enough to take some time and give some great answers to our questions.
NI ROCKS – Chuck, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. I wanted to talk first of all about Beasto Blanco as that is what brings you to the UK and Europe in February. Unfortunately the gig planned for Belfast has had to be cancelled. Can you explain why that was and tell us if there are any plans to reschedule?
CHUCK – Bummer man I know. This really upsets us, but out of our hands. The reason is simply routing and availability. Promise we’ll be back!
NI ROCKS - The band was formed by yourself and Chris Latham in 2012. How long had you known Chris and what brought you together to form Beasto Blanco?
CHUCK – Chris was one of the first guys I met when I moved to Los Angeles. He and I just hit it off as friends right away. We had the same taste in music. Chris reminded me of Randy Rhoads.
NI ROCKS – What was the inspiration for the name “Beasto Blanco”?
CHUCK – We had a few names we were messing around with. The music has this energy to it - an animalistic feeling. The name White Beast was brought up. I have a huge white Boxer named “Sookie” that we call Beasto because she’s such a brute. She’s always getting into some sort of trouble, coming home with cuts and bruises. Big White Brute = Beasto Blanco. Sounds like a band name to me.
NI ROCKS – The album “Live Fast Die Loud” was released just recently on Rat Pak Records. It was produced by Tommy Henriksen who has worked with many artists over the years. He was heavily involved with “Welcome 2 My Nightmare” and is also part of the Alice Cooper’s band. Was he a natural choice for you? And who else was involved in making the record?
CHUCK – Tommy is another guy that, when we met we clicked musically. I heard some of the songs Tommy was doing for other people and I liked his approach and his ear for harmonies and tones. Tommy is an old school rocker with a solid grip on what’s happing now. And that was important to me. I knew I could write a ROCK record but I wanted it to have a little bit of an industrial sound. I played him a few tracks of my ideas. He sent me over a few changes and I loved what he was thinking and where he wanted to take the sound. We knocked the record out quickly simply because everyone was on the same page. Chris Latham played all the guitar tracks while I handled the Bass guitar. We used Glen Sobel and Jonathan Mover for Drums. And Calico Cooper on backing vocals.
NI ROCKS – Tell us a little about the writing process for “Live Fast Die Loud”. Were these songs that you’d been working on for a while or were they written specifically for the album?
CHUCK – Most of the songs are new and were written specifically for the record. I did bust out a few older songs that I had from previous projects. I felt they lent themselves perfectly to this record and would add to the live show as well. When writing for the Beasto Blanco record I did it in sections. We tracked Breakdown, Freak and Live Fast Die Loud first. Those songs really helped me develop the rest of the record. I could write according to what type of songs the record needed to finish. It was an amazing experience writing for the album. I listen back and I love everything I hear.
NI ROCKS – You’re bringing Beasto Blanco over to Europe early in 2014. Alice Cooper’s daughter Calico will be making a guest appearance. Who will the touring members of the band be?
CHUCK – Yeah man, Calico’s joining the circus again. We are so stoked to have her. She’s such a killer entertainer and sings great! Also with us is Tiffany Lowe who plays syth and sings back up. Tiffany was involved in the Alice Cooper “Theatre of Death tour”. Tiffany is also an amazing performer. She’s also worked with Combi Christ as well. On bass, we have Jan LeGrow and Tim Husung on drums. Both have toured with me before - a killer rhyme section.
NI ROCKS – Rock fans here won’t have seen the band perform so what can they expect from a Beasto Blanco gig? What would like them to be saying as they left at the end of the night?
CHUCK – There’s going to be a lot of places that we’ve never toured before. We’re all very excited about this upcoming tour. Playing in front of the fans is why we made this record. And the fans have made this tour possible. What you hear on “Live Fast Die Loud” is what you’re going to hear live! We have an amazing show put together for the audience. Man I just want people to have a goodtime. We’re gonna let it all for you. Don’t put the F.U in fun have some baby.
NI ROCKS – What other plans do you have for Beasto Blanco further ahead into 2014? I presume you need to plan around commitments to Alice Cooper.
CHUCK – Yeah Alice has a busy tour season ahead and that’s always my first priority. But Beasto Blanco will tour as much as possible, and we’ll continue to write for the next album.
NI ROCKS – Going back a bit, you’ve played in some great bands and with some great artists over the years. When you first came into the music scene who were your influences and what kind of music were you wanting to produce?
CHUCK – Thank you - I’ve been very fortunate. To have Ronnie James Dio and Alice Cooper on my resume is a great feeling. I was influenced by straight up Rock & Roll to be honest. I loved it all man, Motorhead, Sound Garden, Kiss, Black Sabbbath, Metallica etc.
NI ROCKS – You toured with Dio at one point. How did you get involved with RJD and what was that experience like?
CHUCK – Wendy Dio called me and asked if I wanted to audition for DIO. I was recommended by one of their techs. I came down and it all felt right. Ronnie was incredible to me. And after we jammed a few songs he offered me the gig. It was a day I will never forget!
NI ROCKS – You’ve been working with Alice Cooper now for over ten years. Performance of course is a big part of an Alice Cooper gig – though never enough to take away from the music. How would you describe working with Alice on stage?
CHUCK – It’s like watching a master craftsman at his art or the most skilled samurai wielding his sword in battle. Alice is a machine, and he gives 100% all the time. The thing with Alice is that it’s always about the fans and the show.
NI ROCKS – What have been your highlights of being in the Alice Cooper band over those years? There must be a lot of great memories and stories.
CHUCK – Tons of memories. The best for me is all the killer musicians I’ve been able to play with and friendships I have made. A favorite moment that comes to mind is opening for the Rolling Stones.
NI ROCKS – I always like to ask a few general questions to finish if that is alright. Can you remember the first album you bought and first gig that you went to?
CHUCK – The 1st record … I get asked this a lot. I bought two! Queen “News of the Word” and “Free for all” Ted Nugent. First concert was Humble Pie and Ted Nugent. My mom took me! KILLER!!!!!!!!!!
NI ROCKS – Presuming that you have an iPod or something. What five bands might we hear if you hit shuffle?
CHUCK – Well, let’s see I’ll hit play and the first 5 bands that come up I’ll write down. Ready? Monster Magnet, Aerosmith, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Rob Zombie, Lou Reed. That was the truth baby.
NI ROCKS – Do you get much time to check out new bands? Any that you might recommend to Rock Radio NI?
CHUCK – Honestly I don’t. I try to keep my ear to the streets but this last year has been a whirlwind man. Right now just keeping it old school.
NI ROCKS – And finally, as 2013 has come to an end. What would be your personal highlight of the year be and also your favorite album release (excluding “Live Fast Die Loud” from the latter of course)? And what hopes, expectations or goals do you have for 2014 – or resolutions if you do that kind of thing?
CHUCK – Highlight would be the release of “Live Fast Die Loud”. I have to say Black Star Riders “All Hell Breaks Loose” is my favorite album release this year. I know those lads and think it’s a great record with solid songs! Goals: Keep my ass out of jail and stay on the road with both Beasto Blanco and Alice Cooper. Expectation: Don’t have any! You’ll get your ass handed to you. You have to work for it!
NI ROCKS – Many thanks for taking some time out and answering our questions. It is much appreciated. We look forward to seeing you in Belfast sometime in the near future.
CHUCK - Thank you
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