It’s no secret what a big BUTCHER BABIES fan I am. And just before the release of their Uncovered EP I was fortunate enough to sit down with Heidi Shepherd for the second time and Carla Harvey for a third in two separate interviews. We touched on the EP, oddball song choices, Donny Osmond, plans for World Domination in 2015, and more. So here it is, Part I of my BUTCHER BABIES Experience – my chat with Heidi:
Amps: WOW…a LOT has happened since that first day we spoke in June of 2013. Looking back on it all…Mayhem, the album being a monster hit, the run with BLACK LABEL SOCIETY last spring, now headlining…have you wrapped your head around all of it yet?
Heidi: (Laughs) no, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to. We’ve been so busy writing and touring that I haven’t had a lot of time to sit and think, you know? It’s incredible though, and sometimes I have to pinch myself because I can’t believe I’m actually living this experience. It does hit me every once in a while but it’s not something I’ve been able to truly process.
Amps: How’s it feel seeing all the hard work paying off?
Heidi: It feels like we’ve done something that’s meaningful. My parents didn’t even believe in it at first. I had to convince them and a lot of others. And you know, we’re still doing that. That’s been the reason for our success, the naysayers and the people who didn’t believe in us. They are the ones who lit a fire under our asses. It’s like, “See? We can and do write our own music!” Everything every naysayer has said, we’ve set out to prove them wrong. And I think that’s the reason we’ve been so successful.
Amps: What made you want to do an EP of covers?
Heidi: The thing is our album Goliath came out over a year ago and our next album won’t be out for a year so we just wanted to do something in between, an appetizer if you will to what the new sound of BUTCHER BABIES will be. Heavier, more aggressive, more thrashy. If you look at “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” it’s not a heavy metal song at all, but it’s interesting. Our goal was to pick songs you’d never expect us or any other band to cover. It’s something fun, it’s limited edition so once it sells out it’s gone. And it’s something for the fans that have stood by us for years to munch on while we take our sweet little time to make the second album.
Amps: What made you pick THESE songs in particular? Thank the Gods they’re not your typical covers!
Heidi: A lot of people were telling us, “Oh you should do ‘Mother’ from DANZIG” and we weren’t into doing something that EVERYBODY would know. My best friend didn’t know any of the songs we chose. He thought I was playing him some originals (laughs)! I was pretty happy about that.
Amps: Have you done any writing, or not? Since you’ve been on the road so much.
Heidi: We’re about halfway through, I’d say. We wanted to go into this next record with about 20 songs to choose from and we’re about ten deep now. The thing is we don’t do anything half-assed; we’ve never done anything half-assed. It took four years to put out our first album because we were trying to develop our sound and be the best we could at that time. Some bands want to crank out album after album year after year and I would rather put out something really intense and really meaningful and take my time doing it. We already have a release date for next summer. We already have a lot of it written and we’ll be recording in November and December.
Amps: What’s Logan Mader like as a producer?
Heidi: Oh, he’s so awesome! One thing that I always say and I truly believe is that when a band picks a producer it’s like picking another member. You have to have that chemistry and the same vision for your music. We worked with Josh Wilbur for Goliath and that was a great experience; we wanted to go for a little different sound and style for this next one and our management suggested Logan. Logan is a guy who everyone recommends and I had never met him. I was excited, and when we sat down to write, the first thing we came up with was “They’re Coming to Take Me Away”. And we knew right away that he was gonna be the producer for our next album. That guy is so quick on his feet and he’s brilliant when it comes to music. I had a blast with him on the EP and I’m looking forward to doing the next record with him. And it’s funny because as we’re writing we’re now in that mindset of, “Oh, Logan’s gonna love this!” when we’re working from our home studio or somewhere else.
Amps: You got quite an endorsement from Donny Osmond, huh? Maybe you’ll duet one day!
Heidi: (Laughing) Oh my God, that would be a dream come true for me! I love THE OSMONDS. I wanted to cover “Crazy Horses” since I heard it. I wanted to be the singer on that song. I grew up in Provo, Utah and that’s where they’re from, they are the hometown heroes. I used to rummage through my mom’s records and you know there was “Puppy Love” and other ones. All of a sudden “Crazy Horses” comes on and my ears just perked. That’s where I fell in love with heavy music. And I know that’s not a super-heavy song, but it was for its time. And that riff at the beginning had me hooked for life.
So as an adult to hear Donny Osmond talking about the cover of his song blew my mind! I was in the shower and the band was over here working on stuff in my studio and Carla comes busting in the door saying, “Let me read this e-mail to you!” and I just started screaming! It would be really neat if he’d come up and do it with us one day.
Amps: What’s the next step in our plan for World Domination?
Heidi: (Laughing) well, sharks with laser-beam heads would be a start! No, I think right now the most important thing for us is writing that next record to follow up Goliath. Coming up with your sophomore album is kind of a tough thing to do, you know? But our goal is to top Goliath.
Amps: Say something to all your fans out there.
Can’t say enough how much I admire this band’s work ethic, and Heidi was super sweet to talk to. The genuine excitement in her voice is contagious when asked about the new record and plans for 2015 and I always love to see that. Stay tuned for Part II with Carla!!
BAND PHOTO: SCOTT UCHIDA PHOTOGRAPHY