Hard work and determination can always pay off, if there's talent to match it. That is clearly the case with Crucified Barbara. These classic rock ladies have worked tirelessly for over a decade; self financing their work, their tours, their promotion and their lives all the while growing stronger and stronger as a band over the years. With the release of their MIDNIGHT CHASE recording, the band finally gets rewarded for all their hard work. Now signed with metal powerhouse label Nuclear Blast, Crucified Barbara sees the opportunity staring them in the face, and there's no stopping them now from grabbing at metal's proverbial brass ring. PITRIFF caught up with Mia Coldheart of the band to talk about all the things going on with them - both past and present. Here's what Mia had to say!
PITRIFF - THE MIDNIGHT CHASE really feels like the continuation of what you started with your previous releases. What is different in your mind with this album from the last one?
MIA COLDHEART (MC) - This is the best one! We have become better songwriters after all this time, and also the sound is more dynamic and less modern than the previous album, which was a very clear instruction from our producer and also the reason why we choose to work with him. We could have chosen a metal producer but we chose Chips Kiesbye who is known for bands like the Hellacopters, which is totally far out from what we're doing. He and sound engineer Henryk Lipp work very old-school and just like us, they want the real sound of the instrument, away from the modern metal sound. We want you to hear the strings, hard working Mesa Boogies, the real wood of the drums - not a digital replacement. So, I think this album is the best we've done both sound- and song-wise!
PITRIFF - Obviously you stepped up your visibility and distribution by signing with Nuclear Blast. What did Nuclear Blast offer you that lead you to signing with them?
MC - A record deal with Nuclear Blast has always been a dream for us – I believe every band playing rock music share that one! But we have also been very careful with who we work with and turned down offers from huge labels because we didn't feel 100%. If we get even the smallest vibe that the spirit and freedom of this band is threatened by business-related interests, we walk out. We're doing this for the music, not to be rich celebrities (there are faster ways if that is our main goal!). So the reason why we are so excited to work with Nuclear Blast is not only because it's the coolest metal label on earth, but also because they were just as excited as we were about this new album. They are really nice, cool, and true people; they let us do our thing and as long as no one tries to change us, I think we can make magic! And they've got the muscles to make things happen. It's really a dream coming true for us, a new huge step for the band.
PITRIFF - On this album, your vocal sound is a bit more biting than on TIL DEATH DO US PARTY. What did you do differently this time around to add to your vocal sound?
MC - I have finally reached the point when I got the voice I always wanted, I've tried to sound rough from the very beginning when I started to sing in the band, but I didn't have the technique before. I have always been screaming, but before I learned how to handle my adrenaline, it sounded more compressed and less aggressive. All the touring has now made it more rough, and with a few technique lessons, I learned how to make it last –and to make it work even on the days I wake up and cannot speak. So I think I have just developed as a vocalist and found the way to use my voice better. When I was younger, I envied every rough, deep voice I heard, and I was really concerned because I thought I had to start smoking to get it. But luckily enough, I didn't have to start smoking and I didn't need to drink all that whiskey, either. I just do my thing. And I get great adrenaline kicks from singing now that I didn't get before. I think also that my mentality has changed. I know my limits and I know my capacity; I don't hold back at all anymore. So I guess the new biting sound that you can hear is a result of all this.
PITRIFF - You have toured with so many people, including three of our favorites here - Motorhead, American Dog and Clutch. Can you give us a quick road story about each?
MC - Motörhead: We toured with them for one month in the U.K. in 2006. It was a great experience and one of the highlights was absolutely the last gig in London. We used to play their song "Killed By Death" - but of course not on this tour - but before this gig, Phil Campbell said he could play it with us if we wanted to do it. So we made it our last song, he came on stage and played the whole song with us in front of a really excited crowd. I don't think we've ever sounded better (or louder!!). But to give you a backstage story, we use to bring a ukulele on tour to play backstage and in the van sometimes, just for fun. We were really drunk all the time on this tour so we played it all the time! After some gigs on the tour, Lemmy's tour manager came to our dressing room with a troubled face: "Girls, you really have to stop playing that ukulele. Lemmy is in the next dressing room and he HATES it." We got really scared and stopped immediately, of course. But we forgot about it the second afterwards and continued – and the tour manager came back again! So it went on like that for some gigs then we realized if we don't stop they will kick us out of the tour, so we had to put it aside, and only played it when Lemmy had his dressing room far away from ours.
American Dog: This is the first band ever we did a real tour with, in France, and they taught us all about life on the road and (their) Rule Number One – how to drink beer!! I remember checking them out before the tour and how nervous I was to finally meet them! But after the first gig and the first beer (or two), we all became great friends and had a blast together! There are few bands that have impressed me live as much as American Dog did; they are really the real deal and have a special place in our hearts. Michael Hannon is my rock'n'roll bro'!!
Clutch: We toured with them together with Motörhead in 2006. We love these guys!! Hope to play with them again; they're so down-to-earth and fun to be around. And different from Lemmy, they loved the ukulele! We had many great jam sessions backstage, I remember once when there was a piano as well... what sweet music we made!!! And poor Lemmy, what a headache he must have had!!
PITRIFF - There are more and more female fronted bands out there in hard rock and metal out there finding success. What do you think has changed about the climate over the last decade where there are so many more successful hard rocking bands?
MC - Playing music has nothing to do with gender; it's about passion, the right attitude, and hard work. And those things have nothing to do with being male or female, in my opinion, We all face difficulties along the way, caused by one thing or another! It's never the same for anyone! I believe that every successful band starts a trend, and even though I loved all kind of bands when I grew up, I can't deny that the female bands I liked were special because I could relate to them easier than the male bands. I grew up admiring bands like Megadeth and Alice in Chains, but it was Phantom Blue and Drain STH who really gave me the extra push and made me wish I was one of them. And I believe that the more successful female rock bands and artists there are, the more that will follow.
PITRIFF - There's another female fronted band out there called the Butcher Babies who basically perform topless in order to draw attention to them and their music. What are your impressions of that? Is that insulting to a band like yours, and does that make it harder for a band like yours when there are others that are appealing to the lowest common denominator?
MC - I think every band has the freedom to express themselves the way they want and need, and I'm sure they have a good reason to do it. People dress funny or extreme to express themselves or be provocative; some drop their clothes. I believe it's all a part of the show and we all have different ways of doing it. I think it's cool that there are no limits and I admire the ones that are brave to go extreme, even if it's not for me. We just do our own thing. We're in it for the music and I believe that anyone who has some common sense will hear and see that when they see us live and listen to our albums. And the ones who want to compare us to any band who is in the business for any reasons other than playing good rock music... it's a free world. I can just hope they will get out of the bubble sooner or later and start to enjoy music instead of comparing girls with girls, rock with pop, etc. It's all about passion and having fun, so let's not think too much!
PITRIFF - What are your touring plans for the rest of 2012?
MC - We have some great summer festivals in Sweden, Italy and France. For the fall we plan on a German/ Switzerland tour and we're also heading for Brazil and Argentina. Hopefully we'll manage to go to the States for the first time as well, so check our website and Facebook for updates!
PITRIFF - Obviously sales in today's market are very different than they were even a decade ago. How does a younger, fairly unestablished band like Crucified Barbara survive in the current atmosphere?
MC - It's not easy and we are used to working hard. I had imagined it might be a bit easier after 12 years and 3 albums, but it's almost the same situation because record sales are going down, downloading increases, and the new generation are used to getting all their music and movies for free. Sometimes it feels like I'm working 24 hours, 7 days a week for nothing - just to give my life away to people who expect me to do it for free. It's a life many people dream of without knowing how much hard work is behind every album and tour. But most of the time, I can focus on the fans that really appreciate our work and pay for our music - which in the end makes it possible to make another album. If no one wants to pay for an album, there won't be any more Crucified Barbara albums, simple as that. We take one day at a time and hope that the music business will stabilize and find ways to make it work also in the future. We'll keep rockin'!
PITRIFF - Who was Barbara, and how was she crucified?
MC - Barbara is the general name for a Swedish blow-up doll, and one of those was crucified at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark back in the '90s before the band was formed. Some of the girls in the band were at the festival and saw a guy carrying around a blow up doll nailed to a cross. They thought it was some great symbolic meaning to that vision and went home to write a song called "Crucified Barbara." But instead it ended up being the band name. And all those meanings behind the name are forgotten by now, because I never heard a good explanation even when I got in the band in 2000.
PITRIFF - In three words or less, review your current release?
MC - Heavy, raw, and thebestalbumof2012!
PITRIFF - What am I missing that you want people to know?
MC - 3 of 4 band members are vegetarians, so if you consider buying us a little gift, don't take the lip balm with bacon taste!