July 15, 2024

Having role models is important. Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey of the L.A. Metal band Butcher Babies looked to Iron Maiden, Slayer, Slipknot and Pantera for inspiration. But standing above the rest was Wendy O. Williams, the frontwoman of the Plasmatics.

“Wendy O. Williams (pictured) was the first female in Heavy Metal,” explained Shepherd. “We were both (Shepherd and Harvey) hugely influenced by her.” 

“We took the name from the Plasmatics song ‘Butcher Baby’,” the group stated in an interview. “Wendy was a bad ass… she didn’t give a f@ck what anyone thought… we share that spirit.” Shepherd added that she admired “females that defy the male dominance in music.”

With producer Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God) Butcher Babies recorded their ’13 debut album, “Goliath.” It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart but landed in the bottom half (#112) of the Billboard 200.

Shepherd and Harvey became known for aggressive, Shock Rock performances that were informed by horror movies and for going topless, wearing tape over their nipples. That particular Wendy O.’ inspired stage look was later abandoned. 

De-emphasizing “Goliath’s” melodic tendencies in favor of a Thrash Metal approach, Butcher Babies’ sophomore set, “Take It Like A Man,” a ’15 release, peaked at #76 on the Billboard 200 and hit #5 on the U.S. Indie Chart. 

According to reports, the record label (Century Media Records) and the group’s management expressed a dislike for the album title and artwork (a young girl in a pink dress wearing a knight’s helmet), and that the band had to fight to keep them. 

“Every member of this band had to fight to be the person he or she is today,” stated Harvey. “That’s the whole basis for the record. It’s not a gender thing. It’s the inner strength you have to find in order to pull your boots up and keep moving forward.”

Monster’s Ball” was the lead single. It was followed by the tracks “Never Go Back” and “Igniter.” The album was also notable for containing a re-recorded version of Butcher Babies’ first single from ‘10, “Blonde Girls All Look The Same.

Still, the group’s past haunted them, namely when they wore nipple tape for live shows. “(It) has been pounded into everyone’s head,” explained Shepard. “The thing is, it wasn’t part of who we are. It was only for like, six months. It will always come up. I completely agree (that media focuses on our sexuality).” 

After the group’s tour with Megadeth, Butcher Babies released their third album, “Lilith.” The set marked the debut of drummer, Chase Brickenden, who replaced (Chris) Warner who’d left in ’16 when he got engaged.

Ricky Bonazza took over on bass in ‘20 after Klein’s exit.

It would be a little less than six years before the Groove Metal band would release another album.  And when they did, apparently making up for lost time, it was the double set, “Eye For An Eye…” and “…’Til The World’s Blind,” containing “Beaver Cage,” “Red Thunder” and the ballad “Last December.”

The double set celebrated the tenth anniversary of Butcher Babies debut, “Goliath.”  “Eye For An Eye…” and “…’Til The World’s Blind” were the band’s fourth and fifth albums.

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