Blare N. Bitch is a guitarist from Los Angeles, CA, by way of NYC, who is best known for being a founding member of the all-female hard rock band Betty Blowtorch. I mentioned two of Blare‘s other projects in a recent post, and, have since been on a reinvigorated Bitch kick. I’m not a musician, so I can’t talk about Blare‘s (left-handed) six-string skills, but, I can talk about Betty Blowtorch (who are one of my favorite bands), and, some of the other cool projects this legendary rock chick has been involved with since that band’s untimely demise.
Betty Blowtorch was formed in 1998 by Blare N. Bitch (lead guitar), Bianca Butthole (vocals, bass) and Sharon Needles (rhythm guitar, vocals), who were formerly members of the raunchy punk band Butt Trumpet. The original band’s line-up was rounded out by Judy Molish (drums). In July 2001, Betty Blowtorch released their one and only album, Are You Man Enough?, on Foodchain Records, and were ready to take the male-dominated hard rock world by the balls. However, in December 2001, Bianca Butthole (aka Bianca Halstead) was killed in a car crash in New Orleans. She was 36 years old, and, with her, Betty Blowtorch died, too. The rise and untimely demise of this amazing band was chronicled in Antonia Scarpa‘s documentary film, Betty Blowtorch And Her Amazing True Life Adventures (2003).
Are You Man Enough? is a nearly perfect record that showcases Betty Blowtorch‘s fiery blend of punk, metal and hard rock. They sound like Courtney Love fronting ’70s KISS meets Guns N’ Roses with provocative lyrics about sex, drugs, hair bands, and well-endowed men! So, even though I’ve already talked about this amazing album on my other blog, I’m going to reiterate everything I said by ranking my ten favorite tracks (of fifteen!) …
1. “Hell On Wheels”, the opening track, is the band’s rock declaration: “We’re a bunch of horny fucking bitches / And we got something to say to you / Are you listening?” They warn, in the chorus: “Watch out for us, baby / We’re Hell on wheels.” Lyrically, this track is Betty Blowtorch‘s version of Grand Funk‘s “We’re An American band.”
2. “Love/Hate” is the best song Courtney Love never wrote! You would think this song was Hole if I didn’t tell you it wasn’t. Bianca is pissed off and torn: “You didn’t have to marry me, marry me, marry me / Why did you marry me if you never loved me / Liar! Liar! I really loved you / I love you, hate you, love you / I hate love!”
3. “Rock My World” is one of the best songs about self pleasure since Cyndi Lauper‘s “She Bop” (for the girls) and The Vapors‘ “Turning Japanese” (for the guys). “I really rocked my world,” Bianca snarls, after being forced by her no-show date to take matters into her own hands.
4. “Size Queen” is Betty Blowtorch‘s ode to their lustful preference for men with big dongs. Size, apparently, does matter. This track includes a rap courtesy of Vanilla Ice in which he boasts about having “a long white dick almost ten inches tall.” But, just like in the song, I say, “Yeah, right!”
5. “Big Hair, Broken Heart” is Betty Blowtorch‘s melodic love letter to ’80s hair bands. “This song goes out to you Lita Ford / We love you! We saw you on VH1!” Bianca sings, in the intro. “Where did those hair bands go?” she wonders, as she names her favorites: “Jani Lane and Mötley Crüe … Whitesnake, Quiet Riot and Ratt.”
6. “I Wish You’d Die” is a snotty punk rocker, with this album’s most hateful lyrics: “I wish you’d die (Slowly) / (Wish you’d die) / Die, die, die, motherfucker die!” Hell hath no fury like Betty Blowtorch scorned. “Kapow!”
7. “No Integrity” is a Ramones-esque sarcastic jab at all the untalented pretty girls: “We got no integrity / But we sure do look good.” This pop/punky track opens with a “Love Gun”-esque drum march.
8. “Shut Up and Fuck” is a down and dirty sleaze rocker in which Bianca asserts her sexual independence: “I don’t care who you are / I just wanna fuck in your car.”
9. “I Wanna Be Your Sucker” is about Bianca begrudgingly accepting that she’s just a booty call: “You call me up at a quarter to two / Fucked up with no one to do.”
10. “Strung Out” is the album’s best example of Guns N’ Butthole or Bitch N’ Roses.
The rest of Are You Man Enough? is just as good, but, these are my favorite tracks. “I’m Ugly and I Don’t Know Why” [a leftover from Butt Trumpet sung by Sharon Needles] is tounge-in-cheeky fun and all, but, it’s kind of out of place with the album’s bad-ass harder rock sound. After the album’s release, Betty Blowtorch toured with sleazy hard rockers Nashville Pussy; but, sadly, the band also appeared in the dumb Disney comedy Bubble Boy (2001), starring Jake Gyllenhaal, performing “Hell On Wheels”. They deserved better.
Watch this cool video shoot for “Hell On Wheels” here …
After Bianca Butthole‘s death, Blare N. Bitch (aka Blair Chodor) formed Blare Bitch Project with lead guitarist Punky Romig (ex-Leathur Panteez). Blare and Punky shared guitar and lead vocals duties. The original line-up included Leah Casper on bass/vocals and Becky Wreck (ex-Lunachicks) on drums, but, ultimately ended up with Blare, Punky, Johnny Black (bass), and Chase Manhattan (drums) for BBP‘s sole release Double Distortion Burger (2005). Awesome cover art!
Double Distortion Burger explodes with the same high-octane punk/hard rock that fueled Blare N. Bitch‘s former band’s sound, except that BBP is Punky-er. On my other blog, I said that, without Halstead, some of the magic was lost, but, I was wrong – BBP rocks! With her raspy snarling, Punky sounds a lot like Ms. Liza Graves from L.A.’s Civet. Well, I suppose Graves sounds like Punky. Tracks like “Catch Me” and “41 Days” would fit perfectly on a mix with tracks from Civet‘s Love & War (2011), while “Knock Me Out” and “Get It” are a bit pop/Punky-er. Blare‘s tracks, like “Soul” and “Outta Here”, deliver influences rooted more firmly in hard rock, but, the mix is in perfect balance. “Rock and roll soothes my soul / There’s nothing like rock and roll!” they declare in “Soul”. I agree.
Note: Any grown-up woman nicknamed Punky is OK in my book.
Listen to BBP‘s “Catch Me” here …
Next, Blare N. Bitch and Punky Romig formed Psychostar with Blare‘s Betty Blowtorch bandmate Sharon Needles on bass and Lanie Fire (ex-Snap-Her) on drums. The band, apparently, was originally called Suckerstar [with Wendy Lee on guitar, too?], but, the details are sketchy. Pyschostar released a self-titled 3-song EP in 2009, but, disbanded in 2011.
Watch Psychostar [as Suckerstar] perform “Overdrive” here:
Meanwhile, Blare N. Bitch was also kicking it with The UVs, an L.A. punk band that I only recently discovered via the movie Devil Girl (2007). The UVs are [were?] Mia X (vocals/guitar), Mike Christie (lead guitar), Fabrice Ferrer (bass), Chase Manhattan (drums), and Blare N. Bitch (lead guitar); and, they play loud “3-chord, high-energy, pedal to the metal, punk, rock n roll.” On the band’s self-titled EP (2008), The UVs channel The Distillers (“Nothing For Free” and “Take It As It Comes”), Joan Jett (“Get Me Out”), and Hole (“Bomb”). The band, with Blare N. Bitch, appears in Devil Girl performing “Freedom” [amazing song!] when the clown first enters the strip club, just before the devil girl dances. “Bomb” is also on the soundtrack, as well as Blare Bitch Project‘s “Drink” and “Catch Me”. The UVs are raw, loud, and tuneful!
Watch this video for “Loud” (without Blare N. Bitch) here …
Lately, Blare N. Bitch has been playing out [loud] with Black Sabbitch, “THE all female Black Sabbath,” with Angie Scarpa (drums), Bloody Mary Powers (vocals), and Melanie Makaiwi (bass). They play only Ozzy-era Sabbath, and, are one of the best all-female classic rock tribute bands currently out there, but, I’m hoping they’ll write some originals. Singer Bloody Mary Powers, by the way, competed on American Idol in 2010.
Watch Black Sabbitch perform “War Pigs” live here …
So, there you have it … Blare N. Bitch‘s best moments, at least for now.