© 2019 by Shannon Wilk.

Located in Connecticut, USA
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Interview With Calico Cooper
of Beasto Blanco

Rockin’ Interviews~ When you were growing up, who were some of the bands you were hearing all of the time?

Calico Cooper~ “My parents were really playing classic acts for me, like Laura Nyro and Burt Bacharach and things like that. But of course we had all the sign of the times bands playing, it was like Zodiac Mindwarp and all those real Rock ‘N Roll bands. So we had that a lot and a lot of Elvis, Beatles. I remember growing up in the 10/11 era and really hearing a lot of the rock ‘n roll that was happening at the time like Guns ‘N Roses and things like that. So we had a pretty widespread range of music. My mom is super into classical and actually lots of soundtracks too, so a lot of musical arrangements that were just music.”

R.I.~ Do you consider yourself to be more like you mother or your father?

Calico Cooper~ “I look like my mother which is awesome because she is such a beauty inside and out. I think I deal with people like my mom but I entertain and have my dad’s sense of humor. I’m more aggressive with people than my mom is, I could definitely take a page out of her book when it comes to patience and kindness and everything. But as far as performing and interacting with an audience, I definitely get that from my dad.

R.I.~ When Chuck asked you to be a part of Beasto Blanco, what were your initial thoughts?

Calico Cooper~ “I didn’t want to do it, not because of him or anything, I had just always said that I never, ever want to be in a band. It just never was something I was interested in. And I love music, I actually love music so much that I didn’t want to ruin it. I just never thought it was something that was for me. Once he brought the story and the theatrical element to it and wanting to play characters, I kinda thought ‘Okay well you know I don’t sing, like I’m not a singer’. And he was like ‘Yeah, but you’re a really good actress so just act like you're a singer.’ I swear to you I acted like a singer for so long that when we got into the studio one day, I just started belting it out and I’m like ‘Hmm, I guess I am a singer’. Both of us were surprised that I could do any of that. The first Beasto record I was very much a character, like the squeaky, bratty voice and I just thought we were doing this fun little thing. The second record came and they let me do (Feed My) Frankenstein and I was like ‘Well can I at least do it the way I’m hearing it?’ and they agreed and all of a sudden I was crooning and doing a Mae West kind of voice. They were all like ‘Oh we didn’t know you could do that!’ and I was like me either! On “We Are” it was great because they really let me off the rails and really let me sing. I don’t think anybody was more surprised than I was that I could do that.”

R.I.~ What is something you wish you knew about before getting involved with the music industry?

Calico Cooper~ “I think, this goes for entertainment in general, that hard-work doesn’t necessarily equal results. That goes for acting, music, and any of the arts really. I did ballet seriously for years and the longer you spend at the ballet barre or at chords or painting, you get better and you can be the best, but it’s an environment right now where the best isn’t necessarily showcased so there are so many great artists and painters and dancers and actors out there but there are a lot more that haven’t been seen or gotten heard. I’m out here in L.A. and still doing acting and I see the people that are at auditions I’m at and we’ve all been working at it for years and years and years. Somebody just told me something recently that completely changed my perspective. This person has won an Academy award and we were talking about what that was like and I didn’t realize the journey to get there was everything. She said ‘Once I won, it was an amazing moment and I was so overwhelmed but then after it was like well where do I go from here.’ It was the whole journey. In Beasto, starting off in vans and doing 12 hour drives, I mean we don’t so much do that anymore, when we tell stories, we tell the stories of when things went wrong. I love seeing the success come as it’s coming and I’m really encouraged by it but really the journey is the whole thing. The mass population doesn’t really hear about bands until they’re already big because we don’t go looking anymore. That’s one thing I really dig about Spotify because they put together playlists where it’s like ‘Hey you might like this’ and a lot of times for me it’s not so much but I’m really stoked that they have that. I’ve actually seen our name come up a few times and that’s big. I’ll be listening to bands and all of a sudden it’ll say ‘ Would you like to listen to Beasto Blanco’s “We Are”?’ I’m like ‘I would! Thank you!’.”

R.I.~ How do you go about taking a song and thinking up a music video idea for that song?

Calico Cooper~ “I always had this weird thing, even when I was a kid or if the song already had a music video, I check out when I listen to music and I live in L.A. and so I’m in my car a lot so I’m hearing music all of the time. I listen to it and it just plays out like a movie in my head and because I have an unlimited budget in my brain, I envision like inception, like the biggest 2 million dollar music video made. Nothing is impossible, nothing is off limits, we could do anything. I like day dream it and the more I listen to it the clearer it gets. I always try to stick myself in the video somewhere, what would I do. Because I come from a film background too it’s like ‘Well how would the camera swoop here and cutback here and push here.’ For something like ‘The Seeker’ I was driving home from my parents house in Phoenix to L.A. and it’s just desert as far as you can see with nothing to look at. I was listening to the song and I kept picturing this girl running with no shoes on in the dirt and she was all beat up and she was running as fast as she could for her life and I just kept seeing it out of the corner of my eye. Then I started with well why is she running, who is she running from, where is she running to. So I listened to the lyrics and I was like ok, so she’s running out of an old western town from these like law men who are after her for whatever they think she did, whether she actually did it or not. They’ve already beat her up and so she’s running into this town for asylum, for safety, and she finds a church and she screams and they open the door and then there are these guys in black, are they gonna hurt her or are they gonna help her. It all comes together and then the hardest part is calling someone from the record label and saying hey I have this idea but we’re gonna have to rent an old western town and they were like, ‘What!?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, just trust me, it’ll be good’.”

R.I.~ Do you plan to direct more Beasto Blanco videos?

Calico Cooper~ “I do. I directed the next one, the single “Solitary Rave” that I sing on the record and it’s like totally different from the Beasto vibe. The video is very pop, very Lady Gaga. That’ll be coming out in a couple weeks. There is gonna be a big release with a magazine in L.A. and I’m not allowed to say what magazine yet but they’re gonna debut the video.”

R.I.~ How do you feel women have evolved in the music industry?

Calico Cooper~ “You know what I think is funny? We’re still in a weird spot where someone goes “Oh well it’s the number one female guitar player. Why don’t you just say the number one guitar player? You don’t have to say number one dude guitar player, like we can clearly see that’s a guy. Wouldn’t it be funny if we just started doing it the other way and like saying random facts about the person like ‘number one dude from Pittsburg who plays guitar’. Like it’s just random. I love looking down at a crowd and seeing guys singing my songs because everybody loves the songs Chuck sings, but I don’t think men are like ‘oh this is the girls song, I don’t sing this song’. I look out during songs like ‘Machine Girl’ or ‘Solitary Rave’ and I see dudes looking right up at me pointing his finger and singing ‘You ain’t invited’ and I’m like ‘Nice’. So I think it’s slowly but surely turning into a thing where it’s an open playing field. It’s still there, I still fight my battles. When I directed ‘The Seeker’ video, I wrote the video, I did the costuming, the makeup, the wardrobe, the location, I did everything. There still had to be guys that were watching me to make sure I was doing it right and I’m like ‘Trust me bro, I got it’. But as far as the music industry goes, it’s a great time to step out there. Don’t start a band because this is a great time for girls, if you’ve got something to say and you can play or sing, get out there! I’m so stoked to see all these girl bands coming out that aren’t leaning on the fact that they’re girls, they’re just good musicians.”

R.I.~ When the curtain closes and the tour ends, what does Calico Cooper do for fun?

Calico Cooper~ “I direct, in L.A., television and films and commercials and that’s cool. I just did one for an olive company and we had 20 little girls and there was like a full on food fight and soccer game, like it’s all good playing for an arena with tons of people and fast forward 24 hours later and I’m covered in mashed potatoes scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees so we don’t get charged extra for the day, everything is balanced. I love seeing music, I’m not over it. I just went to see Blink-182 the other night and I had the most fun. My neck hurt, I was like 7th row. My buddy is the tour manager and he was like ‘Oh yeah come on down’ and I knew every lyric to every song, I’m not too cool to sing every word to every song and I just had the most fun. Then I listened to them on the hour ride back home. I just love loving music. I wrote a big post about it on Instagram and it was really cool to see people’s responses. I asked everyone what their band was that they are so pumped to see, they know every word, they’ve got the t-shirt and they’re just ready to rage. And to see how many people said Beasto was really eye-opening to me. I can’t believe somebody feels the way about Beasto the way I feel about Blink-182.”

R.I.~  What is your favorite horror movie?

Calico Cooper~ “Oooh! I’m really down with the comedy horror right now so stuff like Cabin In The Woods was just so smart because it started off and I’m going ‘Oh god, this is awful’. I grew up thinking of movies as ‘Oh wouldn’t it be so funny if…’ and you know no one is gonna make that movie because the guys with the money are gonna be like ‘No.’ But they did it, they made the movie that I thought was incredible. I just saw Midsommer and I think that movie is the only movie I’ve seen that I saw it, I loved it, and I never have to see it again. I spend a lot of time in weird little towns in Europe and I was like ‘This could’ve happened to me.’ There was nothing supernatural about it which was the scariest part. Everything those guys do, Get Out was incredible. But I love the old cheesy ones too, my brother and I just sat around and watched like a 5 hour documentary on the making of all the Friday The 13th’s and  sat through the whole thing. I loved it.”

R.I.~ What is coming up for yourself and Beasto Blanco?
Calico Cooper~ “Beasto is about to go on the Megacruise. Megadeth is doing a 5 day cruise out of Los Angeles and there are all these rad bands. Corrosion of Conformity, Beasto, Megadeth. It’s gonna be 10,000 tons of metal literally and figuratively which is funny because Beasto isn’t really as metal band. We can play with Halestorm, we can play with Megadeth we would fit fine on a Backstreet Boys tour. We’re pretty easily paletted. Megacruise is coming up and we’re stuck on a boat with 5,000 metalheads, what could go wrong? Doro’s on the boat so that should be fun.”


 

MegaCruise lineup from www.megacruise.com
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A Personal Story From Our Owner...

         Back when I was 11 years old, one could say I was a metalhead in the making, I went to see my first rock concert that led into my first 35 rock concerts on the Monsters of Rock Cruise in 2018. It was a warm February night at Magic City Casino in Miami, and the first electric band of the night was Beasto Blanco. At the time I only knew them as the band with Calico Cooper, but little did I know that they were SO much more than that. My little 11 year old self was completely and utterly blown away and amazed when Beasto hit the stage. My mom said to my dad, ‘I think she’s going to need therapy after this one!’ But little did they know what I would become from that day forward and here I am at 13 years old interviewing Calico Cooper.

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                                                                                            ~Shannon Wilk