NOVEMBER 7th 2016
BEASTO BLANCO EXCLUSIVE
Interview By: Metal Mom
Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal Entertainment Worldwide, we are here with Lead Guitarist Christopher Latham, aka Brother Latham of Beasto Blanco. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.
Metaltitans…Thank you for having me!
1. What made you pick up a guitar?
Diary of a Madman and Holy Diver come to mind. I was always a music junkie from early childhood, but when I first heard those songs/albums, hearing Randy Rhodes and Vivian Campbell, the styles of writing and playing they brought, spoke, more like yelled out to me. It was mesmerizing. I was compelled to explore the 6 string.
2. How old were you and do you remember the type of guitar you first had?
I was 13 years old when my dad got me my first guitar. It was a Hohner classical (nylon string) guitar. Not very rock n roll at the time. So I thought….I was young. I Still have it
3. Did you buy it, or who bought it for you?
My dad bought that one. My first electric was a Takamine. I worked a summer job to raise money to buy it from a high school friend. And still have it hanging on my wall
4. What type of guitar do you use now, and why do you use this one over all others? Are you sponsored?
I am a Gibson guy. There are many great guitars and guitar makers. I just love the tones and feel I get from all my Gibsons. As far as any sponsorship, I am a bit picky. Gibson is a hard company to get with I have found.. still trying, I have to really like the product if I am going to enlist it into my arsenal. So as of now I am not sponsored YET. I am sure there will be some endorsements in the near future with the new Beasto record coming out.
5. Did you have someone that you thought was really good and they inspired you to pick up the guitar?
Yes. Great question. There is some great talent that will never get recognized. An early inspiration to start playing, besides the well-known, were some local musicians in Anchorage Alaska where I am from. I remember there being many high school parties, many folks hovering around kegs of beer, loaded, and me and my close circle of other guitar playing noodle-heads being huddled around a cassette deck showing each other a Randy Rhodes riff we just learned. Lol. Of the cusp, one of those noodle heads was a high school buddy, whom I bought my first electric guitar from, Moose Coleson, he was/is a bad ass on guitar. Definitely made playing the guitar fun to watch and learn. Also, there are a lot of others I have run across through years of gigging and session work that I love to listen to. So much talent to learn from…
6. Did you take lessons to learn, or are you self-taught?
I took lessons in the beginning, and that led me to study music in college. In my first year of college I joined a classical guitar ensemble, which accompanied the college orchestra, and we did small tours to other schools.
7. Where do you get your ideas from to create guitar riffs ?
From noodling, and practicing. I can be practicing, and out of thin air something will pop. Then I will try ideas around the riff to make a tune. And just listening to music, I may hear a melody that strikes me. Sometimes I find myself playing along with commercials while watching T.V, and an idea might spark from that.
8. Is it hard to do, I mean there are only so many riffs that you can create, without someone yelling you are stealing theirs. ;)
All musicians are musical thieves. You know.. there is so much great music out, which is so accessible. I never take an approach to rip off riffs, but there are times a melody/riff just comes out of inspiration from others. That’s the beauty of music. Shit, if I can write a tune that inspires another to write something great, and put their signature to it, without a blatant rip off, awesome!
9. Who do you think is a phenomenal lead guitarist?
Tough question here… I honestly cannot name just ten, let alone one.. Ha! I mean, I can listen to the White Stripes, and Jack White isn’t known as a phenomenal lead player, but damn, he plays some cool shit. Benjamin Orr from The Cars, Steve Gains from Skynyrd, Joel Hoekstra. There are so many players on my roster of greats!! I guess if I hear a lead or a melodic line or even a certain tone/sound that speaks, I am stoked with that.
10. Did you ever have any desire to play any other instrument?
Drums, and although it’s not an instrument, wanted to be a rock dj, unless playing vinyl is considered and instrument?
11. You grew up in Anchorage? How is the music scene up there?
Yes, I grew up in Alaska, Anchorage being the most known city I lived in. The music scene isn’t popping like it is in the lower 48. But there are some great musicians out and about in the great white north. There is a local Ak band 36 Crazy Fist that has done well over the past few years. The first band I joined in Los Angeles, signed to Metal Blade Records was an AK band, Pandemonium. That was just a coincidence, but was cool nonetheless.
12. I remember taking music in school, did you have that as well, and what did you play in class? I played the triangle. LOL.
Ah man... Yes, I did have a music class… choir. I was booted out, and told I should take an art class… seriously!
13. Do you offer guitar lessons at all?
Absolutely I would. I used to teach a bit for some extra change. But if I can share some of what I know with someone, killer!
14. So tell us how you became the lead guitarist for Beasto Blanco?
The translucent screen appears, taking us back in time… When I moved to Los Angeles from Alaska, I had a job at a record store. A month or two into my employment there, another skinny white boy just moved to LA from Tahoe…Enter Chuck Garric! We have been best friends from day one. Going on 30yrs now. That being said, our musical influences are just ‘bout parallel. Chuck had some time in between the Alice dates, and was working on some music, as was I. In conversation one day he says, “dude, I am sending you these riffs, lets record them”… absolutely!!. I did the same.. before we knew it, we had the first album written.
15. Beasto is more of a rock n roll style band, was that an obvious choice for everyone? I am personally glad it is because you guys kick ass in your music.
Thank you, that means a lot to us!! Yes, we aren’t reinventing the wheel. We all grew up with rock and roll in our blood. Literally and figuratively. So naturally it’s what comes out of us when we write, and perform.
16. I read you are self-employed, a musician, songwriter and recording artist, so tell me, how do you have any time to have a personal life?
phew… I am tired just reading that question, yes, I am all the above. I like to work. I was brought up blue collar. My folks worked their asses off, and I am no different. But believe me, I find my ways to get a good surf in. It’s things like a 2-hour surf session, or getting out to nature, and just hanging with my kid, or my girl.. I find my balance.
17. By the sounds of things, you are definitely living your dream, is that fair to say?
Almost, getting close. I say this because there is room to strive for more in my life. I don’t mean more in a material manner, but with career, and personal quests.
18. You live in LA now, it must make it so much easier to create, record and play shows, in fact you have a show on Nov 10th at the Whiskey A Go Go, how did that come about?
Yeah, definitely a boat load of people to create with. And, a boat load of distractions. Always a good Thai food restaurant nearby. Yes, The Whiskey, November 10th.. super stoked to be playing the states with Beasto. We are supporting our upcoming release in October, so we at team Beasto have been working hard to get dates together to promote this release.
19. You have played shows overseas and in the USA, do you prefer one over the other, and if so why?
Yes, we have been primarily overseas, and one tour in the states. Both territories are great.. There are a lot of rock n rollers on both sides of the Atlantic. We are privileged to have the opportunity to perform on both. It’s great to bring our show to whoever will have us, truly! I enjoy traveling, so getting to see and be with people from different cultures and history is awesome for me. Here in the states, each state is kind of a different culture within itself. Kinda cool.
20. Do you have any great memories of a show, something that stands out and makes it memorable for you?
Oh, yeah. One off the top, was a local gig I was playing with my old band Paperback Hero. We were playing a festival, and my kid, 2yrs old at the time, was on the side of the stage, and ran out head banging, center stage. Was killer!
21. What is important to you about performing live?
I feel a good live show gives an artist’s album/songs breath. Meaning it gives a means for the listener to get away from their day to day whatever, and escape for a moment. Beasto Blanco, I feel does this well. It can be 6 people or 5000, but always give 210%. Also, what’s cool, I think, is a show can have a blueprint. Same set list, same markers to hit, but each and every gig has its own energy. The audience, the venue, the country, shit even the weather… It’s like getting a new toy. You play play play til the batteries go dead!
22. It must be tough to tour when Chuck is off on an Alice Cooper tour, which he is on now. What do you do in the meantime while Chuck is doing that?
It’s two-fold. We really have to take advantage of Chuck’s time off from Coop, and at the same time because of Chuck’s exposure from touring with Alice, he is really able to take advantage of getting the word out and promoting Beasto Blanco on those tours.
In the meantime, I keep busy working in the studio, we try to always make the best of our time on and off schedules, regardless of music, studio work, personal, or whatever.. We live life.
23. I saw on your page you like to surf, when did you start surfing, and why did you pick that over other anything else?
Ah man, surfing is a game changer for sure- Before I started playing guitar, my plan was to be a pro downhill skier, I was on my way too. I lived on that mountain. Skied every day, every night. While driving, I would stare at the snow piles and pick a line… Still have a bucket list item, to follow winter around the world and ski. So, coming to LA I met some guys who surfed. I didn’t get it at first, but when I actually got in and tried it... stood up on my first little nug of a wave... Wholly F#ck... my world changed at the moment... I got it... the meaning, it’s a lifestyle… Now granted I am not a great surfer, at all, but will drop most anything I am doing if the sets are coming... In fact, my first app on my smart phone was Surfline... I added all my favorite spots here in SoCal, and Mexico, and places I dream of going to.. Yesi (pronounced “yes-eye”)!
24. Living in LA does that mean you do most of your surfing in California .. have you been to the Oregon Coast to try it? Whenever we go down to Oregon we usually see surfers. Brave souls.
Yes, mostly here in SoCal. And a few times down to Mexico. I want to surf in Oregon. There are a few killer breaks up the North Pacific Coast, that I am very eager to check out.. All the way to Alaska as well... With a dry suit of course. I have some friends who surfed up north, they took photos surfing with small ice bergs in the back ground… Count me in... hopefully one day that opportunity will arise-
25. I see that you will be boarding Monsters of Rock Cruise in 2017, how did that come about?
Can you say “Stoked”!?! Yes, we are looking forward to being apart of this event. We worked our asses off over the last couple of years, and continue to do so, to get Beasto Blanco in a position to be invited to events like this. It’s truly awesome, and an honor to do it...
Love, exciting and new..Come aboard, were expecting you
Love, life’s sweetest reward
Let it flow, it floats back to you… sing it now
26. Have you been on a music cruise before? I have been on one only the first and last Barge to Hell, and it was fantastic, lots of fun, great music and even better memories, what are you looking forward to the most on this cruise?
This will be my first. What am I looking forward to the most?? ALL OF IT!!
27. Beasto is under Rat Pak Records, what’s important about having a label behind you?
These days most bands/artists have to take the DYI approach.. And they should anyway. If you want something you need to work. BUT with that being said, having the right label behind you is a blessing. Having done and still getting things done ourselves, we have to work, where having the right label working with you, it lets an artist focus more on creating, opening up time and energy where before we did it all; writing, booking, releasing, printing, merch, promotion, etc, not in that order. There are a lot of moving parts, and Rat Pak takes on the responsibility of more than a few of those cogs in the wheel… Let’s face it, art is business and business is an art, and a good label knows how to do that. Rat Pak is and has been a great partner in helping develop Beasto Blanco’s brand, and continues to do so. We are all really excited for this new release, and are working on all cylinders to share it with our fans real soon.
28. I notice a lot of bands these days are doing their own fund raisers, and they are raising a good amount, like Ne Obliviscaris from Australia raised 60,000, do you see yourselves doing this at any time?
Why, does Metaltitans wanna give Beasto Blanco $60,000?
29. What is next for you? Surfing while Chuck is away, or planning for future Beasto?
Yes and Yes! We have been really busy getting record #2 ready for a November release. We have new videos and music ready and ripe for the pickin’. And we are gearing up for a short US tour, and then we ship off to Europe to promote the new release, through November and most of December. Then we come back to the US in January for some dates in the midwest-east coast, right up to the Monsters of Rock cruise, in February. Busy busy busy.. Oh and be sure a surf will be fit in there somewhere.
30. Tell us something about yourself that you would like people to know, or about Beasto Blanco.
About me? I am pretty simple... I like to work. I like being outside. I enjoy a good hang at the beach.
Keep an eye out, and ears peeled. Go to the movies; Beasto Blanco is featured in the pre-show music, across the U.S., at every Regal, AMC, Cinemark, and NCM theater, throughout November. Come November 2016 Beasto Blanco’s album will be releasing, along with cool visuals, and some killer merch as well. Be sure to go to www.beastoblanco.com. Freaks!
Thank you Christopher for taking the time to do this interview with Metaltitans, we greatly appreciate it. (Sorry it is so long; I could have kept going) ;)
Absolutely.. Thank you Metaltitans for your love and support of rock n roll, and Beasto Blanco….and for taking the time for so many questions!! All the best-
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