Gary James' Interview With
Betsy Bitch

It is really hard to believe that back in the early 1980s, Betsy Bitch was considered an outrageous performer. So outrageous that PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) took notice.

Q - Betsy, what do you think of the idea of rating albums?

A - I think what the PMRC is doing is censorship. If they get a rating system put on albums, requiring the kid buying an "X" or "R" rated album to be accompanied by an adult, seeing that rating on it is only going to entice him more. And if in fact he can't buy it without his Mommy or Daddy with him, he'll have one of his older friends buy it for him so he can see what's so naughty! I'm not against parents bringing their children up the way they want to, but that's exactly it. It's up to the parents to tell their children which albums they are permitted to have, not he government. And what about radio stations? Are they going to have to adhere to this rating system? Anyone can listen to the radio. Are they going to have to announce that they're going to play an "R" rated song so all the little boys and girls have to leave the room? If this rating system was ever put into effect, I don't think it would hurt our popularity. Look how many "R" rated movies win Oscars.

Q - You and your band have been together for five years. You're right in the Metal capitol of the U.S. - Los Angeles. You've played all the showcase clubs there. You've recorded both an E.P. and L.P. You've attracted media attention. And yet, you still don't have a major recording contract. What's been the stumbling block? When you see Ratt, Dokken and Quiet Riot go on to bigger and better things, don't you feel left out?

A - We do sort of feel we missed the boat as far as the recent siege of L.A. Metal signings, but we haven't written off the fact that we will get a record deal. The bands that got signed that we grew up with were a step ahead of us as far as the commerciality of the Metal or Hard Rock they were playing in those days. We were a bit more hard core and controversial than they were. The bands that got signed then were a lot more acceptable as far as radio play goes and that's what the labels were looking at, at that point. Since then, our music has gotten a lot more polished. We have songs now. The songs on our demo tape, which is now being shopped by our management company, are very representative of the type of material we're doing now. It's still powerful, but melodic, hooky and tasteful. We haven't completely sold out, just compromised a bit and it sounds real good.

Q - What type of image would you like people to have of you when they hear your name for the very first time?

A - The name "Bitch" implies the character I play in the band. In this case, a strong, domineering woman who's saying to everyone; "Hey, when I say something, you better listen!" I liken myself to Alice Cooper, one of my major influences who had a very definite role as a front person as well as a singer of songs. I love playing "The Bitch." People seem to really have fun with the image because I'm having fun with it. I don't want to be too threatening or intimidating because I want the audience to be able to relate to me on a certain level. The last thing I want to be is a poser! If you're not sincere on stage about what you're doing, the audience can see right through it.

Q - It would seem that if you're a woman and you play Metal, you have to dress in leather, studs and spikes. And the sexier you pose, the more the music magazines will pay attention to you. Is it possible for a woman in today's Metal world to go onstage and play music without trying to convey some sort of sexy image?

A - I believe that Rock 'n' Roll is very sexual in the first place and if you're a woman, that's only putting more emphasis on that fact since the majority of Heavy Metal fans are males who are just discovering what women are all about. I like to be looked at and admired in a sexual fashion, but I don't make a tasteless, phony pose out of it. I have fun with my image. I don't think I try to be sexy because I believe I am in the first place before I even decided to front a band. So, getting up onstage and placing myself in front of all those drooling males, you'd think I'm asking for it, right? Well, I am a sucker for attention, but I'm not by any means a poser. I maintain as interesting a stage persona as possible, letting my natural sex appeal come through.

Q - Do the onstage antics of Rock stars help set a bad example for members of the their audience?

A - I believe that when you're onstage portraying a character that's in the least bit controversial, you need to do it with taste. Kids today are very easily influenced and you have to be careful not to influence them into doing something nuts, especially ones who are rebellious and have a history of being trouble makers. I really hope that when people see me onstage, they think "She's a really good actress! She plays her part well." If you're your character offstage as well as on, where does that fantasy come in? Where does Betsy stop and the "Bitch" begin? That's what makes it fun to go and see us perform. If I was like that all the time, where's the performance? What's the sense of even getting up on that stage? I don't think the kids are threatened or intimidated by my character. I have had other girls try to sing like me or dress like me, but I don't think they say after one of our shows "I'm gonna go home, put on my spike heeled boots and get my whip and beat up my old man." Maybe they do. You never know.

© Gary James. All rights reserved.