Italian Alternative Rock band BETTY POISON was formed in 2005. Shortly afterwards they started performing constantly, both in Italy and abroad. They played all over Europe three times (Belgium, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland) and in winter 2011 they had a very successful U.S.A. tour, starting in New York City up through the East Coast (Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont…). The names as Courtney Love and Hole, Anton Perich and Andy Warhol can be read from BETTY POISON‘s biography, but also Salvatore Massimo Fazio, the famous Italian philosopher, is the long-time friend and supporter of the band.
The other day I had a pleasant chat with LUCIA REHAB, band’s singer and amazingly beautiful frontwoman…
Hi Lucia, welcome to Metal Shock! what was your first thought this morning?
I think I had no thoughts at all, actually! Last night I spent some relaxing time with the band Luminal and a dear friend of mine and we drank beer and wine chatting and chilling ‘til 3.00 and I had to wake up at 7.30! When I opened my eyes this morning I just tried to overcome the hangover…
Betty Poison was formed in 2005, tell me about how everything started? And how you came up to the band name?
The Betty Poison project started in 2005 and went through several changes, including our name, which was formerly Betty Ford Center. As we kept performing around and started being increasingly exposed we realized we could have problems with the rehabilitation center by the same name and we actually had some, since several videos were deleted by youtube for this reason and any reference to our previous name was removed by myspace. At that time we were close to be released by 20th century fox H.E. and so we thought that choosing a new name would be the wisest decision. We had to do it quickly and we spontaneously went for Betty Poison. Sounds good.
Tell me something about your band mates…
My bandmates are Nunzio Falla on guitar and Mirko Caiazza on drums. Nunzio is a natural born “rock-prince”, I mean… so elegant, beautiful, talented and at the same time crazy in a kinda gorgeous way. Everybody likes him. Mirko is an amazing drummer and a nice person who plays any kind of jokes because basically he likes tricking on us constantly… and with the most serious face ever!
Did I really say so? At that time I must have been very much into this vaginal attitude… at the moment I’d rather define myself as a phallocrat…
Tell me Lucia, when and how you found the music? and what bands have influenced you the most?
In the last song of our new record, that’s called “Seventeen”, I sing “Hungry bruised and full of shit and I was just seventeen…”. That was the point of it all, even though I was much older when I started playing (24 years old, actually). I was hungry, I was bruised, I was full of shit. And playing, writing songs, having a discipline was my way to find a deep meaning in my life. My most direct influences were all the rust and fire of the nineties, all the “dark” chill of the eighties and that void we always try to fill running somewhere… doing something…
How are you organized in songwriting? and from where you take the ideas for the lyrics?
Normally I write Betty songs and then the whole band arrange ‘em finally creating our sound and according to the general mood of our inspiration and taste… the lyrics naturally come from music and are mostly about my life, my obsession, society and ballbusting.
Last year you’ve shared the stage e.g. with Courtney Love in Milan and Rome. What can you tell me about those concerts?
It was amazing, Nunzio and I really grew up listening to the very first Hole. I mean… we fell in love with their earlier sloppy punk songs and kept digging the noiserock evolution and the devastating rage in song form of the grunge era. Years later here we were, sharing the stage with miss Love in person (ten times more beautiful than in photos and videos and so incredibly tall!). We were chosen among more than twenty bands and Courtney said very nice things about us. The audience was very warm and supportive and we gave everyone love, sweat and passion. They were both amazing nights.
So many! We’re tireless touring animals… we play all over Europe and we’ve started touring also in the U.S.. We have so many suggestive memories that it’s really hard to choose something… I can tell you that in Budapest we played on a boat stuck in the ice of the Danube, in Freiburg people rolled on the ground screaming with us, in New York we performed on new year’s eve in a postpunk delirium, in Harrisburg a professional pierced Nunzio’s nipples and Mirko’s lips for free to show his full appreciation, in France we were part of a pro safe sex “soirèe” and I repeatedly threw condoms to the crowd and in Rome, lately, we had our second record release during a gay night, as part of an antihomophobia event. I wore a Chinese dress, Nunzio was half naked and Mirko was dressed as a priest. Unforgettable.
You’ve collaborated also with Anton Perich, a long time photographer for Andy Warhol and eminent member of The Factory. Please tell me more about the project and working together with Anton?
Well, some months ago “Minimal Cinema” was in New York, shooting a beautiful documentary on Anton Perich’s life and his connection to “The Factory” and Andy Warhol. On this occasion Anton also made a beautiful performance for “European Culture”, reactivating for the first time since the seventies his famous painting machine to paint trousers directly on a famous danish model. It was the first time he had ever performed for a commercial and as they were choosing the soundtrack for the performance Minimal guys made him listen to our song “Time” and he liked it a lot. That’s why and how it happened.
Four of your songs have been distributed by 20th Century Fox HE… so we’re talking here about a movie or something?
Yes, it is. We’re distributed with four songs by 20th Century Fox HE alongside the dvd of “Megiddo”, a colossal made by the special effects creators for “Ironman”, “Fantastic Four”, “Ghost Rider”. Moreover the video for the Betty single “Psychovicious” was included among the special contents of the movie
You’ve been hosted by famous italian TV-conducter Maurizio Costanzo (in an episode dedicated to the Bad Girls) …so Lucia, are you a bad or a good girl?
You know what? I don’t really know, I don’t know who I am, I’m human but at times I’m afraid I’m not, I may be bad, but not for the reasons why somebody or “society” always assumed I was since the day I decided not to go with the flow, and by the way I’ve never been a big fan of myself, so you tell me. Do you think I’m bad?
… bad people don’t ask this question to themselves, they just give a damn, so… 🙂 btw, I know that you have something to do also with the famous Italian philosopher Salvatore Massimo Fazio, please tell me about your relationship with him…
Yes, Massimo has always been very supportive of the band. We never met in person but the next time we’ll play in Sicily it’d be nice to grab the grab the chance to finally meet…
Let’s talk about your albums… a 5-tracks EP “Uncool” (2008) and two full-length albums “Poison for you” (2009) and “Beauty is over” which came out only couple of weeks ago. Are you following a certain red line while doing music, or do you see some significant changes between these albums? if so, what are they?
I’d say that the stylistic matrix has always been consistent with the natural evolution of songwriting and enriched by the fundamental contribution of my bandmates through the years. The lineup changed two times, in 2007 and in 2011. Nunzio joined the band immediately after “Uncool” and recorded both Betty Poison’s full lengths, “Poison for you” and “Beauty is over”. I’m talking about a total of 32 songs (sixteen for each record), so you can easily understand how important this person was in the construction of our sound. He also introduced the “two guitars and no bass” formula, that was a constant of our style. Actually on “Beauty is over” Annika Kreusch, singer and guitar player for the belgian band Pandora, featured amazingly as bass player on many songs, but we’re still basically a “guitar combo”. Never say never, anyway…
How “Beauty is over” has been welcomed by your fans and critics?
It started having a very good feedback even before being officially released. This was due to Anton Perich and Minimal Cinema, for the “Time” video was shot immediately after it had been chosen as Perich performance’s soundtrack and came out as a preview of “Beauty is over”. And in general people really dug the new material when we started playing our new songs live. Once out the record got beautiful reviews and we’re glad to see that the support is growing larger and larger.
“Just” all of our passion, inspiration and hard work. This record is full of sonic anger and rough power but also not lacking in dynamic ranges, acoustic moments and sensual shivers. It’s a complete meal. The title concept is about the conflict between conventional beauty and truth, since real beauty often lies in gutters and is not attractive at all, just like truth. But to be truly alive we have no choice but facing both.
How would you describe your collaboration with Fastermaster Records?
Perfect, the most satisfying human and professional experience we could have. Matteo Cifelli, our producer, is an amazing professional and a special person as well as a constant point of reference for all of us.
In couple of days you’ll leave for an European tour, what are your feelings right now?
I’m so happy… playing around is our life, our aim, what gives a final meaning to our existence as musicians and human beings. We’re leaving in a few days and we’ll be performing in Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy, can’t really wait. It’s late spring, I’m ready to play and I’m alive. I couldn’t ask for more.
What about the future, any new plans already in mind?
Touring, for the moment. When we’re back from Europe we’re gonna shoot our second single’s video. Still thinking of the song to be chosen… we like ‘em all, actually! In summer we’ll play in Italy and in September we’ll go back to the States. We started off in New York and went down through the East Coast already last Dec and Jan and it was truly amazing. So we ended up having a second tour there.
The last question… what would you say to your fans and to our readers?
To our supporters we wanna say “we love you!”. We love you for keeping us alive as a band and supporting us the way you all do. We owe you everything. To Metal Shock and its readers we say thank you very much for the space and the kind attention you gave us. Keep rocking!
Thanks Lucia, about the very pleasant chat! See you on the road! \m/
Interview by Tarja Virmakari – Black-and-white photos by Oskar Cecere
BETTY POISON “PSYCHOVICIOUS”