The Second Life Of BITCHES SIN...

BITCHES SIN are one of the most outstanding NWOBHM bands to me. We could never include the band on, because they didn't have any female members, but things can change… The NWOBHM scene only knows a very few female representatives, like ROCK GODDESS, ORAL, SHE and of course GIRLSCHOOL. When guitar player Ian Toomey decided to bring the band back to life again, he also added female bassplayer DBasser to the line up of this cult metal band. DBasser is now the ‘bass bitch’ of BITCHES SIN and she and guitar wizard Ian Toomey gladly agreed on doing an update interview about the band, the new album "Uduvudu" and anything else there is to know about this Cumbria-based NWOBHM outfit. We proudly present you Dbasser and Ian of BITCHES SIN, so take a seat and read all the facts here....

When did you become a member of BITCHES SIN?
Dbasser: “I joined BITCHES SIN at the start of 2007.”

Did you play in other bands before you joined the band?
Dbasser: “I have played in a few bands, they were mainly pub bands and club bands. I did some recording with a band, called THE DIRTY HAT BAND. It was a country/rock band and we did a mixture of covers and originals."

And did you record anything with these previous bands?
Dbasser: “I recorded an album with THE DIRTY HAT BAND.”

How did you become a member of BITCHES SIN? Did you audition, respond to an advert or which faith brought you together?
Dbasser: “Tony, our leadsinger, saw me playing and asked me if I liked rock music and would I be interested in joining an originals band. I obviously said yes and the rest is history.”

How long did you have musical experience before you joined BITCHES SIN?
Dbasser: “About eighteen years.”

Who can we see as your musical influences?
Dbasser: “Stuart Hamm, Norman Watt Roy.”

Do you play any other instruments, besides bass guitar?
Dbasser: “I like to have a go at most instruments, but bass is the only one, that I play seriously.”

How would you describe the music of BITCHES SIN yourself?
Dbasser: “Strong and powerful.”

What do you think of the final result of “Uduvudu” yourself, and if you could change anything to it, what would you change then?
Dbasser: “I am really pleased with the end result. There is nothing on there, that I don’t like.”
Ian: “I am ecstatic with the final result of UDUVUDU. When we started writing and preparing for the first recording session with four songs, it was very difficult to think, that they would be the early songs of our first album, since “Invaders”. There is nothing I would change at all. It is a perfect BITCHES SIN album.”

What’s your most favorite track on this album and why?
Dbasser: “If I was to chose one for listening to I would chose “Metalize”. Whereas if it was for playing I would chose “Second Life”, because I am really pleased with my bass line on this track.”
Ian: “This is a very very difficult question to answer, but at some point everyone has to make a choice, so my choice is the title track “Uduvudu”. The way it came together was Stick Slayer brought a drum pattern, called a paraquin to rehearsal. It is Latin American in origin. Stick Slayer changed it slightly and I quickly put the riff and the chords, then we all came up with the title for the song. The harmony guitar break and the words came later at the studio. So the main work was completed in a few minutes.”

What will possibly become the most difficult song to perform for you live, and why?
Dbasser: “Probably “Red Skies”, because it is a guitar riff and awkward to play on bass.”
Ian: “Uduvudu”. This is very difficult, because you are playing to three different time signatures in the song. Two of them occurring simultaneously, while Tony is singing in 4/4 time, we are delivering the rhythm to 5/4 time. It all works brilliantly, but it ain’t easy!!”

Are there any songs (‘leftovers’), that didn’t make it to the new album?
Dbasser: “Not that I know of.”
Ian: “There were no leftovers as complete songs, although there was a riff and some words by Chris and Tony, that had potential and may surface later. The working title is “Just Like Judas” and is our tribute to JUDAS PRIEST, because Chris had done a good amount of work with them. It didn’t go any further, because we wrote “Red Skies” and that was more appropriate to the album.”

Who came up with the name “Uduvudu”, and why did you choose this name to be the new album title?
Dbasser: “You would need to ask Ian about that one.”
Ian: “We all came up with the title “Uduvudu”, because of the Latin American source of the beat behind the song. It sounded like Voodoo drums to us and when Tony started to experiment with the melody, it became an easy choice. Also you may have noticed that the letters are a ‘palindrome’ and sub-consciously, I think we were saying, which ever sequence you play the tracks “Uduvudu”!!”

Are there any plans for live shows already, and how do you prepare for a live gig in general?
Dbasser: “Ian deals with the gigs. I prepare for a gig by trying to relax.”
Ian: “We are preparing for live work and have a live set in place. We expect to make a start at the end of June, once we have all got our holidays out of the way. The most important thing is to remember that people have paid to see you, so the band must be tight and we have to play our best. We also experiment with different endings and extended solos and where they might sound best. As you already know, we work very hard, then hopefully everyone has a great time on the night.”

John Cameron played bass guitar on the song “Eleventh Hour”. Was there a special reason why you didn’t play bass guitar on this particular song?
Dbasser: “I wasn’t with the band at the time of the recording for that song.”
Ian: “This was a ‘thank you’ to John from the band, because he had pulled us out of a problem, because we were struggling to find a bass player………hahaha. John helped us prepare for the first studio session on the understanding, that if a more experienced player came along he would step aside. Because John had only been playing a few months, it was difficult but he did a great job on “Eleventh Hour” after I took him through the riff/bass line a couple of times.”

What do you think of the older material of BITCHES SIN, and what’s your favorite song there?
Dbasser: “Again for listening to, I would say “Ice Angels” and for playing, it would have to be “Fallen Star”.”

What are your hobbies, besides playing bass guitar in a rock band?
Dbasser: “Photography, art and motorcycling.”

Who did the artwork for the CD cover of “Uduvudu”, and is there a deeper meaning behind this picture?
Dbasser: “Mark Biddiscombe, who is a long term friend of Ian’s and used to play drums for BITCHES SIN in the past.”

Ian: “My good friend Mark Biddiscombe from REDLINE did the artwork for “Uduvudu”. I think all sleeve design should stimulate thoughts on its meaning, but that they are for the fans own thoughts. For me, it says: “…you thought BITCHES SIN were dead? Well, listen to how dead men play metal……”

Who wrote the lyrics for “Uduvudu”, and what’s it about?
Dbasser: “Tony did and it is about being obsessed with a woman.”
Ian: “Tony wrote the lyrics and it is about boy meets girl, but the sinister is its romance or some magic spell, that has made it happen ……..and what will happen next?”

Can you tell us something about the writing process on the new album? Did you just start jamming or did you come up with the music first, or what? Please explain...
Dbasser: “Most of the songs were already thought of when I joined, but without bass lines, so I recorded a rehearsal and came up with the bass lines at home. The songs seemed to change at each rehearsal, until they were right.”
Ian: “We are very lucky, that everybody in the band can write or bring ideas. Even more lucky, because we all instinctively know where we need to be with the music. As with “Invaders” riffs and songs, that were mostly complete, would be brought to rehearsals to see if they would work or could be improved. There was only “Uduvudu”, that was written as we jammed our way through the writing of the song. An interesting track to write was “Red Skies”. Chris had written the riff and verse and asked what we thought. This became a labour of love, because you had this legendary producer asking us what we thought!! Amazing!! So we were very careful how the song developed and how the words came about. There was no pressure, but we all felt that there was a great song in there and we had to do our best for Chris. We are very proud of “Red Skies”and it is a band favourite. For the rest of the tracks, it was usually the music/riff first followed by the words.”

By which songs on the album were you involved most during the writing process?
Dbasser: “All of them apart from “Eleventh Hour”.”
Ian: “All of them, except “Selling Paradise” and “Beggars Parallel”, which were both written by Stick Slayer and “White Room”, that was written by Tony.”

Did you get any response yet towards the album by the media or from fans?
Dbasser: “Ian tends to deal with that side of the band.”
Ian: “We are waiting for responses from the media, but John Tucker, who wrote the book “Suzie Smiled - The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” loves the album and Paul Naylor, the manager for HEAVEN AND HELL, says he can’t fault it. It is early days, so as the reviews come in, I will post them on our website.”

Are there any negative reactions as well, and how do you deal with that in general? Do you try to learn from these critics or do you rather want to forget about it as quickly as possible?
Dbasser: “I don’t mind criticism, as long as it is constructive.”
Ian: “So far there have been no negative reactions. There might be some, but if they write from their heart and it is the truth, then that’s OK because not everyone likes the same music. Otherwise it would be a dull world and we would have to use voodoo!”

Are there any live shows on the agenda already, and what can people expect from a BITCHES SIN live show?
Dbasser: “I know, that there isn’t anything for at least four weeks, because I am finishing my college course and cannot commit to anything until I have finished, other than that we will have to wait and see.”
Ian: “We will be doing a couple of warm-up gigs locally. Then try for some festivals, but already we can see that the album will be a ‘slow-burner’, so it might be a while before we get going properly. Jess Cox and Arcane Promotions are already looking at gigs for us.”

With which band would you like to tour, if you had the chance?
Dbasser: “It would have to be ALICE COOPER. Awesome show!“
Ian: “The SCORPIONS or HEAVEN AND HELL or MOTORHEAD. Any bands, who we can have some fun with.”

In which country outside of Great Britain would you like to play the most, if BITCHES SIN would decide to go on a world tour?
Dbasser: “Australia, because my sister lives over there and I haven’t seen her since she went.”
Ian: “Holland is a must. Then USA and Japan.”

Have you ever played outside of the UK, and if yes, where and when was that?
Dbasser: “I have played in Spain at a hotel. I can’t remember when, but it was a few years ago.”
Ian: “I guess, that was with GORGON in Tokyo about three years ago. The pics are on our website. It was great fun and the Japanese fans were brilliant!“

Can you tell us a bit more about your guitar, your equipment and the gear that you use, and maybe give us a bit of background information why you chose this equipment?
Dbasser: “I use mainly Warwick equipment, because I liked the way that it sounded when I heard it. I have two Warwick bass guitars and a 1000 Warwick amp. This goes through a limiter/noise gate. I also have a Bass Collection, which I love the feel of. It was only cheap compared to the Warwicks, but I love it. I also have a 2x10 and a 4x10 cab.”
Ian: “I use a customised black Flying V and Explorer. Also my old favourite - a Washburn A-20 Stage along with a Marshall 50 Watt JCM 2000DSL. For years, I have used Marshall’s and when we play the older material, there is no change in the sound even after all this time. I much prefer an overdriven amp to amp modelling pedals, so as well as the amp overdrive I also use a BOSS OD-3 pedal. Why?? Well, I’ve found the only way to get that cutting attack for songs like “Mr Toomey” and wailing solos like “Nobody Wants You Here” is through this combination.”

Where were the pictures taken from the slideshow on your MySpace site?
Dbasser: “They were taken at a punk gig, which was in Bolton, Manchester. Go to:”

How important is the internet for you as a musician?
Dbasser: “It is very important, because it is a quick way of getting word around and buying equipment.”
Ian: “Extremely important.”

We are a on-line magazine, that is totally dedicated to the female musicians in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. Do you think that female musicians still need this kind of attention or do you feel that women already get the recognition that they earn so much.
Dbasser: “I feel, that they do still need this attention. But not because of the fans, because of the musicians. I find that a lot of bands don’t want to know you if you are female and it isn’t right. There are many musicians out there who are brilliant, but don’t get the chance to show it.”

We are based in The Netherlands. What else do you know about our country, besides the fact that we have colourful tulips and beautiful windmills over here?
Dbasser: “I don’t know a lot about it. I didn’t do geography at school, I wish I had now. But I do know that you have good taste in rock music.”
Ian: “Don’t you have clogs any more? Have you forsaken them for wristbands instead? [Note editor: this is an ‘inside’ joke]”

What’s the best thing about being a member of a band like BITCHES SIN?
Dbasser: “Not having to play covers.”
Ian: “We write and play what we want and don’t feel confined to one particular style (or riff!!).”

And maybe you can think of a negative side as well?
Dbasser: “Rehearsing at 10 am on a Sunday morning. Not exactly rock ‘n roll, when you should be recovering from the night before.”

Do you have any future plans for yourself? And maybe you can tell us a bit about the future plans of BITCHES SIN as well here?
Dbasser: “I would like to remain with BITCHES SIN for as long as possible, but if anything were to go wrong, then I would further my career as a photographer.”
Ian: “My own plans is to make BITCHES SIN successful in a much wider sense. The plans for BITCHES SIN is to have a higher profile and play festivals, etc. across the world. This would most likely be in 2009.”

Do you believe in stuff like Voodoo and/or black magic yourself? Maybe you can give some examples too, if your answer is yes?
Dbasser: “No, I don’t.”
Ian: “It is interesting to note, that voodoo is more ancient as a religion, than western religions of the last 2000 years. I don’t know enough about religion in any belief system to have an informed opinion..”

Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Dbasser: “Please keep supporting bands like us and thank you for allowing us to be part of your life.”
Ian: “Just like to say thanks for being interested in the band after such a big gap, but I’m sure the new album was worth the wait. To all the guys we met at British Steel, it was great to see you and watch for British Steel 4, because BITCHES SIN are on the bill.”

Where can people buy “Uduvudu”? Please promote your album here for free!
Dbasser: “The album can be bought from the website or downloaded from iTunes.”
Ian: “You can buy “Uduvudu” from our website or or Metal Nations. We have just arranged distribution through Cadiz/Pinnacle so “Uduvudu” should be in the shops in about two weeks time.”

Is there anything, you’d like to add to this interview? Maybe there is something we forgot to mention, which is essential enough to tell our readers.
Dbasser: “Yeah! A good bass player knows, when to be quiet.”
Ian: “Yeah, when we broke up BITCHES SIN around 1986, I often felt since then that the story was not yet complete. “Uduvudu” shows me, that I was right to think that but a big credit goes to Toine van Poorten for convincing me to pick up my guitar again and reform BITCHES SIN.”

The last words of this interview are for Dbasser (Diane), Ian and BITCHES SIN…..
Dbasser: “Thank you for allowing me to be part of your online magazine. And go out and buy the album! Bass regards, Dbasser (Diane Jones).”
Ian: “Don’t ever let anyone break your dream!”

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Toine van Poorten, Metal Maidens 'zine / Summer 2008.

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