We review many good music CDs each month. But to find a good heavy metal CD in this huge pile of CDs is like finding a needle in a haystack. With “Soldiers From Hell”, we found this needle, and I can easily say that “Soldiers From Hell” sounds even better than their wonderful debut “Satan’s Playground”. BLACK WIDOW USA can be proud on what they’ve accomplished here. And we, for our part, are damn proud to have the chance to talk to singer and frontwoman Cat about their past, their new CD and their future...
How did you get in touch with JAB Productions, who released the new album?
Cat: "JAB is Johnny, our guitarist's own production company, so that was an easy choice, too! We released the CD independently, but if there are any major labels reading this, please give us a call! As our goal is to perform for European audiences and it is so vital that we secure a label."
You played quite some gigs, supporting bands like STRATOVARIUS, SAXON, SEVEN WITCHES, DECEASED, MICHAEL SCHENKER and LESLIE WEST. Do you have any fond memories, that you want to share with us, when you see these names again?
Cat: "I think, we'd all agree that meeting the legends SAXON was probably one of the highlights of our performance career so far. They are gracious, appreciative and fun guys - the tour bus was a riot! In 2005, we played four gigs across the country with SEVEN WITCHES, and James Rivera and Jack Frost never failed to impress us. Our friend King Fowley of DECEASED gave us the opportunity to play with them and they are legends in their own right. For me, personally, standing on the same stage with Blackie Lawless (WASP) was a memory, I'll never forget. We recently saw his/their performance of "The Crimson Idol" and I was mesmerized! We are so privileged to have shared the same road."
How did you find newcomer Wayne Turpin?
Cat: "Wayne had auditioned for us previously and, needless to say, the audition didn't go so well. He fit us personally, but not musically. Six months or so later, he asked to audition again and he really stepped up to the plate on that audition. Wayne had been playing in a cover band and was looking for something that would take him further - voila! He's stuck with us through everything."
Did he play in any other bands, before he joined BLACK WIDOW USA?
Cat: "Wayne was in EIGHT DAY MOURNING (a cover band, that’s still playing in this area), DUSK and TEN LASHES."
You recorded "Soldiers From Hell" with him. Did the new 'recruit' also contribute some writing to this new album?
Cat: "Definitely! The intro to the song "Soldiers From Hell" shows his creativity. While Johnny and Tommy remained the musical mind, Wayne's contributions were many. He's our ‘Lucky #7’! (as in we've had seven bassists!)"
Can you also tell us how the album is selling, or is it still a bit too early to tell?
Cat: "The official release date was January 2008 and six months into it, we're very pleased with the sales and the downloads. We're too young to be in it for the money, but we're pleased that we get sales from all over the world. It's still a little too early to have gotten every metalhead in the world to buy it yet. We have some high-end distributors though, so ask me again in a few months and keep playing "Comfort In The Dark", when Metal Maidens’ My Space page is opened!"
Can you tell us more about the artwork of the CD? What caught our attention was the tombstone with the spider ( the black widow)...
Cat: "I hope, this doesn't mean bad news for the band?! Me, too! No, it's just an artist's concept - just creepy!"
What's your favorite song from the new album, and why?
Cat: "I love the lyrics in "Comfort In The Dark" and I think with the intro of "Moon Shadow", it's powerful, yet rhythmical. I always told the boys that was our radio hit! But I think "Soldiers From Hell" has an emotion about it, that stirs my soul every time, I hear it. It's like a journey to me. I'm really proud of that one. Johnny, our guitarist, told me, that my vocals were ‘haunting’ on it and knowing Johnny, any compliment is a good one!"
The CD received the full score on metalmaidens.com, which caused quite an emotional reaction from you. Something to do with tears, if I'm not mistaken. Any explanation here? After all, the CD really deserves the full score from the beginning to the end, so we're very sorry, that we have ruined your make up that day!
Cat: "And I do wear a lot of eye makeup! I looked like a racoon, when I was finished reading your kind words... You know, because you have your own passions in Metal Maidens, what it's like to put your heart and soul on the line for something that you are passionate about. When I read the review, it made me feel that all the hard work, writing, re-writing, rehearsing, fighting, loving, giving up so much time, was worth it. And, Toine, when we read some reviews, we know that the reviewer just listened to each song a little bit, but you, you really listened...Your comments on each song showed the love you have for music. Okay, I am truly a ‘metal maiden’ and females are allowed to cry...even in metal..."
What are your future plans now the album has been released?
Cat: "Currently, we're taking a little break and Johnny is focusing on his upcoming wedding to Tracy in the Islands, but when the dust has settled, we'll be back writing. Meanwhile, I am chained to the computer, searching out label interest, management, tour possibilities, etc. etc. Help!"
I also read, that you have signed with Extreme Music Agency in the UK for bookings. How did that came about?
Cat: "Unfortunately, the agent that we were working with has severed ties with EMA, so we will be pursuing other booking agencies."
Are there any plans to play live shows in Europe already?
Cat: "No, we're counting on Metal Maidens to put a fest together! Seriously, we have to be on a label or know somebody, that can get us into that part of our goal..."
How did the CD release party at Mac's The Club in Essex go?
Cat: "Mac's was a great show for us: lots of friends, a great stage, great sound, good back-up bands, DIVISION and TWIST OF FAITE, and was such fun for us. We hadn't played out for a while (last time with WASP), so there was a magical feel to being on stage again. It was also our first live show with Wayne, so the excitement was even enhanced! Tommy set the show up and he did a great job! Everything ran so smoothly (doing metalfests, you know that smoothly is hardly ever a word, that's used!) And thanks to our many friends, who banged their heads right along with us!"
Are there any important shows on the agenda for the band?
Cat: "Not at this time.. Got any for us to do????"
Many of today’s musicians also play with other bands, besides their own band. Do you guys have any ‘side’ bands?
Cat: "No. It's not something any of us would be comfortable with. We feel that the dedication that it takes to keep a band like us productive, requires full concentration on one band alone. I know musicians that do that and it makes me wonder where their allegiance is..."
Is there anything you'd like to add to this interview? Maybe there’s something we forgot to ask, which would be essential enough to mention here?
Cat: "You are so professional and thorough, that I can't think of any thing you've missed."
The last words are for Cat and BLACK WIDOW USA...
Cat: "Many Metal Maiden fans will read this interview and for that, we are very grateful that you keep carrying the torch for, not only females in metal, but for the metal community. When I first started singing in a metal band, it was unheard of for females to attempt JUDAS PRIEST or IRON MAIDEN. I had to prove myself over and over again. With Metal Maidens, females no longer have to prove their weight in metal...Thank you for recognizing and applauding all the women and their men. Of course, we would like everyone to hear our music, to listen to the words that may touch your heart, to be a part of our passion. Please listen to the music of our souls... Many thanks, Cat."
Visit their official website at: www.blackwidowmetal.com/
or My Space at: www.myspace.com/blackwidowusa
Contact BLACK WIDOW USA at:
P.O. Box 455
Burtonsville, MD 20866-0455,
*Also read our 2004 interview with singer Cat here: 2004 interview with BLACK WIDOW USA