When it comes to re-births they are few and far between – all too often bands dwindle and fade away, but hairy metal crew Rabid Bitch of the North have seen the past two years as something of a phoenix-like rise from their early roots.
Currently out on a UK tour with Swedish metallers, Portrait, the band knows that the past 12 months in particular were spectacular. We caught up with the band and quizzed them about it.
“2014 Was indeed our biggest ever year, so far!”he said. “With so many opportunities fired at us, it’s hard to pick out any one thing, but I suppose being invited along to play at ‘Bloodstock Open Air Festival’ was a pretty big one, along with being invited to play at our first ever ‘Siege of Limerick Festival’, asked to play at the first ever ‘No Sleep ‘till Dublin Festival’ and being invited to join ‘Alone Records’ from Greece to put out a few releases with them.
Looking back seemingly took the guys quite some time to recall all that went down…
“All [were] landmarks in our history and strong friendships gained from each.
“Playing at ‘Bloodstock’, ‘Siege’ and ‘No Sleep’ were all unforgettable and we have amazing memories from our experiences at every one.
“We have yet to experience what our friends in Greece have lined up for us, but we’re eager to get over there and meet them. Also, getting to meet and support ‘Tim Ripper Owens’ was a massive thing for us in 2014, as we are all immense fans of his. He was a true gentleman to us and gave us some great advice!”
It was also the year that saw the release of ‘Defending Two Castles’ cassette single. But why in the name of Satan release a cassette tape?
Together Joe, Gerry and Chris explained: “We put out a CD a few years ago and no one bought it. We were then told by those in the know and a few others, that we would have shifted more of our first EP had it been on a different format i.e vinyl or tape
“Initially it was suggested that we do a vinyl first, however, it just worked out better financially to release a cassette tape instead, which then went on to sell 300 units!!! Which we are very happy about!
“It baffles us slightly that an old format like that attracts anyone but people still seem to like tapes and there is a certain underground audience who like an analogue copy of their music as well as digital. There may be a certain element of format snobbery with that, but who cares, we’re just glad people were interested and wanted to buy the single.
“We wouldn’t say no to another tape in the future, it’s cheap, its fast and people all around the world bought one.”
The release also saw RBOTN use pop-up stands, and cut-outs on-stage; something too few local acts do. they agreed that it is something essential to bands.
“ No effort, no logo and no individual style appear to be all the rage at the minute, we like to go against that and reflect our personality and originality through our music, image, art work and stage presence,” they said.“It has to be more than a banner with a logo, it has to have some personality and meaning to what we’re doing at the minute.
“Like the cut out castles and knight which we made to reflect the release and time period of our ‘Defending Two Castles’ cassette. Future releases will have their own themed stage props and imagery to help create an atmosphere and give personality to what we’re doing.
Seeing as it was the band who mentioned the future we wanted to know more about the plans for 2015 once they complete the Portrait tour…
“In 2015 we plan on taking the band further a field and out of the U.K. Where we are going yet is still in the works but there is a definite need for a passport this year which we are all really pleased about.
“On top of that we are releasing a brand new 7inch single which will mark our first vinyl release. This will be released by ‘Alone Records’ (Greece). There will also be a re-release of our first EP on CD again but this time it will include extras, such as our first ever live demos from the garage days.
“Towards the end of the year we may have something else up our sleeve to put out but we will have to see how things go. We are going to be very busy with live dates you see, one of which will be the ‘Siege of Limerick’ again, but you never know. There could be a follow up single come out close to Christmas.
Jeez guys – workaholic a bit! But at least they kicked off with the Portrait slot, something of a ‘perfect match’.
“The Swedish have been doing things right in the world of heavy metal for a long time now (Grand Magus/Wolf/Enforcer/Oz/Gotham City/loads more too) and it is great to be touring Ireland and the U.K with one of their big guns as of late,” said Joe.
“Portrait have been rising to new heights with this line up and their latest album. For RBOTN it is a great chance to expose a new fanbase to what we have to offer.
“Last time we played on a bill with Portrait and Age of Taurus and it was quality. From what I remember of that (Buckfast heavy) night, they wanted to keep the party going into the small hours and beyond! It will be a fun, messy occasion on the road and a ‘vicious bite to the jugular’ type of year ahead.”
And with that they signed off with: “Heavy times ahead.”
Rabid Bitch of the North are one of the current crop of Northern Ireland bands who are stretching their limbs, reaching further afield and wanting to spread the word that NI Metal and Rock is amongst the best out there!
A lifelong Metalhead and prolific reviewer, Jonathan is a part of the team here at Devils Gate Media. Since 2006, Jonathan has been the owner of BELFAST METALHEADS REUNITED
Check out Jonathan’s blog for more album and gig reviews.