I have been drumming since I was very young. Music was a big part of my upbringing. My father was a doo-wop singer who made a few records in the 1960s and music was always playing in my house and in the family car. Early on, I became obsessed with Elton John, The Beatles and The Stones. Then I discovered The Who and it was all over for me. Although Keith Moon inspired me to play the drums, it was Bill Ward that literally taught me to play. I spent hours listening to the Sabbath records and playing along. His style is so unique that learning that way made it almost challenging to play to any other music. Eventually, I began to encompass all types of styles into my playing but Bill Ward is still my ultimate drum god and I attempt to play his parts as note perfect as humanly possible.
What were the circumstances that led you to form Black Sabbitch, your all female tribute to my favorite metal band of all time, Black Sabbath?
Black Sabbath are not only my favorite metal band of all time, they are my favorite band of all time (and I would even hesitate to call them metal). I have known Blare forever, back since her days in Betty Blowtorch. I got a call one night out of the blue asking me if I had any interest in doing an all girl Sabbath band with her and a mutual friend of ours on vocals. They knew how much I worship Sabbath so, of course, I was instantly excited about it. Laurie (Black Sabbitch’s bassist) and myself are also members of the world’s only all female Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute, Lynette Skynyrd. Laurie is the singer in Lynette but she is also an amazing bass player and another Sabbath freak that I’ve known for even longer than Blare. I immediately asked Laurie to join. Eventually, we mutually decided that it wasn’t the right fit for our friend who was singing and that’s when we found Mary, who is a powerhouse and just scorched us from the first moment she opened her mouth. We needed the right singer to be able to stand up to the powerhouse band we had assembled and Mary was RIGHT!!!
Are you influenced by any of Sabbath’s other drummers besides Bill Ward? If so, who? And how specifically are you influenced by them?
To me, Black Sabbath is Tony, Geezer, Bill and Ozzy. If any one of those elements is missing, it just ain’t Sabbath to me and that includes Bill. I really do not think that anyone who played those songs in Bill’s absence really had that amazing swing that Bill has and for me, when listening to Sabbath, I want Bill Ward. That said, there have been some people in the band over the years whose style I did like but my reference to their playing would be more based on things that they did outside of Sabbath. Cozy Powell, for example, was a monster drummer and I really liked his playing in Rainbow and The Jeff Beck Group.
Does Black Sabbitch perform any of the non-Ozzy Sabbath songs? If so, what song(s)? If not, why not?
No, we strictly do the first 8 albums – Black Sabbath through Never Say Die. Ozzy era Sabbath. I guess that goes hand in hand with what I was saying above. No knock against any of those other lineups but, to me anyway, they are different bands. Our identity is based strictly on the sound the four original members made in the 1970s.
What are your opinions of the non-Ozzy Sabbath albums/songs?
I guess I am going to answer similarly again as above. There are some great things on those records but to me, Sabbath is those four guys on those eight albums. Of all the latter day Sabbath stuff, I would say (like a lot of people) that I like the the first three post Ozzy records the best: Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules and Born Again (not counting the live album Live Evil) After that, they really lose me. Heaven and Hell still retains some of that old Sabbath swing mainly because Bill Ward was still there. Mob Rules, while still good, suffers greatly from Bill’s absence in my opinion. I loved Born Again when I first heard it but it don’t think it really stands the test of time like the Ozzy era stuff does (and I think even Bill would also freely admit that he wasn’t at his best on that one).
What’s your opinion of drum solos and do you do drum solos? Why or why not?
I’m not a big fan of drum solos. I usually find them boring. Even as a kid, when I’d see one of the legends, like Neil Peart, do a solo, I’d be bored by it. I think as I’ve grown up a bit, I am more open to the idea but I never do one. And believe me, people have tried to get me to. Who knows? Maybe one day I will. For now though, I’d rather concentrate on playing the songs and playing them well.
As a drummer and as a musician, who/what are some of your influences and why?
Well, clearly, Bill Ward is a huge influence. His style seeps into everything that I do behind the kit and I am often told that I play like him (even when I’m not playing Sabbath songs). I was, of course, very influenced by Keith Moon and John Bonham. Bonham had a fluid way of playing the most intricate stuff that no one has been able to copy. I was also highly influenced by the odd time and jazz styles of people like Guy Evans, Bill Bruford and Phil Collins. Phil is an incredible drummer whose grasp of odd time is so natural, you usually don’t realize just how insane what he is playing actually is. I also adore Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips.
Discuss your experiences (good and/or bad) being a female drummer and working in the entertainment industry.
Well, being a woman who plays the drums, I am usually expected to suck. Soundchecks are often a time to face all kinds of silly misconceptions about what a woman can do. Not just with a drum set but, generally, as a rock musician. That silliness usually ends quickly once we start to play and the women I play with in this band (as well as in Lynette Skynyrd) are all extremely talented and seasoned players who I would put up against anyone in the world, male or female. It does get annoying when people do not immediately take you seriously but it makes it all the more sweet when you blow their minds with how well you do what you do.
Do you play in any other bands besides Black Sabbitch? If so, please discuss.
I’ve played in many, many bands in my life and got my first record contract when I was just barely out of high school. I’ve toured all over the world and have played with some extremely talented people. None more so than the women I play with today. Besides Black Sabbitch, I also play drums in Lynette Skynyrd, the world’s only all female Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band as well as on various records and side projects for artists here in Los Angeles.
What are your opinions of the upcoming Sabbath album and the reunion tour next year with the 4 original members?
I am always excited to see the original 4 together on a stage. I literally cannot wait to see some shows on the upcoming tour. As far as a new record is concerned, I have to admit to being a little apprehensive. But I will certainly be spinning it the first day that I can get my hands on it. I just really hope that they c
an give us all something that stands up to the legacy. Tony’s amazing riffs, Geezer’s incredible lyrics, Bill’s one of a kind swing and Ozzy’s banshee voice. I’m getting excited just thinking about it.