My Ruin, a unique and ass-kicking metal band, originated from southern California in 1999. With a female lead singer, Tairrie B, their sound is like nothing you’ve ever heard. I got the chance to interview her myself, check it out!
Racket Damara: What are your influences?
Tairrie B: I don’t really think I have as many influences as I have inspirations. I find inspiration in many things and people in and around my life. The Bible has always been a huge inspiration for me as an artist. I am not a religious person but I have always been intrigued by certain imagery and the ideas behind those images. My emotions influence my writing, so I guess the songs I write depend on my mood at the time. I like to think of our band as a passionate one. There are dramatic narratives and grand gestures in the stories I tell and some are confrontational in your face while others are more subtle and hidden. For me it’s nice to mix the two. I am not an over the top writer, but I do like to make my point or at least lead someone in that direction. I have trouble separating myself from my songs. With the spoken word side project I do with Mick [The LVRS], it is a lot easier to take on the role of narrator and tell a story I am not attached to from time to time. With My Ruin, this is me, this is us, and it is very real.
RD: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
TB: My biggest accomplishment at the moment would be a mix of two things. The first being my recovery from my car accident in late 2006 which has allowed me to continue doing what I love to do and the second being starting our own imprint label Rovena Recordings. For many years, we relied on so many other people to help us and now we are helping ourselves. We have always been a DIY band from our music to our merch. This year alone we have released and self produced a new album and DVD Throat Full Of Heart– which is our sixth full length studio recording- and we are about to release Alive On The Other Side, which is our first live album and DVD. Both are huge accomplishments for us, which we take great pride in.
RD: A female lead singer in a metal band is pretty rare, what kind of struggles have you faced?
TB: When I first started out back in the day with my former band Manhole, I would have to agree with you. There were not many women doing what I did. There were women in rock bands but not “screamers,” so to speak. These days it seems there are more and more women getting into the fine art of screaming. Over the years I have faced many struggles which were not simply because of my gender but because I have never been a shrinking violet. I speak my mind and have always encouraged others to do the same. This is not always a popular and well received concept in the world of rock. I have never been intimidated by any man in rock, whether he was in a band, managing one, at a label, or interviewing me or reviewing my records for that matter. I do what I do and I am very confident about what I do. Many men have tried over the years to manipulate me in one way or another, and I have had my fair share of disrespect thrown my way as well, but at the end of the day, I have also earned respect from many people because I never gave up and because I make good music. I give 100% of myself to my band and I respect my guys and our music immensely. I also respect myself and that’s the most important thing.
RD: Tairrie, how do you prepare your voice for that kind of screaming?
TB: I’ve been screaming for so many years now that it just sort of comes naturally for me. These days, I have heard there are many metal vocalists who get vocal coaches to help them with their scream, and people have asked me if I do this as well or have ever considered it, but truthfully, I have not. I have never had any serious vocal problems and I have been doing this for a long time now. When you are on tour, you have to take care of your throat because that is your instrument. If it goes down, the whole show goes down with it and I refuse to cancel shows. If I am a little hoarse then I let the audience know that sixteen days straight on the road with no break have caught up with me and I need a little help and they give it. Our fans are amazing, especially in the UK. They scream with me nightly just as hard and heavy as I do. I am blessed to be able to keep my voice after so much abuse on it. I certainly have not been nice to it but thankfully, it doesn’t hold a grudge. I also recommend a mixture of throat coat tea, fresh warm ginger root, honey and a shot of Jack Daniels. That helps me out nightly.
RD: So, I’m looking to move Europe… Where do you recommend?
TB: I am partial to England. The U.K. has always been my home away from home and I have many friends in Britain and oddly enough, I happen to love the weather there. Europe is a great place to visit. Italy and Spain are both gorgeous, but at the end of the day I prefer America. She is my home and I would truly never want to live anywhere else.
RD: What’s your favorite kind of cheese?
TB: My favorite cheese is cheddar although Feta cheese is very tasty too.
RD: There’s no way you’re 43… Do you ever lie about your age?
TB: Thank you and no, I have never felt the need to lie about my age. I just saw Nick Cave the other night. Now THAT was inspiring. Watching him on stage at his age only reminds me that age is just a number and you are only as old as you feel. Many of the artists I admire are much older than me and the fact that they are still kickin’ ass and takin’ names speaks volumes.
RD: What would you say is the worst incident you’ve ever had with a fan?
TB: There have been a few, sadly. One was a girl who decided to create a few fake pages on a website similar to Myspace as myself, Mick [my guitarist and boyfriend of 8 years], our band, and even one as our merch girl. She had tons of people fooled into thinking all these pages were actually our personal pages and was writing back and forth as us to one another lifting things from our real pages on MySpace and adding her own distorted twist on all of us. It was some scary sick shit and the fact that it was being done to us by someone calling herself a fan of our band was really upsetting. It was brought to our attention last Valentine’s day, and we did a bit of detective work and found out who she was. That was the scariest part of the whole thing. These days it’s very easy to figure things out online and you can get in some big trouble for doing some dumb shit as she quickly found out. There is a huge difference between being a fan of a band and being a stalker. My other worst incident happened a few months ago when a girl decided to ink her arm with my latest tattoo and then send me a photo of her arm. This too was another girl who we found out had a fake page pretending to be me on MySpace. Very weird. Tattoos are a very personal thing for me and over the years this has happened many times with many of my tattoos but this one in particular struck a nerve and a chord with me on a new level. I had also just done an interview with Metal Hammer Magazine on tattooing, so I decided it was the right time to finally address the issue publicly and I posted a blog about it which was long overdue. I got a lot of positive response to what I had written and looking back on it all, I think it was important that I finally expressed my feelings on how this made me feel. Unfortunately everyone except the girl with the tattoo seemed to really understand and that was a shame. There is a fine art to being yourself and sadly some people will never grasp this concept.
RD: What’s your take on the 2008 election?
TB: My Ruin is not a political band . We prefer not to mix our politics with our rock and roll, but I will say that I feel people need to look at both candidates and decide for themselves what is most important to them concerning all of the issues at hand and vote for the person they feel most comfortable with. This election should not be about “Hollywood,” or who is the coolest or hippest candidate. It should not be about tabloid gossip, rumors, or drama. Save that crap for TMZ and Entertainment Tonight This election is about you as the individual and what you want to see represented and who you feel best represents you. I will never tell anyone who I think they should vote for. That is a decision they have to make alone. Hopefully it will be based on the facts and not bias media hype. There are many musicians and actors who tell you their opinions and try to influence you into their way of thinking. I don’t want to do that. Sheep follow and leaders lead. I want people to think for themselves.
RD: I use to live in Alaska! What do you say about that?
TB: Wow, you must have been freezing. Alaska is cold for this California girl.
RD: … I hate Palin.
TB: Hate is a very strong and powerful word. Let’s talk love… hope you’re loving livin’ in the city by the sea these days and loving listening to our new album. Keep on rockin’ girl and thanks for taking the time to speak with me.
-By Damara Kautz
Check out the band’s music video!
“Ready For Blood” by My Ruin