Passing of Robby Settles
Bitch co-founder Robby Settles passed away on May 26, 2010 after to a year-long battle with leukemia. (See our Robby Settles Obituary Page for more information.) This abruptly brought the first line-up of Bitch to a close. Bitch's only activity in 2010 was the relaunching of the Official Bitch Website and the piecemeal recording of the All-Star Bitch Album produced by Steve Kara. Bitch had one festival date booked at the Keep It True Festival in Germany, which was scheduled for April 29, 2011, and was apparently booked by Robby.
Robby Settles' memorial service was held on May 29, 2010 and attended by a crowd of approximately 400. Following on its heels on June 12 was a private memorial all-star tribute to Robby that was attended by many metal celebrities and friends of the band. In attendance were David Carruth, Ed McCrary from the 1999 "Infatuation" period, Steve Gaines and Jay Dean of Bitch's All-Star Lineup Mark I, Bitch album producers Bill Metoyer and Joe Romersa, and many others. The songs played that night included blues standards and songs by Black Sabbath and Cheap Trick. At the culmination of the night, various members of the band came on stage and played through three Bitch songs: "Damnation Alley", "Be My Slave", and "Skullcrusher".
|Bitch's new All-Star Lineup Mark II, featuring the instrumetalists from Anger As Art: (L to R) Steve Gaines (guitar), Angelo Espino (bass), Betsy (vocals), Rob Alaniz (drums), and Dan Oliverio (guitar). Steve Gaines and Betsy are the only two members who have been in both of the All-Star Lineups of Bitch.|
On the night of the Robby Settles memorial jam, Betsy and All-Star Lineup Mark I member Steve Gaines sat down together prior to the show and discussed how to fulfill the Keep It True festival date. With Robby's passing and the twin guitarists of the All-Star Lineup unable to commit to playing the show, it was uncertain whether or not Bitch would be able to follow through on playing the date. Steve promised Betsy that he would do his part to follow through on the date.
The following Monday (June 14, 2010), Steve Gaines' thrash metal group Anger As Art had a rehearsal scheduled, and Steve and drummer Rob Alaniz (Evildead, Winterthrall, Abattoir, Despise You) were the first to show to the rehearsal. Steve told Rob about his conversation with Betsy at the Robby Settles memorial jam and mentioned that they were needing to construct a new line-up to commit to the Keep it True date. Rob's response was "If no one else will do it, I will!" The other members of Anger As Art, Dan Oliverio (Abattoir) and Angelo Espino (Reverend, Hirax, Once Dead), walked in on this conversation and started talking about their memories as Bitch fans. Angelo Espino had been good friends with former Bitch bass player Ron Cordy when he was in the band's classic line-up. Steve and Dan remembered pooling their money to buy gas to attend Bitch concerts as members of a pre-fame Abattoir. They determined that all four members of the current Anger As Art line-up had been in the same audience at some of Bitch's original shows. They decided to try playing the song "Be My Slave" during their rehearsal to see if they connected on Bitch material, and found that they did.
Later, Steve contacted Betsy and offered to have Anger As Art perform as her backing band, which Betsy consented to. He then began checking on the possibility of booking a European tour for the new lineup to coincide with the festival, and found that the European fan base for Bitch was stronger than ever. Betsy attended some Anger As Art rehearsals and rehearsed the Bitch songs "Be My Slave", "Riding In Thunder", and "Skullcrusher" with the group. Anger As Art had a headlining show booked on November 5th, 2010, and announced in advance that Betsy would be joining Anger As Art as a special guest for three songs. When Betsy took the stage the night of the show, the crowd went crazy, and Bitch's All Star Lineup Mark II was born.
The Bitch All-Star Line-Up Mark II
Betsy Bitch: Vocals
Steve Gaines (Anger as Art, Abattoir, Bloodlust): Guitar
Dan Oliverio (Anger As Art, Abattoir): Guitar
Rob Alaniz (Anger As Art, Evildead, Abattoir, Winterthrall): Drums
Bitch and Anger As Art performed together on an April 2011 European tour, which was called the "Angry Bitch Tour". They began the tour with a warm-up show in their ever-faithful Los Angeles haunt Paladino's on April 15th, followed by a European tour through The Netherlands and Belgium that ended at the Keep It True Festival in Germany. The Dutch thrash/death metal group Persistence supported them for most of the tour. The tour dates were as follows:
22 April - Little Devil, Tilburg (Netherlands) - Bitch, Anger As Art & Persistense
23 April - Rambler, Eindhoven (Netherlands) - Bitch, Anger As Art & Persistense
24 April - De Vinger, Den Haag (Netherlands) - Bitch, Anger As Art, Persistense, Existance & Priapis
25 April - Metro, Waarschoot (Belgium) - Bitch, Anger As Art, Persistense & Devastation
27 April - De Rots, Antwerpen (Belgium) - Bitch, Anger As Art & Persistense
29 April - Keep It True Festival, Lauda Konigshofen (Germany) - Bitch and many others
|Poster for the 2011 Keep It True Festival featuring Bitch.|
The Set List planned for the shows was as follows:
Right From The Start (Be My Slave)
Damnation Alley (Damnation Alley)
Be My Slave (Be My Slave)
Riding In Thunder (Be My Slave)
Leatherbound (Be My Slave)
Save You From The World (Be My Slave)
Headbanger (The Bitch Is Back)
You Want It, You Got It (Betsy)
Let's Go (unreleased; bonus track on the upcoming Be My Slave/Damnation Alley remaster)
Live For The Whip (Damnation Alley)
Skullcrusher (The Bitch Is Back)
"Let's Go"is a track demo'ed and performed live by the classic lineup in 1985 but never released initially; it is included as a bonus track on the Be My Slave/Damnation Alley remaster. You Want It, You Got It" was not finished to the band's satisfaction during reheasal time and was dropped, but all of the other songs were retained.
This was the first European tour ever in Bitch's history. Their only previous European appearance, at the 2003 Bang Your Head Festival in Balingen, Germany, was a one-off show with no coinciding tour.
Betsy's "Rapunzel" moment at the Keep It True Festival in Germany. A fan recognizes her in the balcony and has his fellow fans hoist him up the railing so that me can meet her; another fan follows suit. Betsy's touched and flattered response is priceless.
The Keep It True show was filmedm and was included in the DVD of the 2011 Be My Slave/Damnation Alley CD/DVD reissue. It is Bitch's most recent live recording and the only professtional recording made of the All-Star Mark II lineup.
European Metal Festivals are oftentimes the only contact European metal fans ever have with their American metal heroes, so the opportunity to see and meet them in person is a very rare and special thing for them. Betsy was in the balcony at the Keep It True venue while Vicious Rumours were playing, when one metal fan recognized her and was so excited to meet her he had some other metal fans hoist him up to the balcony so that he could meet her. Another fan then followed suit. This "Rapunzel" moment was captured on camera by Steve Gaines, and is embedded on the right.
Metal Massacre Mini-Tour with Malice and Heretic
The band returned from their triumphant European tour rejuvenated and, anticipating the August 2nd release of the remastered Be My Slave/Damnation Alley CD/DVD, went on a mini-tour of Southern California with fellow Metal Massacre series alumni Malice and Heretic. Metal Blade Records gave their blessing to use the Metal Massacre name for the mini-tour, and the three bands were off to play what looked to be a set of shows with a promising future. The mini-tour consisted of the following shows:
29 July 2011 - Paladino's, Tarzana, CA
30 July 2011 - The Can, Garden Grove, CA
31 July 2011 - Brick by Brick, San Diego, CA
The Paladino's show featured original guitarist David Carruth joining the band as a guest perfromer, and Ron Cordy, the longest running bassist in the classic lineup, was present in the audience.
It was at the final show that things took a turn for the worse. The venue made the mistake of entrusting the frontman of one of the bands with payment for all three of the bands' work, only for the frontman of said band to pocket the money and refuse to pay the other two bands their cut, Bitch included. Sadly, this brought the caneraderie of the three bands to an instant halt, along with any plans for them to continue a potential Metal Massacre concert series. Anger As Art frontman Steve Gaines had started Anger As Art with the express intention of avoiding being a casuality in these very types of unprofessional situations. This, along with the strain of running two bands, owing his label OSM Records a new Anger As Art album, and holding a full time job, caused him to return to focusing on Anger As Art whilst backing off on furthering the Bitch franchise.
In September 2011, bass player Angelo Espino announced that he was leaving Anger As Art to join Heretic. He performed his final show with Anger As Art on 2 October 2011 at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana, CA, when they opened for NWOBHM kingpins Saxon. At the time, it was uncertain whether Espino would continue with Bitch, or whether his replacement in Anger As Art would be the new bass player in Bitch.
Betsy's Cover Band "Betsy Bitch and the Knockers"
While Bitch was temporarily on hold, Betsy put together a "just for fun" cover band called Betsy Bitch and the Knockers to stay active as a perfromer. Betsy Bitch and the Knockers had a rotating lineup of friends and former Bitch players, including All-Star Lineup Mark I guitarist Jay Dean, early 90's bassist Jett Black, and others. The band played cover songs by Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Mountain, and other classic rock acts from the 1970's and 80's. Each time, the band played at Paladino's in Tarzana, and featured Betsy's friend Scandall West on drums. Betsy Bitch and the Knockers have played the following shows so far:
28 October 2011 - Paladino's, Tarzana, CA
10 March 2012 - Paladino's, Tarzana, CA
12 January 2013 - Paladino's, Tarzana, CA
Betsy Does Guest Vocals on Anger As Art's Hubris Inc.
Steve Gaines guiding Betsy through the final take of her guest vocal on "Rage And Retribution." The track also featured guest perfromances by Jim Durkin of Dark Angel and Tim Gaines of Stryper.
On the weekend of February 25-26, 2012, Betsy joined Anger As Art in the studio to record guest vocals for the Anger As Art song "Rage and Retribution", which would be released on the band's fourth album Hubris Inc. You can see a clip of Steve working as producer and guiding Betsy through the final take here. The track was originally performed by Steve's pre-Anger As Art band Pagan War Machine; the reissue of their only album, Pagan War Machine (2002), includes a live version of the song included as a bonus track.
In addition to Betsy, Jim Durkin of Dark Angel and Tim Gaines of Stryper also contributed to the song. Anger As Art's new version of "Rage And Retribution" made its radio debut on Los Angeles rock station KNAC on Sunday, May 6, 2012, to universally positive response. Hubris, Inc. was released by OSM Records on February 5, 2013, on CD and picture disc vinyl.
The Final All Star Lineup Mark II Performances
In 2012 and 2013, Bitch did their final performances with the All Star Lineup Mark II. The first was a double bill of Bitch and Anger As Art at The Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. The show took place on 20 May 2012. This show featured Anger As Art's new bass player Henry De La Cruz with Anger As Art proper, and departed bass player Angelo Espino returning to the lineup to perform with Bitch.
Bitch was invited back to the Whisky a Go Go to play the 2012 Sunset Strip Music Festival. Bitch was paired with Gothic rock act 45 Grave, who were performing about the same time Bitch was on the Sunset Strip in the early 80's. Bitch and 45 Grave are somewhat similar in sound despite being involved in different musical genres, so it was a rare but a propos double bill. The show took place at the Whisky a Go Go on 18 August 2012. Henry De La Cruz perfromed on bass for this show.
The very last Bitch show with the All Star Lineup Mark II was another double bill with Anger As Art with a twist: Bitch dubbed themselves "Cheap Bitch" for this show and performed all Cheap Trick covers. This show took place at Gringo's Cantina in Montebello, CA, on 1 June 2013. Anger As Art had replaced Henry De La Cruz with new bass player Eric Bryan by this time, and Bryan played bass in this final show with Anger As Art working as Betsy's backup band.
Anger As Art continue to perform and tour. Meanwhile, Bitch is opening a new chapter in their legacy with drummer Scandall West at the helm as musical director.