Bitch's Be My Slave and Damnation Alley are now available in a remastered edition! This special edition of Be My Slave/Damnation Alley was remastered by legendary producer Bill Metoyer (Slayer, W.A.S.P., Fates Warning), who engineered Be My Slave originally in 1983. Metal Blade Records released the new version to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland on July 1, 2011, to the rest of Europe on July 4, and to the United States on August 2 of that year. The new edition replaces the 1997 reissue of Be My Slave/Damnation Alley in Metal Blade Records' catalogue, and features the following material:
- The full albums Be My Slave (1983) and Damnation Alley (1982), personally remastered by Bill Metoyer,
- The bonus track "Let's Go", a demo from The Bitch is Back sessions recorded circa 1985 and never before available in any form,
- A Bonus DVD featuring clips of live classic-era Bitch performances, hand selected and edited by the band themselves, with the addition of 1983 music videos for "Be My Slave" and "Leatherbound" and footage from Bitch's 2011 Keep It True Festival appearance.
About Be My Slave and Damnation Alley:
Bitch's Be My Slave and Damnation Alley both play important roles in the formative period of heavy metal's history. Bitch was the first female-fronted American heavy metal band signed to a label, and were Metal Blade Records' very first successful band; Metallica and Slayer both had career breaks opening for Bitch. Damnation Alley, a 5-song EP from 1982, was first non-compilation album and (the second album period) released by Metal Blade Records; serial number for the vinyl was MBR 1002. It was also the first album ever released by a female fronted American heavy metal band.
The ten-song LP Be My Slave (MBR 1007, 1983) was one of the important albums featured by Tipper Gore's Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in their tremendously controversial campaign against explicit content in rock music. The album was eventually featured in the famous "PMRC Hearing" held before the United States Senate's Committee On Commerce, Science, and Transportation on September 19, 1985, as part of a slideshow and on a list of "pornographic lyrics" given as evidence for the PMRC's case. This hearing eventually led to the creation of the "Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics" sticker that is used for albums with explicit content to this day.
Be My Slave was originally engineered by legendary heavy metal producer Bill Metoyer, who produced and/or engineered many of Metal Blade's early albums, including those by Slayer, Flotsam and Jetsam, Trouble, Lizzy Borden, DRI, Sacred Reich, Fates Warning, Armored Saint, Corrosion of Conformity, and many more. Metoyer has personally remastered both Be My Slave and Damnation Alley for this release.
About the Bonus Material:
"Let's Go" is a fist-pumping, crowd pleasing rock anthem that was demo'ed in 1985 at the same time as many of the songs that ended up on The Bitch is Back sessions, but ended up never being released. Digitally mastered by Bill Metoyer from a cassette of studio demos supplied by Betsy, "Let's Go" is included as a bonus track on this special edition of Be My Slave/Damnation Alley.
"Let's Go" was only played twice live until recently. Both times were at concerts in Queens, New York that took place on May 3 and 4, 1985 (the audio of both shows survive virtually complete as bootlegs). The song was revived recently as part of the set list for Bitch's April 2011 European tour featuring the All-Star Line-Up Mark II, where it finally got its due.
"Betsy had given me a big box of cassettes and I spent hours listening through them before I found that song," Bill Metoyer told the webmaster over the phone. "I cleaned it up in the studio and it ended up sounding pretty good, so we included it on the release."
"The song WAS done around the time of The Bitch is Back but [I'm] not sure if spefically for that release," David Carruth told the author. "It may have been a previous leftover. Music and lyrics are mine but if I remember correctly I think it was a label decision to leave it off. [Bill] Metoyer of course heard it again recently and liked it so it was added to the re-release."
When Betsy received an advance copy of the finished Be My Slave/Damnation Alley remaster, the song came as a pleasant surprise to her. "I didn't even remember the song," Betsy said. "But it was a really good, engaging song, and it worked really well when we [the All-Star Line-Up Mark II] tried the song in rehearsal, so we decided to include it in the set list for the European tour."
Bitch's live stage show is something that many Bitch fans (and heavy metal fans in general) have heard about but never seen. This important omission has been corrected with the addition of a "Best of Bitch Live" bonus DVD in the Be My Slave/Damnation Alley remaster.
In years previous, the members of the classic-era Bitch assembled an unofficial "Best of Bitch Live" VHS tape featuring highlights from their extensive library of videotaped stage shows. The compilation has made the rounds on the bootleg market, and one track from the compilation, "Live For the Whip" (recorded live at The Roxy in Los Angeles in 1983), appeared in the DVD included in Metal Blade Records' Twentieth Anniversary Box Set. The bonus DVD is an edited version of this "Best of Bitch Live" video compilation personally supervised by Bitch co-founder David Carruth, with DVD menus and titles designed by David's wife Erin Carruth.
An added bonus is the addition of music videos for "Be My Slave" and "Leatherbound," recorded live in the studio in 1983. They were included as bonus tracks on the original "Best of Bitch Live" bootleg VHS compilation and are included again here. They are the only music videos ever recorded by Bitch other than the videos for "Turn You Inside Out" and "You'll Never Get Out of This Love Alive" that were recorded for the Betsy album.
Late in the production of the reissue, Metal Blade decided to add footage from Bitch's triumphant 2011 Keep it True Festival appearance to the DVD as well. The full track list of the "Best of Bitch Live" portion of the Bonus DVD is as follows:
1) Riding in Thunder** (live)
2) Walls of Love† (live)
3) Live for the Whip* (live)
4) World War III** (live)
5) Headbanger*** (live)
6) Hot and Heavy*** (live)
7) Skullcrusher*** (live)
8) Make it Real** (live)
9) Riding in Thunder** (live)
10) Be My Slave** (live)
11) Leatherbound** (1983 music video)
12) Be My Slave** (1983 music video)
* From Damnation Alley (1982)
** From Be My Slave (1983)
*** From The Bitch is Back (1987)
† From A Rose By Any Other Name (1989)
Written by David Gasten
Thanks to Bill Metoyer, David Carruth, and Betsy for providing information.