Bitch (1980-present): a Heavy Metal band from Los Angeles, California, USA.
n 1982 this L.A. quartet led by Betsy Weiss (a.k.a. Betsy Bitch), a former ska style punk rock singer, released their self-financed debut EP, Damnation Alley, with David Carruth (guitar), Mark Anthony Wells (bass) and Robbie Settles (drums). The record made an impact, more due to its shock value then any serious music.
Bitch was formed back December 1980; playing their first show in May 1981 with Dante Fox (later to become Great White). Shortly after the band was formed, guitarist David Carruth met and soon became friends with Brian Slagel, future CEO of 'Metal Blade Records'. Slagel was working on a compilation album to tie into a heavy metal fanzine he had started called The New heavy metal Revue, and offered a slot to Bitch on the compilation; Bitch submitted the track Live for the Whip (later featured on their aforementioned debut EP). The resulting compilation album in question would become the landmark Metal Massacre compilation in 1982; an album famous for launching the career of Metallica and the first release by 'Metal Blade Records'; future incarnations of the release would go on to launch the careers of over a dozen other metal bands.
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Be My Slave (1983), their debut album, would be released on 'Metal Blade Records'. During the supporting of the album, Bitch became known for their controversial and elaborate stage shows featuring sadomasochism such as bondage clothing and paraphernalia, and the humiliation of a male "slave" on stage. Bitch played regularly in Sunset Strip clubs like The Whiskey-a-Go-Go, Gazzarri's, The Roxy, and others, sharing the bill with metal groups like such as W.A.S.P., Slayer and Armored Saint.
The act's antics got the attention of the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) controversy. Be My Slave was featured on talk shows and in a televised congressional hearing that took place before the United States Senate's Committee On Commerce, Science, and Transportation on September 19, 1985. In fairness the PMRC had lassoed many bands into their sights as well at the time.
Be My Slave would be their last S&M influenced gig for four years due to problems with their management, before the aptly titled, and much improved, The Bitch is Back (1987) emerged. This release too, was widely ignored by the music mainstream, but nonetheless proved to be the band's best-selling album due in part to the publicity created by the PMRC. The band even went as far as thanking Tipper Gore and the PMRC for "keeping our name in the press" within the album's liner notes. Later that same year, Betsy Bitch appeared as guest vocalist on a cover of The Tubes' song Don't Touch Me There with Lizzy Borden for Borden's mini-album Terror Rising.
The following year, for commercial reasons, the group decided to change their name to just Betsy to boast a cleaner AOR image. Under this name (with same line-up) they produced a single album Betsy (1988). It boasted music without the whips and chains, but no better quality performance. It was met with wide indifference and so, within a year, they reverted back to the leather, high heels and Motorhead/Girlschool metal style under their former name of Bitch to release their final effort, A Rose By Any Other Name (1989). This would be the last album to date, but the act has continued to perform, with various line-ups for live shows on occasion, with their most notable recent live appearance being in 2003 for the Bang Your Head!!! music festival.
Between 2007 and 2010 the line-up would feature Steve Kara (guitars), Jay Dean (guitars) and Steve Gaines (bass; who had taken over from Johnny Zell who had been in for only one year). Original Bitch drummer Robby Settles died due to complications from leukemia on May 26, 2010.
A second lineup featuring the members of Anger As Art played Germany's Keep it True Festival in April 2011, as well as selected Los Angeles shows. The subsiquent permanent lineup featuring Scandal West (drums) and Chris Cardenas (guitar) alongside Betsy and Angelo Espino, debuted at the Rainbow Bar and Grille's 42nd Anniversary Party in support of Great White on April 13, 2014.
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