This article appeared in Kerrang - November 22 1997.
Words by Paul Travers.
"I have to get ready in here 'cos I've lost our bus." Aimee Echo, fraggle-haired vocalist with hot new LA scenesters Human Waste Project is ensconced in one corner of the small dressing room her band are sharing with Scouse ragga-metal crew Bullyrag. She has somehow managed to misplace a 50 foot long silver tour bus. It'll probably turn up in the last place she looks.
Both Bullyrag and Human Waste Project are at the Glasgow Cathouse, as support to Tura Satana. It is Tura Satana's first headlining tour of the UK, and Human Waste Projects first time in Europe fullstop. The'Project are due on in half an hour, and Aimee's preparations include a make-up kit the size and shape of a well stocked mechanic's toolbox.
"It is a toolbox" Aimee giggles. "And what you're building is a miracle".
Human Waste Project are it seems, made up to be here. And the Cathouse is just as pleased to have them, whopping along to their every slice of fuzzed-out metallic chaos. Aimees vocals veer wildly between kitten purr and caterwaul, while around her the rest of the band create a psychotically bass heavy groove. If the crowds reaction to unfamiliar material is anything to go by, Human Waste Project have the potential to be huge.
After the set, the idea is to hook Aimee up with her old mucker Tarrie B for photos and an interview: but typically this doesn't happen. First of all, Tarrie seems to have gone AWOL. Then when she is found, the message that filters through is that "the timing just isn't right".
When Tura Satan hit the stage, they sound exceptionally tight for a band who changed their guitarist just two weeks before the start of the tour. But more on that shortly ...
The following day, Tura Satana have an in-store signing session at Mike Lloyd's record shop in Wolverhampton. For over an hour, a constantly shuffling stream of fans turn up clutching CDs and posters. By the time they're signed, most of the posters have had former guitarist Scott Ueda's facre crossed out.
"After this I'll be opening my own jewellry store" Tarrie says, as yet another young fan presents her with a bracelet. She later tells how one girl turned up with the words "I ain't your victim" carved into her arm.
"That took me back a bit" she says, "I'm not here to tell people to hurt or mutilate themselves - I'm not down with that shit". Fr all of her hard girl image, she visibly shudders at the thought of it.
After the signing it's over to tonight's venue, the Wulfrun Hall. It's still only 4pm, but already a gaggle of die-hard fans are gathered, most of them have come straight from the record store. Tura Satana's new guitarist Brian Harrah is out on the steps, happy to hang out and chat. He has, in fact, already been out earlier in the afternoon insisting the kids took him to McDonalds.
"This is my first time in Europe and I'm loving it" he explains. "I don't wanna just go from the bus to the venue and to the bus again, so I'll go out and grab someone and say, like, 'hey, show me around'."
His enthusiasm is refreshing and understandable. A fortnight ago, he was in an unknown band called Splitkiss. Now the likeable 21 year old is playing a headlining tour on the other side of the world.
"I was totally nervous on the first date in Bradford" he confesses. "Not with the size of the crowd, because with my old band I'd opened for Marilyn Manson. It was just the whole thing of playing with the band for the first time".
"The whole thing came about when I was told by a mutual acquaintance about this vacancy in the band. I just called up and I had a really good feeling that I'd get it - not because I'm brilliant musically, but because I felt that I knew what they were trying to do. I quit my job and school just for the audition and everything just clicked straight away. I had two weeks to learn 13 songs, but now I feel like I've been in the band forever."
On board Tura Satana's tourbus, Tarrie B offers a beer and apologises for messing us around last night. "I didn't mean to be a dick to you or anyone," she says. "Everyone likes to believe I'm this total fucking control freak, but I just want things to go a certain way. I do my job, and when certain people aren't dooing theirs I feel like a lot of the burden gets put onto me."
Miss B has a reputation for being mad, bad and dangerous to know. One reason for this is that she doesn't hold back when it comes to speaking her mind. Another is that her emotions can be somewhat unpredictable. In the space of an hour, she will swing from being ecstatically happy at the new found togetherness of her band to being extremely upset when recalling what it was like before. She is certainly volatile, yet at the same time she's friendly and often painstakingly polite.
"There is a happier vibe in the band, and that's definitely down to Brian" she offers. "He taught us about respect again. As cheesy as it sounds, we held hands in a circle before we went onstage last night and afterwards we were sat together laughing and joking. That's the first time we've done that after a show. We couldn't even sit in the same room before." The animosity between Tarrie and Scott was never exactly a secret, the split far from amicable.
"We vowed when we kicked him out that we weren't going to talk shit about him, but I read Kerrang! and I saw what he said in Lisa Johnson's column. In one sentence he says 'I wish the band luck', and in the next its 'I wrote everything and Tarrie was giving me abusive phone calls'. I've got messages on my answering machine of his wife leaving me abuse - he had to get his wife involved, that's how pathetic it was. He claims he wrote the whole of 'Relief through release', but I wrote all the lyrics and the entire band wrote the music.
"If he wants to be like Jesus Christ Superstar fucking Eddie Van Halen, then good luck to him".
The final straw came, according to Tarrie, when Scott refused to fly to Europe on Halloween.
Marcello got married last year on the Biohazard tour - we flew home for one day, and he didn't get a fucking honeymoon. He made the band his first responsibility.
"Scott just said, 'I'm gonna go trick or treating with my kids'. We're on our first European tour, we've got places selling out and he was like, 'Fuck you bitch!'. And I'm supposed to tour with this guy? At the end of the day, when I put my foot down I put my fucking foot down. I made this band and, God help me, I'll fucking kill."
The arrival of Aimee Echo helps to lighten the mood. Aimee and Tarrie are old friends and make a highly effective double act.
"We're actually a comedy team on the side" says Aimee.
Do you hang out together back home?
"Only because we're lovers" begins Tarrie "This is the only girl I'd ever pose ..."
"...Naked with?" interjects Aimee.
"No" Tarrie replies "you've got a better body than me".
Aimee's thrilled to be touring Europe, and Tarrie's thrilled for her.
"A long time ago we made a pact" she recalls. "We both had nothing - no record deal or anything - but we had a dream that one day we'd tour Europe together".
"Whichever one of us got signed first would take the other one out." Aimee adds.
"But then again, I wouldn't do it just because we're friends", continues Tarrie, "I brought Aimee on tour for one reason, and that's because I fucking love her band".
Is it a lot different having another girl out on tour? "It is because - allow me to demonstrate - 'Can I borrow those black panty-hose before the show?'," cackles Tarrie.
I see. So is it non-stop girlie shenanigans then?
"We've only seen each other for, like, three seconds so far" Aimee says.
"Aimee goes to sleep after the show, I sleep all day" adds Tarrie. "We're polar opposites in a lot of ways. As you can see, she's the sunshine and I'm the moon. The main difference between us, though, is that when the make up comes off, she still has eyebrows."
"We're still getting over the jet-lag," complains Little Miss Sunshine, "but O'm sure there'll be some partying somewhere down the line".
Later on, at a party at a nearby hotel, it will be Aimee downing shots of Jack Daniels while Tarrie B stays relatively sober and videos the whole shebang.
What about the practical difficulties of touring with a male band?
"As far as things like privacy go, my guys are great" says Aimee. "Not to take anything away from their sexuality, but my guys are girls, basically".
"I've always been real envious of Aimee and the fact that the people in the band treat her a certain way, and are very accomodating and respectful" sighs Tarrie, "My band never used to be like that, but in just one day, everything changed".
"One thing I do have a problem with is when people at shows think that it's an option to touch you or grab you," says Aimee. "That just because you're in a band, you owe them".
"I came from a rap background and I wasn't used to slam-pits," opines Tarrie. "I remember one show, there were these guys trying to drag me into the pit and my first reaction was complete horror. I grabbed the mike-stand and hit this guy in the fucking throat with it."
"Whereas I came from that whole punk rock background" Aimee continues, "and I used to dive into the crowd. But one time, at one of Tarrie's shows, they were doing 'Victim' which is an anti-rape song. I did a stage dive, expecting the crowd to be respectful, and what do I get? A hand to the crotch. And it wasn't accidental - you can tell."
"It's like I say on 'Victim'" says Tarrie. "It doesn't matter what I wear, I'm not asking to be touched or harassed. In the end you've got to have respect".
Wise words madam.