Beautiful Creatures

by Paul Gargano
September 2001

Beautiful Creatures, the band on the cover during 9/11, September 2001

Beautiful Creatures, the band on the cover during 9/11, September 2001

There was a time when rock ‘n’ roll roamed the earth like a tattooed titan, a fire-breathing monster that made mothers cringe in horror, and their daughters creep closer to feel the heat. It was the music that separated the men from the boys, transforming guitars into an electrical storm, vocals into a maelstrom of piss and vinegar, and blasting a bottom end that made the walls shake. It meant more than just songs on the radio, it was a lifestyle.

Well, if the haze of the late-‘90s has left us convinced that excitement has left the building, Beautiful Creatures kick the door back down, stampeding onto the scene with their self-titled debut. Inspired by the same bands that spawned everyone from Alice in Chains to Pantera, they strike a paralyzing blow to the complacent chords and ridiculous excuses for rock stars that inundate the modern music scene. Paying homage to their roots and with their sites set on the future, its monster hooks and sleazed-out looks that make the Beautiful Creatures the most electrifying new band in years.

“There’s so much more to rock ‘n’ roll than what kids today are getting from it, and I’d like to think that we can offer something different,” says guitarist Dj Ashba, frontman Joe Leste ‘s fleet-fingered partner in grime. “Music’s has hit the ceiling and is at a standstill right now, there’s no originality out there anymore and everyone’s sounding the same. Not us,” Ashba smiles, his tattooed arms tensing, just daring you to call anything about his band limp. “We’re just dirty, scummy, spittin’, sweatin’, rock ‘n’ rollers, and that’s the real deal.”

And that dirt, scum and sweat oozes from every pore on opening cut “1 A.M.,” Ashba’s guitars slicing through the late-night right of passage and offering the first taste of why he’s already drawing comparisons to a young Eddie Van Halen. Razor-sharp riffs punch through the melodic vocal front on “Wasted,” while “Step Back” spits in the face of everything safe and corporate, as historically seeped in the roots of AC/DC as it is aggressively melded for the moshpits the band inspired throughout their summer spent on OZZfest 2001.

“Ride” erupts from a rhythmic core fueled by bassist Kenny Kweens and drummer Glen Sobel, churning into the mellower-minded “Wish” before “Kick Out” turns the intensity back to full-throttle, Ashba and rhythm guitarist Anthony Focx trading punches with Leste ‘s sinster snarls on a three-minute blowout that races its way to a smoldering mass of guitar strings. While there’s a soft-spoken and impassioned charm to “New Orleans,” it’s intensity that fuels Beautiful Creatures, and “Kickin’ For Days” reminds us why, creating a metallic squalor reminiscent of Guns N’ Roses in their indestructible prime. “Goin’ Off” is an anthem for a generation who can’t get enough of the extreme, and “I Got It All” is a colossal climb to the sweaty edges of rock’s jagged peaks, an album closer that takes modern rock to all new invigorating heights.

Ashba and Leste formed the nucleus of Beautiful Creatures in September ‘99, a few months later recruiting rhythm guitarist Anthony Focx and creating a dual-guitar infrastructure custom-made for their sound’s no-bull bravado and the mystical haze. Bassist Kenny Kweens came into the fold a few months later, and the band played their first show that July. Less than a month later, they performed their second show, opening their first of a handful of dates on the KISS farewell tour. Glen Sobel became the band’s drummer in October, and within six weeks the band had recorded a three-song demo that led to their signing with Warner Brothers.

“We’ve created a monster,” says Ashba, “and we’re excited for the world to hear it.”

It’s called rock ‘n’ roll. And Joe Leste can’t wait to unleash its full fury. “You know all this stuff about being politically correct?” he cackles, “Well, fuck that shit! We’ve got teeth, we’ve got vibe, and you can’t keep your eyes off us. And we’ve got the music to match that, music to rock like a motherfucker.”

Beautiful Creatures aren’t rewriting history, they’re rewriting hard rock’s future. Beautiful Creatures are currently on the road with Tantric and Oleander.

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Beautiful Creatures
CD: Beautiful Creatures Record Label: Warner Bros UK
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