The Babes Interview
26th June 2019
Donna D (g)
Moni Lashes (d)
Corey Stone (b)
Matt Basso (roadie, photographer, all-round good guy)
First gig in Japan (this interview was conducted three days after their debut gig in Japan)
Q: So how was the gig?
CS: Yeah it was great!
DD: Brilliant. Mind blowing. We had no idea what to expect. We were thrilled to just to be able to come here and play to three people so when lots rocked up were like ‘OMG! They are here early!’
ML: Yeah and they were at the front as well. We’re not used to that. They were right at the front of the stage and getting into the songs. They weren’t just waiting for the main act; they really embraced us.
JD: They didn’t know the words but they were trying to sing anyway.
CS: Yeah a good response.
MB: For me it was great to watch. In Australia everyone just sits back with a beer because they don’t want to be embarrassed by going to the front or seeming too keen but here everyone was just having fun. There was a guy there, front and centre wearing a Babes shirt. He came to the merchandise stand before it started and bought it.
JD: We had sold half of our CDs before we had done anything.
MB: Then there was someone in an old Babes shirt…
CS: They got it from Australia ages ago.
ML: They were shirts that we even don’t have ourselves anymore. They actually came to Australia to see us a few years ago and the fact that they came to this show and we got to see them again blew my mind.
DD: Then after we finished playing, we were on a high and when we came out to the merchandise stand, all these people were coming up and wanting to take photos and sign things!
ML: It felt like we were in a movie at that point.
DD: Yeah like a dream.
ML: It was really fun but I didn’t expect that for us.
CS: It’s been a big highlight of the trip.
MB: It started at the merchandise and then we had to move you down to the end where there was a bit more space.
Q: Tell me about the history of The Babes.
DD: Growing up, back in the eighties, our Dad was always a drummer in a lot of cover bands and Mum and Dad always encouraged us to pursue our hobbies but they also wanted us to pick an instrument. He taught Monica drums from three years old…
ML: He started teaching me properly from five on practice pads and made me do all the boring stuff like reading music and the rudiments, military drumming to see if I would stick it out before buying a drum kit and after a couple of years I was still doing it and then he bought me a professional kit. When I got that I was in school bands and orchestras but trying to learn Led Zeppelin and stuff at home. Then Donna picked up the guitar when she was eleven and we used to play That’s Amore (all laugh).
DD: We played at Dad’s 40th birthday. We had two songs; La Bamba and That’s Amore and we played them over and over again. Corey sang it.
DD: You just sang ‘When the moon hits your eye’ over and over because you didn’t know the words…
DD: Dad found a really lovely and amazing guitar teacher for me but it got to a point when it got too much because I was doing dance lessons at the same time so I went away from it for a while. Then we went to see the film The Runaways and afterwards we got into the car and Monica said ‘You know, we should be in a band.’
ML: Yeah and she didn’t even know Rock chords! She was learning Motown and Jazz.
DD: The first song I learnt was Jackie Wilson’s Lonely Teardrops with those arpeggios…
ML: The first thing we decided though was that we didn’t want an all-girl band.
DD: We’d seen some Madam X videos which we thought were really cool with the two sisters.
ML: We were not interested in the drama of having an all-girl band. Having guys balances well with our dynamics.
DD: We are boyish… to some degree. (laughs)
ML: We don’t have much shame whereas girls can be a bit embarrassed sometimes…
ML: …there are no inhibitions with us.
DD: We put out a flyer with a picture of Motley Crue on the front and it said ‘Do you like these bands? Kiss, Motley Crue, Guns ‘n Roses, etc but we made a point of not putting ourselves on the flyer and in the very early stages we managed to cross paths with JD.
JD: I didn’t have my driving license then; I walked to that audition. The two audition songs were Do You Wanna Touch and Love Gun. And then they had two originals that I learnt on the spot. I remembered those until my next audition.
DD: When he left the room we thought he was so nice and so cool but he was committed full time to wrestling and lived far away so we ended up - in hindsight – with going with someone who wasn’t a good fit. Then some time later, a friend of ours Nick filmed a Guns ‘n’ Roses tribute band…
JD: Yeah I did about a year of vocal training for that to try and hit the notes that Axle hits and I managed to hit most of them.
DD: …and I’m editing the video and asked ‘Who’s that?’ as I hadn’t seen him for a while and didn’t recognize him and they said ‘That’s Joey. That’s the guy you had at the auditions’ and our last singer had left so we asked him to come and sing for us.
Q: Onto Corey…
ML: Corey had never played a musical instrument in his life and we just wanted someone to get along with, play their part and enjoy the fun so we said ‘Corey, would you like to learn to play bass?’
CS: I’m like…’OK’. (laughs)
ML: I’m sure Corey won’t mind me telling you but he had a few problems growing up with his hearing and had to have multiple operations and when we see how far he’s come…he’s a musician now and now it feels like a family.
Q: Funny thing that eh?
Q: Which bands did you see growing up? I can’t imagine that many bands went through Adelaide.
JD: Everyone misses Adelaide. There are a few companies that are making a point of coming to Adelaide but you can tell they are at a loss.
ML: My first was The Offspring; my Dad took me.
DD: Mine was Five.
DD: A boy band from the UK.
JD: I didn’t actually get allowed to get into music and I saw a few local bands but the first big band I saw was Iron Maiden in 2011.
MB: I used to go to see local bands. My first was a band called Divulge from Queensland and a Japanese band called Sunsowl. They were sensational. My first big band was probably ne of the Big Day Out festivals. Slipknot, System Of Down…
CS: I think the first one was Guns ‘n’ Roses and Korn with Moni and Donna…
ML: That’s right.
CS: That was without Slash as well…
ML: Yeah they had Buckethead on that tour.
Fast Forward To Now
Q: What will you be doing after the Japan shows?
ML: The album is 90% finished and then when we release it in Australia we have a national tour – our biggest to date. A couple of iconic Australian venues as well which is exciting. Then there is another international mini-tour and we’ll see what happens from there.
JD: Yeah we’re all really proud of the album so we may also do videos for everything!
CS: I’ll add that we loved playing here and want to come back.
MB: We’ve made loads of contacts and had good feedback from here so more Japan is definitely on the cards.
JD: Yes. Everyone has been really nice and supportive.
MB: I sort of knew Japan would be great but it’s a whole other world. Walking from one station to another underground and the shopping centres there are bigger than any of our shopping centres.
ML: There has been no point where I felt unsafe here either.
CS: And each street is just as cool as the next one.
Q: Well Babes, thanks very much for this and I’m sure we’ll see you back here soon.
All: Thank you!