A Letter to Neil Peart

Dear Neil,

I’m writing this letter and Permanent Waves is playing in the background. You don’t know me and, with your passing on the 7th January 2020, I guess we will have to make our acquaintance in the next life. Continue reading

Balancing Act – Carla Harvey of Butcher Babies

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Butcher Babies co-vocalist Carla Harvey issued her first book titled Death & Other Dances (available via www.carlaharvey.bigcartel.com). She shared stories about her pre-Butcher Babies’ life, including growing up in Michigan and relocating to Los Angeles to pursue music, as well as working as a stripper and a mortician.

She is open about her life as a stripper, which she wrote about in her book. Fairly candid about that period of her life, Harvey talked about how she became attracted to this.

I write about that in my book. I find it funny people always think that strippers are horrible human beings with daddy issues and blah blah blah…yeah yeah sure maybe I have some daddy issues growing from my abandonment of my father, but my fascination with becoming a stripper started when I was very, very young child. Way before my parents separated. Way before my father was out of my life. They brought me back a doll from Las Vegas on a stand and it was a showgirl doll with a costume on. I was so fascinated by that doll and I wanted to look like a doll, be the doll and I wanted to be a showgirl or a stripper.”

I always give the rest to hair metal. I don’t think there’s any girl who used to take off her clothes and dance around the room to ‘Girls Girls Girls’…that probably didn’t help! I’ve always been very sexual. I’ve always wanted to be a dancer. I think if you brave it for a short period of time, it’s not a big deal. For me, it helped me grow as a person in a couple different ways. I was very shy. I would never talk to people one on one ever. It helped me open up. It helped me talk to people. In certain ways it was a good thing. If you get stuck there too long, you’re around the wrong people. I started doing drugs. But not all of it was bad.”

Harvey also shared how she found a brief career as a mortician and her fascination with death, something many musicians from Jonathan Davis (Korn) to Gen (Genitorturers) have been enamored with.

What is the basic attraction to death for musicians? “I don’t know but for me, I was always fascinated by death since I was a kid,” she said. “The first chapter of my book, I talk about that fascination. I’m sure it’s the same with a lot of people since they were a child, and I think musicians more so because we’re creative people and things people wonders about. I don’t know. Maybe we’re weirdos.”

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Another connection has been select goth and metal people have been connected to this profession. Television shows such as
NCIS have a gothic looking coroner (Pauley Perrette’s Abby Sciuto character) have portrayed such people in those professions. But very seldomly do those folks last.

It’s funny because I went to mortuary school – for me it was fulfilling a life long dream. There were a few kids in my class who were goth kids. As soon as the first embalmment lab hit, they were all gone. They couldn’t handle it. I think a lot of people think embalmment is very rock n roll, very cool and tough and they want to do it, but when it comes down to it, it’s a very hard job. It takes extreme empathy to do it. It’s definitely not a job that people could do.”

School was something she did well in and managed to excel during her years there. She got good grades and was at the top of her class. Plus being in Mortuary College, science was also one of her best subjects.


“I was always great at science. It was one of my best subjects in school. I’ve always gotten straight A’s and on the dean’s list and all of that. I think a lot of times in my youth I was very bored, did drugs and stuff like that. I’ve always gotten great grades and always been smart. I think my first semester was chemistry, anatomy, physiology, embalming, mortuary law and all of that stuff. I hadn’t been in school in a very long time when I went back, but it was great to dive into it and let my brain be full of that kind of stuff than drugs.”

There’s no way that I could do drugs during a time like that at 8 in the morning. That really helped me stay sober knowing that I had to do that if I wanted to graduate that program. I graduated on the dean’s list. It was a turning point in my life, going from being a complete drug addict to being a college graduate on the dean’s list within a couple year’s time. That really saved me.”

So how long did she work in this field? “I was in school for a couple of years and I practiced for about two years. My band started to…then I couldn’t do it any more. It’s a very demanding job – no time off, no vacations. You really can’t have a full time job like that and do music. Obviously at this point in my life I choose music. It’s my dream.”

I think one day I might go back into it. I’d like to be a funeral director or a grief counselor. I like to help people and I have a lot of fans who have had loss in their lives reach out to me for grief counseling. I really enjoy that. Maybe I’ll do that again but I also love music so much that I don’t see myself stopping that any time soon.”

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