BUTCHER BABIES’ CARLA HARVEY Talks About Being A Grief Counselor For Metal Fans

Carla Harvey

During a recent appearance on “Side Jams With Bryan Reesman” podcast, BUTCHER BABIES frontwoman Carla Harvey talked about her work as a grief counselor, death doula, and previously, an embalmer, and how those vocations have influenced her life.

“It is a very different, graphic thing,” Carla said. “You go to a funeral, but you’re not preoccupied by what happened to get the body to the point that it’s sitting in a casket looking that fresh in front of you. It is completely different than what you think. Embalming is pretty hardcore. I also was an autopsy technician. It can be a little bit barbaric and a little bit gory, and I do think you’d become desensitized after you’ve done it. It becomes more like a science project. B

“ut it is something that most people don’t see, won’t see, and probably would have a very hard time getting out of their mind. I was just telling Charlie [BenanteANTHRAX drummer and Carla‘s boyfriend] the other night [while] we were out having steaks, I couldn’t even eat meat for a while when I started mortuary school, when I started my embalming class. Because when you open up the body and you realize you know what your steak is… I don’t know, something comes over you. I started to treat my body with a lot more respect after embalming and doing autopsies because I realized how lucky we are to be upright and walking. You really get a sense for how your body works.

“We’re all these fine-tuned beings walking around upright and doing all these crazy things. I think everyone should at least go to a Body Worlds exhibit and see what is on the inside. So seeing it firsthand [through autopsies], and then also involving people of all different ages, from infancy to old age, has really taught me to live in the moment, be appreciative of what you have, and be respectful of your body.”

“What I do with my grief counseling is I help people who are struggling with a loss,” she continued. “It could be the loss of a certain kind of lifestyle, loss of a job, a divorce, or a death. And then as a death doula, I actually help the person who is terminally ill, or dying, [to] fulfill legacy projects. I help them have choices where they didn’t know they had choices throughout the death process. I help explain to the family what is happening. I help finalize paperwork that needs to be finalized, but a lot of times it’s even just sitting with someone in silence and holding their hand and just being there for people in a time when not everyone wants to be there for you.”

Carla went on to say that not all people she counsels know about her musical life. “Not everyone that I counsel is a fan of metal, but many are,” she said. “I found a great niche because a lot of people who love metal don’t know how to reach out for help.”

When asked why she thinks that is, Harvey replied, “I think a lot of metal heads from youth are kind of disenfranchised people. People who were misfits, people who were not supposed to be emotional. Metal is a great release for people, whether people realize it or not. When you go to a concert, you’re self medicating by getting out there and screaming and getting in the pit. Women are more apt to discuss their feelings with friends and family members. Men don’t do that as much. So my clientele is very male heavy. And it’s been awesome to see the light bulbs go off and for them to realize that they can be open, they can discuss things freely. It’s a healing process.”