When Lady Beast front-woman Deb Levine says she sometimes has a hard time listening to slow music, I believe her. While showing no signs of hyperactivity per se, she has that hummingbird-in-the-ribcage gusto of someone who just wants to live as much as possible.
She brings a similar spirit whether singing with her New Wave of British Heavy Metal band, or making us fruit smoothies in her welcomingly organized Bloomfield kitchen. From her record collection, she pulls Cher, Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder -- somewhat unlikely picks -- but we listen to Dio's Holy Diver, already on the turntable.
"Dio's songs are an adventure," says Levine. Along with metalheads everywhere, she was bummed to hear of Ronnie James Dio's death last month. In a way that's probably not surprising to anyone who's spent more than a few minutes with her, Levine managed to find inspiration in the sad event.
"Dio helped me find a purpose. I almost had a kind of rebirth with his death, like, this is what I have to do." After reading some of his interviews, "I realized what an important person to have on the earth, because he really let people dream."
Sure, it's tempting to dismiss such un-ironic earnestness, even when tempered with self-awareness, but Levine's enthusiasm is infectious. A believer in the idea that no one should be without a dream, she is -- let's just say it -- a sort of a rainbow in the dark, a relentlessly positive force in a dark world of quitters.
"I just want to rock it," she says. "I don't mind if I have to clean houses for the rest of my life if I can just make people go crazy with something I created."
The dramatic bravado of Levine's voice owes as much to singing along with musicals as to her heroes Rob Halford or Bruce Dickenson. Lady Beast was born from her life-long ambition to be in a band, but she didn't really get into metal until she came across Iron Maiden's Powerslave about six years ago. "I was like, 'How did I not know? How could I have been so blind?'"
A girl on the microphone can have its advantages. "When they find out we're actually good, they're more likely to remember us," Levine says. "Whatever, though. I'm not a feminist. I'm not anything, because I don't care. I hate when girls say, 'Oh, this scene is so male dominated.' Go out and change that."
For more info, visit www.myspace.com/ladybeastmetal.