Just a few years ago, Los Angeles’ Beauty School Dropout were another young rock band trying to make a name for themselves, releasing music on their own and playing every show they could. Fast forward and now the band are the face of new label Verswire and are mentored by one of their idols, Mark Hoppus of Blink-182. But how did they get here? Through hard work, determination, fearlessness and challenge.
Beauty School Dropout was born from the ashes of vocalist Cole Hutzler and bassist Brent Burdett’s previous band, Strangefaces. When the band disbanded, Hutzler began working on a solo project that would lay the groundwork for Beauty School Dropout. Once guitarist and producer Bardo arrived on board, the band was ready to go wild on the rock scene. They release their first EP, The boys are crying, in 2021 and quickly gained a loyal following thanks to their loud concerts. Their mix of pop, rock, punk and electronica with their honest lyrics and devilish vibe caught the eye of Verswire, the new label run by Hoppus, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy and Sherry Saeedi of Veeps. . With the help of their musical mentors, a supportive new label, and their fierce debut album, Beauty School Dropout is unstoppable.
Just a day after their sold-out record release, Cole, Brent and Bardo sat down with GENDER IS DEAD! to talk about their new album, work with their idols and cultivate an honest, open and positive culture in the rock scene.
GENDER IS DEAD! : Just a year ago you released music on your own and are now signed to new label Verswire, whose management team includes Pete Wentz and Mark Hoppus. This is quite an achievement for a new group! How did you manage to sign with them?
Cole Hutzler: Saying no a lot. (Laughs) Honestly, I do not know. Since the creation of this group, we have been very tenacious about the way we wanted to operate. We saw a lot of offers that we weren’t very keen on. In terms of creating Verswire and we got some insight into how they want to do things and structure their deals and what their goals are in terms of actually fostering artists, that’s what brought us immediately . We were so excited about the idea and the premise and [founder and CEO] Sherry Saeedi is amazing so we went. It’s been nothing but amazing ever since.
GID: So initially there was some apprehension about signing to a label because you were worried that the label heads would take away your creative control?
Brent Burdet: Yeah, that’s the most important thing for us. We are control freaks and we manage every facet [of the band]. We produce our own music, we do all our own merchandising, we design the album cover. Everything is us. We didn’t want to lose who we are and finding Verswire was the perfect match because they were thrilled we had done so much internally, and we were thrilled they wanted to facilitate our vision.
GID: You’re also the first to sign with Verswire, so in a way you’re the faces of the label right now. What does it do? Does that add any extra pressure besides being the new band on the block?
Bard: Yes, there is always a pressure to perform in everything we do, whether we are on a label or not. I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Because we get co-signatures from people we’ve always looked up to and that a lot of people look up to, we hope that we can be the group that carries that torch and that we can eventually pass it on to the next group that comes after us. That’s the biggest pressure we put on ourselves. We want to be able to crush it as hard as our mentors crushed it and live up to its name.
GID: Speaking of working with cool musicians, you’re not only working with Mark Hoppus on the label side, but he made an appearance in your video “Assassin”, and he has a verse on your new song “Almost Famous”. What’s it like working with one of the founders of one of rock’s greatest bands?
CH: I think the other boys can take this one!
BB: Mark is literally my idol. That’s why I play bass. Blink-182 is my absolute favorite band of all time.
B: It can play all Blink songs from cover to cover.
BB: I know every song! It’s crazy. Having this opportunity, giving birth and introducing myself still freaks me out. I cried last night because he played with us. I never thought as a child that this would happen. Every kid on earth who grew up playing music, grew up learning songs imagines that happening, and I just can’t believe that for some reason that was me.
CH: His first show in three years!
BB: Yeah, Mark’s first show in three years!
B: We had this conversation last night after our show that in times like these, one of the weirdest things is wondering why I don’t freak out even more? Because me, at seven years old, I would lose it. If I went back in time and told a seven-year-old what we need to do, I would freak out, but this is one of those things that we’ve been working on for a while. Kudos to us, we deserved it. We work with some of our favorite people and the reason they ask us to work on things with them is because they respect us enough and there is mutual respect. Honestly, this is the coolest thing to me. We trust each other and I love that aspect. Don’t worry, we’re still fangirls all the time!
GID: Let’s talk about the new single, which also came out yesterday with the new album. The hook is “I’m almost famous and I already hate it.” There’s a lot to unpack there. What is the inspiration behind the song?
CH: It was right after we signed [with Verswire] when we wrote it. There was this weird turn in time for us where all of a sudden Mark was attached to the project, we were a signed band and we saw a lot of ears tripping. A lot of people we had surrounded or already knew have changed their attitude towards us a bit. Whether it was good or bad I think it was acknowledging and accepting that there will be people who won’t be there for you on a personal level but who are there for you as a fan or vice versa and just all the crazy ups and downs we go through in this manic time trying to get our band off the ground, you know?
GID: How does it feel when you realize people are treating you differently because now the spotlight is on you?
BB: I think it’s pretty easy to see when people are genuine because we have so many good people around us that there’s a clear difference between who’s there for you on a real level and who’s there for you because you succeed. So you try to keep your head straight and your friends and family close. Our circle is so tight.
CH: Large network, small circle.
BB: Yeah. (Laughs)
CH: And we did it long enough for us to see through. We’ve really been in the mud up to this point.
BB: And we live in LA which is the country of the weight hunters.
B: “Almost famous, I already hate him.” It’s easy to misinterpret internet fame and success, but we’re still broke. We’re still trying to figure out how to pay the rent like everyone else. Success is like a destination. Yeah, we’re successful, but we’re still working on our goals, and I think that’s the song’s biggest metaphor. Yes, it’s cool and we get praise and it’s great, but we’re all still human. Let’s all treat each other like this.
GID: It’s especially important now with everyone trying to go viral, trying to chase that weight off the internet. It’s something that people think they want but aren’t really prepared for the reality. People try so hard to chase something that they don’t fully understand. How many stories have we heard of people achieving this internet fame and coming to hate it?
CH: It’s definitely a strange landscape because it’s constantly changing. It’s just a constant rat race of trying to catch up or feeling like you have to catch up to a trend rather than being yourself and focusing on what you love. We’re kind of at that point where there’s still a steady stream of new discoveries via TikTok and we’re leaning a lot more towards our silly, raunchy humor and live shows more than anything. The energy that these kids bring is absolutely insane, so also being able to showcase our people because our shows, our fans – it’s all about them. Being able to spotlight that is also very special and being able to grow through that is even cooler.
GID: That’s what it should be about, the music, the fans and the gigs. Speaking of your gigs, you had a sold-out record release party in Los Angeles last night. How did it go?
B: It was an emotional moment. I think we all cried on stage. It was sick. It’s a sold-out show, which means people care enough to spend money on us.
BB: Our first paid show too.
B: Our first! The people were there! The phone lights come on, people shout the lyrics to these songs and it’s like wow. You kind of have to cry in those moments.
BB: I was like fucking shit, I didn’t know it was like that yet. (Laughs)
CH: It’s incredible.
B: Everything was just perfect last night. It was a perfect evening. So grateful. And Mark was there. First show in three years as mentioned. It was very surreal, like something out of a dream or something.