Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino on living, and touring, sober: ‘I feel very powerful’
It’s been a hectic week for Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino. She’s had little time to savor the reception to her first album in five years, “Always Tomorrow,” as she’s geared up for the international tour that begins in a few days. But in the throes of rehearsals, photo shoots and packing, Cosentino is trying something new: prioritizing her own well-being.
“I forgot how crazy this is,” the singer-guitarist said from her home in L.A., a few days before a hometown show at the Novo. “I was just sitting in my car in the Target parking lot for 15 minutes, which I didn’t really have, but I was like, ‘I’m going to just sit here and breathe’.”
It’s a new practice for the 33-year-old, who broke onto the scene 10 years ago with Best Coast’s debut “Crazy for You.” The album’s tight riffs, surf-pop melodies and lyrics about love, laziness and cats quickly thrust her, alongside multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, into indie-rock stardom.
“It happened so fast that I never really had any time to process it,” she said. “It wasn’t until after [2015’s] ‘California Nights’ came out and that tour cycle wrapped up that I was like, wait a second, what just happened?”
Behind the carefree, outspoken persona fans saw on social media — Cosentino helped lead a pre-#MeToo pushback against sexual harassment in the music industry in 2016 — the singer was approaching an emotional rock-bottom, spending days in bed and nights in a haze.
“Life caught up with me and I started just cruising through it, ignoring it,” she says. “I was completely paralyzed and couldn’t get out of my own way.”
At the end of 2017, Cosentino decided to get sober, and later invited Bruno into her normally solitary writing process. The combination, she said, allowed her to focus on what she wanted to say and how she wanted to sing.
“I grew up with this thought that I have to do everything myself,” she said. “But finally something came over me where it was like, ‘Beth, it’s OK to ask for help’.”
“Always Tomorrow” showcases Cosentino’s most personal songwriting to date. Fittingly, she plans to step out from behind her guitar for the first time on the band’s upcoming tour, standing front and center as a vocalist on their new songs.
“I feel confident enough now that I don’t need to drench my vocals in reverb,” she says. “I feel like a different person. I feel very powerful.”
The Novo, 800 W. Olympic Blvd.
Tickets are $24.
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