December 2002 issue
Hallowed Be Thy Name
by Wendy Colton
Waiting for The Iron Maidens to take the stage at Hells Kitchen
in Tacoma, the crowd is surly. The metalheads have been drinking Jagermeister
until two minutes to midnight, and they are ready to either worship the
band, or lynch them.
One song into The Iron Maidens set at Hells Kitchen in Tacoma, it
is apparent the worlds only all-female tribute to the legendary
band Iron Maiden does justice to the real thing. Not only are they totally
scorching babes in spandex, they are outstanding, talented, tight-as-hell
musicians. This female musical force has energy and chemistry reminiscent
of Iron Maiden itself. They slaughter the Tacoma rivetheads.
Formed in early 2001, The Iron Maidens quickly established themselves
as one of Los Angeles most popular tribute acts. Jenny Bruce
Chickinson Warren, who lead the first incarnation of the band, Wrathchild,
assembled Sara MiniMurray Marsh, Linda Nikki McBURRain
Mc Donald, and Josephine Adrianne Smith Draven. Bassist Wanda
Steph Harris Ortiz recently rounded out the line-up. Now recognized
as a must-see tribute, packing houses all over southern California, including
the prestigious House of Blues, the ladies easily make obvious their classy
resumes. For instance, singer Jenny graduated from Long Beach State with
a BA in Theatre Arts, and Wanda holds a BA in Music from UC Irvine, and
plays upright bass in the South Coast Symphony. Clearly this is not some
So how does playing in a symphony cross over with this band? A lot
of classical music has very basic bass lines or stuff that isnt
very interesting to play, says Wanda, and so you get drawn
toward composers that wrote more interesting bass lines, like Beethoven
for example. A lot of rock bass lines are pretty similar, the basic meat
and potatoes, and so with Iron Maiden its kinda the same thing. Steve
Harris wrote something fun. Theres the crossover. A fun bass line
is a fun bass line, whether Beethoven wrote it or Steve Harris wrote it,
its still fun to play.
Breaking down barriers between men and women in rock is no small task.
Whats the reaction to playing mens music in a mans world?
Feminists that have their hearts and arms open to metal love us
because they see us breaking down those barriers. Says Jen, And
were not bitchy about it, we dont run around saying Hey
man, were girls and we rock. Thats the kind of shit
you say when youre 14. You get over it. We just go out and celebrate
Iron Maiden, we have a great time, and if anything that unites men and
women more than going out there like youre some bad-ass. Nobody
wants to see that, they just wanna a good vibe. We had an open jam recently,
where we played our whole set and invited 2-3 people to come up and play
with us. I noticed how men and women shared the stage equally, all night
long, regardless of gender. It was one big Iron Maiden celebration.
Just one step closer to world peace. Sara chimes.
The Iron Maidens cover material from all eras of Maidens career,
encompassing the bands biggest hits as well as fan favorites. (Well,
the Blaze Bailey period is wisely omitted.) The stage
show includes brain platters, pyro-techniques, appearances by Maiden mascot
Eddie the 'Ed, the grim reaper, the devil, and more. The band is also
considering adding a Janick Gerrs to the line-up.
Last month, The Iron Maidens played to a crowd of over 60,000 at the LA
Coliseum for the Smoke-Out Fest with Cypress Hill, Snoop Dogg, Mudvayne
and many others. The band is currently featured in a full page spread
in the February issue of Guitar World Magazine, with an exclusive interview
by Dan Epstein. Next up, the ladies will be going into the studio to record
the first ever Iron Maiden tribute album released by one group. Once that
drops, it seems only a matter of time before those blokes from England
look them up for a jam. Their delightful and sassy website theironmaidens.com
will keep you up to date, and have anyone with a pulse wishing they were
a pair of black and white striped trousers.
Two weeks after the Hells Kitchen show in Tacoma, The Iron Maidens
step up to a churlish crowd in Portland, to again prove they arent
harlots. And again they kill. Another triumphant celebration of one of
the greatest bands in heavy metal history, done with beauty and talent.
But even more importantly, these women prove once and for all, you dont
need testosterone to have balls. Up the Irons indeed.