on Friday, April 15, 2005 - YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC
Maiden Heaven -- All-female Iron Maiden Tribute Band Rocks Out
By KIM NOWACKI
The Iron Maidens
Linda McDonald's been a die-hard Iron Maiden fan since high school.
Sure, go ahead, insert your big hair and acid-washed jeans jokes
here. McDonald isn't laughing, though. She's enjoying an unexpected
wild ride as the drummer in the insanely popular Iron Maiden tribute
band, the Iron Maidens, who play Grant's Brewery Pub on Saturday.
"I am surprised by the success," says McDonald, who
helped form the all-female band in 2001. "At first we were
doing it as a hoot; we just loved playing this music. Now it's
to the point where this is the gig to have."
A GIMMICKY GIG, YES. But make no mistake, these five women rock
Like Hells Belles, the all-female AC/DC tribute outfit from Seattle,
the Iron Maidens have made a name for themselves with passionate
— and perhaps more importantly to fans, accurate —
musicianship and stage presence.
"If it wasn't Iron Maiden, and if it wasn't this band, I
don't know how interested I'd be," says vocalist Aja "Bruce
Chickinson" Kim, who joined the group in May 2004.
And Maiden fans have not only warmed to these women, they've given
them a mighty devil-horns fist-thrust of approval.
THE ORIGINAL Iron Maiden emerged from Britain in the mid-1970s.
Its mix of dark images, screeching vocals, a symphonic metal sound
and wild stage theatrics earned the group a lasting and loyal
cult following rivaling contemporaries such as Judas Priest, Alice
Cooper and Black Sabbath. (Speaking of which, Iron Maiden is one
of this year's main-stage acts on the popular Ozzfest tour.)
It's become as annoyingly common — way past the point of
being cliché — to hear someone jokingly shout out
at a concert, "Hey, man, play some Maiden!" as it is
to hear requests for Lynard Skynard.
At least 30 Iron Maiden tribute bands span the globe, from the
Czech Republic to Bogota, Colombia. But the Iron Maidens hold
the distinction of being the only all-female group.
They're sexy 30-somethings and powerful musicians drawn to Maiden's
complicated music — some songs are upwards of 14 minutes
with lengthy lyrics and challenging orchestration.
These Los Angeles ladies take their homage seriously. They know
they can't sneak anything past Maiden fans and they work hard
at nailing the subtitles of the group's recordings.
"We want to make you feel like you feel when you really hear
this band," says McDonald.
Still, there are those who remain skeptical about girls with guitars.
"There are people who come to the show with their arms crossed
thinking, 'OK, prove it,'" says Kim.
And they have.
The Iron Maidens have toured the globe and been featured in everything
from Playboy to the Los Angeles Times. Last week, the band released
a full-length Maiden tribute album with artwork by Derek Riggs,
the original Iron Maiden album-cover illustrator.
"We've got our seat belts on and our hands off the wheel,"
says Kim. "It's the next best thing to doing an original
band.” "People just have this devotion and hunger to
hear this music," she adds.
So forget Skynard.
Play some Maiden, man.
If you go
WHO: The Iron Maidens.
WHAT: Los Angeles' all-female Iron Maiden tribute band.
WHEN: 9 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Grant's Brewery Pub in Glenwood Square, 5110 Tieton Drive.
HOW MUCH: Cover is $10.
THE REAL THING: The original Iron Maiden will play the main stage
at this year's Ozzfest tour, which comes Aug. 11 to the White
River Amphitheatre in Auburn, Wash.
here to view cover