If you were suddenly transported into another dimension where the greatest metal band in the world was suddenly cross-bred with the hottest women on the planet, the results would be The Iron Maidens. Super model looks meets virtuoso calibre musicianship.
Formed in Southern California in 2001, the band has seen several lineup changes over the years, but one thing has remained a constant. They are the best damned cover band the planet has ever seen. Accolades from the band that inspires them are a testament to how hard and great these women rock.
They have forged their own identity over the years and in unheard of levels have toured the planet to the delight and applause of millions, yes I said millions who have seen them perform.
Your mission if you are reading this interview is to youtube these Monstresses of Rock and then demand your local clubs book them on their next tour.
For more info and tour details check out their website http://www.theironmaidens.com/
1. What were you doing when you started the band? Or in the case of joining after it was established, what were you doing just prior to joining
Kirsten: Before I joined in 2009 I was living across the country in Baltimore and was in a couple of cover bands at the time.
Wanda: When I first joined the band over 10 years ago, I had finished college, had a job, and was playing in an original band as well as working as a freelance musician in various chamber ensembles and orchestras in the Southern California area.
Linda: I was playing in Phantom Blue and looking for a bass player.
Courtney: I had a tribute band in Philadelphia called "queen diamond" , which was an all female tribute to king diamond and mercyful fate. Prior to that I was on tour with Jon Anderson of YES. Fun times.
2. Aha moment when you realized, “Holy crap, I'm pretty good at this!”
Kirsten: When I was asked to officially join The Iron Maidens!
Wanda: It was when I was in junior high because I auditioned for the first chair position in orchestra and band and got it. I also started winning school awards for music back then.
Linda: When Steve Harris told me my playing was "brilliant"......*faints*
Courtney: When i escaped from the womb. Ha hahaha just kidding. Playing came naturally and I never looked back since.
3. Typical fan reaction when they realize just what accomplished musicians you are?
Kirsten: Big, big smiles and a few raised eyebrows.
Wanda: They usually aren't too surprised because everyone knows you need to have some chops to play Maiden. At our shows, most people just look like they are having a good time although, occasionally, we have people in the audience who have this preconception that women cannot play this style of music competently so it's fun seeing their surprised looks when they see we can really pull it off.
Linda: Raised fists, metal horns abound!
Courtney: I think they refer to it as "swearing like a sailor" !! :)
4. Most memorable live show as a performer?
Kirsten: So many highlights but among the most memorable was my first time performing “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” It was a high-profile show being taped for a DVD and it’s a long song and I was nervous I’d forget some words so I taped lyric sheets to the floor. Well, when the dramatic thick dry-ice fog rolled out over the stage it obliterated my lyric sheets. Quite funny…think “Spinal Tap.”
Wanda: The most memorable show for me was our show at the Hard Rock in Mexico City when we were on the same bill as Steve Harris' daughter Lauren Harris. Steve (Iron Maiden's bassist) showed up to support his daughter but ended up sticking around for our set as well. Bruce ******inson (Iron Maiden's vocalist) was also in the audience. We were all very nervous playing the show with those two guys watching us but we managed to pull it off! Steve even came up to us after our set to let us know he enjoyed our show. Things don't get much better than that!
Linda: Would have to be Mexico City. I was up against every possible challenge equipment-wise imaginable because the gear promised was not the gear present. To top it off, Steve Harris and Bruce ******inson were in the audience. Thankfully the energy was right and I played a really great feeling set on a not so great kit! The crowd was amazing and Steve Harris thought it was a good show too! Awesome!!
Courtney: Barquisimeto in Venezuela. Festival called "gilmanfest". 40k people in attendance.
5. First Iron Maiden song you learned to play or sing.?
Wanda: The Trooper
Linda: Murders in the Rue Morgue or The Trooper. It was for my first band ever and we played a bunch of Maiden and Zeppelin and originals.
Courtney: Flight of Icarus. I was like 15 and I was angry bc the other guitarist wouldnt split the solo. Had to explain what duel solos meant.
6. Song you wish you wrote?
Kirsten: A nice royalty-generating song like “Happy Birthday” would do just fine.
Wanda: I'm happy to play and enjoy other people's music so there aren't really any songs that someone else wrote that I wish I had written myself...although I sometimes wish I had more time to write my own stuff. :)
Linda: "Bohemian Rhapsody"!!
Courtney: Seventh son of a seventh son and sea of madness.
7. Early influences?
Kirsten: Robin Zander, Pat Benatar, Ann Wilson, Geoff Tate, Bruce ******inson, and countless others!
Wanda: Iron Maiden, Rush, Yes...anything that had great bass players and great bass lines.
Linda: Simon Phillips, Clive Burr, Alex Van Halen, John Bonham were my earliest drum influences.
Courtney: Metallica,Judas Priest, Saxon, King Diamond/mfate, Testament, Overkill,Wasp and a thousand other thrash and heavy metal bands :)
8. Worst/tackiest come-on by a groupie?
Kirsten: Maybe when some fan called me over only to instruct me to deliver a marriage proposal to Wanda. Not even a come-on towards me—uber tacky (LOL)!
Wanda: I've never had anyone come-on to me in a tacky way: most of the people I talk to usually just want to talk about music, share their stories about seeing Iron Maiden, and compliment the band. I've been very lucky that way but, of course, I'm just the bass player...I don't think my other band mates have been as lucky!
Linda: Being physically molested and pawed at by people at our meet and greets after the shows.Some people cut loose with some drinks during our shows and seem to get liquid courage and think they have a pass to get extra "friendly" sometimes at our merch booth. I hate it when I am touched or groped by someone I do not know. DON'T DO IT PLEASE! I promise, I WILL punch you!
Courtney: " so you originally from Philadelphia ?" Hahaha I was also proposed to once, my reaction was " excuse me I have to go take a piss"
9. Favorite place/city to play live?
Kirsten: Humbolt has gotta make that list—they literally threw buds at us onstage. I’m not saying everyone partook but it sure was hospitable, heh heh.
Wanda: I feel lucky to be playing anywhere live so I don't really have one favorite place..although, playing Guatemala City was very special for me because I have a lot of family there.
Linda: I don't have any one favorite! Lame answer, but it's true! I just LOVE to play wherever!
Courtney: Bogota/Duitama, Colombia
10. Who plays you in the movie about your life?
Kirsten: Sarah Silverman
Wanda: The only person who would be interested in doing a movie about my life would be a family member who likes doing home movies as a hobby. Since they would have no budget, they would want someone to do it for free so it would probably just be me. Haha!
Linda: Joan Jett
Courtney: Charlize Theron because she is awesome.
11. Do any of you share Steve Harris' love of history?
Kirsten: , huh, what?! Sorry, that would be a “no,” haha.
Wanda: Yes, absolutely. I love reading about history and people and just finished reading a biography on Ben Franklin. He was awesome.
Linda: I find it fascinating and intriguing, but my brain has not retention for it, unfortunately!! Now I can remember a jingle like the back of my hand! LOL!
Courtney: yes. I've completed many history projects on maiden songs .
12. Before you were established and people realized that you could rock with the best of them, what were some of the hurdles you faced as females in a normally male dominated genre?
Kirsten: I came onboard once the band was rolling full-steam so I never really encountered those kinds of hurdles with the Maidens. Prior to that, I can’t say I really encountered difficulties—my passion for this style of music was met with more surprise than anything.
Wanda: In school, it seemed like people who never actually heard me play always assumed that guys could play better than me.. so I would always practice and audition for everything and if I played well, then everything would be alright...and it was. But later on, when I started playing rock music, I realized that in addition to wanting someone who could play well, bands were wanting a specific "look" as well. Sometimes they wanted a "bad boy" image for example, so having a girl in the band wouldn't work. I guess the biggest hurdle for me was finding a project that would be a good fit for me. I really loved progressive rock and metal but there were a lot of bands that wouldn't even let me audition because I was a girl.
Linda: Just being taken seriously before being heard. It was okay though. People thought it was so "cute" that a little girl was hitting things with sticks. I'm just happy I could put a different definition to "playing like a girl" into their vocabulary. ;-D
Courtney: Proving yourself . Acceptance. That however is just life!!! You face that with every road you choose.
13. What Iron Maiden song do you most identify with?
Kirsten: Honestly, since the songs are typically about epic battles, Satan, Biblical events, prostitutes, human sacrifice, English literature, and other weighty and historical subjects, I can’t say I actually “identify” with any of them but they all give me great joy to listen to and perform. One song that always gets me revved and puts a smile on my face is “Aces High.”
Wanda: The Trooper.
Linda: Maybe Infinite Dreams......but maybe not. HAHA!
Courtney: Wasted Years
14. What's your guilty pleasure band?
Kirsten: The BeeGees. But I don’t actually feel guilty—I’m proud of it! (Interviewers note: Absolutely love the Bee Gees! Kirsten is now on my future ex wife list)
Linda: Barry Manilow is awesome!! I've seen him live about 10 times! Shhhhh!!
Courtney: Backstreet Boys. ( I grew up in the 90s) lol
15. What new artists are you into?
Kirsten: Sad to say, I don’t listen to much new music these days (shame on me). I guess it’s finally happened: I’ve become my parents and don’t understand the music the kids are listening to these days. But happily enough, lots of kids are discovering the old-school metal that I’m into.
Wanda: With my work and music schedule being so busy lately, it's hard keeping up with all the latest and greatest new bands..so, unfortunately, I can't really think of anyone brand new that I'm into. I'm sure there are a lot of great new artists out there... I just wish I had the time to check them all out. :)
Linda: Well, they are not a new artist, but I'm loving the newest Van Halen! LOL!
Courtney: There are all of newer trash bands that are sweet. Really into the new wave of thrash. I honestly stopped listening to music in 2003 . Sorry. Haha
16. What equipment are you currently using?
Kirsten: I usually stick with my trusty Shure wireless beta-58 mic.
Wanda: I use G&L basses, a BBE B-Max T preamp, a QSC PLX3102 power amp, Schroeder Cabinets, and Rotosound strings.
Linda: DW Drums, hardware and pedals, Paiste Cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and Humes & Berg drum cases! :-)
Courtney: My one and only Peavey Valve King , jackson guitars, boss and bbe pedals , DiMarzio pick ups and cables , Dunlop picks, line 6 wireless , ghs strings .
17. What goes on in the five minutes prior to taking the stage?
Kirsten: Chaos, napping, pooping, vocal warm-ups, running to the bar, fixing potential wardrobe malfunctions—any and all of this.
Wanda: I'm usually checking my tuning one last time
Linda: pre-show nerves, potty, warm up and hand stretches.
Courtney: Wine and bathroom haha
18. I have an nine year old who owns two Fender mini-strats. What words of inspiration do you have for her and other little girls like her?
Kirsten: It’s perfectly normal and acceptable (and pretty rad) for girls to want to shred and rock out so don’t hesitate for a second if it makes you happy!
Wanda: Find a method and a pace that is right for you and don't worry about anyone else or what everyone else is doing. If you do something long enough, eventually you will get good at it. Most importantly, have fun. :)
Linda: Rock and Roll!!! Play a lot and jam with people! This is the time to just have fun with learning! Enjoy yourself and just do it!
Courtney: Play because you love it. Stop when you don't . If that ever happens. ;)
19. When do we get to see you on the east coast?
Kirsten: Pray to the Travel and Booker Gods: soon, SOON, I beseech you!
Wanda: We would love to go there but right now, we don't have any shows booked. Please keep checking our website (http://www.theironmaidens.com/) for upcoming shows. Hopefully we'll be in your area soon!
Linda: I know!!!! It's funny how we can go to places like Guam, Indonesia, South America, etc, but can't get a promoter to bring us to the East Coast. !!! What's up East Coast bookers!????! Let's make it happen sooooon please!
Courtney: Hopefully soon because I'm from Philly!!!
20. Have you ever entertained writing a Iron Maiden-esque record?
Kirsten: I’ve heard the idea floated once or twice—and some of us have been or are currently in original projects, too—but our recording priority is to do some more Maiden songs with our current line-up.
Wanda: Yes, back in the days when I was playing in original bands.
Linda: Well if we were to do originals there would definitely be a Maiden influence because we are all influenced by them! But would we make it Maiden-esque on purpose? I don't think so, I think whatever came out would come out. I think setting out to do that would be kind of weird and some people would bash us saying we were trying to be Maiden. I can hear it already! LOL! If we were writing original tunes I would prefer to just be ourselves.
Courtney: Mind blown ahhhhhaha