When drummer Linda McDonald became fed up of the local music scene, she did what any of us would do – dubbed herself Nikki McBurrain and joined the world’s only all-female Iron Maiden tribute, whose singer goes by the name of Bruce Chickinson. Time to pun to the hills…
“Fifteen years ago, the LA scene was pretty dead,” says Linda. “A bunch of us were looking for something to do, and tribute bands were growing in popularity. So we thought, ‘Why don’t we do one?’ It had to be a band we really loved, and Iron Maiden was it.”
Since then, The Iron Maidens have toured America – including opening the show for Kiss – played in front of Steve Harris (“He said we did a great job!”) and Bruce Dickinson, and count Dave Grohl as a fan. They were also enlisted by Trooper Beer to play at one of the real Iron Maiden’s listening parties for their latest album, The Book Of Souls. Not bad, considering it all started as a laugh.
“At our first rehearsal, people were looking in through the door and freaking out at five girls jamming out to Iron Maiden,” laughs Linda. She and her bandmates, Kirsten ‘Bruce Chickinson’ Rosenberg, guitarists Nikki ‘Davina Murray’ Stringfield and Courtney ‘Adriana Smith’ Cox, and bassist Wanda ‘Steph Harris’ Ortiz, never imagined that their popularity would explode to thepoint that the likes of Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Scott Ian have all joined them on stage, but each is a skilled musician in her own right.
“Sometimes people think because we’re a tribute band, we’re not capable of writing our own music,” says Linda. “But all of us are, or have been, in original bands. I actually got into the Iron Maidens because I was very frustrated with the original scene at the time.”
The fact that the Maidens have such an explosive stage show, with dancing Eddies and guitar duels, has earned them as loyal a fanbase as any original band. For their first ever UK show in London on April 14 (Davina Murray’s birthday, it turns out), Linda says fans are coming from as far away as Scotland. “I think there’s even a fan who has a tattoo of [guitarist] Courtney, and people who have our logo tattooed on them,” laughs Linda. “People say they close their eyes and feel like they’re at a real Maiden concert, which is such a compliment. We can’t wait to bring it to London!”
THE IRON MAIDENS PLAY LONDON O2 ACADEMY ISLINGTON ON APRIL 14