Feb 11, 2014
Before hitting up the Winter NAMM show, I spent 5 and a bit days exploring LA. As you guys may know, I’m a huge fan of the 80s music scene that lived on the Sunset Strip, especially a certain band whose name includes firearms and a thorny flower, and so, for a lot of my life I’ve been dreaming of seeing that side of LA – I couldn’t really give a shit about trying to spot Brad and Angelina and their limo-load of imported children, or hanging out on Rodeo Drive to catch a glimpse of Katy Perry or Mila Kunis or whatever. Actually, I tell a lie… I mean, it’s Katy Perry and/or Mila Kunis for crying out loud.
But I digress. Sunset Boulevard… the Whisky A Go Go, the Rainbow Bar and Grill, the Troubadour, and so many more classic venues that represent that most excellent of decades, the 80s – that perfect, crazy moment when heavy metal was in the mainstream, but it was perfectly acceptable to wear guyliner and sing a heartfelt ballad to the girl whose hair was just as teased and full of Aquanet as yours was.
Or so I’ve heard. Sadly, I wasn’t there.
I was in LA, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to go without catching a gig or two!
And that’s how I found myself standing outside…
The Viper Room
Used to be owned by Johnny Depp, Adam Duritz used to bartend here, and River Phoenix met his tragic end here. No biggie. That’s not crazy or super cool at all.
This was no accident, mind you. I’d figured out beforehand that there was a killer band playing here that I would really love to see while kicking it in LA.
The Iron Maidens!
I’m sure you know who I’m talking about. But in case you don’t, here’s the short version – they’re the world’s only all-female Iron Maiden tribute band, and although their line-up has changed over the years (and they have a bunch of guitar players who sub in and out depending on schedule), one thing is always constant – the Iron Maidens are a band of kick-ass rock chicks, who love the shit out Iron Maiden.
What can I really say about them that hasn’t been said before?
They’re all kick-ass musicians, and as far as I was concerned, they absolutely nailed all the requirements for an Iron Maiden tribute show.
They had crazy zombie monsters:
They had the redcoat + flag gimmick for The Trooper:
And best of all, they were just having a crazy good time doing it all.
But you don’t care, do you?
You just want to hear allll about the hot guitar players that everyone talks about, right?
Yeah okay, I can’t really blame you for that. These ladies are indeed super hot, BUT it does pay to remember that above and beyond, they’re GREAT musicians – not “pretty good for a girl“, but legitimately awesome musicians in every way.
So that gig night, the guitarists manning the Smith n’ Murray positions were Courtney Cox and Nita Strauss, respectively, shredding full speed on their Charvel/Jackson and Ibanez guitars. On bass was Wanda Ortiz, with a very authentic Steve Harris three finger bass gallop technique. Linda McDonald was an absolute demon on drums – so relaxed and yet so masterful, driving the beat in a whirlwind blur of drumsticks. And last but not least Kirsten Rosenberg bringing the full on operatic Dickinsonian vocal assault.
Sigh, fine, I’ll stop talking now. Here are some cool pictures.
2 Minutes to Midnight
It had to end, I suppose. But what a glorious experience it was. I walked out feeling buzzy and super stoked, especially since I was clutching this:
Don’t forget to tune in to the next installment of Rock n’ Roll Tourism in LA! Thanks very much for reading Here are more pics!