Maiden Voyage: Iron Maiden tribute act makes its Tahoe debut Friday |

Maiden Voyage: Iron Maiden tribute act makes its Tahoe debut Friday

Dan Thomas, Lake Tahoe Action
The Iron Maidens make their Tahoe debut at 9 p.m. Friday, April 11, at Whiskey Dick's Saloon.

It might be ironic that the Iron Maidens put the femininity into a band whose name has only a tangential connection to maidenhood.

Nevertheless, Iron Maiden fans will definitely want to bring their daughters to the slaughter ” provided that they’re 21 or older, of course.

The Iron Maidens, who make their Tahoe debut at 9 p.m. Friday, April 11, at Whiskey Dick’s, claim uniqueness as the only all-female tribute to Iron Maiden, the British metal band that took its name from the torture cabinet.

“There are a lot of Iron Maiden tribute bands out there, but we’re the only all-female Iron Maiden tribute bands,” said Iron Maidens lead singer Aja Kim, who goes by the stage name of Bruce Lee Chickinson in honor of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson.

The Iron Maidens trace their roots back to a co-ed Maiden tribute band in Los Angeles. Since forming in 2001, they have established themselves as a favorite among Southern California’s tribute bands, playing larger venues, and even joining original bands on the bills for metal festivals.

“There was a pretty terrible original music scene locally happening, and tribute bands were starting to pick up, and all of us came together somehow,” said Linda “Nikki McBURRain” McDonald, whose stage name pays tribute to both of Iron Maiden’s drummers, Nicko McBrain and Clive Burr.

“There was a need for this type of music,” McDonald said. “Nobody was tributing Iron Maiden. There were some trying, but it wasn’t cutting it.”

“The name was an obvious choice, too, and we just haven’t looked back since.”

Wanda Ortiz plays bass and goes by the name Steph Harris, and Heather “Adrienne Smith” Baker and Sara “MiniMurray” Marsh give the tribute band the ability to emulate Iron Maiden’s twin guitar leads.

The latter guitarist, a founding member along with McDonald, earned her nickname by virtue of her resemblance to Iron Maiden guitarist Dave Murray, not only in sound but in looks as well.

The look is important to the Iron Maidens as well, if not their physical resemblance to the members of Iron Maiden, then the replication of the metal stalwart’s stage pyrotechnics.

“You get it all,” McDonald said. “You get the arena show on a more intimate venue-sized stage.”

In terms of music, the Iron Maidens range all over the original catalogue, and trying to please Iron Maiden fans is a tough task because many of them know all the words to every song. Fans can expect a few numbers ” “Number of the Beast,” for example, in addition to “Run for the Hills” and “The Trooper” ” but the Iron Maidens like to try to surprise the fans of the original band as well.

“We break it up a little bit because we don’t like people to see the same show all the time,” Kim said.

McDonald agreed: “That’s about all we’re going to give away right now.”

Kim described an Iron Maidens show as “five hot, sweaty women playing their butts off,” but there might be a male presence as well: Iron Maiden’s iconic Devil, the grim reaper and Eddie mascot make appearances. (The Iron Maidens have an important visual pedigree: Derek Riggs, who designed the original Edward the Head, drew the Iron Maidens’ mascot, Edwina.)

“The grim reaper comes out as well, and we think he’s a man,” McDonald said. “We don’t want to get too close to him because that means time is short.”

The Iron Maidens aren’t the only tributes to Iron Maiden that you’ve seen lately:

” Eddie, aka Edward the ‘Ead, Edward the Head or Edward the Great, often makes guest appearances on the mountain: The graphics of several versions of Rossignol’s Andrew Crawford pro model snowboard feature Eddie prominently.

” Rumor has it that the set of Egypt in Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s 2004 puppet satire, “Team America: World Police,” is an elaborate re-creation of the cover of Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave” album.

” The prominence of the number 666 in “Number of the Beast,” the title track of Iron Maiden’s 1982 album, generated controversy. The band’s follow-up album, “Piece of Mind” features a backmasked message in the beginning of the song “Still Life,” which, translates as drummer Nicko McBrain doing an impression of Idi Amin Dada, then a belch.

” Belying the controversy over “Number of the Beast,” McBrain converted to Christianity in 1999. Before becoming Iron Maiden’s drummer, McBrain appeared as the Devil on the “Number of the Beast” videoclip.

” staff and wire reports

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