Interview with Bruce Jenna Dickinson
by Lucifera Elena
It was Wednesday night and I went to see Master Steelow and his Flesh Theater event for a little while at the Slaughtered Lamb, we had arranged have a contest in NYC Metal Shows yahoo group and give away some Funhouse t-shirts. I couldn’t stay and hang out though because I was anxious to see the Iron Maidens live. It’s hard to enjoy so many different forms of music but knowing that Master Steelow’s events would be either weekly or monthly and would see certain bands once in a blue moon I opted to check out the Iron Maidens and set up an interview.
I got to Tribeca Rock Club where the event was taking place. It was a nice place for shows, not too big but not too small, cozy but too packed and it was very dark. I walked in and all I could see was a sea of men. All types of metal heads from the young power metal guys to the old school metal enthusiasts. I entered the club and missed the first band, the DJ at the club was playing some weird tune that was both annoying and funny at the same time…the lyrics went something like this “suck my chocolate balls…suck my hairy salty chocolate balls.” Well, needless to say that was a gross image, then someone told me that was one of the songs that the cook sang on South Park…figures.
Anyway, the band that went on at that point annoyed me, very tame for me I suppose, it was glam rock. Now I have nothing against glam rock but this was dull. They were an Alice Cooper cover band doing song such as “I’m 18” which is one of the songs I can say they did decently. While strolling around I found a familiar face in the crowd, Frank White, we talked for a little while and then I kept checking out the venue.
When The Iron Maidens finally hit the stage, not only was it hot in the club, it got even more crowded. It was all worth the wait and the torture of the heat. The fans were attentive, they were eager to see and hear these beautiful and talented women rip-out some Iron Maiden tunes. Jenna amazed me with her modesty, although their site says they are the greatest Iron Maiden cover band (although, now, I’ve been corrected: it actually says the Worlds Only All Female Tribute Band), she claimed they weren’t but all the fans knew she was wrong. They are the best Iron Maiden cover band.
The following in an interview I sent Jenna after I spoke to her at the club. I was going to interview her that night but I felt she’d be more comfortable if she was allowed to mingle in the club with her fans and supporters. Alex Scholnik made a guest appearance on stage. It was a fun night to say the least, but enough of that, he’s the interview:
Since I was about 15 years old was when I heard The Number of the Beast and there was no looking back.
2. What's your favorite album and song by Iron Maiden? What was the first Iron Maiden concert you attended? How did it impact you?
My favorite album was THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST and I don’t really have a favorite Maiden song. They are all good. The first concert I attended was the SOMEWHERE IN TIME tour and it was a very emotional experience for me. I was up front fairly close to the stage.
3. How difficult was it to form an all-female Iron Maiden tribute band?
At first I formed a mixed gender tribute band because women good enough to play Maiden were hard to find. How long was the process?
A couple of years.
4. Have you ever received notice from the members of Iron Maiden?
Not yet. We hope to meet them on the GIVE ME ‘ED TILL I’M DEAD TOUR.
Have they been to your shows? Not unless they were disguised.
5. Do you plan to do your own material under this band name? If so, what can we expect?
We have already started writing under the name DAMNZEL. We will get some original songs up there as soon as we finish recording at www.damnzel.com. It’s heavy w/ melody.
6. This must be fun for you but is there a downside?
For me it’s the fatigue of adding this project on to my already overfilled life but I love being very busy so I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.
7. At the NYC show I noticed that although your website has you listed as the best Iron Maiden tribute band, on stage you are very modest about it. Do you feel that you get the attention because you are talented or because you are females?
Okay, I’ve got to clarify something here. Nowhere on our website www.theironmaidens.com does it say that we are the best. Our official tag line is: WORLD’S ONLY FEMALE TRIBUTE TO IRON MAIDEN. I think that whenever tribute bands claim to be “the best” they are setting themselves up to look like self-righteous fools. Bands need to come up with creative taglines so they aren’t all the “ultimate experience” or “The World’s Only whatever tribute to whomever.” Besides I’ve heard demos of other Maiden tribute bands that may play this little part better than us or play that piece a slightly different way. For any of them to say they are better than anyone else is just stupid. We’re a fantastic band and so is: Maiden Seattle, Sanctuary, Live After Death, Piece of Mind, Powerslave, Children of the Damned…the list goes on. They are all our “blood brothers,” we can’t be better than any of them. It’s not about being better.
8. Does it bother you that some people look down on cover bands as cheesy?
Not at all. I look down on cover bands as being cheesy. We’re hacking out songs that other people wrote while many musicians are struggling with their original material trying to be heard. Sometimes I look at the ridiculous costumes I wear and know I look pretty silly but it’s not about looking silly or cool or whatever. It’s about Maiden and playing Maiden for people who will enjoy it and exposing new fans to Maiden who may not know who they are.
9. How do you feel about playing NY's Tribeca Rock Club? Do you play bigger venues in CA?
Tribeca was the smallest venue we played while in New York but sometimes I like playing the smaller clubs because I feel closer to the audience and feed off of their energy more than if they are too far away or too low.
10. Women in metal are on the rise. What bands or musicians do you feel opened the doors for female metal musicians?
The Runaways—Joan Jett and Lita Ford, Wendy O. Williams (RIP), Courtney Love, the girls in L7, the list goes on.
11. I noticed you were excited about having Angela Glassow of Archenemy among the attendents of the show (I don't know if she showed up). How did you hear about that? And did you get to meet her after the show? Who else was there?
I was thrilled to see Alex Scholnik of Testament.
Angela came downstairs to the back stage area to drop by and say hello while we were getting ready. I apologized and kissed her hand. She’s writing a book about female musicians in metal and I’ve been dreadfully late in getting my answers to her. You can read more about our encounter with her on our TALES FROM THE TOUR page on our website. She is absolutely gorgeous and gave us a little demonstration of her demonic scream/growl. It ruled.
Yeah, Jamming w/ Alex on THE TROOPER was the highlight of our trip. We all went out for a late dinner / early breakfast afterwards where he shared stories about his Testament days and his work on his latest jazz album w/ the Alex Skolnick Trio where he takes metal hits and makes them into beautiful jazzy arrangements. Check him out at www.alexskolnick.com.
12. What are your goals for The Iron Maidens? Will you put that cute Iron Maiden icon with the bow on a baby tee for the gals?
My goals for the Maidens are to record our tribute album soon and to travel to many more cities in the US and perform. In 2004 I’d like to visit Europe and South America. We had a baby tee with “Betty PacMan” as I call her and she didn’t sell as well as our versions of the Live After Death Tee so we’ve discontinued that for now but check later. We always add a shirt or two every so often.
13. Any last shout outs?
Yeah…live your life right. You never know when your time will come.