Interview: The Iron Maidens

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The Iron Maidens - the world’s best (and only all-female) Iron Maiden tribute act - are bringing their intense and electrifying live shows to light up venues across Australia and New Zealand.

These five adrenaline-charged women have The Number Of The Beast on speed-dial and possess the musical chops to deliver awesome renditions of all your favourite Iron Maiden classics.

Following sellout USA and UK/European tours, with fans shouting along to hits such as, “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “The Trooper” and “Aces High”, The Iron Maidens are gracing our shores in May 2018, after much pleading from their many thousands of antipodean fans.

We fired a few questions to the band's bassist Wanda Ortiz.

How and when were the Iron Maidens formed? 

We formed around 2001, as more of a hobby / fun kind of thing. At that time we all had other jobs and other work and other bands. We were just looking at something to for fun and we decided 'You know what, we all like Iron Maiden - lets dress up like them and play in a bar once a month for our friends. Then before we knew it the band started getting calls from the other part of the country, and different countries all together! So what originally started as a fun hobby, turned into something a little more involved. 

We just feel so lucky that we can travel and play and just do something fun like this. 

So when did your love for Iron Maiden start? 

I became a fan of Iron Maiden when I was about 14. I was virtually a double bass player back then. A that time I use to be jealous of violinists cause they'd always get the melody. One of my friends one day said "You've got to listen to this, the bass really gets to do something here". And that was it! 

Have you met Iron Maiden?

Yeah, we have. Their keyboard player Michael Kenney got us backstage at one of their shows. So we met them there briefly. Another time a couple of us got to sit in on a jam with Nicko McBrain. And another was when we were on the same bill as Steve Harris' daughter Lauren Harris at the Hard Rock Cafe in Mexico City. Steve Harris came to support his daughter, but he stayed for our set too. We were very thrilled an nervous, and all of that! 

You're heading to New Zealand very shortly. Do you have a strict setlist or do you change it up show to show? 

It gets changed from show to show. It depends... since we've never played in Australia or New Zealand, and all the venues are a good distance apart from each other, it's possible we may go for the same set - because everybody wants to hear the favourite songs. But how could you play the show without 'The Trooper' you know? 

We'll do a lot of oldies but goodies, maybe a couple of b-sides. Usually crowds are pretty satisfied with the setlist. 

Do you have a favourite Maiden song to perform? 

Oh, I have a lot of favourite Maiden songs to perform. But, you know I'm a bass player so it's almost like asking someone 'Who's your favourite child?'. I like 'Phantom Of The Opera', 'Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner', 'Lost For Words'... there are so many, I probably have about a dozen favourites. 

Since you've been doing this have you found that more females have been influenced into heavy metal, in what can be considered a very male dominated genre? 

I think so. I think there are more opportunities for women these days. I see more women at the shows, definitely more female guitarists and see more women in metal these days. I think the scene has changed. 

Some people come to the shows with this preconception that women may not be able to pull of this type of music competently. But once they see us play they are like 'Oh wow, they can play', and these preconceptions go out the window. 

Will you have an appearance by Eddie? Or an Eddie related mascot? 

It wouldn't really be an Iron Maiden tribute show without an Eddie appearance. You'll see. We've got some props and we try to emulate a Maiden show as closely as we can. 

Besides Iron Maiden, who are some of your other musical favourites? 

Well... I like bands like Rush, Yes... I like a lot of orchestral music. I like a lot of different types of stuff. 

Have you had a favourite show that you've performed so far? 

Every place is special, and every place is unique. I have a lot of favourite shows, but honestly my favourite show ever was in Guatemala City. And that is only because my Dad's from there. So that's my honest answer, not because the fans are better or this or that was better, it's just on a personal level. And I got to see a lot of family that I hadn't been able to see, so that was nice. 

The Iron Maidens Australian and New Zealand Tour Dates

Friday May 25th AUCKLAND – The Studio

Saturday 26th May CHRISTCHURCH – The Foundry

Sunday 27th May WELLINGTON – San Fran

Wednesday 30th May BRISBANE – The Zoo

Thursday 31st May SYDNEY – Manning Bar

Friday 1st June MELBOURNE – Corner Hotel

Saturday 2nd June ADELAIDE – Fowlers Live

Sunday 3rd June PERTH – Badlands

Tickets via http://davidroywilliams.com/tours/the-iron-maidens/

Kirsten “Bruce Chickinson” Rosenberg (vocals), Linda “Nikki McBURRain” McDonald (drums), Courtney “Adriana Smith”Cox and Nikki “Davina Murray” Stringfield on guitars, and Wanda "Steph Harris" Ortiz (bass) will perform choice Iron Maiden classics including “Wasted Years”, “Wrathchild” and “Can I Play With Madness”.