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Number of the Beeyotch

The Iron Maidens encourage you to bring your daughter to the slaughter

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you...the world's premier all-female Iron Maiden tribute band! Okay, so there's not much competition for the mantle, but the headbanging quintet known as the Iron Maidens are no mere soft, lovely creatures to trifle with.

Together since 2001, these SoCal ladies make keen study of the songs, the stage moves and even the set designs of the kings of NWOBHM (that's New Wave of British Heavy Metal, duh). Their recently released self-titled debut CD puts an estrogen-laden cloak on Maiden classics like "Run to the Hills," "Two Minutes to Midnight," "Killers" and everyone's favorite kids' birthday party anthem, "The Number of the Beast."

Wack recently spoke with vocalist Aja Kim ("Bruce Lee Chickinson") and drummer Linda McDonald ("Nikki McBURRain") about their music, their Maiden connections and their thongs.

Wack:What made you decide to form your band around Iron Maiden, when what the world really needs is an all-female Winger tribute band?

McDonald:We don't have enough Aquanet. No, Maiden's music is just so projectable, and it's held its own for all these years. It's our favorite music. And if you're going to learn the minutiae of songs, it might as well be a band you really like. Sometimes we'll spend a whole week on one song. This isn't the Go-Go's.

Wack:When you decide to learn a new song, are you reading charts or just putting a CD in the player and hitting "repeat"?

McDonald:I have a really cool computer program that slows down a song without changing the pitch.

Kim:And I watch a lot of concert videos for what [lead singer Bruce Dickinson] does.

Wack:You got Derek Riggs to draw your record cover. Derek Riggs!The cover artist for the real Maiden and creator of Eddie! How did that happen, and whose idea was it to put tits on Eddie...or Edwina, as it turns out?

Kim:We got in touch with him through the Internet. We wanted a female monster, but she had to have reasonably sized breasts. I think he was amused by the whole thing. Actually, in the first version we wanted them bigger.

McDonald:Bigger never hurts.

Kim:He actually modeled her on Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton as a rotting corpse, that is.

Wack:That's how many people would like to picture her now. And the thong was a nice touch.

McDonald:That was his idea!

Wack:Some of you have actually met members of Iron Maiden. What is their whole take on your band?

Kim:It was an honor, but kind of embarrassing.

McDonald:They look into their audience and see 99.9 percent guys and probably wondered if they had any female fans. They're glad to find out girls like them, too.

Wack:I'm sure through the years they probably found that out quite well after the shows.

McDonald:We actually did a benefit show with Nicko [McBrain, Maiden drummer], and I got to play with him. Talk about nerve-racking.

Kim:I'd love to meet Bruce if they tour the States next year. It would be amazingÉand terrifying.

Wack:Well, we know they're not touring with Ozzfest next year. [The 2005 tour ended ingloriously with a Sharon Osbourne-orchestrated massive egg-pelting of Maiden during their set. It was in response to Dickinson's anti-Ozzy comments from the stage.]

Kim:We do a lot of all-ages shows, and it's cool to see the sons with their dads, like it's a rite of passage or something. Hey, they have Tom Jones for the moms and their daughters!

Wack:Um, yeah. But really, you're a metal fan's dream. You're hot chicks who play hard, dress in tight outfits and know the words to "The Trooper." If you had to replace a member, and you had the choice between a good-looking woman who was a so-so player, or someone who could shred but was not as easy on the eyes, who would you pick?

Kim:Well, playing comes first...but it does help if you're cute.

McDonald:We do enjoy displaying our, uh, femininity...

Wack:Do you get your share of male groupies after the show to pick from?

Kim:I wouldn't call them groupies. They're Maiden fans!

McDonald:They're very respectful...we're not talking a knuckle-dragging group of metal fans here.

Kim:We did have one guy who jumped up on the merchandise table, pulled down his pants and wanted us to sign his butt. But he was probably plastered. We did get the pointiest Sharpie pen we could find, though.

Wack:Your Web site [www.theironmaidens.com] has a lot of stuff for sale. But what's the bigger seller: your T-shirts, or the Iron Maidens specially designed thong underwear?

Kim:It's the CD!

McDonald:The thongs go great at the live shows. Guys will buy them for their girlfriends. And if they don't have one, they can hang it on their rearview mirror.

Wack:Now that'sclassy.

McDonald:Or they can give it to a potential girlfriend. What a turn-on! -- Bob Ruggiero The Iron Maidens will rock the house Tuesday, April 11, at the Meridian, 1503 Chartres, 713-225-1717.

The Abattoir

Ten reasons the Velvet Undergroundis the most overrated band ever and is deserving of the rotating knives and soundproofed, Mediterranean-scene-covered walls of our critical abattoir:

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