Metal Chick of the Month – Linda McDonald

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Scream for me, Linda!

Not many girls accept the challenge to “hide” their beauty behind a drum kit, but when they dare to pick up the drumsticks and start playing, the results are usually awesome. That’s exactly the case with our Metal babe this month, the amazing Heavy Metal/Hard Rock drummer Linda McDonald, also known as “Nikki McBurrain”, from the all-female Iron Maiden tribute band The Iron Maidens, and “Brandy Castillo”, from the all-female Ozzy Osbourne tribute band The Little Dolls . Besides those two tribute projects, she’s also the drummer for the cover bands Valley Dolls, Crabby Patty (I’m So Unclear!) and Unholy Pink, and the drummer/co-founder of the all-female Heavy Metal band Phantom Blue from its start back in 1987 until they parted ways in 2001.

Of Irish and Japanese descent, which kind of explains her exotic traces, Linda Ann McDonald was born in the city of Great Falls, Montana, United States, and by the age of 4 she was already drumming on her mom’s kitchen plastic containers, then taking guitar, piano, drums and violin lessons. Linda also attended several drumming and ear training courses at the Dick Grove School of Music to improve her playing skills.

Her biggest idols in the world of music are of course the beasts Clive Burr (R.I.P.) and Nicko McBrain, but she also mentions important drummers such as Simon Phillips, John Bonham, Alex Van Halen and Phil Collins as other influences in her music style. Linda is currently endorsed by Paiste cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Drum Workshop drums, pedals and hardware, Coffin Case and Monster Energy Drink, and in terms of success and media, she has been featured in lots of music magazines such as Kerrang!, Metal Hammer and Modern Drummer, some Heavy Metal/Hard Rock radio shows, as well as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and won many prizes including “Best Drummer/Performance of Drums and Percussion” at the 7th Annual LA Music Awards in 1997, and “Best Female Drummer” at the  3rd and 7th Annual Rock City News Awards Show, in 1998 and 2001 respectively.

Although she’s more recognized nowadays for her contribution to the music of The Iron Maidens, in my opinion the most electrifying moment of her career were her years smashing the drums with the amazing band Phantom Blue, with whom she recorded two full-length studio albums entitled Phantom Blue (1989) and Built to Perform (1993), an album of previously recorded demos called Prime Cuts & Glazed Donuts (1995), the live album Caught Live! (1997), and finally the EP Full Blown (1998). If you don’t know anything about this band, I suggest you listen to the entire Built to Perform album HERE: it’s impossible not to bang your head with this pure Hard Rock release. Despite the band breaking up in 2001, Linda and Courtney Cox, one of her bandmates from The Iron Maidens, joined former Phantom Blue members Kim Nielsen-Parsons, Gigi Hangach (who was the inspiration for one of our previous Metal chicks, Mia Coldheart) and Tina Wood for a reunion at a very special öne night only” concert in 2009 for the benefit of brain research in memory of Phantom Blue co-founder Michelle Meldrum, who died of a cystic growth in her brain in 2008.

With The Iron Maidens, Linda has recorded the albums World’s Only Female Tribute to Iron Maiden (2005) and Route 666 (2007), the EP The Root of All Evil (2008), and a video in 2010 entitled Metal Gathering Tour Live in Japan 2010. You can find a lot of excellent videos from Linda and the other “Iron Maidens” kickin’ ass on YouTube, as for example this amazing version for The Evil That Men Do live in Las Vegas in 2012. And it’s easy to understand why The Iron Maidens are so good in what they do: according to Linda, excelling as a tribute band is all about recreating the whole live show vibe of the original band, including first of all the sound, with the stage, clothing and signature moves of the members up next.

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When asked about her favorite Iron Maiden songs to perform live, she always mentions the unparalleled classics Phantom of the Opera and Revelations as her top ones, mainly due to all the power and emotion they have. Furthermore, our gorgeous drummer considers the superb Maiden Japan as one of the most important albums of her life: in her own words, “Clive Burr is just on fire on that recording!”, and it was Clive’s perfect drumming on that album that made her decide to play the drums. Besides Maiden Japan, Linda said she would truly love to play the all-time classic Somewhere In Time from beginning to end one day. What can I say about that? That would be an impeccable concert without a shadow of a doubt.

In addition, among her favorite non-Iron Maiden bands and musicians, there’s a lot of awesomeness such as Pantera, Judas Priest, Stormtroopers of Death (S.O.D.), Steve Vai, some non-traditional Heavy Metal bands and artists like Static X and System of a Down, and even Barry Manilow. Linda also mentioned during one of her interviews that the song Fast as a Shark, one of Accept’s biggest classics and by far my favorite song from those Teutonic Heavy Metal masters, really opened her eyes to the power of Heavy Metal. All those formidable choices just corroborate her marvelous taste for music, don’t you agree?

And at long last, Linda is also an avid pet lover, having a dog, a cat and a parakeet in her home. I wonder if she has ever tried to teach any of those animals how to do that weird scream Nicko always does in between some songs during an Iron Maiden concert, or how they react to her intense drumming and to the music she listens to at home. Anyway, one thing I’m certain about is that those are really lucky pets.

Linda McDonald’s Official Facebook page
Linda McDonald’s Official Twitter
The Iron Maidens’ Official Facebook page
The Iron Maidens’ Official Twitter

“I just love knowing you are able to touch people with music and love sharing that connection.” – Linda McDonald

Metal Chick of the Month – Mia Coldheart

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Rock Me Like The Devil!

Despite the fact that Angela Gossow is German, she is the lead singer of a Swedish band, so let’s stay around that same country for the second edition of the Metal Chick of the Month. This time I’m going to talk about Mia Coldheart, the lead singer and guitar of the awesome all-female hard rock band Crucified Barbara. Actually, I could talk about all four girls from the band, but let’s focus on one at a time to avoid any heart attacks, right?

Of course her last name is not Coldheart, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a cold heart at all. Her real name is Mia Karlsson and she was born on August 21, 1980 in the municipality of Tyresö, located in the Stockholm County in Sweden. And as you can see, she’s the only non-blonde in the band, which doesn’t mean she’s less beautiful than the others. Quite the contrary, her long dark hair makes her stand out among the other girls, and adding to that her powerful voice we have the perfect recipe for not only an amazing singer, but for a true hard rock frontwoman.

I believe Crucified Barbara would not be the same successful band without Mia’s voice. However, for those who don’t know it, the band started as a punk rock band back in 1998 and at that time she used to play the guitar only (unfortunately, I couldn’t finds any old material of the band to show how their music was). She became the lead singer of the band in 2003, just a couple of years before the band released their debut album, and in less than 10 years she has become a reference for many hard rock female singers all over the world.

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One thing that always comes to my mind while listening to Mia Coldeheart singing are the similarities between her voice and Lzzy Hale’s voice, from Halestorm. However, I prefer Mia’s voice a thousand times, and in my opinion the only reason for Crucified Barbara not being as famous as Halestorm is the fact that they’re not from North America, as I mentioned here. Pay attention to Mia’s voice in different songs and you’ll see how versatile her voice is, from a soft and smooth singing in the ballad Count Me In to a more hard rock approach in Rock Me Like The Devil, and a true heavy metal voice in the Motörhead-ish song The Crucifier. Lzzy is a great singer, but her voice sounds the same in every song, and besides, I’ve had the chance to check Mia and Lzzy singing live in some videos and Mia kicks fuckin’ ass. Besides, she plays the guitar all the time while singing, not only in some songs. If you don’t trust me, take a look at Crucified Barbara playing Bad Hangover live at Sweden Rock Festival (also check how cool the Swedish language is) and you’ll see what i’m talking about!

Talking about Mia’s biggest influences in music, I saw an interview where she said she started to play guitar because of Nirvana and the whole Grunge music scene, but then she started listening to bands like Dream Theater, Megadeth, and Helloween, and guys like Marty Friedman helped define her guitar style. Regarding her vocals, she said her biggest influence was Gigi Hangach, from the band Phantom Blue, who by the way was her motivation to actually start singing heavy music.

Mia’s entire career has been built with Crucified Barbara only, with which she has recorded three albums so far: In Distortion We Trust (2005), ‘Til Death Do Us Party (2009), and their most recent and my favorite one called The Midnight Chase (2012). Besides that, she has just recorded some additional vocals to some material from a Swedish progressive metal band called Mind’s Eye in two of their albums (Walking on H20, from 2006, and A Gentleman’s Hurricane, from 2007).

If you’re a fan of Halestorm, but would like to listen to something faster and heavier, you will love Crucified Barbara and especially Mia Coldheart’s voice. She will rock you like the devil, I’m pretty sure about that.

Equipment
Gibson Flying V (Gothic 2001)
Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amp
Mesa Boogie 4×12 Rectifier cabinet
Rotosound strings 10-52

Personal website/blog
www.coldheart.se

“Don’t wait to find the perfect band. You can’t sit home and dream about a band. You have to get out, meet people, play with a lot of different people.” – Mia Coldheart