NIGHT LIVE WITH THUNDHERSTRUCK!
Reviewed in Britain
Catches Up on Band News After Their World-Wide Summer Tour 2005
direct to subheadings:
Live at The Big Ball: Saturday 6
August 2005 (music review)
The Main Tour
Band's AC/DC History
entertaining and darn right dirty, well what else would you expect from ThundHerStruck;
introduced as 'The best all girl AC/DC tribute band in the world' at The Big Ball
in Wrexham (Britain). On their dynamic Asian and European tour, which included
Britain, entertaining mainly the US troops, ThundHerStruck (a Californian-based
band) experienced first hand the hostile environment of army life on-and-off military
installations. Their experience enlightened them as much as their raw and gutsy
performance entertained the army personnel. The drummer, Steph reports, "The
28-day 2005 tour, through June and July, took us from Europe into Afghanistan
and was just an amazing experience." The aim of the tour, organised by AKA
Promotions, was to entertain and help boost the morale of the troops stationed
overseas. "Just give them a taste of home," asserts the lead guitarist,
Tina. The vocalist, Dyna aims to spread the gospel of AC/DC and have a great time.
at The Big Ball: Saturday 6 August 2005
culmination of their tour took the band to a very different location, The Big
Ball, a world-renown annual three-day AC/DC convention held in Wrexham, a town
bordering England and Wales. Here, the band were reviewed playing to hard core
AC/DC fans who knew every song lyric and guitar lick of their heroes. Tina confirms,
"There was definitely more pressure, so it was important to perform it accurately."
It would be a test for any tribute band. A lot of thought also went into the set
list. Steph was responsible for its planning. She says, "We just waited the
first few days to see what songs were played and what ones weren't, then we put
our set together with some of the more obscure AC/DC songs: Beating Around The
Bush, Riff Raff...; as well as putting in a few of the tougher tunes that might
not be overplayed by all the bands: For Those About To Rock and Thunderstruck."
girls had no problem living up to their growing popular worldwide reputation though.
Launching into their gig set with Sin City, the girls reminded everyone why they
were invited. In the opening riff, the audience simply were mesmerised by the
band's presence and ability. The following Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap hooked
the crowd in further - the chorus could be seen and heard reverberating from their
lips. Putting on a Brian-esque cap, which needed no explanation, Dyna introduced
Shoot to Thrill. The sheer heavy sound of the band coupled with Dyna's vocal prowess
are best described as volume with finesse. The vocals reached such a high fever
pitch on the end line, 'Shoot you down', that even Brian would find it hard not
to be impressed.
up and steaming, Tina led the way with Are You Ready and Riff Raff. The gutsiness
of her guitar playing and the raw vivacious energy of her Angus-esque grooves
were fully manifested and turned into a manic frenzy in the ensuing Jailbreak
and Beating Around The Bush - formidable stuff. Aided of course by Carin's constant
and reliable rhythm guitar and the entertaining and swirling blur of her lively
headbanging. She may be little and cute, but she has an abundance of energy.
there, sultry, calm and collected is Andrea, the backbone of the band. Her slick
finger picking bass style acted as constant driving force on top of the drums.
The remaining rhythm player, Stephanie is someone you couldn't overlook. Her playing
depicts a dark, mean and moody power drummer who would double well as a solo act
- viewing is highly recommended. She admits to regularly splitting a few heads
and cracking a few cymbals! Her awesome sound manages to capture the quintessential
needs of the song and is also a representation of her exuberant personality -
pure entertainment. Standouts include: Sin City, Beating Around The Bush and Walk
All Over You. The responsible tight sound of the rhythm section together with
the creative side are a testament to the dedication and professionalism of the
band members. Carin sums up the working relationship, "We are very comfortable
with each other. These 'girls got rhythm'."
the superbly executed Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution a big thank you went
to Stick from Dirty DC, the headlining band, who lent ThundHerStruck his wireless
system after theirs packed up. This revealed the remarkable good will and camaraderie
between bands entertaining at The Big Ball - considering the competitive nature
of bands together and the fact they all are emulating their heroes, AC/DC. Steph
says, "All the bands there were cool and fun, and the best people you would
ever want to hang out and play with. We all had a blast together and it was totally
cool to meet up with all these great musicians and great bands from around the
world that give tribute to AC/DC too."
asked the crowd for some beer refreshment before her heavy pounding on Have A
Drink On Me. The crowd, now accustomed to her drumming style, were only too pleased
to oblige. Through TNT and Walk All Over You the audience became an extension
of ThundHerStruck, a mass of banging heads and streaming arms.
song, Touch Too Much was introduced as it was performed, 'a little dirty, sexy
and rocking'. Here, Dyna's theatrical physical gestures, sex appeal and natural
flexibility were more apparent and emphasized her all round talent as a superb
front woman. Watching Back In Black from a distance you could be fooled into believing
AC/DC were performing - that's if Brian Johnson donned a long curly wig or hair
The slightly mellower sound of Live Wire again really highlighted
the dexterity of Dyna's rich and gritty vocals and her impressive ability to cover
Bon Scott as well as Brian Johnson.
Thunderstruck the crowd cheered throughout to the intricacies of Tina's sincere
and genuine guitar work married with her ability to physically groove and look
good at the same time.
of the key standouts of the gig was Big Balls. Half way through the song Dyna
pulled 'lemon' balls from inside her jeans and dispersed their bitter sweet contents
everywhere to the delight of the crowd. The original humour, fun stage antics
and the growling vocal sound of the song were fully captured, together with Dyna's
theatrical gesticulation made it memorable.
delivery of the final track, For Those About To Rock, sealed the absolute approval
of the new fans. The girls' pumping force and adrenalin fully consumed the crowd
in excited delirium. They were now committed followers and physically showing
it - headbanging in unison.
final word must go to the band's most recent tour manager, Frank Urtado. Life
on the road was made so much easier with his support. Steph sings him praises,
"We truly have had the pleasure of working with some great peeps, and Frank
is absolutely one of the best." Carin refers to him as, "part of the
family", and Tina says, "he is awesome and a lot of fun to be around".
the gig at The Big Ball was an example of the main tour, then the positive response
from the troops is hardly surprising. Steph reveals all, "Everyone pretty
much loved the show. Sometimes they would come out to see us out of mere curiosity
that is five chicks thumpin' out AC/DC? Hmmmm! But once they saw our high energy,
larger than life, kick'em in-the-ass show - they were hooked." She adds,
"We always have received an extremely warm welcome from the troops on-and-off
stage. They don't get too much entertainment out there, and to have five girls
playing AC/DC, well, that's a treat." Tina also responds, "They treat
us like rock stars - it's cool."
recalls a gig on a frontline base Sadr City, Iraq, "The troops never have
had any entertainment there so we wanted to put on a good show. The cymbals didn't
show up! So Steph played with a couple of trash can lids, it was highly entertaining,
and the soldiers loved it. They brought an injured soldier out on a stretcher
towards the end of the set, it was an incredible feeling to bring them so much
cheer. One of the soldiers came up to us after the show and said he forgot where
he was for 90 minutes, now that's a great feeling."
about the actual tour, Tina says, "Of course, there's a lot of travelling.
We played three shows in Kosovo, two in Bosnia, one in Kyrgyzstan, one in Uzbekistan,
and three in Afghanistan
. It was amazing, the troops were awesome and took
great care of us. We got to shoot live ammo which was really cool; barbecue on
July 4th with the special forces guys; we hung out with British guys who showed
us the Harrier aircrafts; and we were shown around one of the emergency medical
facilities where they take care of all the injured and trauma patients - they
do an incredible job there. We got to really appreciate what the men and women
do in the armed forces by seeing what they do first hand. They sacrifice so much
for their country."
girls highlight the great gigs that come to mind. Andrea says, " Laghman
for sure - a small tiny base in Afghanistan. The troops even sang Bon Jovi songs
to us by karaoke after the show!" Carin says, "Yeh, that was one hell
of a gig, I had an IV for dehydration and didn't think I was going to be able
to play, but we did and it was great. Petes' Place at Manas AFB was cool too.
I think my favourite was Bondsteel (in Kosovo)." Andrea drifts off, "It's
always an adventure. It seems like there is no time to be exhausted even though
you are. The positive energy from men and women out there is like magic fairy
dust and keeps you going." In agreement Carin says, "Andrea's right,
there's no time to be exhausted. You get a little worn out when you get home.
So you got to really take care of yourself over there. We all worked out and ate
good and had a wonderful time, meeting wonderful people."
sums things up: "I loved this 2005 tour and the others for different reasons:
from how great all the soldiers were; to being flown in Black Hawks from base-to-base
to play; to some of the great things we've seen throughout all the different countries.
It was truly incredible!" She also points out the many musical 'celebs' they
came into contact with on their travels, "Yep! We've played with many: Foreigner,
Great White, Warrant, Journey and George Thorogood. There's been a lot of very
cool bands we've had the privilege of playing with - and yep, not only do we meet
them, we usually end up hangin' out havin' a good time with them after the show!"
On a more serious
note, the band members never lose sight of the constant danger they faced on the
European and Asian tours. Dyna refers to the 2004 tour in Iraq, "Another
band that came over with us had to cancel a show because a mortar hit about 30
feet from the stage right before they were about to perform." Tina also remembers
on the previous tour when the band had the opportunity to fly over Baghdad in
Black Hawks. The girls had to wear full combat security gear in the extreme sweltering
heat. Andrea says, "It's always dangerous, but we were well protected."
So under heavy security the girls had the opportunity to sight-see civilian and
the 2005 tour, Andrea was surprised by the beautiful Afghanistan terrain whilst
Carin recalls riding in Chinooks and observing the Kandahar buildings, which the
Americans took over after 9/11. She asserts, "Pretty weird being there."
stood out for Dyna, she explains, "When we played there in 2003, the city
looked very desolate and war-torn
.there were lots of bombed-out buildings
and the scenery was very 'brown'. When we came back for the 2005 tour, it looked
completely different. The city was thriving and the surroundings were green. It
really was nice to see!"
acquired along their travels
Along their travels, Stephanie enthusiastically
talks about the memorabilia acquired, "Lots! From great 'pics' and CDs the
troops made for us, to the awards of appreciation presented to us by commanders
at the bases where we performed. Again, it was quite an honor. Did I mention all
the cool 'cami' stuff too?"
momentos included, "A matchbook offering a reward for Osama Bin Laden, and
a stone from the rubble from one of Saddam's old palaces."
to the list, Tina says, "We received a lot of certificates at many of the
bases we played. The soldiers gave us personal items of theirs like hats
we like to collect. They bring back good memories."
Band's AC/DC History
ambitious decision to put together this female AC/DC tribute band began four years
ago, under a different name and line-up. The current and more successful set-up
has been together about two years. Tina says, "We feel that the chemistry
between us is unique. It's not often that you find a group of people that you
get along and play well with."
phenomenal musical experience between the girls adds up to a lot of years which
explains their natural and confident stage performance. Dyna started her musical
career as early as four years old learning a variety of instruments. When asked
about her vocal coverage of Bon Scott and Brian Johnson, she says, "Actually,
I never knew I could sing this gritty before I joined the band! My main influence
growing up was Ann Wilson, so I probably have a tendency to sound more like that.
It's definitely a blast singing the AC/DC tunes though."
is a slightly theatrical approach to Dyna's stage performance and hints of extreme
flexibility or the possibility of being double jointed. When put to her, her response
was one of surprise, "Double-jointed? I'm not sure where that came from!
Ha! I am pretty flexible, but I'm puzzled at how you would know that from watching
me on stage? Did I drink too much and do something I can't remember? Since you
saw us at The Big Ball, that's a very real possibility
considered a guitar veteran with over 23 years experience playing, Tina talks
about her musical background, "I'm primarily self-taught, but did take classical
guitar lessons for two years when I was at college studying musical instrument
technology (guitar building)." With regard to playing AC/DC music, she reports,
"I only started emulating Angus Young moves when we started this band. I
had to study his moves by watching videos. It takes a while to get up to speed
on the live show, 'cos you have to get very comfortable running around and playing
his parts. Now it feels very natural for me, 'cos I have been doing it for so
long." Concerning difficult tracks, Tina says, "I don't really think
any of them were too difficult to put together. It's more difficult to incorporate
them with the movement, especially the track Thunderstruck which has more intricate
guitar lines." On the fitness side she admits, "I definitely have to
keep fit to do this. If I didn't, I'd probably have a hard time making it through
the show. I'm in constant motion, and then singing backups on top of that takes
a lot of energy." She adds, "I feel great after a show. The audience's
reaction to us is very cool. They get a lot more than they expect 'cos the show
is very high energy, and of course a great source of exercise."
also started an early musical career following in her father's footsteps as a
drummer. It's hard to believe a slim blue-eyed blond could hit the drums with
such power and velocity. However, get to chat with her and her strong dynamic
character is a give-away to her real personality. Talking about The Big Ball in
her deep infectious tone, she laughs, "Well, this particular gig brought
out the 'headpounding' in me! It requires more than just precision in my performance,
it also requires an energy from me that AC/DC tunes so deserve. I play it hard
and loud, but also work it dynamically to bring out the heartbeat and feel of
describes the comaraderie between band members, "Well, Tina, Dyna and I have
known each other for quite a while and have played in several bands together in
the past, so this was just a fun project that we wanted to do, just to keep playing
and have fun." When the new rhythm members came along, Steph says the band
became a force all of its own, "I definitely felt Andrea and I gel immediately.
There's a massive amount of great musicians in LA, but it takes a really 'laid
back, in-the-pocket kind of groover' to get the right feel for this stuff. It's
really not as 'cut and dry' as it sounds. And when Carin joined the band it was
a God-send. She can play Malcolm's part like a pro. Very tight, locked-in and
with a great tone."
ponders on rehearsing and fitness, "No, we don't really rehearse too much
long as we all 'do our homework' and know the songs, we can come in and tighten
them up with the band and then add them to the list of AC/DC tunes we play. As
far as staying in shape to keep up energy levels, just give us a few shots and
a few brews and we're on, 'GO!'". She catches her breath for a moment then
continues, "And as far as being burnt out at the end of the gig, we actually
wait to burn out 'till after the party." It must have been one long slow
burn out 'cos ThundHerStruck were rumoured to have partied for three days before
The Big Ball show, then carried on afterwards
musical influences initially started with the Beatles and R'n'B, but her big passion
is Rick James. As a slick finger-picking bass player, her motto is, "I wanna
do a better show every time if I can." This accounts for her professional
and solid approach. However, when it comes to keeping in shape, she says, "Hey,
everyone knows I love to eat but, I'm TRYING!"
been in the band nearly two years. Her musical experience ranges from classic
rock to Slayer as well as being a big Reggae fan. Highly regarded as a tight,
in-your-face rhythm guitarist with an easy-going and fun character makes her the
perfect team player. Carin just says, "Both Andrea and I jammed together
before joining ThundHerStruck." When she auditioned for the band, she says
the rhythm section "pretty much instantly gelled".
what does the future hold for ThundHerStruck? Tina says, "Our motto is to
move onwards and upwards. Who knows where it will take us? It's like a joy ride."
Andrea drifts off, "More tours abroad or the rest of USA - wherever the fairy
dust blows!" Steph says, "Southern Calfornian shows. Then, we start
it all again! Rock and Roll!"
out the new promo CD, You've Been