The earliest tribute band I can remember seeing was a John Mellencamp show by a bunch of guys in Melbourne in the early 90’s. It’s a far cry from the hard rock of Guns ‘N’ Rose and our next interview guests from Los Angeles, California.
Paradise Kitty is an all female Guns ‘N’ Roses tribute band that has been strutting their stuff for a number of years, of the back of their love for Guns ‘N’ Roses masterpiece Appetite For Destruction (1987). It is a gig like no other, a privilege you could almost say, to be performing Guns ‘N’ Roses’s biggest hits, to an army of faithful fans who can’t get enough of late ’80s and early ’90s nostalgia and rock itself. From what we can gather band co-founders Rachael Rine on drums and frontwoman Jenna Syde, put away their record player long along and formed Paradise Kitty as the ultimate tribute to rock ‘n’ roll’s bad boys. Along for the ride joining Jenna and Rachael is a great line-up of some of the best rotating guitarists, which on this forthcoming debut Australian tour includes the likes guitar virtuoso and You Tube sensation, Shani Kimelman.
I recently had the privilege to connect with both Rachael and Jenna just before they fly out from LAX to Melbourne to begin their Australian Guns ‘N’ Roses tribute tour. Here is some of what we talked about.
I was wondering if you could briefly introduce (for those you haven’t heard of Paradise Kitty) the band and how it all started?
Rachael: Jenna and I both grew up loving Gn’R. It seemed like a good time to get out there and rock some amazing song. We pulled together Paradise Kitty and the rest is history. We have been so warmly embraced by fans, it blows my mind.
I understand tribute bands can really make a living out of playing music by bands they admire. How many weeks in the year would you spend on tour?
Jenna: I would spend the rest of my life on tour if I could.
Rachael: When I first moved to LA an aging rock star said to me “It’s all about getting on the road and how long you can stay out there without coming home”. I feel lucky that I found Jenna because she feels the same way.
What sort of mischief do you get up to, to stop the boredom of living out of a suitcase?
Rachael: Who said living out of a suitcase is boring? You get to wake up in a different city every day and meet new amazing people. I’ve been doing this for a long time and still can find the beauty in it.
Jenna: Fireworks and waterparks are a good way to blow off steam too.
Your onstage interactions seem to create a huge buzz of excitement. How much does fitness play a part in creating such an energetic and exciting show?
Rachael: Everything we do is really physically demanding. You pay a price to rock so hard.
What’s a typical tribute show like? Is it difficult gauging what fans want to hear? And do you ever throw in any surprises?
Rachael: It’s important to connect with the audience and give them the show they came for.
Jenna: but we’re full of surprises and there’s nothing typical about us.
Welcome To The Jungle and November Rain are arguably my favourite Guns ‘N’ Roses song. How much hard work goes into getting the performance right?
Rachael: From day one, it’s been really important to Jenna and I to make sure the songs had the right feel. Each member of Gn’R definitely has his own swagger and if we don’t cop that, it doesn’t sound right. We play with a lot of different guitarists/bassists and that is the number 1 thing we require… “It has to feel right”
Which GNR song do you absolutely love playing? And why?
Jenna: I love “You Could Be Mine”. I don’t know why, it just is.
Rachael: It changes for me from time to time. We have so many amazing songs to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one.
Have any of the original Guns ‘N’ Roses members ever seen your show?
Rachael: Most of them have seen video or some part of the show and they are all really supportive of what we do. It’s an honor.
Can you tell me about one of your earliest shows you did that still gives you goosebumps? And why?
Rachael: Every night I get on stage, I feel honored to be there. Whenever I see the crowd having fun and singing along, it elevates that excitement. We do what we do, so people can forget about the troubles in their life for a moment and get lost in the rock and roll. It’s really all about the fans for me.
Jenna: I don’t know about goose bumps but I’ve definitely gotten a rush up on stage. When you have a crowd of people with their fists in the air, singing every song with you, there’s nothing like it.
On behalf of Melbourne, we are thrilled you are starting your Australian leg here at Max Watts. Is this your first trip down under? What can we expect from Paradise Kitty?
Rachael: We’re all first timers… and can’t wait to come get rowdy with all of you!
Jenna: Expect to have your faces melted!
Paradise Kitty’s Australian Tour Dates:
Thursday 27 September / Melbourne – Maxx Watts (Public holiday eve)
+ Poison’us – Poison tribute, Looks That Kill – Motley Crue Tribute + DJ’s
Friday 28 September / Adelaide – Fowlers Live
+ The Australian Motley Crue show, Propane Candy + DJ’s
Saturday 29 September / Canberra – The Basement
+ Poison’us – Poison tribute, Dream On – Aerosmith tribute + DJ’s
Sunday 30 September / Sydney – Bridge Hotel (Public holiday eve)
+ Poison’us – Poison tribute, Dave Eastgate & Boner Contention + DJ’s
Friday 5 October / Brisbane – Woolly Mammoth
+ Poison’us – Poison tribute, The Australian Bon Jovi Experience + DJ’s
You can connect with Paradise Kitty and check for news updates and future touring information via their website.You can also follow them on their Facebook page and Twitter feed. Follow them on Instagram. Watch them on You Tube.
Photo credits: The header image is courtesy of Paradise Kitty. I am not the uploader of You Tube clips embedded here.