jump to navigation

This Weekend I’ll Mostly be Listening to… Women Cover Bands Covering Male Bands August 20, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

This article in the Guardian made me go looking at a range of female cover bands

Joanne Joanne is perhaps the most intriguing. The drummer is from Knifeworld, they focus on what they (and I) say is the most interesting part of Duran Duran’s career, that being the first year or two when they were unequivocally a new romantic/futurist group. They say ‘we don’t do Rio’. And good for them. Though if it were me I’d do New Moon on Monday and Ordinary World.

I could talk about Duran Duran’s first album, perhaps in this slot one day I will. I still think it is a great piece of work. I’m not immune to some of the later stuff, but it was glibber, less – well – interesting.

Iron Maidens are perhaps the most professional of the three. If you like Iron Maiden I suspect you’ll like them. If, like me, you’re not madly fond of ver Maiden then I think you might actually find them an improvement on the original.

The Ramonas are a bit more down to earth propelled by fizzing energy and… well…more fizzing energy.

Of course, as with all covers bands there are stray thoughts. All these groups are pretty good in their own right. They can play, they can sing, they can drum. Why aren’t they making their own music. And yet, and yet, given how covering songs is part of a cultural heritage stretching back, presumably, millennia I’m uneasy about demanding novelty – particularly when these groups by covering bands which are male are in and of themselves doing something fascinating in itself.

Some thought provoking stuff here too…

Cross-gender tribute acts are still a novelty, but until the advent of bands such as Joanne Joanne, they were a single-genre novelty. (Not to mention single-gender: there are dozens of all-girl acts, but almost no male bands covering female groups, more of which below.) Nearly all the early cross-gender groups were metal, which came with the inbuilt challenge of persuading sceptical metalheads they could rock out as vigorously as men. Some went a step further, apparently endorsing metal’s objectification of women (the website of a Metallica tribute exclaims, “MISSTALLICA was the response to the want and need for old school thrash metal and a pretty face to go with it!”). But the scene now has female pop, punk, grunge and even country tributes, who interpret their subject matter as they see fit.

Any other cover bands people have heard of like the above?

Joanne Joanne – Planet Earth

Joanne Joanne – Girls on Film

Iron Maidens – Run to the Hills

Iron Maidens – Aces High

The Ramonas – Sheena is a Punk Rocker

The Ramonas – Rockaway Beach


1. sonofstan - August 20, 2016

Saw the Ramonas recently – they were great fun, but strangely, despite all the notes in the right place, they didn’t really sound like the prototype. Took me a while to figure it out, but I reckon the thing that was different was that, as stated somewhere in End of the Century, the Brudders took their rhythm from Johnny, the Ramonas followed, more conventionally, the drummer. It proved that, for supposedly simple music, it’s actually quite difficult to get down exactly.

Joanne Joanne ‘s keyboard player is Lolo Woods, from Dublin, fact fans.

Perhaps the most interesting femme cover band though, are Vag Halen, half cover band, half queer art activist project from Toronto. I won’t stick up a video, since most are borderline NSFW, but check them out. Despite the artworld habitus, they rock in a way I reckon you would very much enjoy….


WorldbyStorm - August 20, 2016

That’s fascinating re the Ramonas. I’d love to see/hear them. And I did not know that re Joanne Joanne.

Cheers re Vag Halen. I’ve heard tell!

Just on sounds. I was reading a biography of the Young brothers and what you said yesterday (IIRC) is about spot on re diasporas in their case. But what was also interesting was that it suggested although people try to replicate their sound because there’s a tendency to overlook the rhythm guitar those copying them almost never get it right.

I love the way you can put four or five women or men on a stage with essentially the same musical kit and there’s an infinite number of sounds and styles that will come out of that. Metal, dub, post-punk… anything.


sonofstan - August 20, 2016

I remember an interview with Marc Ribot, who played on various Tom waits and Elvis c records, talking about playing with Chuck Berry in one of his pick up bands, and saying that while everyone ‘knows’ the chuck berry style, CB himself almost never does it the way you think and that – and Ribot is incredibly good – it’s very difficult to copy exactly.


WorldbyStorm - August 20, 2016

That’s it precisely – it’s magical


2. Berniie NiFhurlinge - August 20, 2016

The aforementioned Lolo Wood of Joanne Joanne is actually in two covers/tribute bands, the second being Ye Nuns who cover The Monks. Great version of I Hate You here.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pbZtpIEjtA

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - August 20, 2016

That’s great, thanks a million


3. Lolo Wood - August 21, 2016

All the members of Joanne Joanne and Ye Nuns do make their own music too, I don’t understand why people assume that we don’t! Here is the new single 4/5ths of Joanne Joanne performing as MX Tyrants https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1PX3CXgBak


WorldbyStorm - August 21, 2016

Ah sorry if that impression came across, wanted though to treat it as itself. The formerly of Sidi Bou Said, Knifeworld(?) Etc connections I was aware of but thought the phenomenon of going out ad a group specifically to cover groups is really fascinating in itself.


Lolo Wood - August 22, 2016

I hope that didn’t come across as snappy, but it’s a question that’s asked every time we’re written about, so I feel we have to spell it out. Plus I wanted to share our new video 🙂


Lolo Wood - August 22, 2016

(And we do do New Moon on Monday!)


WorldbyStorm - August 22, 2016

Not at all, its a very valid point you make and I hope I was equivocal enough in the op not to seem dismissive -it’s why I said demanding novelty isn’t the point of the exercise, I really love what you all do and it really does raise intriguing questions about music, authorship, etc. New Moon on Monday too!


4. damoneramone - September 6, 2016

Digging the Ramonas.

Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: