Hell's Belles

Mandy Reed/Cliff Williams (bassist): I'm happy that people are still interested. We're super thankful just to be nominated.

After many lineup changes since the band began in 2000, you're in charge of Seattle's all-female AC/DC cover band. What's most challenging about keeping things together?

Reed: Obviously, it's the distance. Adrian Connor, our Angus Young, lives in Austin, but that branches out to many different things. Like rehearsal time—we literally have none. We have to do that at sound check, but we keep our chops up at home with the records.

What excited you most about taking on these characters?

Reed: AC/DC is one of my favorite bands of all time, and I was really excited about the fact that I could travel and do it.

Jamie Nova/Bon Scott/Brian Johnson (vocals): The chance to play with amazing musicians and learn the ropes behind the music scene in a working band, and the opportunity to perform in front of the crowds the Belles draw.

You've got plenty of rivals, but only one all-female group that I can find, and they only cover Bon Scott's songs. Besides having a cooler name than AC/DShe, how are the Belles better?

Reed: We don't look at it that way because we share a common ground, and that is a love for AC/DC. We look at it more as camaraderie. However, if you're gonna do an AC/DC tribute, it's important to cover both eras. Both singers are very much a part of AC/DC—a lot of people like the Bon era better, especially the hard-core fans, but it was Back in Black that took them over the top. You can't really deny that.

Jamie, do you alter your performance when singing Scott or Johnson?

Nova: Yes—Bon was the sly, glitter-in-his-eye troublemaker, and Brian was in-your-face, balls to the wall. So you have to change it up to emulate and capture both of those personalities. Hard-core fans have seen videos and documentaries, and they know what they want to see. So we all work really hard to emulate our characters as closely as possible.

Angus Young endorsed you, and you met him at a show in Tacoma. How was that?

Reed: It was definitely an experience I'll never forget. They were all super nice, down-to-earth guys. They're little guys in person, but their presence is huge. Being able to sit down and pick their brains was amazing.

Your bio says you represent "a generation of women who won't be intimidated." Does that include women who may be intimidated by AC/DC's lyrics?

Reed: It could mean that. Music today is still, in a lot of ways, a man's world. We try and support female musicians as much as we can by adding them on the bill and giving them exposure. We don't change the lyrics—I think the oxymoron is hilarious. We sing the same lyrics, but we're playing the music really well.

rshimp@seattleweekly.com

 
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