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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, July 9, 2004

AC/DShe rocks on for AC/DC's sake

By Chad Pata
Special to The Advertiser

The final barrier has been overcome in women's battle for equal rights: The misogynistic hard-rock icon AC/DC is now a girl band.

The all-women band AC/DShe — from left, Mallory Young, Phyllis Rudd, Agnes Young (center), Bonny Scott and Riff Williams (takeoffs on AC/DC band member names Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, Bon Scott and Cliff Williams) — is heading for a pair of shows at Wave Waikiki this weekend. Though there are thousands of AC/DC tribute bands, AC/DShe was the first all-women incarnation.

Well, not really, but Amy Ward (aka Bonny Scott) wants you to feel that way after you leave a show by her band AC/DShe, which is playing at the Wave Waikiki this weekend.

"We're huge AC/DC fans and we try to do everything perfect," said lead singer Ward, 27. "We want even the most insane fans to recognize every drum fill; there is no improv."

Though there are literally thousands of AC/DC tribute bands, this was the first all-women incarnation. When they got together in 1999, Ward and bassist Nici Williams had never even played an instrument; they just knew they wanted to rock.

"Basically there is no other tribute I'd do," said Ward, who hails from Northern California. "We wanted to give people the opportunity to see AC/DC down at their local club."

So they donned their schoolboy clothes and picked up their fifths of whiskey and started playing. One problem: Bon Scott's lyrics are, to put it mildly, a little lascivious. After all, he even wrote a song about the enormous size of certain parts of his anatomy. But Ward shrugs that off.

"It translates a lot better than most would think," insisted Ward. "We like to drink and party just like them. It isn't forced at all, it's just second nature."

  • 10 p.m. today and Saturday; doors open 8 p.m. Opening bands Missing Dave performs at 9 p.m. today, Plumpus at 9 p.m. Saturday
  • Wave Waikiki
  • $17 general, $13 advance; for those 21 and older
  • 941-0424 ext. 12, groovetickets.com
Cross-gender tribute bands seem to be on the rise. Currently, there is an all-male act touring doing Madonna tributes, named, naturally, Mandonna.

That aside, AC/DC tribute bands are a special breed; they even have a convention. AC/DC's Big Ball will be held in Wales in August and the women have been invited to play.

"We get e-mails from AC/DC tribute bands from all over the world," said Ward, fresh from a gig at the Hollister (Calif.) Independence Rally. "Though some of the guys do get a little jealous."

Their success has fans asking for them to go into the studio and record an album, but the girls know where their appeal lies.

"It's a live thing; no one can go into a studio and record these songs and sound half as good as AC/DC did," said Ward.

The band members, in their late 20s/early 30s, never had an opportunity to see Scott play (he died in 1980). So they fashion their act after the movie "Let There Be Rock."

"We are a Bon Scott-era tribute band, with the huge, crazy dancing around and Angus Young head-banging," said Ward, who has seen AC/DC with its new frontman Brian Johnson.

This is the limitation of the tribute band — they have just one act with no new material coming out. But after five great years and no end in sight, AC/DShe is just enjoying the party.

"It's a lot of fun," said Ward, "and as long as it is, we'll keep doing it."