Hells Bells

 Hells Belles :: Cervante’s Masterpece Ballroom :: December 27 ::

AC/DC Tribute Hells Belles grows into one of the Front Range’s favorite acts



By Brandon Daviet


For rock musicians and fans alike, there is no practice more holy than paying proper homage to one’s favorite band. For many people the songs of the past serve as a sort of audio photograph, invoking memories of good times past or a loved one lost, and for most folks dusting off a classic album or attending a concert is tribute enough.


For others, like the girls in the all-female AC/DC tribute band Hells Belles, faithfully recreating the music of their idols is not only the ultimate tribute but also a demanding job. Hells Belles bassist Mandy Reed, who plays the part of AC/DC’s Cliff Williams, took a few minutes to talk to The Marquee about life in a tribute band.


“The band was actually the idea of our former guitarist Amy, she had the idea for the band for several years,” said Reed.


While tribute bands are nothing new, the prospect of a female AC/DC is a unique concept considering that most of AC/DC’s songs contain thinly veiled and overtly masculine sexual innuendos, something that is not lost on the girls in Hells Belles. “We grew up with AC/DC just like everyone, their music was at every high school party and there is no denying they are a great, blues-based rock and roll band that is sexy and smart,” said Reed. “I think a lot of their lyrics are geared toward women and I have been a fan of the band for a long, long time.”


While being in a tribute band is undoubtedly fun, there is also a bit of razzing that comes with the territory. Many music purists think that being in a tribute band is nowhere near as difficult as being in an original band. Add to that the commonly held misconception that AC/DC’s music is simple to play and you have a hard career to justify. “AC/DC’s music is far from simple, in fact being in Hells Belles has made all of us much better musicians,” said Reed. “AC/DC’s rhythm section is extremely solid and Phil Rudd’s drumming is like a metronome. Playing their music is a real challenge.”


Like many other tribute bands, the members of Hells Bells also play in other bands that perform original music, to satisfy their creative yearnings. “We all have our side projects, I have a punk band called Neutral Boy, and Adrian, who does Angus’s part, has Adrian and the Sickness,” said Reed. “We all have a lot of fun with both Hells Belles and our original bands.”


As any AC/DC fan understands, there are two distinct eras in the band’s history. There is the original band that was led by the enigmatic Bon Scott and there is the post-Back in Black line-up that became larger than life. Back in Black, the first AC/DC record to feature Brian Johnson on vocals, has become one of the best selling albums of all time. For Hells Belles, just like many AC/DC fans, both eras hold their own importance.


“Bon Scott was so sly and his lyrics were extremely clever, he is one of the greatest lyricists around, in my mind, and after his death Brian Johnson had to come around and fill these huge shoes,” said Reed. “What really amazes me about Brian Johnson is his continuing respect for Bon Scott, he was honored to be able to be in the band and help them continue on.”


For Hells Belles, continuing on is also the plan. The band has just recorded their first CD of AC/DC songs and have also just launched an online store to sell the album and the band’s other merchandise.


Hells Belles :: Cervante’s Masterpece Ballroom :: December 27 ::


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