The all-female AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Belles, currently celebrating their 10-year anniversary, comes to Reno’s Knitting Factory on Sat., May 15, at 8:30 p.m. $10 and up. For tickets or more information, visit re.knittingfactory.com. Lisa Brisbois has been with the group for eight years and plays the part of AC/DC rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Malcolm Young.
I’ve seen this show billed as your first show in Reno, but I don’t think that’s true, because I’m pretty sure I saw you here.
Mandy, who is the longest-running member in the band—she would know. Recently, we played in Elko, Nevada. But I haven’t played in Reno since I was in the band. So it’s been more than eight years. We do have a tour history … we just compiled it, and it goes all the way back to 2001. So if we played in Reno, it would be on that tour history.
How can I look at that? Because I swear I saw Hell’s Belles at the Zephyr in Reno in like 2002.
Yeah, you can go to our website [www.hellsbelles.info]. Do you know if it was with [vocalist] Jamie [Nova] or our original singer, Om [Johari]?
I don’t remember. I remember it being really, really fun …
That’s the main thing I remember. Other than that, I drank a lot …
[Laughs.] Sounds like a Hell’s Belles show!
Why AC/DC? Why not? They’re great. They are the perfect rock band because they appeal to so many different people, so many different ages. They’re still doing what they do best. I just saw them on their last tour, and it was amazing. Personally, I grew up with AC/DC. … It’s fun music. And, as you mentioned, people like to go and get their drink on and hear songs they’re familiar with and have a good time. … Malcolm Young is really good at writing a catchy song with that hook that reels you in.
You mentioned going to see them on their most recent tour. When you go to an AC/DC show, what are you looking for?
Well, we were all really excited. … I thought I would be really focused on watching and studying, and thinking about, do I do this right, or do I do that right, and how do we compare? And I did that a little bit, but I got caught up in the energy so fast that I was just like the fan next to me, standing on my feet, freaking out, and jumping up and down! [Laughs.] It’s hard not to because they still have that great energy. They still know how to get a crowd going, so I was just immediately in fan mode.
Have they ever commented about you guys? Have you ever met them?
We did meet them. We met them this last time. And the girls, when this band first started, with the original line-up, they met them back then as well. And then I think it was Blender magazine, and I can’t remember the year … they quoted Angus Young as saying that we’re his favorite AC/DC tribute band.
More generally, why do you think audiences respond so enthusiastically to all-female tribute bands?
Well, I think initially there’s two different kinds of first responses. I think one type of initial response is people who are really into seeing women play music—maybe other women or girls or what have you. The other initial response is people who want to see if we can pull it off. Like a car wreck. ‘Is it going to be horrible? I want to go check it out.’ For the most part, no matter who comes, after the show, they’ve had fun, they’re excited, they think it was good, and they were pleasantly surprised. I think people come away liking it, because it’s AC/DC.