One of the newest, and most highly anticipated, of the acts in L.A.'s tribute band scene is Ladysmith, an all-female tribute to legendary rockers Aerosmith.
The band is new, but its members are veteran players, with many years experience in tribute, cover and original bands.
Ladysmith's version of the "Toxic Twins" are two old friends who have been in bands together, off and on, since high school.
Leslie Carol and Robin Beacham, or "Eve Tyler" and "Flo Perry," first met and became friends and bandmates as teens.
When not working with Beacham in XOX, the Houston, Texas resident Carol sang with several bands which toured throughout Texas, Louisiana and the midwest.
Relocating to California in the early 1990s, Carol and Beacham were reunited as two-thirds of Majenta Jets, whose self-titled debut album was released in 1996.
Beacham, also a native Texan, toured and recorded with Carol in XOX and was later a member of Velvet Hammer in the 1980s. She relocated to California in the early '90s and, after the Majenta Jets project with Carol, Beacham stopped playing for a couple of years prior to joining Cheap Chick, the all-female Cheap Trick tribute band, in 2003. She continues to work with Cheap Chick today, in addition to launching Ladysmith.
Guitarist Jennifer Paro, aka "Brat Whiford," was born in New York and raised in Oklahoma. Her first musical instrument, in her preteen years, was the flute, and she played in her school and honor bands. She picked up a guitar at age 17 and found her true musical passion. She was a member of a popular Dallas band, Girl, and graduated with honors with a degree in audio engineering from Dallas Sound Lab's School for the Recording Arts.
Paro worked on various projects as an engineer in Dallas before moving west
to seek additional studio work. She also kept up her playing chops working with
such acts as the all-female cover group BandShe.
The band's first bass player, Tanner (or "Babe Hamilton"), was born and spent her early years in the midwest. She began playing guitar with bands in high school, and resumed working with bands after a short term as a professional basketball player in Switzerland.
Tanner switched to bass in the late 90s, and has since toured with BandShe for the last few years. In the spring of 2006, Tanner was part of a large ensemble which accompanied "popera" singer Krassimir at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.
Late in 2006, Amy Tung took over bass duties as "Tung Hamilton." A classically-trained pianist who is also a talented guitarist and singer, Amy has also, for the last several years, been a member of the three-piece rock band HDR. The band released its first full-length CD, Make A Wish, in 2005.
Rounding out Ladysmith's lineup is its drummer, Max, as "Zoey Kramer." Max was born in Los Angeles and began playing drums at age ten. Influenced by a range of players from Buddy Rich to Dave Weckl and Tony Williams, Max played in her school's marching band before playing in bands where she could sit still and showcase her true skills.
She has spent the last few years with the California Girls, a cover band which has toured Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, China and Korea.
Max will also make her acting debut in Harmony and Melody, an independent film set for a 2007 release.
Ladysmith played its first show in March of 2006, and plans to take on a more active schedule in 2007. Some overseas dates are also being discussed for '07.
Among the band's more high-profile gigs in 2006 was taking part in a concert benefitting actress and animal activist Linda Blair's World Heart Foundation.
The band has already drawn a considerable amount of press, and will be featured in a pair of documentary projects begun in 2006. The first is being produced for release in England (produced and directed by Sandra Fleming, assisted by New Zealand filmmaker Lisa Burd), while the second is a Canadian project helmed by author and McMaster University professor Susan Fast and director of photography Lisa Platt. The latter may also be accompanied by a book.
Robin, aka Flo, is also the subject of a national ad campaign by Girls Rock Guitar Picks (distributed by Hot Picks). Her image is being featured in the packaging of the product, along with several print ads. She joins Heart's Nancy Wilson, Alexx Calise, Lindsay Rush and the all-female band The Holograms in the campaign.
Photo credit (Ladysmith, Leslie, Robin, Jennifer) - Carol Sheridan; makeup - Stacy Lande. Courtesy Ladysmith.