Paradise Kitty: All Girls! All Gn’R! And Ready To Rock Your World
Meet Paradise Kitty – a raging Guns N’ Roses tribute extravaganza from Hollywoodland ready to rock your world! Billed as “All Girls! All Guns N’ Roses,” the almighty Paradise Kitty has played all across the nation, bringing on the party in a vast and epic way! Stamped with the Guns N’ Roses seal of approval, the massively talented musicians of Paradise Kitty unleash all the classics songs with an all-out vengeance. We caught up with Paradise Kitty founding members Rachael Rine and Jenna Syde backstage at the infamous Viper Room on the Sunset Strip to find out more about this absolutely amazing tribute band! Read on…
Introduce yourself and tell me what you do it Paradise Kitty.
Jenna: I’m Jenna Syde and I’m the lead singer.
Rachael: I’m Rachael Rine and I play drums.
When was the first time that you encountered Guns N’ Roses in your life?
Rachael: I was a kid in P.E class and we had to run around the track outside. I think I was in the 6th grade and someone put on Appetite for Destruction, and played it while we were running around the track. I remember running around this track and I hated running, I’m still not a big running fan, and I remember running for a full hour and not even realizing I had ran for an hour because I couldn’t stop listening to the album that was playing.
Jenna: Mine was, I can’t tell you my first time, but I can tell you my most imprinted time in my head. It was right before the earthquake, the 94′ earthquake the video Don’t Cry, was on Headbanger’s Ball and it was right before I went to bed and I snuck off and I watched Beavis and Butt-head and I woke back up, it was right before that and I woke up right before the earthquake and then November Rain was on, right before the earthquake. So, those two videos were imprinted in my head on that night. And that earthquake hit.
What do you relate to the most about the Guns N Roses member that you play?
Racheal: Steven has a very interesting swing that is, it’s very much his own. He has his own feel that he plays and it’s the Steven Adler swing. I know a lot of musicians that have played with him over the years and every single one says the same thing. They’re like, ” We’ve played these Guns and Roses Songs a million times, but nobody plays them like Steven.” His feel is very unique, so it took me a while to really try to sink into his feel and try to do it justice.
Jenna: I think with Axl it’s really hard to even put yourself anywhere near that kind of playing. The thing that I identify with him the most is his sporadicness up on stage, his emotion, and intensity, live performances. I don’t remember what I do up on stage and a lot of times I’m sure he probably doesn’t either, it just happens, you know. I always loved watching their live performances for that. As a songwriter with my own stuff, the personal side that he’s put into all of his songs you can tell that they’re his stories. They’re not other people’s stories, they’re his. So, it’s how I write too, I identify with the stories that he’s written because I know it comes from his heart.
Racheal: There’s an integrity to that.
How did Paradise Kitty come about? What were the beginnings?
Rachael: A mutual friend called us and asked us if we wanted to put together this band. And so I had a few parameters if I was gonna join and she said she knew this singer that was really great and called Jenna. Then we just sort of started maneuvering members around until it was really the right mix. Really the band is Jenna and myself and we hire different musicians that are right at that time, that have the right feel. We have some of the world’s best players here in LA and we’re lucky enough to have them be our friends and want to play with us and it’s just a lot of fun. To us, Paradise Kitty, it’s all about how many people can we include and make this a big party for everyone. There’s so many great players that we have yet to showcase.
Jenna: On top of that, it’s also finding those right players who also want to pay homage to Guns N’ Roses, who are fantastic and they will get the seal of approval from their fans because there no holds bar, the top of the top.
Rachael: That was the number one rule for me, when the girl called and said, “Do you want to do this band?” I said, “Yes, but I won’t do it if we make it campy, I don’t want to do that.” Each of us, we all have our own name as to what we do and I don’t want us trying to have cheesy names and weird outfits and the musics’ got to be spot on. If the music’s not spot on, I don’t want to get anywhere near this because Guns N’ Roses fans know every single note of this music and it’s gotta feel right, it’s gotta sound right, and it’s gotta be played with the right attitude. That’s what we strive for.
Describe the first Paradise Kitty show that you guys did together and what was that experience like, playing those songs for the first time?
Rachael: So we played this show out in the desert. And we did all of Appetite, front to back, in order and we had basically had four rehearsals and two of them were auditioning members. Then we had two rehearsals and played the show.
Jenna: I had only two of those… [laughs]
Rachael: So two of the rehearsals were auditioning but none of which from the first two weeks. It’s like, let’s play this song and see how it goes. We played that first show and I remember being terrified that we were going to completely screw up. We respect the music so much and we want to do it justice and after that show then the Gn’R page started tweeting about us. So we knew we did something right.
Jenna: Axl doesn’t tweet very often and he tweeted us! And that’s fucking fantastic and we were thankful ever since, man. It’s really helped us out a lot.
Rachael: He tweeted telling people to come to our second show, which was up in Santa Clarita at The VU. So we played our second show and at our second show we got booked for the Monsters of Rock Cruise. So we did something right.
That was my next question, has any member of GNR been to a Paradise Kitty show?
Rachael: Slash has watched hours of videos of our shows because his drummer in The Conspirators is a good friend and he comes, sits in and plays with us and he’ll always film us, take it to rehearsals with Slash and Slash loves it. He’s tried to come down, it hasn’t worked out but he’s a big fan. Duff thinks it’s cool, I don’t know if he’s seen it yet. We obviously got the seal of approval from Axl. We opened up for Dizzy Reed who’s been a member since 1989, 90?
Jenna: Dizzy’s been with the band forever and we play shows with him, he jams with us and we jam with him – so whenever he plays the west coast he always requests that we play with him. So that’s an honor as well.
And then you have Reckless Road photographer Jack Lue taking pictures at every Paradise Kitty show – he’s like an honorary member.
Jenna: Jack is a Kitty!
Rachael: Jack’s a cool cat!
What kind of touring have you guys done so far? I know you did a show in TX.
Rachael: We’ve done a number of fly-out dates, so we’ll fly out and do this or that. We just flew out to AZ, we just went to TX a few times. We’re getting ready to go to Hinkley to play a big festival. We’ve done the Monsters of Rock Cruise, we’ve played in the Caribbean. We’ve played in FL. Coming up in October were doing a week of dates on the East Coast in the New York area and then in November we’re doing a tour east to west coast. So we’re following the Gn’R tour in a number of cities and doing pre-parties or post-parties after their arena shows. The fan club asked us to do some shows around it, so we’re doing a whole month out on the road across the US.
Any strange or scary stories from the road or a Paradise Kitty show?
Rachael: We’re saving that one for the book.
Jenna: [laughs] there’s a lot of stories that happen on the boat that stay on the boat.
Racheal: And on the road. But we’re saving that for the book.
Jenna: We’re pleading the fifth and then we’re drinking it.
Would your other band Jenna Syde and The Watchers and Paradise Kitty ever want to do a show or a tour together? Has it already happened?
Jenna: We’ve actually played here multiple times at The Viper Room together, which we’re thankful because the kitties have really helped launch that and we have a shit ton of Watchers that come out to shows too. It’s kind of synonymous a lot here in LA with each other. I don’t know about the touring thing, the touring thing might be a little different, the boys can barely deal with one girl on the road. Dealing with five of us might be a little tough on them [laughs].
How do you summon up all that energy to be in two bands in one night? I know you put everything into Paradise Kitty when you play.
Jenna: You know, like I said, I don’t remember the night until after I’m off stage and people show me videos. I don’t know what I’m doing up on stage, I just go. You go when you have to. That sounds bad, [laughs].
Rachael, are you involved with any other bands outside of Paradise Kitty?
Rachael: I have an original thing that I’ve been working on forever that’s been in the studio. It’s been a very slow process but it’s not named, yet, so we’ve just been writing and rolling through different people trying to find the right fit. In the past you may have seen me play with my old band Cockpit or I played with Femme Fatale for a while.
How influential were tribute bands like the Iron Maidens when it came to forming Paradise Kitty?
Rachael: I never really based what I do on another band like that because I think – I spent years working for record labels and management companies and stuff and I learned that every artist has its own formula to success. You can’t replicate that formula. So every – there’s no formula that works for everyone’s success. So you’ve gotta work with what you have and see what your own path is to be successful.
Jenna: As for women, though, in the industry and with especially doing tributes, they’ve paved a real big way for just female players. We figured, you gotta set the bar high and they did. So we tried to match it. Thankfully we’re all homies, too. So it works out.
You actually have Courtney Cox from The Iron Maidens playing with you tonight…
Jenna: Yeah! Courtney’s our girl!
Rachael: We love our Cox! We love the Cox!
And say hi Courtney Cox.
Courtney: Hi everybody!
Any messages for people who are reading this now?
Jenna: You better not have a lotion bottle out.
Rachael: Stand up and shout! [laughs] Our parting message is, if were playing somewhere in your neighborhood across this great wonderful globe, come hang out with us. Have a drink, hang out, have a party, have a good time and we want to see all your pretty faces. Come party with us. And, stand up and shout!
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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