Comprised of veteran L.A.-based drummer, Rachael Rine, Jenna Syde (lead vocals), Nikki Stevens (bass), Ariel Bellvalaire (lead guitars) and Emily Ruvidich (rhythm guitar), Paradise Kitty is an all-female Guns N’ Roses tribute band born and bred on the sound of GNR’s monstrous 1987 debut, Appetite for Destruction.
With serious chops and a raucous reverence for their heroes, Paradise Kitty performs songs like “Welcome To The Jungle,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Night Train” and “It’s So Easy” with a combination of ferocious high energy, sexiness and note for note perfection.
Paradise Kitty is currently gearing up for a cross-country tour that will see them performing at before and after parties when the real Guns N’ Roses is in town. AXS recently spoke with Jenna Syde and Rachel Rine about their love of Guns N’ Roses, music and more in this exclusive interview.
AXS: How did the band, Paradise Kitty come together?
Rachel Rine: A friend had called and asked me if I’d be interested in doing a Guns N’ Roses tribute. Even though it hadn’t been announced, I also knew that a GNR reunion was already in the works and about to happen. They’re a great band with great songs and it felt like a really good time to do something like this. That’s when my friend introduced me to Jenna.
Jenna Syde: I think our mutual friend asked me because she knew about an incident that happened years ago. I was traveling on tour and actually got arrested for singing “Welcome to The Jungle” in Tennessee. I was under 21 at the time at this karaoke bar and ended up getting kicked out because I climbed up on the tables and bar [laughs].
AXS: This year marks the 30th anniversary of Guns N’ Roses debut album, Appetite For Destruction. In your opinion, what makes their music so special?
Syde: That album came along at a moment when glam metal and hard rock was starting to become a big corporate machine. Everyone was all painted up and they you had these five guys (who actually had a big punk rock influence) come in and they just tore it up. Between the punk and blues influence, Steven Adler’s swing feel and Axl Rose's lyrics and the stories behind them, it’s what music really needed at that time. It’s also very relatable.
Rine: Guns N’ Roses is a band where every member plays with very specific feel. If you segregate them, every member is very specific in how they play and it creates a unique sound. Appetite for Destruction is one of those albums that’s phenomenal. From top to bottom there’s not one bad song on it.
AXS: Jenna, is there a certain way that you approach Axl’s vocals?
Syde: Although I can sing in his register and hit his notes Axl has a voice that’s hard to imitate. So I decided from the beginning that I wasn’t going to. I’m my own singer and there’s no way my vocal cords can match what his do. But what I can do is pay homage by singing from my heart the way his songs touched me.
AXS: What are the band’s tour plans like?
Rine: The GNR fan club asked us to do some pre and post-show parties based around the Guns N’ Roses shows. It’s a three-week east to west tour in a few select cities ending with three shows at The Viper Room in Hollywood. We’ll also be on The Monsters of Rock Cruise in February.
AXS: Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?
Syde: I have a band called Jenna Syde and The Watchers that’s on the back burner right now. We put out an album in the summer that’s doing well back east in the radio markets.
Rine: I have an original project that I’m working on right now in the studio that’s untitled at the moment. We all have a number of other projects that we’re working on.
AXS: Did you always know that you wanted a career in entertainment? Was it something you always aspired to do?
Rine: When I was young, music was everything to me except for my career choice. Everything I did and every moment of every day was music, but I thought that if I made it a career choice it might demystify and take away the magic. It wasn’t until I started playing that I realized I was wrong.
Jenna: I grew up in a very musical family and from the moment I could speak I was singing. Even as a kid I knew I wanted to play live music and be on tour. It may not always be what makes you the most money but it’s been my passion to travel and make music.
AXS: What excites you the most about Paradise Kitty and this next phase of your career?
Rine: What excites me the most is not knowing what’s next and the surprise of the opportunities are coming our way. We’ve got a lot of cool things going on and it’s been remarkable watching it snowball.
Syde: It’s great playing music every night but the best part of it is getting to meet the fans. I get such a high up on stage but the best part is sitting down and meeting everyone afterward. We pride ourselves in getting to know our crowd and have had amazing people come into our lives because of this project.
Paradise Kitty Tour Dates:
Nov 2: Forty Bar & Grille - Washington, PA
Nov 3: Hollywood Lanes – Dormont, PA
Nov 4: The Firehouse – Richmond, ID
Nov 5: Trophy Room – Joliet IL
Nov 6: The Wise Owl – Chicago, IL
Nov 9: The Green Bay Distillery – Green Bay, WI
Nov 10: The Back Bar – Janesville WI
Nov 14: Herman’s Hideaway – Denver CO
Nov 16: Count’s Vamp’d – Las Vegas, NV
Nov 24: The Viper Room – West Hollywood, CA
Nov 25: Rust Festival, Santa Anita Park – Arcadia, CA
Nov 27: The Viper Room – West Hollywood, CA
Nov 29: The Viper Room – West Hollywood, CA
Dec 29: The Viper Room – West Hollywood, CA
Feb 11: Monsters of Rock Cruise – Miami, FL