Rock music history is filled with accolades and acknowledgements applauding the male side of the coin. From space on the charts all the way to the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a lot of it seems a bit one-sided, dominated by the guys — and let's face it, most have earned the right to be there.
But there are some kickass female rockers who also deserve to be standing in the same light, yet not as many of them are enjoying that recognition for their vocal prowess the music requires them to earn.
So one Las Vegas girl, Carol-Lyn Liddle, decided to rectify the situation, if only in her small corner of the world. She re-wrote "Herstory of Rock," a show that pays homage to the great ladies of the rock genre known for their killer vocals — women like Ann Wilson of Heart and Pat Benatar who have the ability to dig deep when a song insists, even to this day.
With a powerful voice of her own, Liddle demonstrates her versatility as she easily performs the hits from the girls who have rocked the world — Wilson, Benatar, Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Kiki Dee and more.
Dubbed the "Queen of Rock" in Vegas, Liddle has performed in various shows and in nearly every major hotel/casino in Sin City. She starred as the female lead vocalist in the award-winning production “Raiding the Rock Vault,” from January 2014 through September 2015.
Now she brings "Herstory of Rock" show to the Riverside Resort for the first time Thursday-Sunday, April 25-28.
We talked with Liddle about her career, her music and the show she's bringing to town. Here's her take…
Talk a little bit about your background and how that morphed into this particular tribute show.
There are a million beautiful young vocalists here in Las Vegas; however, there are very few rock vocalists. And I saw a niche for that some time ago only because I enjoyed singing AC/DC and Guns N' Roses and those types of bands. I even fronted an Iron Maiden tribute band here in Vegas for a while and I loved it — as well as I spent a year in a country band. So I love to sing, but my niche and what I go by here in Vegas is — they call me, and it's kind of embarrassing, but I kind of like it, too — the Vegas' Rock Queen, and that's fun. I could be called worse names, right?
Then John Payne, from the band Asia, was putting a show together here in Vegas called "Raiding the Rock Vault." The show had actually been in existence for a year and the fans kept telling him, "John, you have a great show, but you're missing something very important, you're not representing any women in rock and roll in your show." So I got the call, which was pretty cool because I got to play next to Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, and very famous rock musicians. I'm just like this Las Vegas girl, I'm not internationally famous or anything, so it was very cool for me. After that show everybody asked, "What are you gonna do? What's your show going to be? We know you're gonna create your own show." So my husband and I decided that no more Iron Maidens, no more of the "guy" stuff, we were actually going to create a show dedicated to the women of rock.
Describe the show a little more for those who don't know.
It's cool because it is different, in this whole #MeToo environment, it's kind of refreshing to just go, you know, "let's just celebrate women for this huge accomplishment in rock and roll that nobody has really done." Even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is criticized a little bit for not really acknowledging a lot of women in rock. I can totally relate to that, as a woman in rock and roll and in Las Vegas with this show. The show is up everybody's alley and that's what's so cool, we didn't really want to turn it into an estrogen-fest, because the guys dig it too. The guys get to see all of their favorite female rockers all in one spot because there's a lot of guy fans out there. It's just a fun rockin' show, we're not trying to make any statements politically or socially about women's issues, it's just like, everybody, let's get together and have some fun and rock.
It's not an impersonation-type show. I know it might sound that way because of the costumes, but the costumes augment the feeling and theme of the song. I don't try to do voices — I sing in my own voice. It's just a tribute to our cool rocker chicks. We're getting excited for River Run.
You also produce the show with your husband, right?
My husband, Patrick Puffer, he and I co-created it, so we pick all of the songs, we create all of the costumes, and videos, everything together. It's really amazing because Patrick is my last husband, let me just put it that way (she laughs). We've only been together a short time but he is an amazing musician and has been all of his life. I mean, he was touring with hair bands back in the '80s all over the country, and I never got to do that. I had a different calling early on in my life — and that was to raise my baby girl who is all grown up now. So he's really guided me a lot. He's one of the people who said after I left "Raiding the Rock Vault," "we need to start your own show." He's just my awesome rock.
What is the most challenging part in putting this show together?
Working with your husband is not always easy but when it works, it's very rewarding. And getting all the period costumes — I do like 20 costumes. I come out as Janis Joplin in the beginning of the show. You're gonna see many, many costume changes. That is a challenge because I'm trying to catch my breath, and have a drink of water, check my lipstick and hair, and then sing the next song. It's very fast-paced so I definitely have to have a Red Bull before the show starts.
Do you want to mention the people in the band?
In addition to Patrick, we have other amazing players in the band. We've got Scott Griffin on bass, from LA. Guns; we've got Brenda Fitz (her brother Brent actually tours with Slash) and she's amazing and we love doing the Heart vocals together because I'm the brunette, she's the blonde, and it kind of works out. On drums is Chris Bishop. He moved here from Buffalo to join an original band and that never really took off, but he's part of our family now and we're grateful for that. The dancers we're bringing down include Maya Martillini, who's our dance captain and I can't wait for everybody to meet her. She's just a big help to me on and off stage.
What is the crowd favorite no matter where you perform?
"Alone" by Heart. That was one of the songs I did in the "Raiding the Rock Vault" show, and here in Vegas. People here actually refer to that as "my song," now, as opposed to Heart's song, which is pretty cool. When I was learning those songs, my husband, called me one day and I'm driving on the freeway and he goes, "So how is ‘Alone’ coming along?” I'm like, "I think I've got that one, it's this other one by Fleetwood Mac that I'm having trouble with," and he just laughed. Up until that point, I had never done any Heart songs, it was Guns 'N Roses, AC/DC, and stuff like that.
Anything else you'd like people to know about you?
We've talked about sneaking in an original song eventually, but we haven't yet. But there is something and we're really excited about it, I don't know if you're familiar with the Ron Keel Band, but Ron Keel was a big '80s rocker and he happens to be one of our very good friends. Well, he has a new album coming out, and one of the songs on the album is called "Girls Like Me." He asked me and some of my female musician friends to make a video so it's basically him and his band playing and singing, but we're lip syncing and playing to the music. It's a very fun video and we're adding it to the end of the show as everybody's enjoying finishing up their beverages and leaving the theater. I'm excited about everyone seeing that.
Your thoughts on playing Laughlin?
We're gonna be playing for 90 minutes, straight through, there's no intermission. We're gonna be hanging out after the show so we can meet everybody because that’s always fun and we like to get feedback about the show. There's another band playing there at the Riverside that we're awesome friends with here in Vegas, The Roxy Gunn Project. I'm excited to spend some time with everybody down there and get a little sunshine.