Still Nailing it, 20 years later

Karla Hayward
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Music

Female-fronted metal bands aren't exactly the norm.

Female rockers who've been dominating the stage for more than 20 years, even less so.

But that's exactly what and who Newfoundlander Cindy Wiechmann has been doing. Name sound familiar? Thought so. Along with her partner, Rainer Wiechmann, "C" as she's often called, once fronted local metal legends, KAOS. That band wowed crowds and pierced eardrums in clubs all over the province two decades ago.

A short history

Frontwoman Cindy Wiechmann is shown with members of the band Nail, due to perform at Club One in St. John's Saturday night. -Submitted photo illustration

Female-fronted metal bands aren't exactly the norm.

Female rockers who've been dominating the stage for more than 20 years, even less so.

But that's exactly what and who Newfoundlander Cindy Wiechmann has been doing. Name sound familiar? Thought so. Along with her partner, Rainer Wiechmann, "C" as she's often called, once fronted local metal legends, KAOS. That band wowed crowds and pierced eardrums in clubs all over the province two decades ago.

A short history

Asked what they've been up to, Wiechmann cheerfully says, "A lot!"

Here's the Coles Notes version: the pair took KAOS on the road (with a whole new lineup, other than themselves), ending up in London, Ont.

"That folded after a couple of years," she said. "We just found ourselves pulling our hair out and not really getting anywhere."

But they continued to make music, and another band was born: Plain Jane.

That group was mostly a cover band Wiechmann said, though they did put out a couple of indy discs.

"But we really didn't pursue it wholeheartedly like we did with KAOS."

Next up, the pair joined Helix for almost three years, touring and showing. They also joined Alice Cooper's Canadian tour (missing the St. John's venue through a disappointing mix-up).

"We never stopped making music," she said. "We never stopped writing and recording."

They only made it back to play in Newfoundland twice in 21 years.

Until now.

With their new band, Nail, the Wiechmanns are bringing their own brand of rock 'n' roll home to the Rock.

Back to rock

"We're so excited. I can't wait! It's just awesome," Wiechmann said.

"The response has been amazing. Every day on Facebook and My Space, there's people e-mailing. ... I never thought 21 years later, after being away for so long, that we'd have such an impact."

"A lot of the e-mails we're getting are from young people, saying things like, 'You were the first real rock band in Newfoundland.' ... It's amazing how the two little albums that we did impacted so many. I'm really taken aback by it."

Rounding out the Nail lineup are Darcy Maudsley on bass and Dale Penny on drums. Hailing from Corner Brook, Penny is a longtime friend of the Wiechmanns who played with KAOS in the early days.

"He fit like a glove," Wiechmann said.

Maudsley is an Ontarian who's never been to the Rock.

"I'm trying to figure out if we can get him Screeched-in on stage," she added with a laugh.

Beyond the border

Asked about the success of Nail, Wiechmann says, "So far it's being going really well. We've been getting some great reviews, and quite a few magazines in Europe have done features on us.

"Believe it or not, right now we seem to be doing better in Europe than in our own country. Which is kind of weird. ... A lot of radio stations over there, and in the States, have picked us up, but we're still having a bit of trouble here."

Asked if the two are ever weary of "the young man's game" of touring and gigging, Wiechmann says, "It is a long time. Good God, I sang in my first band in the '70s! But, you never get tired of it. I love it, it's where my heart is, and same for Rainer.

"It's like being an artist; a painter would never stop painting because he's 80. You would never expect a good painter to stop painting just because he's old if he's still got his eyes, and can still see to work. So, in my eyes, I'm still young.

"Age is just a number. It's all in how you feel. Everyone that's young will realize that when they get older. As long as I've got my ears and can still do it, I'll play."

Homage to history

While Wiechmann is quick to point out that this is a new band, not simply KAOS in new clothes, she does admit that she and Rainer will pay heed to history just once: by performing their hit "March of the Gremlins" at their Newfoundland show.

See Nail Saturday at Club One. Tickets available at Sundance, George Street and Big Ben's, Churchill Square, $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Geographic location: Newfoundland, London, Ont., St. John's Europe Corner Brook George Street Big Ben

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