When the Aerosmith tribute act RagDolls hits the stage, the six musicians want the audience to focus on the music.
Never mind that RagDolls are an all-female band.
“We want the audience to feel it and enjoy it,” founder/lead singer Susie Major says. “Let’s get past that. We’re there to rock you and entertain you — not for the audience to say, ‘Oh, look. There are girlies on stage.’”
RagDolls perform for the first time in Arizona on Friday, October 1, and Saturday, October 2, at Casino Arizona.
The noteworthy RagDolls have played fewer than 10 gigs since forming in 2019, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But their musicianship defies that. The chemistry is tangible between Major, lead guitarist Ali Handal, guitarist Masha McSorley, bassist Lex Wolfe, drummer Marisa Testa and keyboardist Julie Dolan.
“We found what we feel are the best of the best musicians,” Major says about the group’s formation. “Our first gig was at the end of March 2020 at the Whisky, then boom, COVID. Everything was either canceled or was rescheduled. The year 2020 was a complete wash.
“We used it to our advantage. We got down to practicing more and putting more time into details.”
For Major, an Aerosmith tribute band was a logical step. She was told she should cover Heart or Pat Benatar, but Major wanted to challenge herself.
“I want to do things that you wouldn’t feel a woman’s place would be,” she says. “Aerosmith is a lot tougher than it sounds or looks. There’s just so much to do musically. It’s something I respect and get fully behind.”
Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler inspired Major to sing, after going through Partridge Family and Broadway phases. She “needed” to be Tyler mixed with guitarist Joe Perry.
“I took a wad of my hair and tried to dye it blond in junior high,” she says with a laugh, referencing Perry’s streak in his hair. “I used bleach that you use on your arms and lost a big chunk of it.”
Major is proud of what RagDolls have accomplished.
“It feels like if this band can do an honorable homage, we can do anything,” she says. “It’s actually freeing to know that these girls play the (expletive) out of Aerosmith songs. It blows my mind every time we play together. They are so good. I’ve never known musicians who can play note for note with their own spin.”
RagDolls: A Tribute to Aerosmith
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 1, and Saturday, October 2
Where: Casino Arizona’s Showroom, 524 N. 92nd Street, Scottsdale
Cost: Tickets start at $10
Info: 480.850.7777, casinoarizona.com