From PMS to WENCH: Rebellious Ladies On The Run.....

Back To The Past (39)

A ‘Back To the Past’ story is only interesting, when it adds something to the already available information of this particular band or artist. I think that this interview, that tells the story of PMS, WENCH and SHINY MAMA, gives you the proper insight in the career of Yana Chupenko. Yana was born in the Ukraine (USSR). Her father was a famous soccer coach. When she was ten years old, she and her family moved to Queens, New York in the USA. She immediately started to listen to rock and roll and formed her first female punk band in 1984, called PMS (Pre Metal Syndrome). They record their first demo at the 1841 Broadway studios in New York City. The songs captured on this demo are “Anarchy”, “Hotter Than Hell”, “This Is” and “Unemployment” and it’s worthy of almost eleven minutes of brutal and ‘in-your-face’ punk/hardcore. It’s almost impossible to point at any references and that’s what makes their sound so outstanding. Eventually, this leads to the band’s first live show ever at the legendary venue Rock Hotel with BAD BRAINS and THE CRO MAGS. The band slowly becomes a well-known act in the New York punk/hardcore scene and record a self-titled debut album in 1986 on Buy Our Records. By the time the album is put out in ‘87, half the band has quit PMS to start WENCH, a thrash metal outfit. WENCH played many gigs throughout the US and even toured in Europe. They record two demos; “Sumos Quad Sumos” (1988) and “Stone Cold” in (1990), which were put together on a compilation LP, called “A Tidy Sized Chunk” by Metalcore in 1991. After that, the band released another demo in 1993 with three tracks: “Youth Anthem”, “Requiem” and “Survival”. After the second European tour, WENCH called it quits and pulled the plug. As blood is thicker than water, Yana soon formed SHINY MAMA, which sounds much more melodic than any of her previous outfits. In 2005, the album “What Comes Around Goes Around” sees the light of day, but right after its release, the band decides to break up. Is this the end of Yana’s revolutionary musical career? Hopefully not. Here’s the interview Metal Maidens conducted with Yana Chupenko with a little help and comments by Ally Gamble (bass), Laura Marando (drums) and Lorraine Herrera-McGurty (guitar).

How did you get involved with loud rock music and did you already listen to this kind of music, when living in the Ukraine?
Yana: “I came to USA, when I was ten years old, so no I was not involved in music in the Ukraine. When I was growing up in the US, I gravitated to rock music, mostly LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK BABBATH, RAINBOW and JUDAS PRIEST. Then when I started to hang out in 1980 on Lower East side and the punk hardcore scene, I was introduced to this totally new aggressive and loud music, which changed my life completely. I’d say seeing BAD BRAINS, STIMULATORS and REAGAN YOUTH for the first time, was an epiphany.”

When did you decide, that you wanted to become a musician? Did you have these aspirations already when you were still living in the Ukraine?
Yana: “I was a creative kid and took ballet and voice lessons in the USSR, but there were no aspirations as such as a vocalist then, more of a ballerina. I guess, when I started to sing with PMS, I discovered I had a voice and a knack for performance.”

You formed the punk band PMS in the mid-eighties. How did you get in touch with the other female band members?
Yana: “We were all part of the NYC punk/hardcore scene and friends, so PMS (Pre Metal Syndrome) was formed on Lower East Side, NYC in 1984 with Gina Zayas, Carmen Morerro, Ally Gamble, Liz Brockland and myself in the first original line-up. Gina and Carmen wanted to start a band and recruited their pal Ally Gamble. Since we all knew one another socially, they approached me at this local punk hang bar, called Park Inn. We jammed and it clicked. PMS was born.”

Was it important for you, that PMS was an all-female band or did this just happen?
Yana: “Gina was looking to start a band and asked me to join. There was no name yet, just an idea. Her sister Carmen moved from Florida and played drums and Liz moved from Florida as well. Ally was a mutual friend. I guess, yes it was an all-girl idea, but we did have a guy with us for a few months and he played our first show at CBGB's. So it actually evolved into an all-girl band on purpose in time. Gina had to tell him, that he was out and I think, he was gutted.”

Who were the biggest influences of PMS and maybe we can take a quick look at the influences for each band member individually here as well?
Yana: “We were all influence by the same bands at the time. We were all hardcore/punk kids on the NYC hardcore scene. So I'd say SEX PISTOLS, THE DAMNED, X-RAY SPECS, SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES, NINA HAGEN, BAD BRAINS, CRO- MAGS, REAGAN YOUTH, THE GERMS, etc.etc.....”

Who came up with the name PMS and did you have other options, before this name was launched?
Yana: “I remember, we were at Carmen’s house mulling over names and I had an idea of PMS and we agreed on it and I think Gina, Carmen said Pre Metal Syndrome, so it stuck.”

How would you describe the music of PMS yourself? Yana: “We didn't categorize ourselves. We were starting from scratch with no previous experience really being in a band, but that was the beauty of it all. It was exciting to start learning to write, play instruments competently and sing. We were developing our sound without boundaries and fear. That was punk rock spirit: get out there and do it. We were from the punk/hardcore background, so loud and fast ruled. We wrote political - world event- aggressive music.”

What do you still remember from the first show, that you played with BAD BRAINS and CRO MAGS? How did the people react towards an all-female punk rock band?
Yana: “It was insane and the biggest thing in the world. It was like playing with our heroes and we just went for it. The Rock Hotel show for us was like playing an arena!! People did not know how to react to us and to some we were too metal and at the time, metal was not cool. But we were accepted by most skins and punks, since they knew us from the scene. Remember, it was 1984. Andy Warhol was there and loved us! He sent a flunkie to tell us so. God forbid, he would do it himself. Unforgettable!”

With which other bands did you share the stage back in those days?
Yana: “So many. We played CBGB's a lot and with every local band there was at the time and those from all over the US, who toured and did the punk scene circuit. We opened for UK SUBS once in Baltimore, which was fun. CIRCLE JERKS, THE MENTORS, FEAR, etc.etc. Go to see some of our flyers on my website:”

Can you memorize any funny, hilarious or interesting stories from PMS on stage or on tour, that are nice to share with our readers?
Yana: “We were on tour in Florida in ‘86 and took acid at Disneyworld. Carmen walked out with a life-size Puff the Magic Dragon stuffed doll from a Main St. store and got arrested. So we are banned from Disneyworld for life. An honor!”

How were the reactions of the press regarding your self-titled debut album and did you also get any negative reviews at all?
Yana: “Most people liked it. Maximum RNR ‘zine at the time hated it and called us commercial and metal. F*ck those cunts! Retarded bitches. Yeah, we are metal, because we learned how to play our instruments - duh! That’s when I said, you know what, fuck it. These douche-bags are as close-minded and have myopic view of music as the people they criticize. It was tough being an all-girl band, no doubt. We had no gimmicks and we were not a joke, so God forbid anyone would admit to liking us. But only years later do I have people tell me how great we were and how we influenced them - blah blah. This was way before all that Riot Grrrl movement. I feel we were one of the few trailblazers of the early to mid 80’s hardcore punk scene. But back then we had no agenda, except to rage and it was a big ‘f*ck you’! Back then, girls were as tough as the guys. You piss them off- they would jump you. It was not a pose, but a gritty reality of life in NYC at that time.”

What’s your favorite song on the album and why?
Yana: “ “Die Crying” - it's beautiful and powerful”.
Ally: “ “Rally Round”, as it was simple and fun. Good to stomp about to.”

Is there anything you want to say about the artwork on the album? You can see a drawing of two female legs and a hand holding a bottle of booze (Jack Daniels??), which seems to be some kind of statement…..
Yana: “It was no statement - just a fun cover for me. Sort of autobiographical at the time (lol). We certainly had our share of good times. But Ally will reply, since she worked on the concept with Sean Taggart, the artist.” Ally: “Heheheh... not sure what we were thinking there! I suppose, it seemed suitably 'rock n roll' what with the bottle of Jack. And the bloody bit was metal, wasn't it? Also the theme of self medication for PMS symptoms... or something....”

Do you have any idea how many copies were sold of this album?
Yana: “Pressing was 5K, so I'd say round around there.”
Ally: “No idea how many were sold! I think my aunt bought one....”

The crowd chanting ‘Sieg Heil’ in the beginning of “This Is….” was perhaps a very tricky thing to do. Or weren’t you afraid at all, that people would put you in the extreme right wing?
Yana: “Well, if people were idiots/kretins, and/or didn't read the lyrics to the song - which were provided… or perhaps did not speak English and did not understand the meaning of lyrics - maybe then there was a question. But if you read the lyrics or just listened to song, it was an obvious political song against fascism, nazis, military industrial complex and any form of oppressive government.”
Ally: “Yana has answered this quite succinctly.”

When did you decide, that your career with PMS was over and it was time to move forward and maybe start up something ‘new’?
Yana: “After the album was recorded in 1986, half the band quit to start WENCH. We had some conflicts in the band due to musical differences and direction we wanted to take. We wanted to play heavier more advanced music, so we had to leave.”

Can you please give us some updates about the line-up changes, that have occurred during the PMS days?
Yana: “PMS had many bass changes. Originally it was Ally, we then had Kitty Hawk and Amy, then later Ally came back to the fold to record the LP. At same time we added Meryl Hurwich as well.”

PMS continued as a punk band, after you (Yana) and several other band members left the band. Were you fed up with the punk scene and did you want to start a more heavy metal-edged band, or were there other reasons why PMS didn’t continue with you on board?
Yana: “Yes, we wanted to play more advanced music and felt that Gina and Carmen wanted to strive in a same old direction, while we wanted to evolve musically. So me, Ally, Liz, Meryl left and formed WENCH in 1986, after the release of the LP. WENCH officially launched in 1987.”

WENCH was formed right after that. However, the line-up contained four previous members of PMS. Why did you decide to (re)name the band WENCH, instead of continuing under PMS (and undergoing a slight change of music style)? After all, you had already build up a small fan base and four out of five members are from PMS?
Yana: “We wanted a fresh start and Gina and Carmen wanted to keep the name - we didn't want to fight. Clean slate is always good, when you start a new band and go in a new direction.”

Why didn’t Gina and Carmen (who also played on the self-titled debut album) step over to WENCH?
Yana: “As I said, we disagreed on where to take future musical style.”

How did you get in touch with the new ladies in the band, like Laura Marando and Lisa Sharkin and did they play in other bands before they joined WENCH?
Yana: “I want to make this perfectly clear, since it always gets mixed up. Lisa Sharkin was never a true member of WENCH. Ever!!! We just took her on tour in 1991 of UK, as a touring second guitarist, since Meryl and Liz declined to go with us at that time. She is completely inconsequential in the story of Wench. What a nightmare with delusions of grandeur complex. She should have joined a band, called ‘Yenta’ instead. It would have served her perfectly!! Laura is a different story - an original early member. We asked Laura to join us, when we heard of this awesome girl drummer and went to see her play with another band in Staten Island. She blew us away with her double bass skills. She was a metal goddess and damn good! She finalized the initial line-up in 1987. Lorraine Herrera was asked to join WENCH before the second demo “Stone Cold” in 1990 and when Meryl Hurwich existed. So we had Liz and Lorraine as guitarists, until Liz left before the first UK tour, due to a serious drug problem.”

What would you say was the biggest difference between PMS and WENCH, besides the different style of music?
Yana: “That’s the main difference: the level of musicianship, playing and style of music. We kicked it up in professionalism and the level of performance by then. Our lyrics still retained a political rebellious slant. We as people did not change, yet our abilities and chops went up a notch or two through the years.”

With which bands did you share the stage in your WENCH days?
Yana: “SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, CANDLEMASS, BIOHAZARD, WENDY O WILLIAMS, WHIPLASH, LEEWAY, AGNOSTIC FRONT, CRUMBSUCKERS to name a few and many more. Go to my website or Facebook page to see some flyers.”

Are there any gigs, that you have very fond memories about?
Yana: “Playing the old Ritz in NYC in 1986 for Joey Ramone’s birthday.”
Lorraine: “Our first show on the UK tour in Cwmbran, Wales. We had to go there right after our flight landed and we were all tired, but the place was packed and the crowd was great!”
Laura: “L’amours in Brooklyn opening for SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and The Ritz in NYC for Joey Ramone's birthday. Also our very first show, when we arrived in, I believe it was Scotland, when the curtains opened, it was a sea of hardcore metal maniacs there to welcome us! What an amazing adrenalin rush!”
Ally: “There are two gigs that stand out: opening for SUICIDAL TENDENCIES at L'amours was incredible, as I was totally into them. Rocky George was such a great guy, though Mike Muir was a bit of a dick. The other one was playing this tiny club on 1st Avenue. It wasn't the Pyramid - can't remember what it was called - but the CYCLE SLUTS FROM HELL worked the bar there. Joey Ramone and Iggy Pop were sat at the front table. Joey bought me a beer after. I was star struck.”
Yana: “It was Lismar Lounge.”

You also played in Europe with WENCH. What was that experience like and what did you like most about playing over here?
Yana: “Touring Europe was great. A life's experience and we met some amazing people. The first tour was UK only. Ally stayed in London after that first tour. WENCH toured twice. The second tour was in Germany and The Netherlands with AGNOSTIC FRONT. The second tour had a new line-up. It was me and Lorraine Hererra, Robin McIver on second guitar, Sarah Cox on bass and Kate Schellenbach on drums (BEASTIE BOYS, LUSCIOUS JACKSON) in 1992. This always gets convoluted and confused. The reception was fantastic. People were not as uptight regarding female bands playing hard music. In the US sometimes the guys were too cool thinking their dicks would fall off, if they admitted they liked a girl band.”
Lorraine: “I have to echo Yana's sentiment... We met many amazing people.... Oh yeah and guys thinking their dicks will fall off, if they admitted they like us.”
Laura: “The UK tour was incredible for me. So many welcoming fans!! Meeting so many musicians and metal fans all throughout the tour was most rewarding. Although touring and being on the road is tough, it was an extremely memorable time for me.”
Ally: “I only did the UK tour and met some amazing people. I ended up joining our support act MAD COW DISEASE and stayed in England. The tour itself was a bit of a disaster though as our 'management' was entirely incompetent and frankly insane. MAD COW DISEASE wrote a song about him, called “Bullshit Acres”.“

Apparently, you’re still in touch with bassist Ally (who lives in London, the UK, right now) and drummer Laura. Can you please give us a quick update here what they are up to nowadays? Are they still active in the music industry at all?
Yana: “I will have them reply to you themselves. Laura has EVOLUTION OF FURY.”
Lorraine: “After a long, long break I played for a little while with Laura in EVOLUTION OF FURY and then I joined the band AMERICAN SPEEDWAY.”
Ally Gamble: “I joined MAD COW DISEASE. We did two albums and a few EPs, toured as well, but again due to crap management, we gave up. A shame really... Now I occasionally play with an extremely noisy punk band called the NTF (NARCO TERROR FACTION).”
Laura: “Currently, the band EVOLUTION OF FURY evolved from my idea to start up a WENCH reunion. Which around three years ago was in the works, but couldn't get off the ground because of everyone's priorities and life in general. But I wanted to play the WENCH songs so badly, I refused to give up and kept trying to find the right musicians to play the WENCH songs live and start writing new material as well. We did a few shows here in NY with Lorraine on guitar, myself on drums with a few different bass players and vocalists along the way. Now, aside from myself, it's a completely different line-up and once again we’re out of a bass player.”

What’s your best memory about WENCH? And I guess there will be a worst memory, that you can think of, as well?
Yana: “Best memory was when the album came out. What a thrill! My worst memory is our manager, who booked our first tour of the UK and ruined it all for us by being a lying sociopathic nightmare. Being good is not the only thing you need in music biz. Good solid people to help your career matter. It can make or break you. It broke us. We were all too tired and beaten up by living and breathing the music for too long with nothing given back. It had to stop. I hope, that scumbag pays in eternal fires of hell. But we did get a chance to release a seminal LP and tour the UK.”
Ally: “The best thing about WENCH was that I felt we were really doing something exciting. We all worked so hard, but it was a real joy when things came together. The worst memory was having to cope with in-fighting and tension all, because of a stupid road manager!”
Lorraine: “Best memory was being a part of a group of very competent, smart women that took what they did seriously and finding out we were going to tour Europe. Worst memory was when it was clear it wasn't going to continue despite best efforts.”
Laura: “Yes! The album was a great thrill and many great times in the UK on tour with the band MAD COW DISEASE. The worst memory was doing a show in Liverpool somewhere (forgive for not remembering the name of the venue) with a bad flu and fever. I remember playing the last song and thinking "I am definitely passing out"!”

How did you get in touch with Metalcore, the label that released your album “A Tidy Sized Chunk”?
Yana: “Our manager at time hooked that up. He turned out to be a lying psycho, but without that chance we would not have been able to tour and have the LP released, so chuck it all up to experience.”

Why is “Mercy” the only song, that was published by Metal Blade?
Yana: “Because that song was on the “Metal Massacre X” compilation first, which was on Metal Blade and before our LP was released.”

Many people have been referring to METALLICA, when describing the sound of WENCH. Which other bands were a major influence to WENCH, when recording this debut album?
Yana: “Of course METALLICA was a major influence! But also EXODUS, MEGADETH, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, CRO MAGS, SLAYER and MOTORHEAD. A lot of thrash bands at that time...”
Ally: “It was such an exciting time for metal and hardcore and the whole crossover scene. I think, we picked up on so many different influences so hard to name just a couple of bands. But definitely METALLICA and MOTORHEAD were a huge impact.”
Lorraine: “Definitely METALLICA, DIO, BLACK SABBATH, etc.etc.”

Did you record anything else after the release of “A Tidy Sized Chunk” and are there any ‘leftovers’ from this album, that haven’t seen the light of day?
Yana: “There was an experimental demo in '93, that we did with the second line-up of WENCH, but nothing as a left over from the LP. This was all new material at the time. Note, that the “Tidy Sized Chunk” 1991 LP was a compilation of our two demos “Sumos Quad Sumos” (1988) with the original line-up and “Stone Cold” (1990) with Lorraine, instead of Meryl on guitar. Setting the record straight.”

Didn’t the three track demo from 1993 bring back the vibe to make another record with the band?
Yana: “No, we were sort of in transition, lost and trying to find a new path. We were experimenting. When Kate left to join LUSCIOUS JACKSON, we kind of gave up and hung it up. Robin and I jammed and tried to have a new band, called HONEY, but it went nowhere. The good thing is, that I continued to play music and just sing – developing my craft…even though it was just for fun.”

Can you remember the very last gig with WENCH? Where was that and was it obvious at the time, that this was your last gig with WENCH?
Yana: “No, not really. The last gig of the first UK tour was insane, since Lisa Sharkin decided not to show up and play. Also, if I’d laid my eyes on her at that point I would have murdered her ass. We were so tired and just wanted to go home at that stage and regroup and recoup. Laura and Ally Gamble left the band, when we got back to NYC, but Lorraine and I tried to regroup with new members for a tad longer and one more tour (the second of Holland/Germany) the next year. That second tour in 1992 was much better psychologically and we had fun again. But after it was over, we just sort of imploded yet one more time, with Kate gone. Sarah Cox, our bassist, stayed in Germany. So it was me, Robin and Lorraine. We were tired of beating head against the wall. It takes its toll. Lorraine decided to start a family. I sort of hung on to music. Unbelievably, as it may seem after so many battles and tribulations. But I could not see myself without music in my life. I continued to still jam with Robin McIver with different players. I said ok I am a musician and I will continue to sing - no matter what - even if just for myself.”
Ally: “My last gig with WENCH was at the Old Trout (?) at Windsor. Lisa Sharkin (temporarily guitarist) had walked out and we played as a four piece. Actually, that was fine, but I knew I'd had enough...”
Lorraine: “I don't really remember it... I probably didn't know it was our last show when it happened, so it went out with more of a fizzle than a bang...”
Laura: “I honestly don't remember my last gig with WENCH. I do remember the end of the UK tour being very difficult mentally for everyone, as we had some difficulties with our manger. The worst was the plane ride back to NY, not knowing if we would be able to continue moving forward.”

Did you also play covers during your live set or did you stick to your own penned material alone? If yes, which covers did you play?
Yana: “We never did covers in WENCH nor PMS. Only original material.”

Yana, you started WENCH to get more recognition. Did you succeed in that mission in your opinion?
Yana: “Yes, I think so. We made a statement at the time in the metal scene and I am very proud of that and the fact that we were trailblazers. We played to a lot of fans and had the opportunity to tour Europe and expose ourselves and our music to many different people around the world. Of course it’s much better than playing your local shithole bar for twenty years, to one drunk guy and a dog!! I can say I lived an exciting life.”

When did WENCH call it quits and why did you pull the plug back then?
Yana: “Right after our second European tour. When it's over, it's over. Sometimes it's best to make a graceful exit and hang it up. You know, when it's time to move on. Stop milking a dead cow.”

Do you have any idea, why “Die Crying” is added twice on the CD version of “A Tidy Sized Chunk”? It appears as track eight, but also as track ten, while there are just nine tracks on the original vinyl version.
Yana: “I think, that is just a mistake.”

After the demise of WENCH, you (Yana) decided to form SHINY MAMA, which sounds so much different than WENCH. Were you fed up with the whole heavy metal scene or what made you decide to start something completely different than WENCH?
Yana: “I wanted to try something different. I wanted to sing a different style of music. I evolved. I sang aggressive hard music for so long and I wanted to try something more melodic. When you are a musician, you don't pigeonhole and limit yourself. I didn't have to prove anything to anyone, just myself.”

How did you get in touch with the other band members and who can we see as the main influences for SHINY MAMA, musically?
Yana: “Well, after floundering for a few years after WENCH, I contacted and ran into an old friend Carla Olla, who was in PMS after I left, then in BLONDIE. We started jamming with Robin and we revived PMS for a bit as a reunion, but then quickly changed our name to SHINY MAMA. Fresh is best, when you start a new band. SHINY MAMA was always on that edgy hard rock tip. More melodic for sure. It was an amalgamation of so many different styles and years of playing: an organic development of music and style.”

Looking at one of the video trailers, that I have found of you performing JEFFERSON AIRPLANE’s “White Rabbit”, your ‘opera-like’ voice surprised me. Did you sing opera-like things in the past as well?
Yana: “You didn't think I sounded operatic in WENCH (lol) !!!??? I always got that comparison and some liked it, some did not. It's just my style of singing. I guess, certain songs and music make it come out more or make it more evident in the approach/delivery.”

In SHINY MAMA, you’re surrounded by male band members only. How different is that, besides the gender of the musicians?
Yana: “No, you see at first SHINY MAMA was an all-girl band as well. Old habits die hard. It was originally Carla Olla, myself, Robin McIver and Chip English of THE LUNACHICS. After a few years in 1998, we then got Noel Rockwood on second guitar. Then as time passed and line-ups changed with people moving on. I just surrounded myself with good musicians and could care less, if they were male or female.”

Is SHINY MAMA still active as a band?
Yana: “No, not right now. We split in 2005 after release of our CD “What Comes Around Goes Around”, which is available on iTunes and”

Besides being a singer in a band, you also have your own cosmetic line. Please tell us a bit more about that?
Yana: “I was the product development guru at Tony & Tina Cosmetics from 1998-2005 and when that folded, I started my own. It's a passion like singing and music. Website:”.

I also read about your own cabaret show. Maybe you can tell us a bit more about that as well?
Yana: “After SHINY MAMA broke up, I ventured in to more of a performance art world and cabaret. It's been a lot of fun. But in the last year I was taking care of a sick mother, who ultimately passed, so my life in general was on hold. I want to get back to performing and my own show this Summer 2011. Right now I am a guest in a lot of other people’s shows and performances. My own cabaret show is called ‘Coffee, Cigarettes, and Metal Blues’. I do DIO, JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN and Tom Jones, & Judy Garland - haha. It's fun. Look at some performances on Youtube Shinymama channel. I am also putting together a DIO tribute band, I LOVE DIO. My fave singer.”

Any things we forgot to ask you? You are so versatile and you have so many different things upon your sleeve?
Yana: “Hey, if you are an artist, you create no matter what. I am a singer and performer and as long as people enjoy hearing and seeing me, I will be on that stage. I don't have to be a superstar.”

We move on to the year 2008 now. There were rumors about a possible reunion of WENCH and doing some live shows. Why didn’t this event take place after all?
Yana: “Lorraine and Laura jammed for a year or so under EVOLUTION OF FURY playing old WENCH tunes. Then went their ways. To be honest, we had a falling out about the reunion, which is now resolved. I had a problem with them using the name WENCH without myself being in the band. I however had no issue with them playing the old WENCH songs live. There is no WENCH without me, period. (lol) It just would not be WENCH. Plus, it would not be right to reunite WENCH without Ally Gamble. Most importantly, I did not want to tarnish the small and cool legacy we left. I cherished and felt very protective of what we have accomplished and to water that down years later, was a travesty to me. Some things should be left to posterity. Sometimes you just need to let things be as they are. We were not very famous, but we did make our mark in metal history. It’s all cool now and we are on same page.”

Apparently, you’re still in touch with bassist Ally (who lives in London (UK) right now) and drummer Laura. Can you please give us a quick update here about what they are up to nowadays? Are they still active in the music industry at all?
Yana: “I will have them reply to you themselves. Laura has EVOLUTION OF FURY.”
Lorraine: “After a long, long (loooong) break I played for a little while with Laura in EVOLUTION OF FURY and then I joined the band AMERICAN SPEEDWAY.”
Laura: “Currently, the band EVOLUTION OF FURY evolved from my idea to start up a WENCH reunion. Which around three years ago was in the works, but couldn't get off the ground because of everyone's priorities and life in general. But I wanted to play the WENCH songs so badly, I refused to give up and kept trying to find the right musicians to play the WENCH songs live and start writing new material as well. We did a few shows here in NY with Lorraine on guitar, myself on drums with a few different bass players and vocalists along the way. Now aside from myself it's a completely different line-up and once again we’re out of a bass player.”
Ally: “I joined MAD COW DISEASE and we did two albums and a few EPs, toured around, but again due to crap management, we gave up. Shame really... Now I occasionally play with an extremely noisy punk band, called the NTF (NARCO TERROR FACTION).”

Sadly, guitarist Liz Brockland is no longer among the living. …… Any comments on this?
Yana: “She was awesome and unfortunately we lost her to drugs. What a shame and loss of a beauty and talent. Very sad.”

What will the feature hold for Yana Chupenko?
Yana: “God who knows! I hope to still perform in years to come, it's in the blood. I miss hard music and metal. There will be more music.”

We are an online magazine, entirely dedicated to the female musicians in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. Do you feel, that female musicians still need this kind of attention, or do you think that females already get the attention and recognition that they deserve so well?
Yana: “Women musicians need attention and extra help/push and recognition. I think the climate is better than it was, but it is always a struggle. So keep it up!”
Laura: “It's a tough situation for female musicians. Attention is easy to get, it's the talent, then respect and lastly the recognition that makes the difference. Either you're liked or hated!”
Lorraine: “I think female musicians still need attention, but unfortunately there is still the tendency to look at female musicians as a novelty and not legitimate musicians... But it's better now than it has ever been, in my opinion. It seems, that other genres of music (other than hard rock/metal) are moving forward faster in giving female musicians the recognition they deserve.”
Ally: “I think, that things have drastically improved for female musicians and we are taken far more seriously now.”

Metal Maidens is based in Holland (or The Netherlands, if you like). What more do you know about our country, besides the fact that it has colorful tulips and beautiful windmills?
Yana: “We toured your country with AGNOSTIC FRONT. Loved it. Our show at Melkweg (Milkyway) in Amsterdam was fantastic! Our hotel was on fire, the first day we checked in. We stayed in a cow shed. Good times Good times. You are all six feet gorgeous people. Jealous.”
Lorraine: “That you don't mind jumping into a random lake naked in the middle of the day (haha).”
Laura: “I admit, that I know very little about Holland. I do know a few things such as 1/4 of the Netherlands is under sea level, there is some sport called korfball and the weather is really cold in the winter months.”
Ally: “I have a dear friend Lucy from Amsterdam and she claims that the trams there enjoy hitting clueless tourists! I will be very, very careful, when I visit!”

Is there anything you would like to add to this interview or have we covered everything regarding the story of P.M.S. and WENCH?
Yana: “It's very convoluted, but I hope I cleared up some info. Visit my music site http;// for info, photos, songs etc. Facebook page”

Will there ever be a possibility for a WENCH reunion in the (near) future? Yana: “You never know:) If anyone wants to record, manage and/or offer us a tour, we are all ears!”
Lorraine: “I am learning never to say never.”
Laura: “My bags are already packed!!”
Ally: “Reunions are always possible, if not practical!”

The almost famous last words of this interview are for Yana and WENCH……
Yana: “I just want to rock you! Shine on you Crazy Diamonds!”
Lorraine: “Meh!”
Laura: “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there's still time to change the road you're on…”
Ally: “Is it beer o'clock yet???”

Interview by: Toine van Poorten/copyright Metal Maidens-Summer 2011.

For more information about Yana Chupenko, go to:

Discography PMS

*Demo ('85; 4 tracks)
*Loisaida (febr-March '90; 4 tracks)

*Pre-Metal Syndrome ('87; Buy Our records 12.014 - 10 tracks)

Discography WENCH

*Sumos Quad Sumos (1988)
*Stone Cold (1990)
*Demo (1993)

*A Tidy Sized Chunk ('91; MetalCore Records Core 5 - 9 tracks)

Various concert posters PMS and WENCH: