Of Irish and Japanese descent, Linda McDonald was inspired to take up instruments after listening to her brother's copy of Iron Maiden's Maiden Japan live EP. While she took up piano, guitar and violin, her self-taught drumming skills stood out the most. Following a short stint with a three-piece female band called Andromeda, McDonald became a founding member of Phantom Blue. And while the band found some success with their self-titled debut album in 1989, the rest of their career was marred by instability with management, record labels and numerous personnel changes. By the late 1990s, McDonald was the only original member of Phantom Blue. Their last recording was the EP Full Blown (1998) before they went their separate ways in 2001.
Shortly after Phantom Blue's demise, McDonald - along with band mate Josephine Soegijanty and ex-Bandit member Sara Marsh - joined vocalist Jenny Warren and bassist Melanie Sisneros to form The Iron Maidens, an all-female tribute band to Iron Maiden. McDonald has remained the original band member since then. As a member of The Iron Maidens, McDonald's stage name is "Nikki McBurrain," an amalgamation of Iron Maiden's former drummer Clive Burr and their current drummer Nicko McBrain. And much like McBrain with his drum kit, McDonald has hers decorated with a Sooty puppet. Her favorite Iron Maiden songs are "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", "Children of the Damned" and "The Prisoner"
In addition to The Iron Maidens, McDonald is a member of the cover bands Crabby Patty (I'm So Unclear!), Unholy Pink and Valley Dolls. She was also the drummer of the now-defunct female Ozzy Osbourne tribute The Little Dolls.
McDonald, along with Maidens bandmate Courtney Cox, joined former Phantom Blue members Kim Nielsen-Parsons, Gigi Hangach and Tina Wood for a reunion at a benefit concert on May 26, 2009 at the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, California. The concert was for the benefit of brain research in memory of Phantom Blue co-founder Michelle Meldrum, who died of a cystic growth in her brain on May 21, 2008.
Aside from Clive Burr and Nicko McBrain, McDonald also cites Simon Phillips, John Bonham, Alex Van Halen and Phil Collins among her influences. Her musical preferences vary from Barry Manilow to System of a Down. An avid pet lover, McDonald has a dog, a cat and a parakeet in her home.Phantom Blue (1989)
My Misery (single, 1993)
Built to Perform (1993)
Prime Cuts & Glazed Donuts (1995)
Caught Live (1997)
Full Blown (1998)
World's Only Female Tribute to Iron Maiden (2005/2006)
Route 666 (2007)
The Root of All Evil (2008)
Metal Gathering Tour Live in Japan 2010 (video, 2010)
Girls Got Rhythm! (Various artists) (2006)
"I Don't Know"
Warmth in The Wilderness (Tribute to Jason Becker)
Transmission (Carina Alfie)
Electric Fuzz (Carina Alfie)
Blowin' Up the Machine (Meldrum)
Linda McDonald is currently endorsed by Paiste cymbals; Vic Firth drum sticks; Drum Workshop drums, pedals and hardware; Coffin Case and Monster Energy Drink. In the past, she used Tama drums while touring with Phantom Blue.
Linda has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Guitar World, Metal Edge, Modern Drummer, DRUM! Magazine, Kerrang, Rip, Aardshock, Metal Hammer, L.A. Weekly, L.A. New Times, OC Weekly, Chicago Local Live Magazine, Portland Tribune, Playboy, Hustler, Orange County Register, The National Enquirer, FHM, Maxim, two MTV videos, ABC’s Livin’ Large TV Show, 54321 on Fox Sports Net, two Hard N' Heavy video magazine episodes, Gibson Lifestyle, KCAL-TV's 9 on the Town, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.