Local female teen band rocks Chicago suburbs

ELMHURST – Inspired by artists like Led Zeppelin, Joan Jett and Metallica, local rock band Bloody Mary’s music could probably be compared to the spicy, adult beverage often served before noon.

But the members say it refers only to the famed ghost.

“The drink sounds gross,” said Ana Juvan, the band’s lead guitarist.

After all, she wouldn’t know for sure. Not one of them is old enough to drink alcohol.

Ana “Apollo” Juvan and drummer Kat “Cannons” Gannon are the oldest of the group at 17. Lead singer and guitarist Rickee “Divine” Bell is 16 and the newest addition to the band, bassist Hollie “Wood” Albin, is just 14.

Not only are they all young, but they’re young women in an industry they see dominated by men.

“I feel like the majority of people listen to boy bands with boy singers instead of girls,” Bell said.

Still, they are teenage girls, and Bell remembers aspiring to be the next Hannah Montana until she first started playing guitar at 13 and “discovered instruments.” She’s since moved on to listening to Kurt Cobain.

They realize the challenges of being teenage girls in the hard rock scene, but they feel right at home on stage. Bell’s favorite part of a performance is watching the audience sing along to the band’s original songs.

Bell is a junior at Ombudsman in Naperville, but is taking cosmetology courses through Technology Center of DuPage. Juvan, a senior at York High School plans to attend College of DuPage next year, and Gannon, a junior at Downers Grove North, wants to pursue some type of music or arts career after high school.

Albin, an eighth-grader at Sandburg Middle School, has plenty of time to decide on a day job, but like her bandmates she has high hopes for Bloody Mary.

“If I can get a little girl to decide to play bass, that would be so cool,” Albin said.

Bell claims she once ran into Lita Ford, one of the band’s inspirations, in the bathroom at a National Association of Music Merchants show. In typical teenage girl fashion, Bell said she took a selfie mirror photo with the celebrity. Offstage, the girls hang out like any other teenagers in sweat pants drinking chocolate milk and laughing. They’re always laughing.

While their music might be spicy, they all have a sweet tooth. They all let out a unified gasp at the mention of Portillo’s chocolate cake one of their favorite shared meals.

Even though the band has been performing around Chicago since 2010 and is signed by Dark Star Records, which is associated with Sony Music Entertainment, none of them would say they’ve “made it” yet.

“Whatever point we get a tour bus, I’ll be happy,” Gannon laughed.

They may be young, but they’ve gotten a taste of the realities of the music industry. Bell, Juvan and Gannon are the remaining members of the original group of six. Even though Albin is just about six months in, they all believe they’ve found the perfect fit.

“It feels like she’s been in the band forever,” Gannon said.

Remembering their first performance, a Rock University show put on by Perry’s Music Center in Villa Park when they recall out numbering the audience, Bell said she even started texting on stage.

Most recently, Bloody Mary competed for a chance to open for the Chicago area stop of the national Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock Tour. While they didn’t win the battle of the bands Sunday at Mojoes in Joliet, they’re looking forward to opening for Lita Ford and Vixen on Sept. 12 at Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

“We’re on our way,” Gannon said.

Meet the band:

Ana "Apollo"
Real name: Ana Juvan
Age: 17
Instrument: Lead guitar and vocals
Residence: Elmhurst
School: York High School
Favorite artist: Joan Jett

Kat "Cannons"
Real name: Kat Gannon
Age: 17
Instrument: Drums and vocals
Residence: Downers Grove
School: Downers Grove North
Favorite artist: John and Jason Bonham

Rickee "Divine"
Real name: Rickee Bell
Age: 16
Instrument: Lead vocals and guitar
Residence: Carol Stream
School: Ombudsman
Favorite artist: Kurt Cobain

Hollie "Wood"
Real name: Hollie Albin
Age: 14
Instrument: bass and vocals
Residence: Elmhurst
School: Sandburg Middle School
Favorite artist: Metallica