Ernie Ball Music Man signature artist St. Vincent was featured on the cover of Guitar World magazine’s February 2017 issue, and was the subject of the issue’s main article (read an excerpt here). Covering her childhood years, early exposure to music and guitar, and the formation of her now world-class career, the article provides a great look into what makes her tick both personally and professionally.
Here, we present to you the six biggest things we learned about St. Vincent from the article:
#1 – Her cover photo wardrobe is a tongue-in-cheek nod to Guitar World’s past
Just as the photo shoot was scheduled to begin, St. Vincent arrived wearing a baggy t-shirt featuring an airbrushed bikini body, the kind of stereotypical tourist souvenir found at places like Venice Beach in California.
“I did a quick Google search of women on the (Guitar World) cover, and all I really saw was girls in bikinis holding guitars like they’ve never held a guitar before. I started thinking about that and just wanted to make my own absurdist comment on it. I couldn’t really let it slide without poking a bit of fun and taking the piss a little!”
Check out some behind-the-scenes moments from the photo shoot for her cover of Guitar World.
#2 – Her guitar playing has been compared to Frank Zappa’s by a very knowledgeable source
Dweezil Zappa told Rolling Stone magazine last year that guitarists who want to get into his late father’s “quirky, far-out catalog should listen to St. Vincent.”
“The first thing I saw her do was a version of [The Beatles’] ‘I Dig a Pony’ on YouTube – she had two different microphones to create a special vocal effect and guitar style was really quirky in its phrasing. She played similar fuzz-tone guitar like on Freak Out! and on [Zappa’s] earlier recordings.”
Here is the video that Dweezil refers to, from the All Points West Festival in 2009:
#3 – The first band she ever played in was a metal band
Starting out on bass in a group surrounded by junior high boys, she cut her teeth playing covers by bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Rage Against The Machine, and AC/DC.
For any out there wondering if she can “really play,” rest easy that techniques like two-hand tapping and sweep picking are very much a part of her repertoire.
#4 – Music is in her blood
Her uncle, Tuck Andress of jazz outfit Tuck & Patti, took her on the road with them when she was a teenager to log some hours as a roadie. As she neared the point of graduating high school, Tuck recommended that she attend the Berklee College of Music, saying that, “she needs to be a musician. She should go to Berklee and get additional training.” She spent three years enrolled at the school, though dropped out before graduating. She grew bored with the school’s curriculum, which had a heavy emphasis on navigating the business side of the music industry.
#5 – Her first tour as a professional musician was anything but lonely
Shortly after leaving Berklee and returning home to Texas, she was recruited by The Polyphonic Spree, who were touring in Europe with two dozen musicians in the band. She parlayed that experience into a gig supporting Sufjan Stevens.
#6 – Her signature Ernie Ball Music Man guitar has some high-profile fans
Guitar players Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, Omar Rodríguez-López, Beck and more have requested their own St. Vincent guitars. While the St. Vincent guitar may not be conventional, its combination of top-notch craftsmanship, incredible tone and playability make it a real player’s instrument.
Learn about how the St. Vincent signature guitar came to be by watching this making-of video:
St. Vincent plays her Ernie Ball Music Man signature model guitars. Learn more about these guitars and our other instruments at our website.