By Courtney Grimes

A myriad of personalities, attitudes and uninhibited intentions define a new wave of pop music, an unapologetic punch of sex and sound called Scissor Sisters. Formed in New York City, the original Scissor Sisters consisted of Jake Shears (lead vocals) and a multi-instrumentalist who calls himself “Babydaddy.” The two hit it off immediately with their hard core dedication to songwriting.

With Jake’s background in go-go dancing, and “Babydaddy’s” shameless approach to style, the duo quickly became regulars on the New York City music circuit. The pair soon hooked up with other flamboyant musicians Ana Matronic (vocals), Patrick Seacor, or “Paddyboom” (drums), and guitarist Del Marquis to round out the group.

The group’s melting pot of sounds, styles, ideas and influences emulate their home turf, and with such a high impact stage presence and rock all night performances, Scissor Sisters soon became too big for just New York.

After their debut appearance in 2001, the group’s career began to skyrocket. National and international sold out performances, hit singles and a fearless attitude led Scissor Sisters to three Brit Awards (“Best Group,” “Best Album,” “Best Newcomer”) and a Grammy nomination for “Best Dance Song.”

Here, guitarist Del Marquis chats about what’s on his wish list, being undeveloped and pathetic, and preparing to tour with Jane’s Addiction.

EPI: How did you come up with the name Scissor Sisters?

DEL: I don’t think it’s a very widely used term but it was slang for lesbians. And in a conversation one time, somebody said about us, “Oh what a bunch of scissor sisters.” It just kind of stuck. One of those terms you’re not really sure what it means.

EPI: How did you get into playing guitar?

DEL: I picked it up around 16. There were a couple records I bought that inspired me - The Cult’s Sonic Temple, Jane’s Addiction, The Cure. Those were the bands I really wanted to emulate, so those were three pinnacle albums for me. I thought, “I need to learn how to play guitar just in case they invite me on tour.”

EPI: (laughing) Well, you can’t ever be too prepared. Tell me about your Epiphones.

DEL: We were doing a number for The Brit Awards, and we’re opening the show with a high production number. And I thought, “we’ve got this really huge budget, so I’m pretty sure we can squeeze in a custom guitar for me.” With the time we had, I decided on doing the Epiphone DOT Studio because I’ve never done a custom guitar before, and I did have in mind to do a Custom 335. I figured this would be a really good intro to that. I sketched it up in a day.

EPI: Were you happy with the way it turned out?

DEL: I wanted something really graphic, so yeah I was really happy. They delivered it to the rehearsal stage where we were practicing. It was an absolute dream come true.

EPI: Do you have any special tunings you like to use?

DEL: I don’t really do special tunings. I just usually end up capoing a lot, because I like playing on open string. So instead of having ten guitars on stage I just capo. We’re a low maintenance band so you can’t really come to the table with ten different amps and five different types of guitars. We’re very efficient in our own units. I rarely use an amp. I go straight to the board and as long as the monitors are decent it sounds great. And the Epiphone I play was the only one I felt comfortable with.

EPI: What is the next guitar on your wish list?

DEL: I’m working on a 335. It makes me really nervous because they are quite expensive. But I really want to have something that works with what we’re going to be doing for the next tour. I need a guitar that’s a token for this upcoming album and tour. It’s really important to me. I like the idea of things being unique and special.

EPI: So you’re already planning for another tour?

DEL: The plans for the tour aren’t set in stone. We’re still writing and recording for this album, and we already have well over 15 songs. There’s just more writing to do. I think we’re giving ourselves that luxury instead of rushing out another album. I think people saw a lot of us in the past two years so we’re taking a step back right now. Hopefully we can kind of do a pre-tour, late fall/winter.

EPI: Tell me about the upcoming album.

DEL: It’s just a more mature version of what we did before. The last album was kind of a collection of our inputs and styles, really every song was a single in its own universe. I think we’re going to approach this album in a similar way. But maybe more organic.

EPI: What would your advice be to up-and-coming guitarists?

DEL: You gotta start guitar when you’re a teenager, it’s just key. You have to start when you have no life. All my advice would be to choose your instrument when you’re undeveloped and pathetic. Then when you reach adulthood, you have something that is yours, whatever you are – a guitar god, a stage rocker, a drummer, whatever.

EPI: What would you like to be doing a year from now?

DEL: I think that all of us are in a really good place. We’re kind of babies on tour. We’re not the youngest band on earth, but we’re babies because we had never done anything like that before, and having survived it we’re all in a better place.

For more information about Scissor Sisters, visit them on-line at: www.ScissorSisters.com.

 

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