Epiphone is proud to see Britt Lightning, superstar guitarist and Vixen member, out on tour with an Epiphone Les Paul this spring, soon to be followed by some new Epi SGs. After a brief run (including the Monsters of Rock cruise), Vixen will soon return to Nashville to cut a new album with producer, engineer and heavy metal auteur Michael Wagener (Alice Cooper, Metallica, Mötley Crüe). Having Wagener in your corner would be an inspiration and a challenge to any band. You have to be at your best to work with the best. But despite the impending sessions and a full schedule of summer festivals, Britt exudes a sense of calm, thoughtfulness, and professionalism in conversation. On stage however, the music takes over. Visit Britt’s websiteand Vixen’s official website and Instagram for more updates soon. And thanks to Brian Ronald for the awesome photo.
It’s great to see you on stage with Epiphone, Britt.
Thanks! I’m about to get some SG
s, too. I’ve always played Les Pauls
so I’m excited to try something new. And those will have the Floyd RoseTM
FRX bridge system which I’m really excited about.
As we’re talking you’re getting ready to go out with Vixen on the Monsters of Rock tour.
Oh yes. There’s going to be at least 30 bands on the trip so that will be a blast. And we’re also working on the new studio album which the band hasn’t done in a while. That’s been fun. Vixen lives all over the States. I’m in California right now. The bass player is in Florida, the drummer is in Detroit, so we’re just all over. We’ve been meeting up for writing sessions and they have been going really well. We did a live album over the summer (Live Fire)
which came out great. We worked in Nashville with Michael Wagener and he’ll be doing our studio album as well.
How do you contribute to the writing sessions? Are you always working on new songs?
I’m always writing things. When I first pick up the guitar before I play or practice anything, I’m always just noodling around to warm up and jammin’ around. Sometimes, I’ll just put on the radio and jam over whatever is on. Sometimes that inspires a riff. And most of the time it could be used for Vixen. Other times it’s more abstract and weird stuff. But lately what’s been happening is that I’ve been coming up with all these riffs. Once I have a whole pocket full of them, I’m ready to show the band. Although, we recently have been saying: let’s put aside every pre-conceived thought and just be in-the-moment and let’s get a beat and come up with something totally new and fresh. We’ve tried writing that way—a spontaneous thing--which I really like. That’s how we’ve been writing the record so far.
Does the band plan to perform live in the studio?
At the moment, we have almost finished the writing process so we haven’t started making the studio tracks yet. But we did a couple singles on the live record which we played alltogether in a room and then did a couple overdubs and fixes. But otherwise, we really did it live. I feel like that captures the energy best with us.
Are you able to listen to music when you’re writing?
Sure. I’m a huge Eagles fan and I love Joe Walsh. I’ve been really been digging into his catalog, the 70s and 80s stuff. And that’s been really inspiring me a lot. And I know that’s not the sound of Vixen. However, that has been inspiring me (laughs).
That keeps things fresh.
Yes, exactly. And with the Vixen sound in mind, it does make things a little different.
When you were growing up, what kind of guitar player did you want to be? Did you imagine yourself in a band like Vixen?
When I first started out, I played the flute growing up. And I just loved it. And it sound cliché but it’s so true. I heard Van Halen’s Eruption
by accident and was just blown away and knew that I wanted to play that on guitar and not the flute (laughs). And from there, I got really into Metallica and Ozzy and that kind of stuff. So, I just had to pick up the guitar. And I was a lot more into metal when I first started. I formed an all-girl metal band in Boston where I grew up. I was just more into Megadeth and Pantera. Then I played with Alejandro Sanz, a Latin pop artist which was really cool because that introduced me to a completely different style than what I was used to playing. Different chords and rhythms. From there, I did some pop stuff and right now I’m just not as much into the shredding anymore, even though I still do it here and there. I’m really into the ‘classic rock.’ I’m really influenced by players like David Gilmour and Jimi Hendrix and more blues, more Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page. That kind of style. More raw. Angus Young kinds of tones. Less of a precise, shredding style and more bluesy, fighting with your guitar for whatever comes out, like raw emotion-type vibes. That’s what I’m trying to go for. My Epiphones are be perfect for that.