“Hi JB, welcome to 6 stringheaven.com”
Describe a typical Jennifer Batten day?
There’s nothing typical about my days. I wake up to chaos, but postpone it with a cup of coffee while staring out the window. And although coffee gets slowly into my brain, it takes going to the gym to get blood into it. I’m trying to finish my 3rd CD right now, so most of the rest of the day is in my studio on Logic, and also just trying to keep up with requests and bookings. Keeping ones life organized is hugely demanding. There are a lot of hours of communications and e mails that suck time away from my day. But that just makes music time more precious.
*So what does 2005 hold for instore for you?
I’ll finish my CD in the next few months.–hopefully before the slew of work begins. I’m slated to go to China, Australia, Japan and Canada in the 1st 1/2 of this year for Digitech clinics. I have a new band also, and we’re booking some dates around my other schedule as well.
* I just called by your website http://www.batten.com it makes for interesting reading, do you think the internet has generally helped musicians or like the labels keep saying it’s ruining the industry?
Labels might say it’s ruining the industry because we don’t need them as much any more. We’re now able to reach fans directly and let them know where we’ll be performing. We can also let them have direct access to our music, which is great because if you don’t have the high dollar push behind you, people can’t find your music in stores. The free downloads are what’s hurting both the industry and the artists. Kids don’t see it as stealing but that’s our income….stolen. It’s like working for months on a project and never seeing your paycheck because the company has gone out of business.
*Here’s one all guitarists should answer and you will be no exception, do you ever put your own cd‚s on when you are chillin at home?
Never. You listen to it so much during the process, and you’re so emotionally involved that it’s no longer like a pleasant, removed experience that you get when listening to someone else’s music.
* How long have you played guitar and what made you first pick one up?
I started playing at age 8. My father bought me an electric for my first one. I started lessons and learned to read right away.
*Any chance of a new album coming up in the near future? What should we expect, compared to your other releases?
I’d guess it might be out this summer. I’ve programmed everything myself so you’ll hear a huge variety of different sounds in every track. I’ve made use of computer technology to do things that can’t be played in real life. It was fun but exhausting and I guarantee the next one will feature more humans!!
*You have certainly impressed the guitar world with your awesome offerings especially Giant Steps.How do you get those brilliant ideas?In otherwords,who/what inspires you to compose music?
Thanks! I’ve found many sources of inspiration from the old blues cats to Jeff Beck to Van Halen and in the last few years a lot of ethnic music as well as techno coming out of London. I think Joe Diorio was the inspiration behind Giant Steps. He’s an amazing jazzer.
*You are one of those people who have proved to the world that women can also attain Guitar God status.What are your feelings towards this?
The guitar god thing always reminds me of Saturday morning cartoons. It’s nice to be recognized but I don’t take it too seriously. I’m just trying to grow and keep myself inspired with new adventures in music. The industry is so male dominated, I’m not sure how far my acceptance has penetrated. Careers are always pretty fickle in music. I’m just glad to have made a living in it for a few decades. Having circumvented planet earth so many times, and seeing how others live, you realize what a blessing it is to play for a living!
*What would you say is your biggest weakness when it comes to guitar playing? How do you approach it? Do you keep working at it, or accept it as a limitation in your abilities and move on to other things?
The biggest weakness is soloing over odd time signatures. Jeff (Beck) is a natural with that stuff but it’s always uncomfortable for me. I’m not obsessed with practicing any more. I used to be able to sit for 10 hours and work on various techniques, but now I don’t have the attention span for it. I’d rather jam to tapes or do live band rehearsals and gigs, and write music. Writing is my #1 joy.
*Who are your influences?
Jeff Beck, Van Halen, George Lynch,Weather Report.
*Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
That would be Michael Jackson I suppose. I’ve never met anyone else who’s sold over 40 million copies of one album. Outside of music, I met Gregory Peck, Mike Tyson, Sophia Loren, Don King. In fact when Sheryl Crow was in Jackson’s band with me, we had a photo taken together with Sophia.
* How memorable was your stint with Michael Jackson?
Very! It was life changing in every way possible.
Were there any special moments?
The whole first tour was the biggest 1 1/2 year mind blowing adventure you can imagine–seeing the world for the first time and getting paid for it!
*How many guitars do you own?
About 8. I’ve given a bunch away and have sold others. I don’t like to change strings, so why have them around? I only really play one–the natural wood finish JB100 with the Masai’s painted on it.
You have a Signature Model built by Washburn.What are the special things to look out for in that guitar?
One of the 3 available models of the JB100 is the synth pick up. I can’t imagine why more guitarists don’t take advantage of access to synth sounds. It also has a real Floyd Rose trem and Seymour Duncan JB Jr, and Duckbucker pick ups. It’s a glue in neck so there’s a smooth transition to the body. I also put a string damper on all my guitars to control open string ring. There’s also a USA model without the synth pick up and a very good Korean model. Import duties outside the USA are exorbitant for foreigners to deal with so the Korean model takes some financial pressure off there.
*What is your usual live/studio rig?
I’m now using the Digitech GNX4. It’s an all in one floor pedal board that you can run direct. It’s also and 8 track digital recorder.-Very convenient. Live with my band, I run it through a Boogie Strategy 400 power amp and Boogie 2X12 speaker cab. I’m also looking at the new Tone Tubby cabs from Texas made from hemp paper.
*Your effects are by Digitech(a GNX-4).have you tried other effects apart from Digitech?
Not in a long time.
Would you recommend this effect to the guitar newbie?
Absolutely! It’s the world’s first complete guitar workstation. I’m amazed what all is packed into that thing.
*What would you say was your biggest live gig to date?
Superbowl 26 which aired to 1.5 Billion people in 80 countries
*I understand that you are going to tour China ,Japan, Australia and New Zealand in 2005. Would you be stopping over at other venues?( I think I saw you during MJ’s tour some years back here in Singapore)
I think there will be more dates added to the Chinese leg of this years’ touring but I don’t post things on my site until they’re confirmed.
*What advice would you give to someone who is stuck in a rut and can’t seem to reach the next level?
Take a break and listen to inspiring music–especially live shows. Go see a movie or read a book. The best book I can recommend is called “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron. She addresses getting stuck in there, as well as a ton of other issues every artist can relate to. She’s got incredible insight.
*Do you think there should be another Hear N’ Aid for the Tsunami victims?
Sure. People forget about disasters in short order and money is still needed. You have to take into account that a certain percentage of money given will go into the hands of crooks and never reach the people that need it. I gave a good chunk of money for the 9-11 thing, and then heard constantly after that that the families were not receiving any of it. There are scammers in every facet of life! So the more money that can be shelled out, the better chance of having some of it reach where it’s supposed to reach. America is a rich nation. Everyone can afford to help.
* Do you have any other comments for your worldwide fans and guitar wielding psychos out there?
The bottom line is to have fun with music. That’s why it’s called “playing”