VCReporter: From Alice Cooper to Michael Bolton to Michael Jackson — that’s a wide swath of music to be involved with. Is it safe to assume the edgier rock stuff is your favorite, since that’s what you play on your own projects, or do you love it all pretty equally?
Orianthi: I really love playing rock, but I started out playing the blues. My dad had a huge blues collection — from Freddie King to John Lee Hooker to Jimi Hendrix. I wore those records out learning their solos and jamming along with them. So, when I play, I always gravitate back to playing those blues-based solos. It all stems from the blues.
You’ve been collaborating with legends for, pretty much, your whole career. Do you still have a sense of awe and reverence in those scenarios or has that worn off a bit?
Absolutely! It doesn’t sink in for a while that I’ve worked with people like Carlos Santana or Michael Jackson. It’s a trip; it doesn’t seem like reality until I see the photos or YouTube videos that pop up. The first person I got to work with was Steve Vai when I was 14, and opening for ZZ Top when I was 16, so that started off pretty surreal. I feel very blessed that I’ve had these moments in my life.
What do you think keeps more females from becoming lead guitarists? And do you feel any sort of responsibility to encourage them?
It seems to have been a very male-dominated field, but I’m seeing more and more female guitarists, bassists and drummers come out and be successful and tear it up. I love to see that! Just look at Prince’s band 3RDEYEGIRL— they are killin’ it! If you have a passion for something, keep on going and just go for it. Play as much as you can and jam as much as you can. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun and shows make it all worth it.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I am making a new record with Richie Sambora. We have worked for nearly two years writing and creating new sounds, and we are really excited to take this record on the road really soon. This has been a journey and you can’t rush art… we are very close to putting it out there for our fans. This is the reason we make music — bringing people together and inspiring others. Putting on a show is like having a big ass party for thousands of our best friends. It’s really great to read the messages on Twitter and Facebook from the fans that are excited about hearing the new material.
Orianthi will perform on Sunday, Oct. 18 at the Canyon. For tickets and additional information, visit www.canyonclub.net.