May 2005 Guitarist of the Month



by Robert Urban

In just a few years time, NYC based transgender rock powerhouse LISA JACKSON has risen to become one of the top glbt music acts in the U.S. Lisa began as an occasional cross-dressing rocker playing Blondie songs in small clubs on the lower east side of Manhattan. But her “fem side”, as she says, eventually got the best of her. Good thing too. With great support from both glbt and hetero fans, Lisa came to life, let the lady within come out, and started cranking out her own original songs.

With her realistic "everygirl" style of singing and her great rock guitar playing - Lisa is poised on the cutting-edge of the new cross-dressing trans-rock revolution. Her original song lyrics, always down to earth and heartfelt, are presented in songs that praise the bravery of those who dare to be "different"; and reach out to the world for tolerance in issues of gender and glbt orientation. Check out Lisa Jackson and Boy Friday's CD - I Am Aok, and keep yer ears open for their brand new release due soon.

To quote Lisa – “I hope those of you out there that are thinking about performing, and maybe putting on a dress for the first time, if you are feeling a little off beat - please go for it. There are people around that will lift you up and help you make your dreams come true”.

- What brand/model/year instrument(s) do you record and play out with?

I use to very different Guitars, My favorite is my Hollow bodied Epiphone
which is a Les Paul signature series and I think they only put them out for one year and that was
2000. The other is a Fender Jagstang, the one I use is the Kurt Coban model, It's kind of a one
trick pony but when you need an overdrive sound it is the way to go.

- What brand/model/year amps & effects do u use?

My current amp that I play live with is a small Riviera combo amp. It puts out
alot off sound for alittle amp but on my lastest recording I have been using a Fender Hot Rod
Deluxe. It puts out a huge sound which I captured on tape buy using 3 different mic. One sm57
upclose and then 2 condenser mic between 2 and 5 feet away from the amp.

- Any special/favorite instrument tones/effects/approaches/techniques you've used/discovered in recording and/or performance that you really like?

I try to keep things pretty simple on stage, As you know I like to run around
alot so using any foot switch is alittle difficult. In the studio I just used a Maxon ovdrive
pedal with Fender amp and it really gave me a nice sound. I love for my guitars to have alot of
overdrive and then just use my volume control on the guitar to make adjustments when I need to.

- Who are your main influences as an instrumentalist? Which artists? Which bands? Which artists/bands were your favorites in your youth? Instrumentalist?

I think that Pete Townsend is my favorite player, I love the cords that he
choose to use not only on electric but acoustic as well. Song like magic buss are so specific and the way the hey works in pick noise and feedback are just super cool. As a kid I always listened to Van Hallen, but not because of Eddie. I was tottaly into David Lee Roth, In his prime he was the ultiment Atomic Punk!!

- How many different kinds of stringed/fretted instruments do u play? (e.g. - guitars, banjos, madolins, basses, etc) Do you play any other instruments?

I own many instruments but the only one I will play in public besides guitar is my upright bass. I grew up in Ga. and I love old gospel and bluegrass music. It's so much fun to play on the bass and it's the closest that I will ever become to being a drummer

- Do you play/compose/record only your own original music? Do you do any other work in music - e.g. teaching, recording session work, hired gun, producing, etc? Does your playing appear on recordings of any other artists?

At this point I only do my own recording. I would like to work with other people in the future but the band keeps me really busy right now and outside projects usually just turn into major distraction for me.

- Is there a particular favorite solo or part you played on a recording, or a certain piece of composed music you wrote, that you feel represents your finest work?

I think the Title track "AOK" off my first album is one of my favorite songs that I have write n. I feel that I get my point across with the lyrics and the arangment of the song is very alive and exciting. The new album that we are working on has a song called Night Light of Jesus on it that is really cool. Their is a great Keyboard solo at the end and a pretty cool guitar solo that I am very pleased with.

- Can you relate any special feelings or experiences about being a glbt player in the mostly straight music world... especially regarding your formative/learning years on your instrument?

I really didn't come out with my Trans stuff until I was in my mid 20's so as a kid and when I first started playing it wasn't really something I thought about, But the one thing I do know is that when I allowed myself to live my life as a trangendered person my playing, my singing and
my song writing became so much better. I wasn't aware of how much I was suppressing my self until I let it go. Now that the band is really getting out their and getting a name for it self I really don't worry about the trans thing to much and if anything Rock-n-Roll needs a new rebeillon so lets make it Trans. The parents will hate and the Kids want be able to get enough of it!

- Any special thoughts on your instrument, and what it's meant to you in your life?

Well I never really knew how important my guitars and my music were to me until one night at CBGB. We were headlining this lame ass punk night and some little jerk went back stage a found my acoustic guitar that I just happened to have with me, and while I was on stage they went out back and smashed up my guitar. When I came off stage and started looking for my gear my friend informed of what had happened. I tottaly lost it, I was so angry that someone had broken something that was so personal to me. I had written so many songs on that guitar and it really was a huge blow.

- For a glbt player - how does the overall music scene differ today from years ago? How have trans players/performers/singers evolved in recent years?

Well it is much safer now to be trans and if the record companies don't like what you do than start your own. Look at Ani, Rightouse babe records is a great Company. Sometimes I think that the only thing that holds back the GLBT artist is the fact that we are affried to step out their and let are voices be heard. If you've got something to say as an artist then say it loud goddamit!!

- Any advice for young glbt players?

Play hard sing loud and enjoy the fact the universe have given you the ability to play music.

- What are your current and future musical projects?

We(myself and my band girl friday) are in the middle of our second album. We are playing in Central Park on May 15th for the NY Aids Walk . For future events and news check us out at



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