Interviewed by Robert Urban for GAY GUITARISTS WORLDWIDE
Meet Krystin Herrington - electric guitarist, songwriter & backup vocalist with the all-transgendered, all-woman, Houston, TX based rock group GURLFRIENDZ. Krystin luvs “playin' guitar, playin' pool, and hangin' out with my GFZ!” The Gurlz recently headlined the huge Houston Pridefest and have just released their first EP/CD entitled To the End! Influences included U2, the Black Crowes, Godsmack and Creed, with a twist of 3 Doors Down. "One thing is for sure. They rock. Watch out, babes, Gurlfriendz is coming out!" - OutSmart Magazine.
- What brand/model/year instrument(s) do you record and play out with?
I currently play an Ibanez S-Series S 470 DXQM,..with the ZR tremlo and an Ovation CC057 Celebrity. The Ibanez is an 04' model,..and I believe the Ovation is a 2000 model.
- What brand/model/year amps & effects do u use?
I use a Marshall AVT150 w/ a 4 X 12 Cab. Both are 04' models. Is there another kind?? LOL I stick to using a LOT of the presets built into the Marshall,...but also use my Digitech Rp 80 for a few phaser EFX,..and I really like it's delayed setting variables. Really makes playing guitar interesting- Who are your main influences as an instrumentalist? Which artists? Which bands? Which artists/bands were your favorites in your youth?
I love heavy ( not thrash) metal. I like a lot of the 80's-90's metal bands,....even made it to a couple of Pantera concerts! Metallica really influenced me,.even though I don't play that type of stuff. Godsmack seems to be MY sound now. That low-down HITTIN drive that they put into there music really gets to me. Of course,..I have to also say bands like Triumph,.AC-DC,.Cheap Trick,..Boston,.....rockin stuff! Oh yea,..the "OZ-Man" was my FIRST album,..grandma said YES when MOM said NO!! LOL For that alone,.I listed my grandma in our CD credits! She helped start my RnR adventure! Thanks Grandma!!
Any special/favorite instrument tones/effects/approaches/techniques you've used/discovered in recording and/or performance that you really like?
I'm a rocker, and I really like the phaser EFX played with a heavy distortion. Our song "WANT" is just that,..a lot of phaser,..and smothered with distortion! A real dirty=gritty sound that carries itself! "Nasty Groove". When recording our CD,..I found that the RP80 was my friend. This little gem lent some sweet tones to my melodic rythyms for a few of our origionals. In fact,.two of our songs were directly influenced by the sounds I heard during warm-up one day at practice. Once I heard that sound,..it was ON from there!
- 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 am a guitarist. I have an intrest in a a mandolin,..can hit a few notes,..but really want to see how that can be included in our stuff. Jury still out on this one,..so for the time,..I'll stick to what I know is working. Picking up a bass has been discussed lately as well.
- Do you also compose? Do you do any other work in music - e.g. teaching, recording session work, hired gun, producing, etc?
I wrote 4 out of the 5 songs on our debut CD. I didn't know I had it in me,..but after the trial -by -fire attempt,..the whole band says that I am now the official song-writer for the band. I haven't been on any other artist recordings,..nor do I have an intrest in that. I live for ONE band,..GF'Z! If I write,.or record anything,..it will be for this band only.
- 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 like everything I have done to this point. I am no Les Paul,.Jimi,..Clapton,..but I am growing musically everyday. The groove on "WANT" is probably the one that says "KRYSTIN's Guitar work" more than any. "Can You Hear Me Now" has some good licks,..but as a rythym player,..I have to watch how "busy" I am ,..as not to cloud the sound to where Jen's work is being "lost" in all that's happening. "All Of Me" was my first,...but in that one,..I just stick to the simple stuff,..but really try and pick out all the notes in the verses. It "grounds" the entire song.
- Can you relate any special feelings or experiences about being a trans player in the mostly straight music world... especially regarding your formative/learning years on your instrument?
I gave up on playing in a band about 12 years ago after my vocalist started being a pompass ass. I was in a country band ( as my male self),..and single at the time,..so I had fun with it. When we all went seperate ways,.I got sick of all the hassle,..and promptly sold ALL my gear,.well,..except ONE acoustic! ( I was mad,..not stupid! LOL)
When I met up with some of the Gals in GF'Z,..I didn't even own an electric guitar,.OR an amp,..at ALL! I ran down and picked up ALL new gear after I saw the band that I had just formed! I went BIG! They love me at the music store! Since all this,..I have a new take on what we all said was "gonna be just for fun". Being trans,..I wanted a way to do both,..be openly out and proud of my TG status,..but jam in a RnR band as well! I have done that,.and now am a lil local celeb of sorts in the GLBTI sector of Houston. I can't go anywhere,.without someone asking,." Hey,.aren't you that chic in that cool T-Girl band??" I simply smile and reply,." Yes. Yes I am!"
Having taken this band from conception to playing in front of 150.000 plus this year at Pride Housrton still blows me away,..considering we haven't been together that long. Straight,.Bi,.Gay,.Les,..whatever! I play for me,.and those who like what I do/stand for. I am honored to bring a face to represent TG bands abroad,..and I do contribute some of my "passion" to Sarafina of Lipstick. She is like me,...not on a crusade,..but a mission with a direct effect on ALL TG people,..hopefully a positive one.
- Any special thoughts on your instrument, and what it's meant to you in your life?
My guitar has always been there,..when I was down,..or when I was at my best. She ( my newest addition-"-Ms. Buttersworth") is my Ibanez. Really a hot-rod guitar that I fell in love with on sight! I've had several,.Gibson,.Fender,..cheapies,..but this lil' gal is my honey! After coming home from a party/bar,..I can remember sitting there for hours,..alone,..just jamming away,..lost in bliss! I would marry her,..but Texas won't allow that! SHE is MY girl!!
- For a trans player - how does the overall music scene differ today from years ago? How have trans players/performers/singers evolved in recent years?
I'll have to get back to you on that. I really don't think like a trans person,..I'm past that now. I am who I am,..but don't see me as a "trans" artist. Today's scene is mostly younger bands,..heavier drop D tunings,....new. Well,..I like it all,..even stuff that a lot don't. Trans or not,..it all sounds good. Seeing openly out artist make a name for themselves,..looking at what Queen did back when being Gay was a big "no-no",..Elton's fame,..Mellisa Ethridge,.....they are all making it easier for the world to lend us an ear,..and see us as equals. Good,...isn't it about time?? LOL
- Any advice for young trans players?
DON'T wait for something to happen,..MAKE it happen! Play till your pretty lil fingers bleed,..hurt,..and feel like they are gonna fall off! THEN,..do it again! LOL Mainly,..believe in yourself and your music! If YOU don't,..NO ONE will! We are on the look-out for other new trans artist who are looking to get out there,..so let me know what you have,..and I'll do anything I can to help. Just do it!
- What are your current and future musical projects?
I only have ONE right now,..and intend to keep it that way. I can only give 100 % to one band,..and doing more outside GF'Z,..would short both. I ,.at this time,..couldn't even imagine another project. This band keeps me focused on what is important,..and allows me all the music my heart desires. We just released our first EP cd,..but already have 12-15 songs that we are currently working on. we are hoping to have them available for a full length LP by Dec. 31st,05'. A tour with Lipstick Conspiracy keeps getting brought up,..so expect us hooking up soon with them. Till then,..I'm just gonna ROCK!!
for more info on Krystin and GURLFRIENDZ visit GURLFRIENDZ Yahoo Group
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