singer/songwriter guitarist DONNA AUSTIN
Interview by Robert Urban for GAY GUITARISTS WORLDWIDE
Self-described as "AD/DC" - central Florida-based singer/songwriter/guitarist DONNA AUSTIN "relates to both genders on a very personal, intimate and private level. Donna is leader of The Donna Austin Experience original rock trio. She is currently hard at work in the studio this fall recording her first solo CD. She's also planning her spring 2008 tour.
- What brand/model/year instrument(s) do you record and play out with?
MY FAVORITE GUITAR IS A 1987 / LEO FENDER SIGNATURE G & L BLONDE ASAT TELECASTER. SECOND FAVORITE IS A 1974 FENDER STRATOCASTER SUNBURST. AND MY 1990 GIBSON J-200 ACOUSTIC WITH A CUSTOM HAND MADE FOR ME BY CARLOS JUAN CP-1A PREAMP BRIDGE PICK-UP. THE SAME ONE ERIC CLAPTON AND CARLOS SANTANA USE.
- What brand/model/year amps & effects (if any) do you use?DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OF THE CONCERT VENUE. SMALL VENUES I USE TWO MODIFIED ROLAND 77 JAZZ CHORUS WITH 2X10 é─˛S AND 2 MARSHALL1936 CABNITS WITH 2x12X75 WATT SPEAKERS IN EACH CABNIT. LARGER VENUES I USE A TRI AMP SYSTEM. FENDER MARSHALL AND ROLAND TOGETHER. FOR PEDALS I USE A 1965 VOX WHA WHA PEDAL~ HENDRIX FUZZ FACE~1985 ROLAND ME-5EFFECTS PROCESSOR~IBANEZ OCTAVE PEDAL~ROLAND A-B FOOT SWITCH AND A VERY RARE1970'S H & H ECHO UNIT MADE IN ENGLAND.
- Who are your main influences as an instrumentalist? Which artists? Which bands? Instrumentalist? Which artists/bands were your favorites in your youth?
THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT QUESTION FOR ANY MUSICIAN TO ANSWER WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY INFLUENCES IN ONES LIFE. ROCK PLAYERS~JIMI HENDRIX~ERIC JOHNSON~JEFF BECK~STEVE MORSE~SRV~ERIC CLAPTON~JIMMY PAGE~RICHIE BLACKMORE AND MORE OTHER PLAYERS INCLUDE~WES MONTGOMERY~KENNY BURRELL~Dé─¨JANGO RIENHART~PAT METHENY~JOE PASS~CHARLIE BIRD~JULIAN BREAM AND MANY MORE. I LOVE IT ALL~ROCK~JAZZ~BLUES~CLASSICAL
- Tell fans about your luv for your particular style of music, as opposed to other styles - how it became your favorite style of rock, etcI AM STILL IN THE DEVELOPMENT STAGES OF MY MUSIC. IT IS ALWAYS CHANGING. THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY INFLUENCES IT HAS BEEN TUFF STAYING WITH A PARTICULAR SYLE. I LOVE IT ALL.
- 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?
I AM IN THE PROCESS OF RECORDING MY FIRST ALBUM.AND IN BETWEEN RECORDING I GET HIRED TO PLAY WITH OTHER GROUPS AND SESSION WORK AS YES I HAVE MUSIC ON SOME UP COMING ARTIST THE PAST FEW YEARS BUT I DONé─˘T WANT THAT TO INFLUENCE MY CAREER.
- 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?
ITS HARD TO SAY WHICH SOLO IS BETTER THAN THE OTHER.
Any special thoughts on your instrument, and what it's meant to you in your life?
THE GUITAR AND MY LOVE FOR MUSIC HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FORM OF SPIRITUALITY AND FREEDOM IN MY LIFE. IT HAS BEEN APART OF ME FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER.
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?
MY LIFE HAS BEEN ANYTHING BUT NORMAL FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER. LIVING IN TWO WORLDS HAS ITS ADVANTAGES. I CAN RELATE TO BOTH GENDERS ON A VERY PERSONAL, INTIMATE AND PRIVATE LEVEL. PLUS BEING AC/DC GIVES YOU A BROADER RANGE OF AUDIENCES. I HAVE PLAYED BOTH STRAIGHT AND GAY CONCERT VENUES AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT I DON'T BELIEVE THERE IS A WHOLE LOT OF DIFFERENCE IN THE PEOPLE. WHEN AN ARTIST PERFORMS IN CONCERT ITS ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC NOT THE GENDER.
- For an LGBT player - how do you think the overall music scene differs today from years ago?
IT'S A BRAND NEW WORLD WITH NO BOUNDARIES OR PARAMETERS.
- How is the overall music scene in your locale?
ITS ORLANDO!!!! NEED I SAY MORE
- Any advice for young glbt players?
SET YOUR GOALS,STAY FOCUSED ON WHO YOU ARE AND SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE ROLE MODELS.
- What are your current and future musical projects?
I AM GOING TO TRY AND FINISH THE ALBUM PROJECT SOMETIME BEFORE SPRING AND LAUNCH A TOUR IN EUROPE IN THE SPRING OF 2008. PEACE AND LOVE, DONNA AUSTIN
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