Zepparella, the all-female rock band that dares to channel the almighty Led Zeppelin through their own improvised magic, will perform at the Third Annual Malibu Guitar Festival, which runs May 18 through 21.
Zepparella, which features Gretchen Menn (guitar), Clementine (drums), Angeline Saris (bass) and Noelle Doughty (vocals), blend a diverse array of influences ranging from speed metal to classical to jazz, R&B and rock—all of which is channeled into a top-notch Led Zep tribute experience. The group also is featured in the upcoming documentary, “She Rocks”.
Guitarworld.com. recently spoke with Menn about the Malibu Guitar Festival, Zepparella, her music and more.
What can you tell me about Zepparella’s upcoming show at Malibu Guitar Festival?
It’s going to be a little different from a normal Zepparella show. Once in a while, we’ll have someone sit in with us for songs like “When the Levee Breaks” and “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You.” This show will be different because we’re going to be playing with a bunch of different people. Initially, we thought we were going to be the house band and play other people’s stuff. But Steve Vai said, “Let’s play some Zeppelin!” Can he be any more awesome?
What’s it like for you to be able to share the stage with Vai?
I’m trying not to be completely freaked out about it [laughs]. Steve’s a guitar god, and it’s an incredible honor. When you’re 15, it’s something you never dream of. It all comes from a positive space.
What are the band’s current tour plans like?
We’re busy. We have a Pacific Northwest tour coming up, then we’ll be in LA, and then we’ll be heading south in a few weeks. We also have some East Coast dates lined up in the fall.
You‘ve mentioned a lot about how important your guitar teacher, Phillip de Fremery, was to your playing. What was the best bit of advice he gave you?
One of the most important things wasn’t actually a quote. It was something he instilled in me from the very beginning. I always thought that if you didn’t start playing really young, then you’d never get anywhere. But he taught me that was nonsense and said that not only might I be professional, but chances are I would be professional. I can’t even begin to tell you how important that was.
When the teacher you respect so deeply has that kind of confidence in you, it translates into the way you view your own possibilities. It’s the moment when you realize the surest way to render something possible is to believe it to be true. And when you think that something might be possible, you start finding ways to make it so.
On the practical side, what he gave me that was helpful was patience. Frustration is something I deal with frequently and with guitar, you learn that you have to confront that beast. Playing a musical instrument is, by its nature, not about instant gratification. Phillip taught me how to practice and how to be a more patient person.
For more about the Malibu Guitar Festival, visit malibuguitarfestival.com.