Texan axepert Nikki Stringfield – you may know her from her work as Davina Murray from all-girl tribute act The Iron Maidens – has a solo album, Apocrypha in the can and ready for release this month, so what better time for a chat about her heroine’s influences, our fave guitarists and the prospect of some Aussie dates down the line? That’s right – there’s no better time, so here you are!
Hello, and congratulations on Apocrypha – you must be very excited to finally be releasing a solo album… “Thank you so much! I am beyond thrilled that the release is finally here.. we’ve been working on this for a long time and I can’t wait to share these songs with everyone!”
You are renowned as rather a good six stringer, so we put our heads together in the Sentinel Daily offices to think of our top ten guitarists of the last forty-odd years – can you tell us what you think of them?
TONY IOMMI: “I’d say one of most influential guitarists of all time and one of the pioneers of heavy metal”.
ADRIAN SMITH: “One of my favorite guitarists! Although I play the Dave Murray parts, I love Adrian’s writing and soloing style. You can instantly tell it’s him when you hear it”.
GLENN TIPTON: “I was happy to see Glenn come out to play a few songs during the last Judas Priest show I saw. His playing is so unique and absolutely mind-blowing”.
EDWARD VAN HALEN: “I’m sad to say I never got to see Eddie live. Van Halen was played a lot around my house when I was young, so he’s a huge inspiration for me. It’s hard to imagine the guitar world without tapping and so many other things he brought to the mainstream”.
YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN: “I’ve always loved listening to Yngwie. It’s incredible how someone can play so fast yet so clean. Hoping to see him live one day!”
ALAN HOLDSWORTH: “I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with Alan.. I’ve got some homework to do now. Always love diving into new music and musicians!”
DIMEBAG DARRELL: “One of my top five favourite guitarists for sure. I never got to see Pantera, but I did see Dimebag with Damageplan. Being from the Dallas area, Pantera has always held a special place in my heart and they’re one of my favourites. His tone is unique and instantly recognisable. He shreds but with feeling”.
ANGUS YOUNG: “I grew up listening to AC/DC and of course Angus is just incredible. The songs aren’t complex, and they don’t need to be. It’s just good time rock n’roll. And of course his vibrato is incomparable”.
LITA FORD: “Lita’s amazing and such a huge influence. She’s a true trailblazer for women in metal, and one of the sweetest people! My husband has been her touring guitarist now for almost ten years I believe, and she still puts on a hell of a show. I love that she went on to have such a successful solo career.. definitely an inspiration!”
MICHAEL SCHENKER: “Again, another one of the greats! UFO is such a huge influence on so many metal bands, and I just love his playing”.
Thanks for that, some nice answers. Sorry for putting you on the spot! Those were our suggestions – who would be in your list and who, if we haven’t talked about them so far, would you say was most responsible for you picking up a guitar in the first place? “Well, I have an odd one who isn’t considered a guitar hero. Kurt Cobain initially inspired me to start learning how to play. I loved his song writing so that really appealed to me. I picked up a Nirvana tab book and taught myself every song. Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold would be the next for me… City of Evil came out when I was fifteen years old and it was inspiring to hear solos all over a new album. That made me really focus on leads and solos, although I had already started that due to other influences like Maiden, Megadeth et cetera. Marty Friedman is another favourite of mine as well”.
You’ve put a band together to record the album – do you intend to tour much? And, more importantly, is there any chance of a few Australian shows? “I would LOVE to tour Australia with my solo band! I hope that can become a reality one day. Right now I have my album release show on September 28th, the day before the album release. That will be my first show ever fronting my own band. I’ll have a few more shows this year, and in January I’ll be opening for John 5 in Las Vegas, so I’m thrilled to be warming up the stage for such a legendary player. I plan on touring/playing as many shows as possible between our other tour schedules!”
My niece Poppy is just starting out in a band as the lead guitarist – what is the best piece you could give to any youngster starting out in today’s musical environment? “I love hearing that! I would say that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and put your mind to it. Stay determined, passionate, and always do it for the love of the instrument/music. Never let anyone bring you down, and practice is key to everything. There’s more and more female driven bands popping up every day, so hopefully we’ll see her up on stage one day!”
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers of Sentinel Daily about the new album? “I’ve really poured my heart and soul into this album, so I hope you all enjoy! If you’re a fan or hard rock fused with metal, catchy choruses, harmonized/dueling guitar solos, I think this is an album for you! I know a lot of people expect this to be an instrumental, but I’m actually singing on it as well. And thanks so much for checking it out!”
Thanks for chatting – and good luck with the record! “Thank you, and I hope to return to Australia soon!”