ALICE COOPER’s Australia-born guitarist ORIANTHI is featured in a new interview with Classic Rock Revisited duscussing the various aspects of her career and her new solo album, Heaven In This Hell. An excerpt is available below:
Q: You’ve played with some legendary musicians, how do you adapt to each style from Alice Cooper to STEVE VAI and MICHAEL JACKSON?
Orianthi: “I just play the way that I play. Obviously, if I’m learning Alice Cooper songs there are so many different parts to it and you really have to get into his world. Initially, it was pretty daunting because I had a lot of songs to learn, and there are so many parts to his songs. I was a fan before, but I’m the biggest fan now because you really appreciate what goes into the whole recording process of each song and writing pieces as well because there’s just so many guitar parts. It’s funny but it’s a learning process for me. It’s like throwing yourself into the ocean each time.
When you’re working alongside Alice you learn different things as you go along and then you feel more comfortable. The first few shows with Alice I was sort of making sure I didn’t run into Frankenstein or get stabbed (laughs). Then the music, you know, the crazy parts and songs like ‘Halo Of Flies’ is like 11-minutes long, you just learn different things. Alice Cooper is such a great entertainer too, so I love being part of the whole crazy show.
Steve Vai is such an amazing guitar player but such a great songwriter, too, the way that he constructs his songs. That was an amazing experience being in a room (with him) and I just wanted to watch him play guitar. [laughs] I didn’t want to play, you know, because when you’re around someone like that, it’s like, (you’re) sort of ‘not worthy,’ he’s so great. I’ve known him since I was 14, and that was my first support with Steve Vai. I was nervous, it being my first show, but when you’re opening for like the best guitar player, I mean incredible, incredible, he came on stage and he’s like shredding away and playing a beautiful melody, and he’s just a great entertainer as well.
And working with Michael Jackson, too, that was really different as well; played lots of funky different rhythm parts to rock guitar solos–it’s all crazy.”
Go to this location for the complete interview.
An official lyric video for the song ‘Frozen’, taken from Heaven In This Hell, has been posted online and can be viewed below. ‘Frozen’ was serviced to rock and classic rock radio on January 28th.
From writing her first song at the age of 6, to being discovered and playing alongside her idols CARLOS SANTANA and Steve Vai early in her career, Orianthi has made an enduring mark on the music industry. While many were introduced to this timid guitar goddess when she played the Grammy Awards in 2009 as part of CARRIE UNDERWOOD’s band, it was being selected for MICHAEL JACKSON’s ill-fated This Is It Tour that exposed her to mainstream audiences. In the Fall of 2009, Orianthi released According To You, her first solo single, which went platinum in the US and abroad. More than just a gifted guitarist, this success showed she had serious vocal chops as well.
In late 2011, between legs of Alice Cooper’s world tour (where she played lead guitar), she began work on her forthcoming project.
“I am so proud of this album because it really showcases my style of riff heavy rock and energetic blues,” Orianthi remarks. “The success of Believe [her previous CD] helped give me credibility and afforded me the freedom to create the kind of album I have been wanting to make, with musicians I respect, playing together live in a studio, creatively exchanging ideas… the way I want all my records to be made. My friend, collaborator and producer, Dave Stewart and I just jammed and hashed out a variety of songs and sounds until we found the grooves that inspired us”, she continued.
While Orianthi recorded a majority of Heaven In This Hell at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, she also recorded several songs and overdubs at Dave Stewart’s Hollywood Studio.
“Working with Ori over the last year has been an inspiring experience for me,” said Stewart . “She is such a dedicated guitarist and focused songwriter; her enthusiasm is infectious and all the musicians who worked on the record were motivated to give her their best. When we went to Nashville, we knew we were about to embark on something exciting, something career altering,” he continued.
The time spent in Nashville left an indelible impression that can be heard in several of the tracks, which were mixed by Nashville resident John McBride. New tracks like ‘Rock’ and ‘Another You’ are examples of crossover country-AC songs that blend heartfelt harmonies and melodies with lyrics that showcase a more vulnerable, exposed emotional side, often veiled by her signature PRS axe. ‘Heaven In This Hell’ the title track, is a blues-rooted rock song which features swampy guitar riffs with an edgy Zeppelin-esque vibe. Songs like ‘Frozen’, the first single, and ‘You Don’t Wanna Know’ provide listeners with some insight into a couple of her primary musical influences with raw, crunchy guitar riffs reminiscent of JIMI HENDRIX and STEVIE RAY VAUGHN. ‘If You Think You Know Me’ is an arousing anthem with thunderous drums, meant to inspire and empower anyone who has ever felt alone. This track, which begs to be played in a large arena, asks listeners: “Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in?/Like there’s somebody else inside your skin?/ Well you’re not alone/We all came here for something.”
“To say that we are excited about this record is a complete understatement” said Rob Christie, founder of Robo Records. “Not only is Orianthi one of the most gifted musicians I’ve heard, but she also has a heart of gold. She is extremely passionate about music, animals, family and her fans. She truly is an inspiration to adults and children, literally around the globe.”
“I’m so excited to share Heaven In This Hell with the fans! It’s been a long time coming for me,” says Orianthi.
Heaven In This Hell tracklisting:
‘Heaven In This Hell’
‘You Don’t Wanna Know’
‘If You Think You Know Me’
‘How Do You Sleep?’
‘How Does That Feel?’
‘If You Were Here With Me’
A sneak peek into the making of Heaven In This Hell can be seen below:
More on Orianthi at this location.