G&L Interviews Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females
Last month we introduced you to Screaming Females guitarist and G&L player Marissa Paternoster. (Click here to read that post.) But there's a lot more to the story. Check out our interview with Marissa, as well as some comments from legendary producer and Garbage drummer Butch Vig.
G&L: How long has The Screaming Females been together?
Marissa: Roughly eight years. We played our first show in August 2005.
G&L: I've often wondered why the band is called The Screaming Females when you are the only female in the group.
Marissa: Our band name has next to nothing to do with our music. We needed a name before our first show in New Brunswick, NJ, so we flipped through a book of contemporary poetry selections and saw the words "screaming females." It sounded good enough, so we just went with it.
G&L: The Screaming Females are part of the new generation coming up in the world without the "old" record label system. What's the secret to your success in this 'new-world' model?
Marissa: Screaming Females are just a hardworking band. We aren't afraid to dedicate all of our energies to touring, writing, recording, and performing. I think our identities, collectively, are deeply ingrained in what we do as musicians. "Success" to me is not defined in fiscal terms, or by the amount of press we get. I measure it by the years we manage to stay together as a powerful rock and roll band. And eight years is a long time to play with the same people. I'm really lucky to have found my band mates and I hope we can continue making music with one another for a long time to come.
G&L: We are huge fans of Butch Vig. How did you get the chance to work with a legendary cat like Butch?
Marissa: Screaming Females went on tour with Garbage in late 2012 and we hit it off pretty well. Garbage was one of my very first favorite bands and they were incredibly nice to us. Shirley (Manson lead singer of Garbage) and I are both big Patti Smith fans, so we decided to cover "Because the Night" on the last two nights of the tour. People seemed to really like the cover song so Garbage arranged to have Screaming Females flown out to L.A. where we recorded the song for a 10" that we released in 2013.
G&L: How did you come to play G&L?
Marissa: When I was about 14, my mother's cousin came over with his guitar. I had just started playing and I was super obsessed with practicing. I never put it down. He dropped off the guitar and told me that I could borrow it indefinitely. It happened to be a G&L. I knew next to nothing about the guitar at the time, but it's essentially what I learned how to play on and I haven't found a guitar to match it since.
G&L: We're glad you have stuck with G&L all these years!
Marissa: There's something really special about hanging onto the guitar you learned how to perform on. Aside from the guitar itself being really reliable and sounding great, I'm attached to it in a way that I can't explain. I'm not really one to get sentimental about objects but I would be really upset if anything ever happened to my original G&L.
G&L: I know it's an S-500. What is it that you love about the S-500?
Marissa: Everything! It sounds awesome, it's reliable, it's great for touring, and it has a wide variety of tones. I honestly can only speak highly of my G&L S-500 and would absolutely recommend it to any aspiring guitarist.
It has such a wide variety of tones. I typically only use my middle pickup because I like a full, smooth sound. But you can get a Telecaster-esque tone if you switch to the neck or bridge pick-up. That comes in handy when I'm recording.
G&L: We are excited to see that you are finally starting to get some noteriety in the guitar community. You are obviously a players player, but do you consider yourself a shredder or technical player?
Marissa: Neither, really. I've never had a guitar lesson, so I know next to nothing about music theory and I certainly am far from what I would consider a technical player. I just play from my gut, and I learned how to play leads by ear. I grew up listening to a lot of 90's alternative stuff, but gradually moved onto punk, so I'd say my style of playing is more like an amalgamation of genres.
G&L: What's your practice regiment?
Marissa: Well, I never sit down and run scales but I do play guitar a lot in my spare time. it's a lot like doodling though. There's no means to an end when I play by my lonesome. I just enjoy my time with the guitar.
G&L: Thanks for talking with us today. What's coming up next for Screaming Females?
Marissa: We're about to visit the West Coast for a tour with our label mates in a band called Upset. In the meantime, we're trying to figure out when, where, and how we're going to make our sixth LP.