People call Orianthi (just Orianthi, like those onenamed Brazilian soccer stars) a lot of things:
—That hot chick who shreds
For many other observers it's "work in progress," a work that's all messed up by that second entry above, not only because the guitar is in a bad way these days. It's hard to be confronted with a 25-year-old, shredding, long-tressed blonde and keep perspective in the male-dominated rock world.
We got hold of Orianthi Panagaris by telephone from
"I've heard that before, and read it," Orianthi says.
"I mean I guess it's kind of the norm. There aren't too many female guitar players. If a guy is playing the song, you'd think he was playing the solo, but I'm a female playing it. I hope it changes; I hope more than that comes out.
"I wish there were more (female guitar players), but I don't know. ... It's a guy thing. It's kind of like male ballerinas. There aren't too many of them around."
Indeed. Here's another complexity with Orianthi: How to balance the pop-star thing with the rock-star thing. Guitar geeks want what they want, but does a young lady rolling into the arena to hear "According to You" really want an extended guitar solo? Still, this is exactly the kind of song that she will want to hear, about a woman's unflagging self-esteem. But the guitar work draws your attention more than the song itself. Orianthi talks of inspiring girls to pick up the guitar just like her, when back in the day she was inspired by seeing Santana. Which brings us to yet another complexity: Is virtuosity inspiring or intimidating?
"When I saw Santana for the first time, I was really inspired," Orianthi says. "Same with
We'll buy that, but it's hard to wonder who inspired more kids to take up the guitar and start bands, Nirvana's
Just ask the likes of
We do know that Orianthi has the pedigree.
She opened for guitar icon
She was a YouTube sensation before she was a pop
star, with her guitar lick of the week videos. Then there's the
"American Idol" performance, and an incendiary moment with
"I have the next record that I have already started writing," Orianthi says. "I want to collaborate with different artists. I'm still touring, might get a bit of a break, then write a portion of the next record. It will be a little rockier, maybe. ... I'm interested in keeping it new and not sounding like the last record. I don't want to play the same song with a different arrangement."
She's on tour now and had things gone differently, would have been just coming off the 50-date
She was to be the lead guitarist, thanks to her "Beat It" solo. Jackson, who has had a female lead guitarist before (
"It's getting close to a year, and I wish he was still with us," Orianthi says.
"He was just an incredible artist."
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