Interview with guitarist Jennifer Batten

Jennifer Batten is one person who has lived what could be described as any musicians dream. Not only did she get to perform with her childhood hero, British guitarist Jeff Beck, but the biggest pop star in the world at the time, Michael Jackson. Prior to a stop over in Fredericton, New Brunswick, I got to speak to amazingly talented guitar player

GB - Tell me a bit about your musical background Jennifer?

JB - I started playing when I was eight years old. My sister had a guitar and I didn't and I was jealous (laughs). That was my motivation. I took lessons and went to the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood years ago. In 1987 I moved to LA and was playing in half a dozens bands around and auditioned for Michael Jackson and got that gig. I ended up doing three world tours with him. His first solo tour for the Bad album and the Dangerous tour and the last one was in 1997 with the History tour. Six months after that I joined Jeff Beck's band and I've been with him the last three years doing a couple of records and touring around the world. In between all that I've put out two records of my own and now working on my third one.

GB- How did you hear about the Michael Jackson gig?

JB - Another teacher at G.I.T. heard about the audition and I was hooked up from there. There was about 100 people auditioned. I didn't want to get my hopes up. It was weird as there was no band there just you and your guitar and they video taped it for him. It wasn't all that nerve wracking.

GB - You must have been pretty excited when you heard you had been chosen?

JB - Ya I was hyperventilating for days. (laughs)

GB - You probably get asked this a lot but what is Michael Jackson really like?

JB - He was great. A really great boss to have. He treated us very well. First class hotels and fights. It just like a payed vacation playing with him. He only played two or three days a week so there was plenty of time to go play tourist. It as a lot more relaxing than you would think as he would rehearse the show to death. Once you the stage there is no worries what the next chord or the next song is as its all very second nature as it's just a matter of having fun on stage.

GB - How about Jeff Beck?

JB - It was night and day difference. It went from six band members down to four. I was the harmony. I did the guitar synthesizer to cover all the keyboard parts and rhythm guitar and did trade some solos with him as well. But he has been my hero ever since I was a teenager. It's all real mind boggling even still. He is an amazing player.

GB - Tell me a bit about the tour your on now?

JB - It is sponsored by Digitech Guitar effects. It's kind of a concert where I play along with backing tracks of my tunes. I explain certain technics to the crowd as it's full of guitar players. I spend most of the time talking about the effects, the GNX 3 effects unit in using. In the end I open it up to questions anybody who want to know about my life.

GB - Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me today

JB - Your welcome

Special thanks to Erikson Music and Hugga Guitar Music Store

Visit Jennifer Batten's Web Site for more information

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