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KRISTEN CAPOLINO

MORE SUGAR ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE JULY 2019

Kristen Capolino gave another great performance as the support act for TALAS at Jupiter Hall on 3/13/19. The diminutive musician with the flying V is absolutely the “World’s happiest guitarist.” Hunched over her guitar she radiates pure joy as she careens about the stage, spraying out blistering leads, all the while with a megawatt smile that could light up a city. Mark Alexander Hudson - Nippertown.com

KRISTEN 3/13/19 W/ TALAS / BILLY SHEEHAN & BUMBLEFOOT

Nashville Jack Daniel's New Years Eve

Kristen talks with Highway 65 radio about her upcoming performance at the Nashville Jack Daniel's New Years Eve Bash.

"SHE ROCKS" DOCUMENTARY

She Rocks is a feature length documentary that showcases high caliber female guitar players both past and present and explores the gender disparity that still exists in the world of professional guitarists. 

"TURN IT UP" DOCUMENTARY

Turn It Up! is a feature-length Celebration of the Electric Guitar hosted by actor/musician Kevin Bacon.

INTERVIEW WITH KISTEN CAPOLINO

"LOOKS LIKE YOUR SISTER - PLAYS LIKE A POWERHOUSE"

Smiley, cute, petite. Kristen Capolino looks like she could be a high school cheerleader. But put a guitar in her hand and she will kick your ass! Sort of like the Buffy the Vampire Slayer of power rock.

Kristen started playing at the tender age of 5 and certainly hasn’t let anything like gender bias put a damper on her enthusiasm. Now 21, Kristen has a brilliantly raucous future ahead of her, with an album in the works co-produced by Earl Slick featuring major players.

Over her short but action-packed career, Kristen has had the privilege of sharing the stage and recording with a variety of guitar greats including Slick, Les Paul, James Burton, Michael Schenker, Al DiMeola, Steve Lukather, Jennifer Batten, Doug Pinnick and Wyclef Jean, to name a few. She’ll be featured in two upcoming guitar-focused documentaries, “Turn it Up” and “The Axe Factor.”

INTERVIEW:

* Did I hear somewhere that your dad introduced you to guitar? What was it that attracted you to the instrument?

Yes. When I was very young, my dad used to play music videos all the time, mostly Gary Moore, The Outlaws and UFO. I was drawn in by how expressive the instrument could be. I think the guitar is the most expressive of instruments.

* Is there anything about playing guitar that you wish someone had told you, but you had to find out the hard way?

That the idea of guitar playing, or music in general for that matter, is like a competition. Music exists so that it can be enjoyed by all people ... many different types for many different tastes, and not be made into a competition. It's almost ingrained into people’s thinking now and hard to overcome.

* I hear that Michael Schenker is your favorite rock guitarist. I love that you call his and Carlos Santana’s phrasings “sarcastic,” and that they seem to challenge the listener to “take that!” What about that appeals to you?

I think it appeals to me because I think it's a pure and direct window into their soul. You can actually feel what they're trying to express. That's what it's all about. Not how many notes or how fast they are played, but how they're played.

* Let’s talk gear. I see you play a Gibson Flying V. What made you choose that body style?

I think the Flying V chose me. It just fits for me and I like the way it can growl. It has a distinctive sound, rich like a Les Paul, but still a little gritty. And then, of course, there's Michael Schenker!

* What other gear do you have in your rig?

Well, I'm kind of switching things around now, always trying new things, sometimes keeping them and sometimes going back. But my amps are modded THD Flexi-50's going through Avatar 2x12 cabs, some with Celestions and some with the new Eminence Tonkerlite speakers I just received. I'm really impressed by these speakers.

My pedal board has my Shure wireless mounted on it along with a Pedalboards Inc. true bypass switch strip. I have a Visual Sound H20 pedal along with a Son of Hyde, Source Audio Distortion, Boss Delay and a Landgraff Overdrive along with Xotic Effects BB preamp and Brute Drive, etc.

* I loved your playing during the PRS show at NAMM 2010. How did you get involved with them?

Thank you, it was fun. Well, Al DiMeola pulled me up for a jam and it kind of took on a life of its own. Paul Smith gave me Al's guitar and invited me back the next day. He put me up with the Grainger Bros. (who I love!) and had people in the audience call out different styles of music. The Graingers would set the rhythm and I'd improvise a solo to it. That was a blast!

* Daisy Rock Guitars connected me to you. What’s your history with them?

I was introduced to Daisy Rock through Steve Swersky and Greg Conway, the producers of the new show, "The Axe Factor." I liked the idea of Daisy Rock making guitars more available to young girls who were interested in learning to play the guitar. I guess they like what I'm trying to do because they asked me to become involved with their effort.

The clincher was their offering to build a custom "V" for me!! Seriously, though, I agree with their effort to encourage young girls to play and I'm happy that they are going to build guitars that girls can play their whole lives. I'm proud to be part of this effort, and can't wait to get my guitar!

* Do you see yourself as a role model for other girls who might consider electric guitar?

I don't know if I'd be comfortable or good at being a role model, but if other girls want to jump in and play because of what I'm doing, that's awesome! Let's jam! I hope that, someday, I'll be in a position to tangibly help out other girls (and boys for that matter) who want to play. I understand you have a new album coming out this fall. What inspires you to write? Tell us a little bit about what we can expect from that …I am just finishing up the recording on my new album; we're considering doing two or three more songs before we decide how we're going to release it. It's been incredible so far...I've had the pleasure of doing five songs with Earl Slick, Gail Ann Dorsey and Sterling Campbell, basically David Bowie's band! And five more with Slick again and this time with Doug Pinnick and Jerry Gaskill of Kings X as the rhythm section. And it will also feature an instrumental where I'm swapping solos with Jennifer Batten! I really can't wait to be finished so we can release it. I'm already playing some of those songs as part of the live show.I guess I'm inspired by the same things that everybody else is ... life. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not so good. But I try to focus on the positive in the end result.Find out more at kristencapolino.com.Check out this in studio video of Kristen with Earl Slick and the band recording the song, “Now You’re Gone”:Laura B. Whitmore is a singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents 65amps, Acoustic Bass Amps, Agile Partners, Guitar World and many more. Laura was instrumental in the launch of the Guitar World Lick of the Day app. She is the lead singer for the rock band, Summer Music Project. 

CHORD PROGRESSIONS-KRISTEN CAPOLINO

WRITTEN BY RALPH RENNA ON MARCH 2, 2019

Let’s  face it, we are no longer living in a male dominated world, in the work force or playing guitar in the blues and hard rock scene.  At a very young age  most musicians develop their desire and passion to play or be a musician.  They either excel fast or fade faster. When we see a young child play guitar we are all impressed because of their innocence.  But what when you’re in a crowd of respectable gifted musicians at a Kristen Capolino show, it’s a different scene.  Their mouth’s  wide open in disbelief.  Others taking mental notes or following her hands. Some shake their head, and just walk away wondering how can she be that good?

Kristen Capolino was born In Romania but grew up in Woodstock NY. Since she was 12 years old she  built an outstanding resume. Kristen has already shared the stage with some incredible names such as Lady Antebellum, Gavin DeGraw, Bret Michaels, Wyclef Jean, Michael Schenker Group, Les Paul, and Al DiMeola. Kristen’s Vocal Coach; Don Lawrence whose resume  consists of Mick Jagger, Bono, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.

We had a chance to catch up with Kristen as she gears up for another monster slot opening for Billy Sheehan’s Talas. Billy also formerly of Mr. Big, David Lee Roth band.  She’ll climb a higher mountain in the months to come as a golden paved road leads her to the stage of Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary!

 

RRX: Tell us your earliest memory of wanting to play guitar?

 

KRISTEN: My earliest memory of wanting to play guitar was back at a young age. I was around 5 years old, and my father and I shared a strong passion for rock and roll. I’ll never forget when he introduced me to Gary Moore. He was just so incredible, and it was then that I knew that I wanted to be a guitarist. My brother had a fire engine red guitar that I honestly can’t even remember the brand, but I remember sneaking a few notes in when my brother wasn’t using it lol! My hands were so tiny back then so I could only play on the high E and B strings.  Soon I started playing along with Gary Moore’s videos and from then on I was hooked!

 

RRX:You have exceeded a  lot of guitarists by talent and age?

Being a young woman is it intimidating?  Challenges?

 

KRISTEN: Well thank you so much for your kind words. I’ll be honest that being a young lady indeed was a challenge in the male dominated music world. However, I have found that music does the talking and breaks through all barriers and differences. When I was 13 years old, I started playing at open mic nights. For the most part the musicians were actually very kind and supportive, but there were a few that were judgmental and disapproving simply because I was a young lady. For quite a few years I’ve heard “You play pretty good for a girl!”. This used to bother me back then, but years later I met Jennifer Batten, Michael Jackson’s original guitarist, and she told me that she grew up hearing similar remarks, but that she didn’t let any of those comments stop her from doing what she loves. In recent years, female guitarist have been rising up in the music industry, and I do think that has been difficult for some to accept. However, I have been lucky to have met and played with some very talented musicians and artist, and they have been nothing but kind and supportive. It is these types of players that understand that it doesn’t matter what race or gender you are to be able to connect with others through the power of music.

 

RRX: How about your influences ? Music ,artists ,movies?

 

KRISTEN: I feel  that I have a pretty wide range of musical influences, but I would say that I wouldn’t have picked up the guitar if it wasn’t for Gary Moore and Michael Schenker(MSG, UFO). I’ll never forget the good old days of riding in the car with my father and blasting some of our favorite songs, such as Lights Out by UFO. I loved playing “air guitar” and rocking out lol! Although my father introduced me to Al Di Meola, of Return to Forever, when I was very young, I didn’t fully appreciate his incredible playing until my teen years. Soon I even started getting into some bluegrass after sharing the stage with Albert Lee, country rock guitarist. I love to take bits and pieces from all of my influences to create my own style. It’s so important to explore all kinds of music because you never know what you can learn from them.

 

RRX: Can we expect new recorded music soon ?  Is writing music something you do over a year or do you write quickly?

 

KRISTEN: I’m currently working on new material so we can jump back in the studio very soon! I find that the length of time can vary. At times the songs seem to just come together, while others need more work and adjustments. Usually I’ll record a few songs with my drummer in one day so then I can built on them from there. It’s been so much fun evolving as a writer. It can be a challenge knowing which direction to go musically at times, but it’s a great feeling when it finally feels right. Over the years I’ve learned that there isn’t just “one” way to write a song. When I first started writing, I used to feel limited because I often followed what producers told me and not my heart. In recent years I finally decided to do what I feel is right and see what happens!

 

RRX: What does 2019  and the future hold for you? Goals? Tell all!

 

KRISTEN: We have some exciting things in the works for 2019! A little over a year ago I started a new series of shows called Mondial, which are available on my website, Kristencapolino.com. Over the years I have gained fans worldwide, and I wanted to be able to reach and connect with them in a personal way. Every show has a different special guest to make them new and exciting. I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with some amazing and kind artists, such as Bernie Marsden of Whitesnake and Gene Cornish of the Rascals. At the same time, I have some other exciting shows planned. My good friend, Gerardo Velez, world renowned percussionist who has worked with Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie to name a few, recently invited me to perform at the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock this summer. I’m so honored and am looking forward to being part of this incredible event! In addition to playing more shows this year, I will also be back in the studio working on new material so I’m very excited!

"Sonic Secrets from the Clubhouse"

Rich Tozzoli

Kristen Capolino is drawing lots of attention for her fiery playing—surrounded by a sweet collection of vintage and boutique amps at the Clubhouse recording studio. 

There’s nothing like recording through a great amp with classic mics in a first-class room. But at the Clubhouse recording studio in Rhinebeck, New York, owner and engineer Paul Antonell takes it a step further. He has a collection of more than 50 new and vintage amps, and guitarists from around the world seek out his studio and personal expertise to deliver memorable tones. Telemaster Jim Weider, Earl Slick, Al Di Meola, John Platania, and Reeves Gabrels are among the notable guitarists who’ve tracked at the Clubhouse.

“My basic approach to recording electric guitar is to first listen to the player and their amp and/or cabinet,” says Antonell. “Once we agree it sounds good, and they’re hearing what they like, then I’ll put up some mics. Through experience I’ve found that starting with three mics gives me the most tonal options. I listen to all three individually and in combination, check the phase of each, see what works together and what doesn’t, and quickly move on.”

“Certain guitar players are also quite particular about how we capture their tone,” continues Antonell. “For example, Earl Slick prefers a Shure SM57 right on his cabinet, aimed at the center of the speaker cone. Historically, that’s his tone. So when working with him, I start there and add another mic adjacent to the 57, such as a Sennheiser MD 421 for some extra bottom.”

For recording acoustic guitars, Antonell typically uses a vintage Neumann KM 64 and a Schoeps CMC 5, each about a foot out from the guitar, aimed at the 12th fret. “I don’t like mic’ing too close to the guitar because the sound can get harsh,” he says. “After capturing a good performance, I’ll often ask the guitarist to lay down a second pass.”

Tracking a second pass immediately—before the performer shifts his position or the mics get moved—gives you the best chance of matching the sound of the first track with the second. This comes in handy if you want to do any digital editing or comp a track from sections of each take.

Antonell’s acoustic guitar recording chain is usually the Schoeps into a Telefunken V76 preamp with no EQ, and sometimes he’ll use a Universal Audio LA-3A for compression. He runs the KM 64 into a Neve 31102 module (from his Neve console), which goes directly to Pro Tools or tape with no compression.

Since Antonell has a large live room, he tends to use it for ensemble purposes only. “Sometimes though, if it’s a solo or lead acoustic track, I’ll put up a pair of Coles 3038 ribbon mics in the big room and print them,” he notes. “On the last Spyro Gyra record, I recorded Julio Fernandez’ acoustic in the live room with stereo Schoeps, as well as stereo Coles placed about 10 feet back. The room mics add air to the overall acoustic sound.”

Kristen Capolino’s upcoming second release, Enlightenment, was recorded at the Clubhouse with numerous guests, including Doug Pinnick of King’s X and Earl Slick. Capolino connected with Paul immediately. “We got killer sounds right away and he really captured the essence of my tone,” she says. “It felt great, like I was doing a live show. The vibe was different from my last record, which was done brick by brick. I was able to play and sing live with the rhythm section, and the excitement of playing together in the room really worked.”

To get Capolino’s sound, Antonell used a combination of a SM57, MD 421, and an AEA A440 ribbon on her Orange PPC 412 cabinet, which was driven by a THD Flexi-50 head. The recording chain included Neve 31102 mic preamps with all three mics bussed to a hardware LA-3A and then into a single recording channel. “Once I get the sound of all three mics, I commit to tape,” says Antonell. “When you raise the fader, the blend is already there. What the artists hear in their headphones is always constant, and it won’t change.”

INTERVIEW LINKS: