Minnie played guitar

Minnie Marks

Shred (guitar) /ʃrɛd/ verb: play a very fast, intricate style of rock lead guitar.

Minnie Marks knows the definition of shredding a guitar all too well. She’s been practising since she saw Sarah McLeod’s “monster right hand” on her acoustic guitar at a live performance when Minnie was only 12 years old. The girl from Crescent Heads, NSW, had her future mapped out for her right there. After countless live performances and festival appearances including the Gympie Muster, as well as touring Europe and recording a new studio album, Minnie will be playing at the Byron Bay Guitar Festival this weekend.

Blank GC threw a few question-Marks her way (Ok…I thought it was clever!).

It’s unusual for younger female musicians to chose a “blues and roots rock” path. Your parents obviously had a hand in sparking your passion. What has kept your passion going for the genre?

My folks have an amazing record collection and that’s what started my love for the blues, roots and rock. From there I was taken around to different pubs and venues to watch an soak up different bands. The ongoing desire is continually refuelled by events like the Byron Bay Guitar festival and many others: seeing the incredible talent, hard work and passion from fellow musicians is always keeping me chipping at the grindstone to become better.

 You’ve cited Sarah McLeod (The Superjesus) and Suze DeMarchi (Baby Animals) as early inspiration for you. Who else were your influences?

Sarah and Suzi were an incredible influence to my music when I was starting off and still are. The homegrown Hussy Hicks were/are a major drive and inspiration for my music, I’ll never tire of listening and watching those two. I was scooped up by those two from an early age and taken on the road around Australia and Europe learning the ropes of my craft.

 Which guitarists are your favourites right now and why?

Hmm.. That’s a tricky one as there are so many right now. I would have to say Julz Parker: for being one of the most musical guitarists in the world, always interesting and extremely tasteful. Joey Landreth is another for me, he is a wicked slide guitar player and is always thinking outside of the box. Definitely Lloyd Spiegel as he melts faces with his bullet fast, bluesy runs. I could go on forever! 

 Kim Churchill says you sing like Janis Joplin. How would you describe your voice?

That’s very nice of Kim! I would describe my voice as passion driven with a story to let everyone know about and however it comes out at the time is what I’m feeling. 

 Nick Sergi, Byron Bay Guitar Festival Director, wants to focus on female performers at this year’s festival, stating that countless women who are brilliant guitar players are not recognised for it. What do you think needs to happen to get more women top billing at festivals, for example, Bluesfest?

It’s incredibly cool of Nick to recognise that there are a lot of female rippers out there. To be honest, I don’t know the real answer to that question, I can only encourage female guitar players to not be afraid of stepping outside the box and to push the boundaries regardless of their gender. It shouldn’t be “You’re pretty good for a girl” it should be “you’re great full stop.” One of the many reasons to love Julz Parker – she can run rings around most people, guy or girl. Hang in there girls. If you wanna shred, shred. Period. 🙂

Minnie Marks plays the Garden Stage at Byron Bay Guitar Festival Saturday 6 October at 4.15pm.

For the full schedule and to buy tickets, go to byronbayguitarfestival.com

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