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Grace Potter; Grace Potter And The Nocturnals

How would you describe your music?

Rock 'n Roll with a hint of psychedelic soul.

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

We are definitely a team; from each band member to our management/booking agent. I like to be as involved as possible with business decisions, but at a certain point, it's important to me to step aside and let the professionals do their thing. When push comes to shove, I would say that I'm the de facto leader of the band. I write a majority of the songs and I get the final say on everything from set lists to the record cover graphics. I'm collaborative to a point, but just ask The Eagles, full-on democracies rarely work!

Related Themes: She's Got The Look

Describe your gear.

My Hammond B-3 organ was built in 1961. I had it overhauled 5 years ago to fit my style of playing, giving it a very smooth low-end crunch. It's loud! Gibson just gave me an incredible chestnut 70's SG with a whammy bar and all kinds of magic tricks. It's one of a kind.

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Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

In my case, being a woman has done nothing but help me. A few years ago, I started noticing that people would go out of their way to help me off stage, have a coat waiting if it was a cold evening show, and, for the most part, people treat me like a real musician, not just a Vegas Showgirl. I mean, sure there are moments where I'm singing a soulful a cappella song and there's the dude in the back going "I wanna marry you!!" But that's just someone feelin' the love and beer. Now keep in mind, I'm not a "Woe is Me" kinda girl, so I don't spend a lot of time sitting around thinking about how repressed I am, I'm sure if I peeled back a few layers, I could find some things to cry about. But I won't.

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Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

I see musicians like Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris as more than just musical icons, they are planets, with a gravitational pull - from how they flip their hair just-so when they bow, right down to their hearty backstage banter. It takes decades to learn the innuendos of being gracious and genuine all at once. I'm not sure that I - or any other female musicians of my generation will ever quite do it with such effortless mystique.

Related Themes: Behind The Music Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

Taj Mahal told my guitarist Scott a very cool thing one night when we were on tour with him. We'd had a so-so show, the crowd wasn't that into it and Taj said "That's why they call it fishin! If you got 'em every time, they'd call it catchin." As for the woman thing, there are plenty of advantages and disadvantages to being a woman in rock &roll, but the thing I've found to matter much more than all of that is weather you've got the stomach for it. You've either got it or you don't. Gender only gets in the way if you let it. Don't act like you're oppressed and you won't be.

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Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

I always loved the piano because it's just a bunch of buttons. I like to push buttons. Playing the organ came later, suggested by my band mates, who thought I needed to play an instrument that can match my loud voice! I picked up the guitar because I wanted to use a different instrument to write songs, hoping that it shed new light on my technique and song styling.

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