SEGAS interviews Deanna Passarella

SEGAS: What obstacles did you face, when you were starting out on guitar? Did being a female present any particular challenges?

DEANNA: I got a late start on actually playing guitar. I didn’t pick it up until I was 14 but I grew up in a family full of musicians so it came really easily for me. I listened to my parents play music all the time….I went with them to gigs. It was a really cool environment to gain experience in. And my father started me out on drums as a kid so I already had a general understanding of how music works. As far as being a female…I haven’t come across too many challenges. People are always going to make judgments based on the fact that I’m a woman but usually once I start playing I can tell they are genuinely impressed. And I’ve been fortunate enough to play with great musicians that don’t see me for my gender….and it’s just always been about the music.

SEGAS: What brought about your love of classic rock? Who were you really in to as a kid?

DEANNA: My parents have the biggest influence of my love for classic rock, blues, etc. Most of the classic songs I was introduced to by hearing my parents jam on them first…so it’s sentimental in that way. Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith hands down are the two biggest influences as far as my rock playing goes. But I also was really into Chet Atkins, B.B King, Joe Satriani,…the list just goes on. I’ve always wanted to experience as many styles as possible.

SEGAS: What was your first guitar / amp?

DEANNA: first amp was a Peavey Bandit…boy did it make some noise (actual NOISE).  My first guitar was a New York Pro electric that my grandfather gave me as a starter guitar. He told me that when he knew I was serious he would buy me my own….which was a Washburn Jumbo Cumberland Acoustic.

SEGAS: When did you realize that playing guitar was going to be your life’s calling?

DEANNA: My grandfather had been trying to teach me FOREVER how to play but I was definitely more focused on goofing off outside and just being a kid. I don’t know what clicked…but one day I just wanted to learn. My grandfather taught me for about two weeks and then said that I was learning too fast for him to keep up haha. I just never put it down after that.

SEGAS: Does living in Nashville make it easier to play professionally, or harder?

DEANNA: I feel like it depends on where you focus your attention. There are more opportunities here…but more musicians at the same time.

SEGAS: Do you collect guitars?

DEANNA: I am a hoarder of guitars, yes. I definitely got that from my grandfather. He is always buying new gear.

SEGAS: What’s your favorite guitar right now?

DEANNA: My favorite guitar is my 1961 Gibson SG Custom. It was my uncle’s and was given to me when my grandfather felt I was good enough to play professionally. RS Custom Guitars has two new models coming out that I’m really excited for…they are in the process of working on a Red Flamed top for me to use on stage. I can’t wait to play it…the tone I get out of their guitars is amazing.

SEGAS: How did you end up endorsing RS Guitars?

DEANNA: I actually responded to an add they posted on craigslist. I brought some guy friend along with me to make sure it wasn’t a scam and the rest is history. My first gig for RS custom Guitars was the Summer Namm show in 2008. Doing a guitar show like the Southeastern Guitar and Amp show is so much fun and we get to meet the crowds and play some really great gear.

SEGAS: Where did the name “Blackwater James” come from? How would best describe your sound?

DEANNA: We got the name from Chris’s grandfather James. He concocted his own alcoholic beverage and no one ever knew quite what was in it. He called it his “Blackwater Tonic”. We definitely have a lot of classic rock elements to our sound but I also feel we incorporate more modern riffs as well. I feel it’s a nice blend of old meets new.

SEGAS: What’s coming up next for you and the band?
Right now we are working on the release of our new EP. The new songs have a completely different flavor than our old record and I’m excited to see were they can take us.

September 20, 2010 in 2010,News | Comments (0)