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Creativity lost, or reborn. Building upon the intangibles that define greatness.

Posted: August 23, 2023

One source defined “Creativity” as a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is formed. It could be an idea, theory or a musical composition. Then it moves on to disciplines and applications for where creativity can be used. The focus seems to be on intelligence versus gifted. You can have one, without the other. You can even have both. However, creativity is often comes down to perception. Who defines the power of the creative mind? The person who wants to write a novel does. I could go on for days talk about creativity and those that have displayed it through their professional achievements. There are also those that create, just for the joy and happiness of doing so.

One of the disciplines associated with creativity is art. The term could branch off into many sub categories and definitions. For the sake of time, lets focus on one aspect of art. The topic of music and everything associated with it, will be discussed on the Guitar Thrills Magazine platform. With that said, let’s leave the theories and discipline topics to someone else. Focusing on music as an artwork makes the world a better place to live in. There is great joy, and peace when music enters the picture. Some of the most influential artists, often referred to peace in their music. John Lennon comes to mind. Do you remember Louis Armstrong? Of course you do. The song called “What a wonderful world” invokes the thought of good times, and good people. This is the power of music. The gift of art. It is the ability to create and the value that it brings.

Over their lifetime, did these artists lose the building blocks for creativity? Did their artwork start to diminish at any point in their lifespan? Not for those that I am referring too in this topic. An argument could be made, that their music careers got stronger as the years went on. To avoid arguing, and “give peace a chance”, we will refer to the wisdom and experience of Jennifer Batten. Time and again, she has shown how creativity is a mindset. It can be accomplished with desire and gifts. Use the intangibles to build upon your creativity. It is important to review the accomplishments of Jennifer Batten. You will notice, her accomplishments came over a period of time.

 

About Jennifer Batten

The buzz on Jennifer Batten rose from the guitar underground, and the guitar magazines promptly began chronicling her savvy musicianship and highly original approach to the electric guitar.
A major turning point came when she was selected from over one hundred guitarists to play in Michael Jackson’s highly skilled band which toured the world for one and a half years playing for over four and a half million people. In 2012 Sony released an exciting live Wembley Stadium show DVD as part of their BAD 25th anniversary package.

Jennifer wasted no time after the” Bad” Tour’s grand finale, diving into work on her debut album with renown producer (and x- Stevie Wonder guitarist) Michael Sembello. Upon “Above, Below, and Beyond’s”, release in the spring of ’92, she was asked again to join Michael Jackson for his upcoming “Dangerous Tour”.

In January ’93, she joined Jackson to partake in Superbowl XXVII’s half time entertainment which aired to one and half billion people in 80 nations. It was the largest audience in television history.

Her follow up CD “Momentum” which was heavily influenced by world music, was released just before she left for Michael Jackson’s final global tour in support of the HIStory CD in 1997.

In the spring of ’98 Jeff Beck asked Jennifer to join his band. They joined forces for 3 years on the CD’s “Who Else”, and “You Had It Coming” which were both supported by world tours. A DVD is available of this collaboration entitled “Jeff Beck Live in Tokyo 1999”.

Jennifer has authored two music books and has released three solo CD’s venturing from world beat and rock n roll, to electronica. The last CD “Whatever” is also accompanied by a 90 minute DVD which includes some of the visuals from her one woman multimedia show where she plays guitar in synch with her self made projected films, as well as unreleased music videos, and a guitar lesson.

During 2011 she did a guitar residency for the Cirque Du Soleil show “Zumanity” in Las Vegas. In the last few years she joined forces with truefire.com to record instructional DVD’s/ downloads. She currently has a rock soloing course, a rhythm course, and the latest release is called “Ultra Intervallic Licks”.

She continues to tour the globe in various formats, from bands, to solos shows, to clinics, and master classes. In Jan 2016 she received the She Rocks “Icon” award and recently also was inducted into Guitar Player Magazine’s “Gallery of the Greats”.

Her first tour of 2016 is with Uli Jon Roth and Andy Timmons and is called The Ultimate Guitar tour.

Did you notice anything consistent about Jennifer Batten? Her creativity was nurtured with invention. Early on in her career, she could have rested with what she accomplished. Most people would have been satisfied. Many artists have performed for years, without getting the opportunity to tour of even open for their favorite artists or bands. Jennifer accomplished this on multiple occasions. She even went on to createing new platforms and relationships. Nothing has stopped her ability to be creative.

 

INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER BATTEN AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

GT: This is the first time, we had the opportunity to interview you. I want to thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to answer some questions for us.

GT: Where did it all begin for you? Where was your skill-set of the guitar realized?

Jennifer: Like A lot of players from the 60s, I think my interest was triggered by seeing the Beatles on TV. It was the most exciting thing on earth at the time. Combine that with the fact that my sister had a guitar and I didn’t so I was jealous! Also my father always had jazz playing in the background while I was growing up, so it was destiny.

I ended up with various teachers that all had a completely different thing to offer, from finger picking two blues to some basic rock ‘n’ roll. Eventually I went to Musician’s Institute and that launched me way beyond what any local music shop instructor could have done.

 

GT: Were you influenced by the mainstream artists at the time? If so, who were some of your biggest influences?

Jennifer: When I started, at age 8 there was basically the Beatles, The Stones and then the Monkeys got a show on TV. In my teen years I got deep into the blues with BB King, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee etc. I went through various phases through the years but when I discovered JEFF BECK in the 1974, that sent me in a whole new direction. Of course I listened to pop radio like most teenagers but the fact that this instrumental music by Jeff was on the radio was mind-boggling. It was his Blow by Blow record. That was the biggest selling instrumental record for decades. He really struck a nerve to get that much attention with no vocals.

During my time at Musicians Institute and afterwords I really took an interest in jazz and fusion. I listened to people like Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, George Benson, The Dixie Dregs, and Weather Report but eventually found my way back to rock ‘n’ roll with quite an expanded ear.

 

GT: How did Michael Jackson come into the picture? You know at that particular time, he was larger than life to most people. Also, what was your impression of him?

Jennifer: I was a big Michael Jackson fan. I can recall the exact time and place that I put on his Off The Wall record. It blew my mind and still holds up today. So when Thriller came out of course it really moved me like most of the rest of the planet. He was a creative tornado; a great storyteller, vocalist, and supreme dancer. You don’t get that combination often or ever.

 

GT: We want to focus in on your creative side. What has prevented you from just being content with what you already accomplished? What gives you that drive to do more than you have thus far?

Jennifer: The thing that gives me drive to grow is discovery. The more time you spend with the guitar the more you discover. There are an endless amount of layers to dive into. You’re always climbing up the ladder and hopefully getting better or at least getting to the place where your music has more meaning than it used to. I think typically most young players go for technique more than anything, but it’s easy to grow weary of that and to always want something deeper in order to keep you satisfied. I also find energy in learning new songs. Music isn’t ever anything to be conquered it’s just that you’re along for a ride, and the more time you put into your instrument the more interesting the ride will be.

 

GT: Since you performed for MJ from 1987 to 1997, I can assume you are from the same music period as me. What have you noticed in the style of guitar playing of musicians today, than when you were coming into your own? Are you indifferent to the way things are done today?

Jennifer: The 80s were such a vibrant time for guitar pretty much being inspired by Eddie Van Halen. Every VH record that came out promised something new and exciting like Spanish Fly or Eruption or Cathedral that would just blow peoples minds. I remember the exact moment I first heard the Beat It solo. I was at a band rehearsal. We were setting up equipment and the radio was on. That song came on and when the solo came on we all just stopped and stared at each other. It was so next level compared to your average pop song solo.

There are a ton of exciting guitar players coming out today breaking previous technique and creative barriers. I have discovered several on TikTok like Ben Eunson and just this week an Italian monster named Giacomo Turra. He has taken the Pop slap thing that bass players are known for to the next level on guitar. As far as me being indifferent, most of the music I hear makes me bored so when somebody like these guys pop through the fog it makes me smile. When you’ve listened to tens of thousands of hours of music in your life, there’s a load of repetition and predictability, so my ear wants to hear something super fresh.

 

GT: Do you like any of the new millennial artists? If so, which ones?

Jennifer: Aside from those guys, Lari Basilio, Yvette Young, Mateus Asato, and Nili Brosh are some of the young whippersnappers that have a lot to give. I also ran across an incredibly perfect solo by Justin Derrico popping through YouTube one day. A lot of times if I see someone playing with the volume off, and their hands are moving like lightening I assume it’s shit. So many are driven by chops for the sake of chops that say nothing, but this cat had insane chops, clarity, great tone, and deep meaning. I became an instant fan.

 

GT: What kind of projects do you have going on currently?

Jennifer: I do a lot of one off recordings for people around the world that send me tracks to work with. Occasionally I’ll do an entire album that way. But I’m mostly into touring and live playing at least for this year and probably next. But I can’t see putting the money and energy into another solo record without having some kind of sugar daddy pay for it. It just makes no sense to put 10 or $20,000 into a record that everybody can download for free. It’s an insane amount of time and energy that goes into it. What other business in the world would put in all that work just to give it away? I also launched my own cover band for when I’m home, and that’s getting more and more creative and fun. I have killer players and we play a load of summer festivals. I’d really like to tour less and work with them more. That’s my goal.

 

GT: What is your guitar brand of choice? I prefer the Gibson SG, because of the way it sounds on certain amps. There is a classic sound and feel to it. Especially when you pair it up with a VOX amp. What are your thoughts?

Jennifer: The guitar I’ve been using for quite a few years now is the WASHBURN Parallaxe PMX 10. Mine is customized with a shorter scale though and I am using Fishman Fluence pick ups. The SG is really foreign to me. I was at a rehearsal a few years back and a piece of my bridge broke and the only other guitar to use was an SG. I really struggled with it.

 

GT: Are there any other components that are must have for just jamming with some friends? I know if your on stage, or in the studio, there are other factors to consider. If I could, I would like to know your preference.

Jennifer: I like to use the exact same equipment for every situation. I have put a lot of time into programming effects with the Line 6HX stomp XL. I combine that with a MeloAudio midi switcher and the BluGuitar Amp1 and I’m good to go. Plus an expression pedal and volume pedal. I can put all of that in my carry-on luggage now. I have the exact same set up at home for local gigs mounted on a pedalboard. One thing I have been using since the early 90s is the whammy pedal. (It’s in the HX Stomp now) I usually set it to bend notes or chords down a whole step with my foot to emulate a slide guitar. That is my all-time favorite effect pedal.

 

GT: It is important for me to put your interview in the next issue of Guitar Thrills Magazine. It is our way of saying thank you. Plus there is a lot of exposure that comes from our digital and printed publication. Having Jennifer Batten in our magazine is a welcome experience. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. We would like also make arrangements for interviewing soon. How does that sound to you?

Jennifer: Thank you.

 

GT: Awesome. I want to thank you again. Take care, until we speak again.

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