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No longer standing in the shadows. Picking up the torch. Blazing speed and success.

Posted: October 30, 2022

Decades ago, there was a stigma that female guitar players couldn’t outperform their male counterparts. “There is no way a woman could become an axe slinger”. Understand that this belief was generated by male guitarists, that didn’t want women to receive the just do that they deserve. Thus, it was widely understood that men dominated the music industry. Especially those that wielded the axe. However, this was just a myth. All guitar enthusiasts who keep an eye on the true players, recognize that there are no differences in axe slingers. There is no differentiation between a male or female when it comes the quality of guitar playing.

In every facet of society, men have dominated the spectrum. Does this mean that they are better than women? No. Not by any means. The gifts in men apply to both genders. Unfortunately, it has taken a while for the message to be welcomed are received on a global scale. Regarding axe skills, women have been performing with rage. Just the same as men. Guitar (axe) slayers have been around for a long time. I can personally recall the impact that Nancy Wilson of Heart had on me as a child. I was wickedly amazed (smirkingly) by her gifts. I saw them perform on T.V. I thought that they had to have someone playing behind them. There wasn’t any way Nancy Wilson could play that well. I was wrong. She continued to be mesmerizing throughout the years. Yet, there were more like her. Consider the impact that the following guitarist had on the world of music:

Joan Jett
Lita Ford
Susan Tedeschi
Poison Ivy
Kaki King

Yet, this doesn’t even begin to touch the surface. There were many more female guitarists that could outplay many of their male counterparts. Just like decades before them, there are many women today that are leading the charge with taking the axe in their own hands. They are leading by example and opening paths that only selected few could achieve. Several artists come to mind. Such as Orianthi, Jennifer Batten, Emily Remler, Nili Brosh, Samantha Fish, and Joan Jett is still doing it. Along with Lita Ford. The list of female slayers could go on and on.

Guitar Thrills Magazine wants to focus on some additional current day phenoms that are making a huge impact as bass players. They are dominate in their genre. They are the musicians that are counted on by their counterparts in the band that they play for. Yes, each musician in the band has a unique skill set any the feed off the vibe from each other. It turns out that are next guest melds together with the band called PLUSH. If you have been hiding under a rock, you may not have heard of them. Everyone else, they are gelling with the experience each time they see Plush perform live, or a digital platform. Guitar Thrills Magazine are huge fans of Plush. One band member has stood out to us with her tremendous skill at bass. Her name is Ashley Suppa.

Let’s take a moment to review a little bit about Ashley Suppa before we jump into the interview. When I was six years old, thanks to my dad, I had an amazing experience to sing background vocals on Ace Frehley’s Anomaly album. It ignited my love for singing that evolved into a passion for songwriting. I began studying guitar when I was 12 and found my love for bass guitar at the School of Rock where I learned vocal techniques and refined my live performance skills working with other musicians at the school and performing in local theater.

At 15 I started writing and recording my own songs on a laptop creating demos – one that made it’s way to the Grammy® nominated producer Alex Salzman who collaborated with me on my debut release. Fashion is also one of my passions that I equate to songwriting, both being ultimate forms of self-expression. My songwriting influences have come from so many great artists like David Bowie, Lady Gaga, The 1975, Tyler the Creator, Dua Lipa and Bruno Mars. I write songs that reflect my personal experiences, feelings and perspectives on life hoping that they empower people of any age to think deeper about their relationships and interactions with the world around us.

Is Ashley Suppa your typical bass player? No not a chance. She isn’t laid back. She is the bass player that is in your face. She will not go unnoticed. Ashley is the ultimate bassist, and she brings style with it as well.

 

Interview with Ashley Suppa and Guitar Thrills Magazine

GT: Hello Ashley. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for me today.

 

GT: How does it feel to be mentioned among the likes of Nancy Wilson and Joan Jett?

Ashley: It is incomprehensible to be mentioned among the likes of women who have paved the way for my generation. They were two of the first women that showed my peers and I that this dream of ours is possible no matter our gender. I remember seeing Joan Jett open for The Who growing up and being blown away. I hope to one day inspire and make an impact in the same way that they have.

 

GT: What do you think has enabled female guitarists to overcome challenges in an industry once dominated my male guitarists?

Ashley: A lot of it has had to do with a change in societal views in general. It is a very empowering thing to be touring in this industry and working alongside an increasing amount of artists and crew members that are women. There is always a lot more room for growth, but it is proof that the industry is taking a collective step in a more progressive direction.

 

GT: I believe that it’s essential for all women to be recognized for their skills and talent. It isn’t a matter of rights. It comes down to facts. The fact is some of the best guitarists and performers is women. There is a long list of names, not even mentioned in the introduction of this article. Do you think there should be a distinction between men and women guitarists? If so, why do you feel that way?

Ashley: Female musicians should be recognized and treated equally as their male counterparts. Music has historically been a male-dominated industry. A majority of the most famous rock instrumentalists I looked up to growing up were men because there was this scarcity of female role models in the mainstream. It is important that we keep taking strides towards more female representation and recognition in the touring industry as well as within the commercial music industry.

 

GT: Who were some of your inspirations? Who do you pattern your style of bass playing after?

Ashley: I turn to bassists such as Paul McCartney, Mike Inez, Robert DeLeo, Bootsy Collins and Gail Ann Dorsey for inspiration. I like to listen to and learn a wide variety of playing styles so that I can best broaden my versatility as a musician.

 

GT: It is very important to note, that you also are a gifted bassist. I am very impressed with the connection that you have with your Plush band mates. What brought you all together? How did Plush get started?

Ashley: Moriah Formica and I had been jamming for a while when we had acknowledged that there was musical chemistry we wanted to further develop. The next step for us was to start a band, specifically a band of all girls.

Lzzy Hale from Halestorm shared our search for a female guitarist on social media, which led us to our guitarist Bella Perron. We found drummer Faith Powell on social media as well. When the four of us got together to rehearse as a group for the first time, it felt like we’d all known each other forever. Everything fell right into place.

 

GT: I can tell that you are versatile. You could probably succeed in any genre of your choosing. What made you decide to choose the Rock genre?

Ashley: Rock and roll was in my blood. My father is a guitarist who has jammed with Ace Frehley from Kiss, Mike Starr from Alice In Chains and more. I grew up going to shows with my dad at a very young age, chatting with all of the musicians backstage and getting a feel for the culture of being on the road. At the age of 6 I sang backing vocals on Ace Frehley’s Anomaly album, which was my first professional musical experience. I never limit myself — I express myself in whatever way feels right. I enjoy creating outside of rock just as much as I do within it. I think that the genre really chooses the artist.

 

GT: We hit on your bass skills. Do you have an artist that you pattern your style after?

Ashley: I can’t necessarily say that I pattern my style after just one specific artist, but I more so gather influence for my playing from what I am listening to at the moment. I listen to a variety of music and like to incorporate elements from a multitude of genres and artists into my playing and songwriting. I think that the best way to learn and grow as a musician is to experiment outside of your comfort zone, and to never underestimate the power of simply listening.

 

GT: How have you navigated through the competitive industry, that we all work in? It seems like there is a new artist, that pops up overnight. Also, what do you do to help remained focus?

Ashley: I think that it is important to do your best to create an environment that is uplifting to yourself and to those around you who are chasing the same dream. If you are in a space that inhibits your growth, it is time for a change to better explore your potential.

I always remind myself of how rewarding staying focused has been by reflecting on my past year as an artist. Looking back is the only way to move forward.

 

GT: I know you recently parted with your drummer Brooke Colucci. I liked her style, but I also realize that there are reasons for bands splitting with other members at times. How is your current drummer working out for Plush?

Ashley: Faith Powell has brought a completely new energy and positivity to the band that we are all ecstatic about. What I love so much about her drumming style is that you can really feel the intensity and passion in her playing.

Her smile and the animation in her performance is contagious and creates a really exciting atmosphere for us on stage. We are so thrilled to have her as a part of the Plush family.

 

GT: That is good to know. Ultimately, it’s the success of the entire band. Each member must contribute at a high level. Especially, when each of you are charged with high energy and talent.

 

GT: What are you currently working on, that you may want your fans to know about? I know you recently released an album with your previous drummer. That is a matter of timing. However, is there a new release coming with the new drummer?

Ashley: I’m currently in the process of working on a new solo record with Grammy-nominated producer Alex Salzman. I am also very excited about an upcoming advertising campaign with Conair, for which I wrote the jingle, starred in the commercial, and am a brand ambassador. Fashion is a big part of my life and I equate it to my songwriting, both being ultimate forms of self-expression.

As for Plush, the girls and I just got off an incredible tour with Alice In Chains, Breaking Benjamin and Bush. We have been writing some new music together and hope to get in the studio to record early next year. We are especially excited to further develop and refine our sound with Faith Powell as an addition to our lineup.

 

GT: When it is all said and done. Do you plan on changing to accommodate a different music vibe? Maybe even doing your own solo performances?

Ashley: The music I am playing is who I am in that moment. I grew up on a lot of pop as well as grunge, so both of these things are deeply rooted in my identity as an artist. There is a part of me that plays this heavy, hard-hitting rock music, and there is another part of me that loves to listen to and write funk-influenced pop music.

I have a self-titled solo record out now and am very excited to be performing songs from this record on November 14th at The Cutting Room in New York City.

 

GT: Excellent.

 

GT: It has been awesome talking with you regarding this topic. I am really impressed by your skillset. We would like to set up another opportunity to take on another subject. Would you be interested in a follow up interview?

Ashley: Thank you for having me. I had a great time chatting with you and would love to do this again.

 

GT: Thanks again. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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