Victoria Smith – New Girl with Guitar

New girl Victoria Smith (centre)

Victoria Smith is from Leicestershire and she plays bass guitar.  3SongsBonn thought that wasn’t much information about the new girl on the upcoming Blues Caravan ‘More Girls With Guitars’ Tour though,  so we asked her about herself.

If you caught the RUF Records Blues Caravan last year then you will have seen one of the first shows by three girls who really enjoyed themselves onstage and who, although they delivered an enjoyable high energy show, were clearly still settling in together musically.   I would love to have seen the girls again by the end of 2011 when they had played shows all over Europe, including a stint on the prestigious ‘Blues Cruise’.  Well, in a couple of weeks time I’ll be able to see how far they’ve come – two of them at least.
Whilst Dani Wilde and Samantha Fish are back for ‘More Girls With Guitars‘ (along with mercurial French drummer  Denis Palatin) the third ‘girl with a guitar’ from 2011 bassist Cassie Taylor is now working on solo projects.  RUF Records have put up a new poster with a new face but not much information to go with the girl behind the Fender Precision.  A look at Victoria Smith’s own website tells me :  “A regular performer around the UK & Europe since 2006 Victoria has shared bills with numerous artists including Viking Skull, The Almighty, Hanoi Rocks, Ocean Colour Scene, Sham 69, Jethro Tull, Bad Company, The Misfits and Roger Clyne And The Peacemakers.   As an accomplished theatre performer, Victoria has played bass for shows including Les Miserables, Guys and Dolls and Little Shop of Horrors”.
So I sent Victoria a few questions, beginning with the obvious…

First off – tell me how you came to be involved in this years Blues Caravan?

Dani contacted me last summer and said they were holding auditions for a new female bass player. I’ve known Dani for about 6 years, we went to university in Brighton together and lived in the same student house. When she got in touch about the audition I realised we now live 5 minutes down the road from each other; all of these coincidences and we have never worked together until now!

It’s far from your first experience of playing in a live band though.  Besides working with Dani and Will Wilde in the past you were most notably in a female Ramones coverband ‘The Ramonas’.  A female Dee Dee Ramone?  Sounds very interesting.  Tell me about The Ramonas.  Are you a Punk at heart?

Haha! not exactly, I grew up listening to my Dad play ragtime and rock n roll piano. What really got me into the bass was listening to Motown music, I remember one of the first songs I wanted to learn was Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder. I am a fan of lots of different music though, including punk, I love the Ramones because they write pop songs, like blues I find their music very accessible. I have learnt a lot about moving around on stage from playing with the Ramonas, the bass player doesn’t have to be the one standing at the back! Dee Dee was very vocal and animated, I really like that.

How did you come to be a bass guitarist and what equipment do you play?

When I was younger I wanted to learn the Double bass but that wasn’t very practical as a kid so my parents bought me a bass guitar, my sister is a drummer so it was great for jamming at home, even if the neighbours didn’t agree! 🙂

I play a Fender Precision, I have tried other basses but I always come back to that!


What has been your best musical experience to date?

One of my favourite gigs recently was when the Ramonas played a gig with Richie Ramone ( 80’s drummer form the Ramones ) as you can imagine, for a tribute band to play with one of the original band members was very exciting! Plus he was lovely and such a talented drummer!

You offer Music tuition on your Webpage so you must have some experience of the sort of people who want to make music.   Are there a lot of girls with guitars, especially bass guitars, wanting to get into the music scene?

When I was studying music there was only one other girl in my class learning bass, it has definitely become more popular amongst girls as have the drums. There are more great female musicians playing in high profile bands now which is great in terms of role models.

What advice do you give them besides the music tutorials themselves about making a living in music as a girl?

It depends which area of music they’re going into but generally I would say always play your best and have a positive attitude to work, your personality is just as important as how good you are at your instrument, also network with people, that is what this industry is all about.

You have also worked as a musician for Musicals – what is that like?  Isn’t that limiting in that you can never stretch a solo out or improvise? 

I have always loved musicals, the way each instruments parts fit together is wonderful, like film music, lot’s of layers to the instrumentation. Yes there isn’t much room for improvising but that is why I work in a lot of different areas of music, everything has it’s strengths.

Finally, what are your thoughts, hopes and ambitions on the eve of the upcoming Blues Caravan World Tour?

Just for everyone, including the audience to have fun, that’s what we’re here for 🙂

Thanks for your time Victoria and good luck with the Tour.

Thank – you, this will be my first visit to Bonn, I am looking forward to the show!

GIRLS WITH GUITARS WEBSITE

And finally, a clip from the Camden Ramonas gig with Richie Ramone (and Victoria on bass):


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