‘Rock & Roll Baby’: Guitarist Malina Moye Brings Hendrix Influence and Blues Power to New Album
There’s a seductive passion and feel in Malina Moye’s guitar playing, as evidenced by her insanely good new EP, Rock & Roll Baby, which was released October 14.
From the infectious, funk-inspired single "K-yotic" (which features Bootsy Collins) to her take on the Jimi Hendrix classic “Foxey Lady," Rock & Roll Baby is a high-octane experience of blues power.
In addition to being an in demand performer on her own, Moye also has taken part in the Experience Hendrix Tour alongside guitar greats Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. She also had the distinct privilege of honoring the Queen of England’s 60-year reign by performing her own rendition of "God Save the Queen."
I recently spoke with Moye about her new album, her gear and more.
GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe Rock & Roll Baby?
It’s an in-your-face combination of Led Zeppelin meets Sly and the Family Stone, with a little bit of Hendrix thrown in. I love real music and the feeling it gives you. As a guitar player, I love the freedom of being able to express who I am in my solos. This is me, and this album is what I’m about.
What’s your songwriting process like?
It varies. Sometimes I’ll be on an acoustic and be messing around with riffs. Other times I’ll hear melody in my head and sing it into my phone so I can go back to it later. Then I’ll pick up my guitar and start putting the pieces together. Music can literally speak to you. It will tell you what it has to say. You just have to be open to it.
Let’s talk about a few tracks off the album, beginning with “K-yotic." What was is like working with Boosty Collins?
Bootsy is incredible. What I love the most about him is how he’s able to spontaneously come up with ideas. I was messing around on the track, jamming, when the idea of having him on it came to me. I remember I sent the track over to him and said, “Hey, tell me what you think of this.” A short while later, he sends me a new track back with a note that said, “This is what I think of it!” [laughs]. It was hot!
I’m a huge fan of that song. Out of all of Hendix’s amazing works, that’s the one that really speaks to me the most. We started experimenting with different tone and amp combinations on it. I really wanted to incorporate some of that classic rock feeling. Keeping the blueprint of the record but still making it my own.
That’s another one of my favorites. It’s a song I wrote when I was going through a really bad time in my life. Nothing seemed to be working and I literally remember writing that song in five minutes. It was therapeutic. There was no real intention when I wrote it. It was just something that I had to get out.
Did you always know music would be your calling?
I grew up surrounded by music. My dad played with Bernard Allison and my mom was a background singer who did a lot of work with Tina Turner. It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do.
Can you tell me a little about how music played a big role in your growing up?
Music was everything in our household. I remember always telling my cousins that we had to practice so my mom and dad would hire us and let us perform on their shows, but all they wanted to watch cartoons [laughs]. But I was determined to get a head start on this and was pretty obsessed, even at a very young age. Though I was only 10 years old, my parents made me believe and realize it was all attainable and a part of life. We were in major recording studios all the time, and I was a sponge soaking it all up.
Who were some of your influences coming up?
I always connected to the tone, phrasing, and feel of artists like Prince, Eric Clapton, Hendrix and Robert Cray. They all made me feel emotions.
What can you tell me about your setup?
My setup is pretty simple. The amp I use is a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 212, and my pedals include a Dunlop Cry Baby Wah and Boss Blues Driver and Delay. My Strat is all custom with DiMarzio pickups. It’s a left-handed body with right-handed headstock. I also use different gauges with the strings, depending on the song.
What do you want people to take away from Rock & Roll Baby?
I’m excited for people to hear and appreciate the unique sound we’ve created and know that it's in its purest form. I can’t wait to get back on tour and meet everyone and just play. That's really what it's about! The music, the notes and the magic!
For more info, visit malinamoye.com.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.