Interview: Miss Alex White

Miss Alex White

Miss Alex White

Miss Alex White has been a force in the Chicago music scene for years now. She has the style, the voice, and the chops. Alex is currently in the ridiculously fun two-piece White Mystery with her brother Francis. They have a new album coming out in April and are headed to SXSW in March. I can only assume that next month Austin, Texas will be infected with a curly red-haired fever.

Here is what Alex had to say!

When did you begin playing and why?

I started guitar at age 15 because I wanted to start a band. In the punk tradition, I learned power chords and jammed with friends. Thus started the Psychotic Sensations, the Red Lights, Hot Machines at age 17, Miss Alex White & the Red Orchestra, and now White Mystery with my brother, Francis Scott Key White.

What was your first guitar, and how did you get it?

My first guitar was a brand new, pink Danelectro UB-50 reissue. It set a precedent for my love of twangy guitars because of the double lipstick pickups.

What equipment do you prefer now? Which guitar? What amps, cables, pedals? Why? Has this changed over time?

At age 16 I was ready for a serious axe and had enough saved for something beyond the common Telecasters, Strats, SGs. I went to the Chicago Music Exchange where my redheaded friend Heath Jensen (now of Rock’n’Roll Vintage) recommended a Rickenbacker because it’s a rare, red, made in the USA guitar.

Thus started an affair with my Rickenbacker Fireglo 330 that was new when I bought it 10 years ago. Does that make it vintage yet?

I also endorse Eastwood Guitars and love the Classic 6 they sent me (see photo below). I collect and scavenge unusual gear.

It’s awesome that Orange Amps sponsors White Mystery. I play an Orange 2×12 Rockerverb Combo that is as beefy as it is beautiful. On previous records, you hear an Ampeg combo, 70s Musicman 2×10, and a 60s Gibson dual head through a 4×10 custom cabinet.

I smashed through several Electroharmonix Big Muff pedals, like the Pie, Russian, Little/Big, a custom distortion pedal housed by a smashed Pie, and now play through a 1979 model that rips on the new record. I only use curly, white cords to connect everything now.

What are you working on right now?

WHITE MYSTERY Blood & Venom is the new full length album due April 20, 2011 that you can scope online and in stores this spring. White Mystery releases its own vinyl, tee shirts, and books shows which keeps us delightfully occupied. We’re headed to SXSW, the Atlanta Messaround, NYC, the West Coast, and worldwide fests in 2011. Click here for all the White Mystery tour dates, records, and blog.

Name one or two (or more!) artists (musicians, writers, visual artists) you find inspiring. Why?

Poison Ivy from the Cramps is an influential heroine to me because she’s a gorgeous, natural redhead that totally shreds. Her voice is an instrument drenched in sex appeal and plenty of reverb. Marc Bolan is a similar idol for his strutty, gasping, hotness.

I’m a fan of visual arts that span from American Colonial portraiture to Dutch architecture to the paintings of Jasper Johns and modern typography. I travel a lot and get to enjoy different breeds of street art in every town White Mystery tours as well.

Alex and her guitar


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