10 questions for Screaming Females’ Marissa Paternoster: “After playing 1,000+ shows, I've come to terms that gear breaking is just par for the course”

(Image credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images)

A double-LP isn't necessarily something you'd expect from a band of indie-punks, but Screaming Females have never been ones to play by the rules, as evidenced on sprawling new album All At Once.

Recorded by Pearl Jam/Mastodon producer Matt Bayles in Seattle, AAO is a potent combination of no-bullshit grunge guitar stabs, solo wig-outs and punk-informed vocal assaults, led by G&L-toting vocalist/guitarist Marissa Paternoster.

Ahead of the album’s release, we got Marissa’s thoughts on the guitars and pedals that power the band’s outspoken sonic approach, and the life and gear lessons she’s learned over the years…

1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?

“My first guitar was a Fender Musicmaster. It's actually my father’s, but that's the first one I played regularly.”

2. The building’s burning down - what one guitar do you save?

My G&L S-500 was graciously given to me by a cousin when I was 16. It's probably the only possession of mine I would mourn the loss of

“I would absolutely save my G&L S-500 that was graciously given to me by a cousin when I was 16. It's probably the only possession of mine I would mourn the loss of.”

3. What's the one effects pedal you couldn't do without, and why?

“I rely very heavily on a Boss DD-6 Digital Delay, because I like the warp function on it. It operates like a sustain pedal, but holds the delay signal indefinitely until you remove your foot. It adds a lot of texture to our live performance and is fun to improvise with.”

4. Is there a guitar, or piece of gear, that you regret letting go?

“Not really.”

5. And what's the next piece of gear you’d like to acquire?

“I'm pretty happy with what I have. I don’t often seek out gear. I haven't the budget nor the space to have a lot of things.”

6. What’s your favourite chord, and why?

“D! Always D! D major always sounded triumphant to me. I'm trying to steer clear of that one, though... I might be moving onto A minor in my older age.”

7. Is there an aspect of guitar playing that you'd like to be better at?

“Sure, I mean, I'd like to be better at all of it! I'd really like to be more adept at fingerpicking, but I don't often have time to sit down with an acoustic guitar.”

8. If you could have a guitar lesson from one guitarist, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

I used to have total nervous breakdowns on stage when my equipment shit the bed

“John Fahey! Because he probably would teach me one amazing thing, smoke a pack of cigarettes, and then we'd just hang out and drink beer.”

9. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?

“I used to have total nervous breakdowns on stage when my equipment shit the bed. After playing 1,000+ shows, I've come to terms that gear breaking is just par for the course and to remain calm.”

10. What advice would you give your younger self about playing the guitar?

“Relax.”

All At Once is out on 23 February via Don Giovanni Records.