Meet Britt Lightning of Vixen
Meet Britt Lightning of Vixen
Britt Lightning has brought the thunder into the almighty Vixen with a mesmerizing lead guitar performance. In addition to her work within the ranks of the legendary Vixen, Britt’s credits include performing with the likes of varied artists such as Alejandro Sanz and Rachel Platten.
Highwire Daze caught up with Britt Lightning at a Jack Lue photo shoot to discuss a vast and epic career in music. Read on…
First of all, I was reading your press release, and Lady Gaga called you The Closer? Give me the story behind that.
She sure did! Okay, well that was my very first audition when I decided to branch off and not do my own band and just find the love of playing guitar again and be a guitar player for hire. It was an audition for her Monster Wall Tour. At first we didn’t know what to do – she just said “Get up there and impress me.” So I just did something crazy and she was kind of giving everybody nicknames – and when it came to me, she said “You know what you are Britt? You’re The Closer – like in the baseball teams when they need to get that home run to win the game and get everybody to run around the bases – that’s you! You’re The Closer.” So I got the callback.
What was Lady Gaga like?
She was cool! She was interesting. She was intimidating. I was nervous, but she was nice. Who knows? Maybe I’ll work with her someday…
How did you wind up in Vixen?
I was just playing around in L.A., I had moved there recently. A couple of people had seen me and had known that they were looking for a new guitar player at the time, and recommended me. Their manager saw me play live as well, and so it just kind of all happened organically – just by word of mouth.
What was that first performance like of you with Vixen?
I was so nervous! I’m always so nervous for the first show. It’s so new and you want to act like that you’re not caring – that you’re not paying attention – and give the cool rock and roll vibe. But you don’t want to get too into the zone of the performance and then go like “oh shit, that’s the change. The bridge is there!” You get into like “Alright, I’m having fun,” but when it’s new you’re like “okay it’s two verses, then it’s the bridge, and then it modulates here…” So you have to not be too relaxed so that you can remember the song. There was a lot going on in my head at that first gig, but I still had a blast and it was fun. And then every gig still gets better…
How surprised were you when Janet Gardner left the band?
I was surprised. I think a couple of the other girls felt it more because they knew her for so many years – and I didn’t. And they were less surprised. But I was like, “Oh no! I just joined the band! This is terrible!” Janet’s amazing – I love her as a person – she’s a great friend – and of course an amazing voice and songwriter. But Lorraine (Lewis) is amazing and we’re really happy to have her.
Is Vixen going to be recording new material?
We are! We definitely are 100 percent! We’re going to do a new studio album – we’re writing for it right now and we hope to release it in early 2020.
You’re credits span way beyond Vixen. Are you still involved with Jaded?
No I’m not. We kind of just put that to bed. But we always joke about doing a reunion, so maybe we should do that sometime. But I still keep in touch with all the girls. That was a great time.
You played with Alejandro Sanz! What was that like? He’s a big name in the Latin music scene.
Yeah that was amazing! His band was filled with ridiculously talented musicians. It really broadened my horizons stylistically with guitar playing, but I also learned a lot about Latin culture – learning Spanish and all sorts of things.
How good are you with Spanish now?
I’m pretty decent. I can get by. If I was stranded in Spain, I would do okay.
What was it like working with Rachel Platten?
That was really neat. It was a great time to work with her because it was right when she was rising to fame with The Fight Song. We did some great gigs – we played a lot of the TV shows – Good Morning America, The Today Show and things like that. We played some festivals, but the cool thing for me was to see her starting out. She wasn’t just starting out, but you could just see how much she’s matured and learned over the span of Fight Song taking off to like crazy success. That was a great band – a great gig – and she was really fun and nice to work with.
Are you now involved with any other band outside of Vixen?
Right now no, but I am writing some new material for a new project.
And tell me about the guitar you used in the photo shoot today.
So that’s an Epiphone SG – it’s a goldtop. It was kind of something I created with my rep over there. They usually don’t have floating bridges. It’s got a floating kind of a Floyd Rose, so it’s not the typical Floyd Rose. It’s an FRX System, so that we you don’t have to hollow out the body of guitar to put the floating bridge in so it doesn’t ruin the guitar because those SG’s are really thin to begin with. So yeah, I’ve been playing that, and we’re making little tweaks on it to make it perfect. I’m hoping maybe that could come out as a signature model soon.
What’s up next for you?
Next we have a summer full of dates with Vixen – and then writing and recording – working on that schedule and then doing a lot of writing and recording on my own as well. Definitely keeping busy.
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue – Makeup by Maurissa Riss)