UK blues, rock and soul musician Z-Star has been playing her way around Australia and will wind up on the doorstep of BlenheimFest this weekend.
The London born, Brighton based singer, songwriter and mad guitarist has been living it up, playing it up and soaking it up on our fair shores since early February but is set to return home after Blenheim.
Being her debut voyage down under, Zee Gachette has been falling in love with the place and rocking it senseless.
“This is my first time in Australia. It’s been a whole series of cool things happening: Brisbane, Surfers Paradise, Django Bar in Sydney, jamming with Jay Power, Chinese New Year celebrations with the Terracotta Warriors with the Opera House in the background; that was really nice. Also, I did a workshop for Hampton High School. That was really cool. Really lovely kids,” she says.
Speaking to The Upside News from Lorne, Zee says she’s keen to get to Adelaide and check out our festival vibe.
“I’m looking forward to Adelaide! I do love my white wine, red wine and rosé. But I found the beer I love the most: Stone and Wood from Byron Bay. It is number one on my list. I don’t know what they put in that beer. It must be some kind of trippy, hippy love; little molecules of happiness!” she laughs.
“I’m really looking forward to just being there at Blenheim Festival. I don’t know what it’s going to be like. I heard there’s going to be camping, which I love doing and I love playing festivals so I think it’s going to be lots of good people. I imagine it’s going to be great music, great food and great sunshine.”
And there will be a stellar line up, not excluding herself; a woman who has received praise and a standing ovation from legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.
“Jimmy Page is my guitar god. He’s an iconic guitarist. He’s been a huge influence on me. Pretty much any guitar-wielding musician is going to love Jimmy Page. Performing to a room with him, Roger Daltry, and a whole lot of other really great musicians was one thing but getting a standing ovation was another thing all together!” she says.
“It was an awards ceremony so I got the award for best live act and so I had to perform. I was doing a song of mine which is on the new record. When I finished playing that, they got on their feet and made some noise and that was just awesome. Then afterwards we were hanging out and I got to talk to him for quite a long time and that was just great. He’s such a great guy.”
But this story, which is quite possibly living the dream of every guitarist, doesn’t end there.
“The craziest thing happened after that. I totally believe in synchronicity and laws of attraction because later, I was doing a festival and I’d just got off stage and this woman came up to me and said it was a really cool gig and she wanted to know more about me and what I was doing and my whole CV!” Zee laughs.
“So I started telling her this and that and then I kind of mentioned Jimmy and she was like, ‘Jimmy Page?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah’ and the next think I know, she’s on the phone and has called up Jimmy Page who just happens to be her ex-husband! Then we became friends and I’ve been to the house and met his kids. He’s such a great guy.”
Following her 2013 EP 16 Tons will be full length album 16 Tons of Love, which Z-Star is currently working on, when she’s not jet-setting, playing gigs and rubbing shoulders with rock royalty, that is.
“It’s definitely going to be coming in my summer/autumn. The inspiration for it is blues. I am in my blues rock period. The last couple of records I was playing more acoustic and more singer/songwriter. This album I decided to do even more writing with the band to make it a more collective feel, as opposed to me writing all the songs,” she says.
“The inspiration behind it is that I wanted to have fun and I wanted to make music that everyone else has fun playing as well and that’s basically it. I wanted to play some fuzz guitar; get my telecasters out on the road! Having said that, while we’ve been on tour I’ve been doing two types of shows; I’ve been doing the full band show, which is the electric show and the acoustic duo show which is as uplugged as you can be but I can’t resist the fuzz!”
Although she’s hoping to check out a bit of Adelaide while she’s here, Zee will be locked down in rehearsal for some of the time; however, she’s keen to check out our music scene, particularly our blues rock.
“I probably won’t be able to see much of Adelaide itself. I’m coming over for a long rehearsal but I want to try and have a look around Adelaide while I’m over there and get to the beach. It’s hard on tour because the only time you get to see things is on your days off and then on your days off, you’re knackered. We’ve been pretty good with getting out there though. What should I see in Adelaide? What’s your blues rock like? I’d like to check that out,” she says.
Luckily, we get to check Zee’s music out by grabbing a ticket to Blenheim Camping Festival and getting down to Z-Star and heaps of other great acts.
BlenheimFest opens its gates at 10am Good Friday, April 3rd.
By Libby Parker
Photo lifted from Z-Star’s Facebook page