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Hero. Legend. Good Bloke.
John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

Red Lick Records



Early Blues Interview
Chantel McGregor - guitarist and singer


© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.I met up with Chantel McGregor in January 2010 at the Skegness Rock and Blues Festival shortly after her gig. 

Alan:        Iíve got a quote from your bio which says ďAt the ripe old age of 3, you got your first guitarĒ.  So what are your first musical memories? 

Chantel:   Probably sitting in the car and listening to Free, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and stuff like that.  Rumours is just my favourite album ever!  My Dad used to play guitar when I was a kid and I used to detune it for him.  He used to play Kenny the Kangeroo and Iíd bounce around the lounge then Iíd detune his guitar.  So then they said, ďOkay we need to get her a guitarĒ and they got me a half size when I was three, then I was seven they got me lessons and a ĺ size and, I just did it.  It just happened. 

Alan:        When did you realise you wanted to become a rock and blues musician? 

Chantel:   Donít know really.  I didnít think, ďI want to be a rock starĒ because everybody wants to be that.  It was more a case of it being something that I enjoyed doing. 

Alan:        At the tender age of 8  you became the UKís youngest person to pass a rock school grade exam.  Tell me about that. 

Chantel:   There was a bit of theory, some playing, technical questions.  I was really nervous in the week leading up to it but then when I was in there and doing it, I was absolutely fine.   

Alan:        You were performing regularly at the age of 12 with local rock bands.  How was that received? 

Chantel:   There were some fantastic musicians that really helped me, especially with controlling a band.  But there were others who thought I should be playing with dolls.  To be honest, I think that those people helped me too.   When there were other guitarists who wouldnít play at the same time as me I had to learn how to do lead and how to do solo.  It pushed me into doing it and now Iím just so glad they called me a Barbie doll. 

Alan:        Tell me about the band and how you got together. 

Chantel:   Iíve known Martin for about 4 years now. He played in another band and I guested with that band and then he joined me.  Iíve known Alex for 5 years, we were at Uni together and heís like my big brother. 

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Alan:        Congratulations on getting your first class honours music degree.  How was the course? 

Chantel:   It was hard work juggling work and gigging and it restricted what I did because they have copyright on everything I did when I was there.  So I donít have a CD.  A million and one people want a CD but I havenít got one but if you wait until November Iíll have my own copyright.  Now itís a case of writing a load of new stuff.  Now Iíve got more time though so Iím branching out, travelling further and sleeping less. 

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Alan:        What first attracted you to rock and blues? 

Chantel:   Itís just something Iíve felt from a young age really but probably because my Mum and Dad were into all that.  They were going to see big bands like Free and Zeppelin 3 or 4 times a week.  At home we always had CDs, well records, lying around and it was always Free or Led Zeppelin on in the car. 

Alan:        You know Deborah Bonhamís here at Skegness tomorrow. 

Chantel:   I am so going to see her!  Iím going to try and blag my way into meeting her.  Iíd love to meet her.  I just love the dresses. 

Alan:        Who are your favourite rock and blues artists?

Chantel:   Joe Bonamassa,  Richie Kotzen and John Mayer.  Richie Kotzen is just fantastic.  More rock than blues but so talented and a wonderful song writer.  Joeís just so fantastically blessed and is the most humble, lovely guy in the world.  Oh, heís wonderful,  I love Joe, heís brilliant.  And John Mayer is just gorgeous. And he can play the guitar a bit! 

Alan:        Whoís influenced you the most in your music? 

Chantel:   My parents probably just because of everything they listened to.  Otherwise, loads of people.  I listen to absolutely everything Ė blues, rock, country, soul, pop, Lady Gaga...everything. 

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:        How many guitars do you have?

Chantel:   About 43.  I think.  Iíve kinda lost count. 

Alan:        43?  Is there a favourite? 

Chantel:   For my gigs, I use my Music-Man by John Petruchy but I also use Fret-Kings as well.  I use the Super S and Super T.  They are like Telecaster shape but with different pick-up configurations.  They are a totally different sound to my Petruchys but what I want is variation so itís great. 

Alan:        Are there any particular songs you play which have special meaning to you? 

Chantel:   Probably one that I wrote called 'Not Here With Me' probably just because it came out.  It was the quickest song I ever wrote in my life, 20 minutes and it was done.  Iíd been agonising in the studio all day trying to draw out this song and it didnít happen and we had this rubbish thing at the end.  I was messing about on my guitar at about 11 at night after weíd had tea and singing along and it just came out and 10 minutes later we had a song and 20 minutes later it was recorded.  That was it! 

Alan:        So, is there an album on the horizon? 

Chantel:   Yes, definitely.  Iím working on it now but Iím gigging a lot too so itís just getting time.  Itíll be out this year Ė it has to be!   The brakes are off now but up to now Iíve been booking all my own gigs so it takes up so much time.  Emailing people who email me takes time but I always do it because itís polite and I like to know whose talking to me.   

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Alan:        How close is the album then?  Have you got any numbers sorted?

Chantel:   A few.  But they arenít right yet. 

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Alan:        Youíve clearly grown up amongst music. Do you get time for any other interests? 

Chantel:   Shopping, shoes, handbags, dresses, real ale.   Does that make me sound like a shopaholic and an alcoholic? 

Alan:        What are your future plans? 

Chantel:   Got a tour coming up in February which is probably going to extend into March, April and possibly beyond.  I just like to keep going.  The whole year is going to be touring. And writing the album.  And rehearsing loads to make everything  good.  Everything has to be spot on because Iím a perfectionist (apparently). 

And Iím on a diet.  There are people on the internet that are so sizest.  Theyíll even put on somebody elseís site so I canít delete it, ďPregnant girls shouldnít play like thatĒ.   And Iím like ďWhaaaaat!Ē  But I like eating and I like chocolate.   I just think that if you are on your own person and donít pretend to something else then you canít go wrong.  You canít get tripped up.  I donít pretend to have a posh voice, I live on the outskirts of Bradford and I just be myself. 

Alan:        Thank you so much Chantel and best of luck with everything you are doing this year.

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

And Chantel did get to play with Deborah Bonham.....

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Here is Chantel playing 'Not Here With Me' at The Morecambe Dome
(sell out first gig of The Awakening Tour)

Here is Chantel and Deborah Bonham playing 'The Old Hyde' at Skegness Rock & Blues Festival

Here is Chantel playing 'A New Day Yesterday' at Skegness Rock & Blues Festival

Here is Chantel playing 'Voodoo Chile' at Skegness Rock & Blues Festival


Return to Blues Interviews List

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