A rather unlikely but capable front woman for Ted Nugent’s warm-up act comes in Alex Winston, a petite teenaged rocker who both sings and plays guitar, performing a brand of catchy, femininely-charged Pop Rock. With a backing band composed of Chris and Drew Peters, the masterminds at the award-winning 40 oz. Sound studio in Ann Arbor, Alex Winston has been making the rounds in the Detroit club circuit opening for local and national bands. Before hitting the road on a summer-long U.S. tour, Alex talked to thedetroiter.com contributing writer Leyland DeVito about her band and her newly released E.P., By The Roots.
Who are you touring with, and where are you going? Is this your first tour?
Starting next week I will be on the road with Ted Nugent and we will be playing all over the U.S.! This is my first tour and I can't believe the awesome venues we are going to be playing...I'm most excited about Ryman Auditorium in Nashville...People pay just to see the place because it used to hold the Grande Ole Opry and so many legends have played there. I don't know that I deserve it yet, but I can't complain.
What was your musical career like up until now? Were you in any other bands before? When did it become a full-time gig?
I never was in a band before this. I wrote songs on my own but that was about it. I think it became a full time thing when I started to not have to time do anything else! I'd say right after high school it became clear that I had to make the choice of either going to school or taking my chances with this...the latter just seemed way more appealing.
What was it like opening for Ted Nugent at DTE Energy Theatre last summer? Was that the largest audience you've played to? Were you nervous?
Playing the DTE show was a really surreal experience for me; not only was it my first show with my band, but it was at an amphitheatre! To be honest with you, I wasn't all that nervous about the singing...I was more nervous about Nugent fans pelting me in the head with beer bottles! For about a month before the show I was getting prepped for being booed off stage, but fortunately we went over really well...hence I'm now doing a full tour with Ted!
Do you have any stories to tell about the Motor City Madman?
He said he brought a machine gun to the show and that he'd show it to me...The scary thing is that I really wouldn't put it past him!
How important do you think it is to have a strong musical community in Detroit?
I was in grade school and high school when groups like the White Stripes, Electric Six, and Slum Village were really starting to explode nationally and internationally. I wasn't really able to see them when they were just local acts on the scene. Now there is a new generation of bands from the city that are starting to get attention outside of Detroit. Tally Hall, The Love Arcade, and The Satin Peaches are all doing well and I have played shows with those bands and become friends with them. It's kind of cool to be involved with the next wave of bands coming from around here.
Do you have any favorite Detroit musicians?
I really love The Satin Peaches. I've had the chance to play with them and not only do they make great music but they are great to be around as well. George Morris is an awesome front man.
Bassist Chris Peters is a former member of the Electric Six. What are the histories of your other band members?
All of my band mates have been in various bands and musical projects throughout the years. Chris and Drew Peters do a lot of collaborating with me on my songs, aside from also being in my band. Drew has a studio in Ann Arbor [40 oz. Sound], where we record everything.
How would you describe your sound?
I just went to see Little Richard a few weeks ago and have loved his music for a long time. My dad had Yes and Heart records playing all of the time. I also love Sheryl Crow and other female vocalists like PJ Harvey and Sarah Mcleod. So I guess in some weird way, my music sounds like all of that crammed together...except for maybe Yes.
What can you say about the new E.P., By the Roots?
I can say that we worked really hard on it and the songs that made the cut are the ones that I've really grown to identify the most with out of all my songs. I recorded almost all of my vocals by myself, so I had the chance to have them sound the way I wanted them to.
What's next for Alex Winston?
Well, lets see...besides the tour and the E.P., I guess just playing as many shows as I can with all different bands in all different places. That sounds fun.
Alex Winston has several upcoming Michigan dates:
6/22 W/ Ted Nugent
@ DTE energy music theatre
All ages; 8:00
6/23 W/ Breathing Underwater
@ St. Andrews Hall
All ages; 8:00
7/13 @ AJ's Cafe
All ages; 8:00
For more information about Alex Winston, check her out online at http://www.myspace.com/alexwinston.
Leyland DeVito is studying illustration at Detroit's College for Creative Studies. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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