Magazine article Guitar Player

Melissa Dougherty

Magazine article Guitar Player

Melissa Dougherty

Article excerpt

IF THE OVERACHIEVERS OF THE MUSIC WORLD ever received grades, Lemon Sun guitarist Melissa Dougherty would be on the Dean's List. Playing guitar and classical piano from the age of five, Dougherty was already producing her own CDs and playing in grunge bands as a teen. At Whittier College, she undertook a double major in English and Religious Studies, sought a minor in Art History, and went after a teaching credential for good measure (she currently teaches at the Silverlake Conservatory of Music founded by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers). But winning a Fender Performance Scholarship to Berklee College of Music was a musical turning point.

"There was the metal group--where it seemed it was all about who could go the fastest--and then there was the jazz group," remembers Dougherty. "They both appealed to me from a technical perspective, but I knew that if I stuck with jazz I'd be learning a new musical language."

After receiving a degree in jazz composition and theory, Dougherty moved to Los Angeles, and released a couple of "poetic" singer/songwriter CDs. But meeting Lemon Sun guitarist Michael Shapiro--who was the band's only guitarist at the time--helped reignite her rock and roll roots.

"I knew I was ready to make some noise, and when I saw Lemon Sun, I couldn't believe they weren't signed," says Dougherty. "They were like the Queens of the Stone Age meets the Rolling Stones. I got myself into the band, and I've reverted back to my fun, 15-year-old self."

How do you negotiate the jazz and rock sides of your playing?

Jazz was always a part of my life when I was young, because my mother played jazz records around the house. …

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