The 8G Band on Late Night with Seth Meyers is, according to Brooklyn Magazine, "Late Night’s Indie Band." Marnie Stern (CAS ’97), named to Elle Magazine’s list of the “12 Greatest Female Electric Guitarists,” shared with us her experiences performing on late night TV and touring internationally as a singer-songwriter.
What was your experience at NYU?
I started in Tisch School of the Arts for Acting but, after the first semester, I switched to CAS to study Journalism for a more well-rounded education. I'm still very close with all of my NYU friends, and it's been 20 years so that's saying a lot. I have a lot of fond memories in the dining hall and in the dorms.
When did you start playing music?
I started at NYU, kicking around some open chords and working on songwriting. I played some open mics in the West Village during college.
You have four albums under the Kill Rock Stars label. When did you know that you wanted to be a singer-songwriter?
I knew definitively after graduation. I realized that I had to choose something to do that I loved. And I started playing shows in the East Village for small amounts of money.
Any favorite tour experiences?
I really enjoyed opening up for The Flaming Lips in 2011. Each tour is different and similar at the same time. I've had a great time in Scandinavia, playing the Roskilde Festival in Denmark (one of the largest music festivals in Europe and the largest in Northern Europe), and of course touring the US.
What has been your most rewarding achievement artistically?
There have been a lot. I've been lucky enough to tour such amazing places as China and Turkey. I've played amazing festivals like Primavera Sound in Barcelona and ATP (All Tomorrow’s Parties) in Butlins, England. I've been fortunate enough to be put on a bunch of best of lists over the years also, which has been great.
Congratulations on being named to Elle Magazine’s “12 Greatest Female Electric Guitarists” list, and SPIN Magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” How did the recognition change your life or your career at that time?
It didn't really change my career at all. It did, however, make my family proud.
The Late Night with Seth Meyers’ house band, The 8G Band, was called "Late Night’s Indie Band" by Brooklyn Magazine. What is it like performing on television five nights a week?
It's very different than anything else I've done. Playing on TV is a new skill that I've happy to have learned. Overall, it's incredibly fun and incredibly stabilizing for a musician whose life has been so transient in the past.
What has been your experience as a woman in the male-dominated field of electric guitar?
There have, of course, been a few assumptions made over the years. I've had male sound technicians ask me if I wanted a stool and an acoustic guitar, as though I was a traditional singer-songwriter type. But overall, I haven't run into much sexism.
You have said that you don’t read your own press. Why?
Writing music is so personal and when you read reviews of your work, it can be discouraging. I prefer to stay in my own cocoon and keep pushing forward.
What musicians inspire you?
David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen are two that come to mind.
Can we look forward to another Marnie Stern album soon?
Yes! I've been working on one for a long time. Hopefully it will be coming out soon!
Follow @MarnieStern on Twitter to find out more about her projects.