Susan Santos at 100 Club 10th of March 2020

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Susan: I was born in a small city in the southwest of Spain, Badajoz. I’m a self taught guitar player, and I’ve always been into songwriting. I started a band in my hometown, but eventually moved to Madrid in the hope of making a living from my music. There, I worked as a guitarist in a National TV show and in musical theatre. Eventually, I started working on my own stuff, which I’ve been doing ever since. I’ve toured Europe, the US and Mexico, and released five albums. My last one, ‘No U Turn’ won be the best musician performance in The European Blues Awards, and Best Album Female in The L.A Music Critics Awards.

How did you get into playing in the first place?
Susan:
I originally started playing Spanish guitar when I was 18, and about two years later I found the blues on the radio – I’d never heard this sort of music before, and I didn’t know what it was but I instantly fell in love with that sound! From that point, I discovered all the classics, Beatles, Hendrix, Cream, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and of course, Stevie Ray Vaughn – my head felt like it was gonna explode when I heard him, and I just knew I wanted to play electric guitar.

As a guitarist, is there anyone else besides Stevie Ray Vaughn that sort of stuck out to you?
Susan:
I’m influenced by a lot of artists, but Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Tom Petty and The Beatles all bring out a smile and fill me with energy.

On that note, there’s footage of you jamming with Billy Gibbons, how did that come about? As a ZZ Top fan, how was that experience?
Susan:
Last summer my band and I played the same festival as Billy Gibbons’ Supersonic Blues Machine, and they invited me on stage to play with them, and it was an amazing experience. Just imagine, Billy is one of my favourite guitarists of all time! He was a lovely guy, and it was really funny as he kept speaking to me in Spanish;  “Hola Soy Guillermo…”. For that I played one of my other favourite amps, the Rockerverb 50 MKIII head – an awesome amp, perfect for a big stage.

You recently took our TremLord 30 on tour, how did you get on with it?
Susan:
The TremLord has the sound I always wanted, it’s got a warm and rounded tone, and it’s full of body. The tube tremolo with two speed settings and spring reverb is awesome, and I could use it for playing at home and get a great sound, changing the power mode from 30w down to just 1w. I’d recommend everyone to give it a go!

What do you look for in an amp?
Susan:
I’m after a clean sound, with a rock tone. Sparkling, with full body. Before I was a full time musician I used to work in a guitar shop, and I tried a whole bunch of amps. It’s not easy to find  clean tone without losing body, or losing tone with pedals. I’m incredibly happy with my current set up!

What sort of stuff are you currently listening to?
Susan:
I tend to listen to all kinds of music, as I find you can learn from all of them. Of course, I listen to a lot of rock, americana, country and soul. I’ve also been reading a lot of music biographies lately, about musicians such as Erik Satie, Tom Waits, Ravi Shankar and Woody Guthrie.

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