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Jennifer Batten on the sexism she faced as Michael Jackson’s guitarist, and how Jeff Beck shaped her view of innovative guitar playing
By Alison Richter published about 18 hours ago
The King of Pop’s 10-year six-string sidekick talks playing guitar in a “man’s world”, what keeps her loyal to Washburn, and the players impressing her today
Jennifer Batten established herself as a guitarist by remaining true to herself and her craft. In the words of Steve Vai, who knows a thing or two about the instrument, “the way she hammers, her technique, she’s obviously completely suited for the role of being a virtuoso guitar player.”
Rightfully so. Since her debut with Michael Jackson in 1987, and in the decades that have followed, Batten has refused to comprise her personal and musical integrity. It’s the bedrock upon which she has built her success.
This year promises a full calendar for the Oregon-based guitarist. “Michael passed over 10 years ago, and all of a sudden, almost all my foreign work, 80 percent of it, is tributes from different countries,” she says.
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