A Visit With The Amazing Zoe McCulloch
Queen Of The Stratocaster Guitar
When Zoe was in SoCal recently for NAMM, I was lucky enough to catch up with her on January 23, 2005, at Martini Blues Supper Club in Huntington Beach. She was being taped for a cable television show with our perennial favorite local boys, Mid Life Crisis, who were backing her up. Why is this so unusual you ask? Because Ms. McCulloch is a mere eighteen years old! This diminutive pixie plays the guitar with the velocity of a seasoned master, while weighing in at no more than 90 pounds, soaking wet!
Zoe was influenced by English surf band, The Shadows, who were astonished to discover a girl playing instrumental music. Most of her youth was spent practicing her guitar licks, developing her style and entering musical contests, where she played with a vengeance and easily overcame her competition.
After traveling all over Europe and Norway, she started recording CDs — her first when she was twelve years old. In the year 2000, she was voted “Best New Artist” by the Rock Instrumental Hall of Fame, and her fans in Brazil named her “Queen of the Stratocaster.” Soon after, McCulloch was invited to the Chet Atkins convention in Nashville, where she met Nokie Edwards of The Ventures and he invited her to perform at his annual festival in Oregon. She’s been performing there every year since.
It was at the festival where she met Mason Williams, most famous for his hit in 1968, “Classical Gas.” He was so impressed that he asked her to record some of his new material. Those recordings materialized into her most successful CD, Gypsy Noodle, which last year was considered for nomination for the “Best Instrumental Song” Grammy ™. In spite of her success, Zoe remains a very soft-spoken, shy and unassuming teenager.
[Lance Monthly] Where are you from?
Zoe McCulloch Newcastle, England.
[Lance Monthly] How long have you been playing?
Zoe McCulloch Since I was nine years old.
[Lance Monthly] Who is the most influential musician, with which you’ve played?
Zoe McCulloch Mason Williams.
[Lance Monthly] How many times have you been to the United States?
Zoe McCulloch This is my eighth trip.
[Lance Monthly] Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Zoe McCulloch Having a major record label contract and playing casinos.
[Lance Monthly] How many releases do you have and where can people find your music?
Zoe McCulloch I have three releases, Girls with Guitars, Never Give Up, Never Give In, and Gypsy Noodle. The first two features some backing vocals, but my third is strictly instrumental.
[Lance Monthly] Have any boyfriends?
Zoe McCulloch There is no time for them right now in my life.
Zoe McCulloch is sponsored by Tim Wilson of Wilson Brothers Guitars, who owns the company with his dad, Don Wilson of Ventures’ fame. Zoe plays two custom Hank B. Marvin Fender Stratocasters, which were made for her by the Corona California Fender custom shop. Her favorite is a burnt orange color with gold crackle and gold trim, and the fretboard glows brightly with golden LED lights.
After seeing her music teacher play when she was just nine years old, McCulloch made up her mind to play the guitar; thereafter, a fierce determination and hours and hours of practice have built her stamina.
You can get more information and find her music at www.zoemcculloch.com
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