Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - 26
I don't today. So it makes it harder - playing
Fanny is not for wimps! Do not try this at
home (laughs). When the three of us played
"Cat Fever" (from Charity Ball, 1971) and a
version of "Hey Bulldog" during a rehearsal,
it was like, "My God, we still got it like we did
in the Svelts." Brie then went back to L.A. to
see about a record deal.
Why the name change?
I'm probably never again going to be in a
band called Fanny. I wouldn't want to compete
with our 21-/22-year old selves and bring
that karma back on myself. When we were
talking with Blue Elan Records, I happened
to say, "Fanny walks the earth from the Svelts
onward." Brie responded, "I like that!" and it
became our name.
You play seamless licks, fills, and runs for
a big sound, especially on your blues-rock
guitar showcase, "Storm-Crossed."
anny, the legendary all-girl quartet
from the early '70s, kicked to the curb
the notion of "they play good... for girls."
Acknowledgement was slow to come for their
musical excellence and pioneering efforts on
behalf of women musicians, but in 2018 they
received the Women's International Music
Network She Rocks Award.
Now reformed as Fanny Walked the Earth,
their new album is a first in 44 years, and
features the playing of June Millington, her
sister and bassist extraordinaire Jean Millington
Adamian, and songbird Brie Howard Darling
on lead vocals and rock steady drums. Its 11
original tunes are driven by June like a punch in
the ear, using her modded '57 Les Paul Standard,
her '58 Les Paul TV Special, and a Parker Fly
plugged into Fender Blues DeVille 4x10 or '62
brownface Deluxe. We spoke to her about her
journey - one few before have experienced.
Did you realize Fanny was breaking new
Not new ground. Ground, because there
wasn't anyone before us as role models. We were
just a gang of girls who were super-talented,
morphing from the Svelts to Wild Honey and
then Fanny, which was astounding. And, Jean
and I never stopped, even after Fanny officially
broke up in '75.
Fanny's version of "Badge" and your
solo was a knockout. How did it feel when
you started getting serious attention as a
I went from zero to that solo in less than a
year when I realized I had to play lead guitar.
And the attention was, "Not bad for chicks."
I didn't want it because it was a gunslinger
mentality in the rock world. It was constant
pressure. That changed when Lowell George,
who introduced me to slide, and Skunk Baxter
became friends and shared with me in a way
that extended my confidence immeasurably.
How was the decision made to reform?
In 2016, there was a tribute for me in
Northampton, Massachusetts. Jean and Brie
were there, and we were invited to perform. I
had to work hard to re-learn parts. I used to
play with a very small pick and a fingerpick on
my third finger to get really quick action, which
Besides a melodic riff master, you are
an exceptionally powerful, funky rhythm
That comes from playing dance music we
learned as kids, and delivered. We had to represent that beat, or people wouldn't get up and
dance. You cannot separate that from Fanny
Walks the Earth. We would just lose ourselves
in the rhythm. And I cannot think of one gig
where racism played itself out in front of us,
because everyone was so happy dancing - and
so shocked to see girls play!
I use heavier-bottom Maxima Gold strings
because I really dig in when playing rhythm,
so much so that I shred the skin of my fingers
until there's blood on the strings (laughs).
There's also considerable nuance in your
I feel like a lot of people miss that. They just
get so "wowed" that I can play lead, they miss
the nuances, and it kind of drives me crazy.
Many guitarists just want to solo all the
It's funny, because I really don't.
Yet you developed into a searing, expressive soloist when the occasion calls for it,
including on slide.
I like the rhythm parts. I mean, Hendrix was
the same way; he preferred rhythm. It's what
he loved the most. - Dave Rubin
Jean Millington Adamian and June Millington: Marita Madeloni.
Adamian (left) and
It's an homage to Jimi Hendrix. I saw
him in '68 at his first U.S. gig that wasn't
opening for the Monkees (laughs). He was
on a double bill with Albert King at the
Fillmore West. I didn't know it was going
to be so incendiary, and I hadn't heard the
blues before. The top of my head blew off!
I saw Jimi many times but didn't realize
how much he inf luenced me, because I just
figured he was so out of reach.