Sources: South Florida | All Things Michael
Guitarist Jennifer Batten no longer tours with a road crew, dancers or pop stars. These days, she performs solo and hauls her own stuff across the country in an RV.
Batten, who played with Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck, will deliver a multimedia performance — with video, photos, music and storytelling — Friday, Aug. 14, in Davie.
Batten has been doing the show for about 10 years. She plays guitar in sync with images that change on the beat.
“It’s kind of a 3-D experience,” she says.
Onstage, her song “Cat Fight” is supported by cartoons of Felix the Cat as her guitar whines like an irritated feline. “I’m having a blast,” she says.
Batten, 57, travels to shows in an RV in order to haul all her multimedia material.
“I really love the lifestyle, waking up in campgrounds with old retired people and birds and bees,” she says. “It’s just fun to sit out there and see parts of America.”
It’s opposite her earlier career. She auditioned from a field of about 100 musicians and was selected to play lead guitar on three Jackson tours: Bad (1987-89), Dangerous (1992) and HIStory (1996-97). A striking presence with an enormous mane of white hair, Batten also was onstage with Jackson in 1993 during his Super Bowl performance.
“It was like paid vacation, a way to see the world and have fun,” recalls Batten, who acknowledges bittersweet feelings when speaking of Jackson, who died in 2009. ” It was 100 percent fun. I was with them for 10 years, and it was a hell of a blessing.”
She followed that by playing for three years with Beck, ranked the No. 5 guitarist of all time by “Rolling Stone” magazine.
“He’s been my guitar hero since I was teenager,” says Batten, who began playing at age 8. “It was just fun to hang out with him and to hear his story.”
Batten herself has released three albums: “Above Below and Beyond” (1992), “Jennifer Batten’s Tribal Rage: Momentum” (1997) and “Whatever” (2007). She has also written two instructional music books: “Two Hand Rock” and “The Transcribed Guitar Solos of Peter Sprague.”
Jennifer Batten will perform 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, at Your Big Picture Cafe, 5935 S. University Drive, in Davie. Tickets cost $10, $25 or $50. Call 954-252-5644 or go to YourBigPictureCafe.com. Batten also will give a free guitar clinic 2 p.m. Saturday at Sam Ash Music Store, 5360 NW 167th St., in Miami Lakes and a three-hour “self-empowerment for the modern musician” seminar noon Sunday at Sam Ash Music Store, 5460 W. Sample Road, in Margate. The seminar costs $49 in advance, $55 at the door via Jennifer Batten.com.
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