OCTOBER 2023 | Volume 33

1. Hi Lisa! Please introduce yourself to those who might not know you.
Hello! I am Lisa Bianco and I am primarily a touring/studio guitarist and songwriter based in LA. I also play utility keys and the flute as well.  When I am not touring I do a lot of shows in LA with local artists.

2. You’re the Musical Director for the All GRL Jam’s. How did you meet Shira and get involved with Gritty In Pink? 
I first met Shira about nine years ago when we were both living in NYC, where we are both from.  I was on tour with a band called Hunter Valentine, and we got booked to play Warped Tour on her Shiragirl Stage.  That stage featured all women or female-fronted bands, which was lacking at Warped Tour at the time.  Shira has always done events and shows with a female empowerment platform. I was in LA (I hadn’t moved yet) when she did the first Gritty In Pink Jam in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit.  She asked me to play that, and here we are now.

3. How did you become a Musical Director, and what’s your favorite part about the role?   
I am an extremely organized person and very detail-oriented.  I don’t miss much!  Shira started the All GRL Jams regularly, and she asked me if I wanted to take on the MD role and grab that Excel sheet by the horns. I am a player’s player. I have played with musicians in different genres here and there.  It seemed fitting to organize 50-60 diverse musicians and assign/match them to songs for the jams. It’s a complicated task balancing players together. They have different playing styles or preferred genres.  Different skill sets. Some songs require different arrangements to work live with the instrumentation we have. There is a delicate balance to make it work. So I like diving into all that.  The best part is pulling it all off in the end and seeing the ladies having a good time with each other. That’s most satisfying to me. 

4. You’re originally from New York.  What was it like for you to make the transition from NYC to LA?  
I started picking up tours from NYC, which would end in LA most of the time. I would stay after the tour ended or come out again for NAMM and stay in LA for a couple of weeks. I had a handful of friends who moved here already, and they would show me around. I would play the Sunset Jam that used to run at the Viper Room, and I met musicians there. I liked what was going on, and I felt I needed a change from NYC. I needed new challenges, another big city with a little bit of seedy and grit, and LA seemed like a good fit. I felt I had a bit of a footing already here in LA, so the transition to move was easier to slide into. 

5. You recently toured with L7 playing for Tarah Who. What’s your favorite highlight of that tour?  
L7 and the crew were great! Opening slots can be a tough gig, but Tarah is a great front-woman and the crowds were really into us. You finish a song, and the crowd is with you and cheers you along.  That’s awesome. The last night of the tour in DC Dave Grohl and Ian MacKaye (Fugazi) were at the show. We all hung out and heard lots of stories from Dave. It was surreal.

6. You recently performed at the FairWell Festival with Gritty In Pink. What was it like performing at such a major festival among music icons like Sheryl Crow, and Willie Nelson?  Any favorite onstage moment/song you performed there?
Festivals are always a great gig.  It’s an opportunity to showcase the artist you are playing with and your talents to a larger range of audience. The Fairwell set we played was in partnership with Live Nation Women with the purpose of promoting the INPINK marketplace.  All performers at the FairWell set are listed on In Pink. I really dug playing “Lazaretto” and jamming on that. A good match for my more bluesy solo style.

7. Speaking of Sheryl Crow, you met her at FairWell. What was it like meeting her?  
An honor really. She was super cool, humble, and gracious. 100% class.  She was also so kind to say I was a great guitarist and she didn’t need to you know?  Gritty In Pink has that on video somewhere.  Need to dig that up!

8. Dream artist to go on tour with?
That’s tough there are so many… but I’d say Hole/Courtney Love is my ultimate all-time dream.  I would also love to tour with Harry Styles, St. Vincent, K. Flay, Lauv,  Sharon Van Etten, heck even Lady Gaga.  At FairWell, I saw Morgan Wade perform and her set was great. That would be a good one too.

9. What advice do you have for female musicians?
It’s an unfair business and often biased, too. That’s a given. Know when to pick your battles.

10. What music genre would people be surprised that you like?
Classical.  It’s really the music I first started playing, mostly on flute, in my elementary to high school concert band days.  Mozart, Bach, Beethoven.  Those composers are just tops in terms of musical composition.  A beautiful musical landscape that can just crush me and make me cry.  And toss in a little Gershwin too.

11.  What is your favorite comfort show or movie to watch?  
Seinfeld, of course!

12.  What’s your most controversial pop culture opinion? 
The Kardashians are genius.

13. Final thoughts?   
Thank you, and see you on the road!