Belly's Tanya Donelly laughs good-naturedly when she uses the expression "math rock" to describe the intricate guitar weave she and Kristin Hersh constructed in Throwing Muses. "It was very complex and fragile, and sometimes it seemed like it was on the verge of falling apart," says Donelly, who left the Muses in '91 to form Belly. "Neither of us strictly played lead or rhythm - we would be constantly weaving in and out and shifting around within chords. And sometimes I would consciously complicate my own songs in order for them to fit into the Muses' form."

___Not surprisingly, the sensually hypnotic song structures and insistent, circular guitar lines on Star, Belly's recent debut, are simpler, more direct, and more melodic than the Muses'. "I didn't want these songs to be any more complicated than they are," says Donelly. "I'm a lot more comfortable than I used to be about being more straightforward and playing simpler leads."

___In Belly, Donelly and Tom Gorman's guitar parts are somewhat more well-defined than in the Muses' tricky chordal maze. "Tom plays most of the lead lines," says Donelly, although she and Gorman sometimes devise a sonic weave in which they swap roles. "If I hang on a single note, he'll play a more sweeping, more dramatic line, and vice versa."

___On Star, Donelly mostly plays a Gibson Les Paul plugged into a Marshall JCM 800, while Gorman's primary setup is an Epiphone through a Fender Vibrolux. Effects-wise, Gorman works some wah magic on "Feed The Tree" and uses a backwards-tape effect for his time warp lead on "Full Moon/Empty Heart." Meanwhile, Donelly employs a Boss Digital Metallizer to get "that obnoxious giant-mosquito sound" for her fuzz line on "Sad Dress."

___"Although I'm basically a mood player, I think I'm proficient to the extent that everything I want to play, I can play," says Donelly matter-of-factly. "Obviously, I'd like to continue getting better and better, but not to the point where it becomes masturbatory. That is a fear. I'm not interested in playing rambling 'boy rock' leads. I like leads that go someplace."



The preceding Intro section excerpt was originally published in the June 1993 issue of Guitar Player magazine. Reprinted here at Seal my Fate (currently) without permission.
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