It’s something like the old legend of film star Lana Turner being discovered while sitting on a stool at Schwab’s Drugstore in Hollywood. Except, in this case, it’s not the 1930s, and the central characters are a 17-year-old rocker and a drummer who has played with Joe Walsh, the Eagles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and others. Oh, and the location is the Ohio Music Shop in Kent, Ohio.
Apparently, Emily Gambone (the rocker) was hanging out at the store enough that she caught the attention of Joe Vitale (the drummer—who, apparently, also liked to hang out there). Vitale became so impressed with Gambone’s talents that he started writing songs with her, and recommended that she join his band for GP’s “Ultimate Musicians Camp” with Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp this past February.
“She just has this deep passion, man,” explains Vitale about what prompted him to mentor the young singer/songwriter and guitarist. “And she loves classic rock—which is where I’m from. She gets it. She understands it. She knows where it comes from. And she likes playing it.”
That was extremely obvious when Gambone tore into Vitale’s camp-band version of Aerosmith’s “Mama Kin.” Her stabbing rhythm drove the tune so aggressively I thought we’d need riot gear for protection, and her high harmony vocals uplighted the melody into something edgy and compelling and wonderful.
“I’ve always been the kind of person who just goes for it onstage,” says Gambone. “I started my first band in fifth grade because I loved playing so much. The big mistake was that it was an all-girl band. There was too much estrogen around to keep that project going.”
Gambone plays her Gibson SG (strung with a .009 set of D’Addarios) through a Vox AC30, and she prefers natural amp overdrive to pedals. Her main guitar influences are Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Jimmy Page, and Eric Johnson (who she got to play with during the camp). She recently released a melodic-rock EP with her new band, Goodnight Tonight, and her former band, Noize from the Basement (should I sue them for ripping off my “Noize from the Editor” column title?) won the 2013 Tri-C High School Rock Off in Cleveland, Ohio.
“I’m listening to a lot of indie rock these days, so I’m more into melodic lines than outright solos, but I still play everything real hard,” says Gambone. “I may be a girl, but when it comes to the guitar, I am not dainty.”