Australian guitarist Orianthi recently appeared on "Side Jams With Bryan Reesman" to discuss her love for cooking and traveling, which also led to discussions about lifestyle changes after living on fast food and bourbon, and focusing on real friendships after becoming famous. She also offered praise for her former boss Alice Cooper.
Discussing family dining rituals while growing up in Australia:
"My grandma would always cook a lot. My parents were working a lot, so my mom would be cooking on the weekends and cook as much as she could during the week because she came home earlier. But it was off and on, and so I'd get home from school and I would be hanging out with my grandma. She'd be teaching me how to cook Greek meals and different things, and then my mom taught me as well. So it was a combination, and we would all get together, especially over the weekends, and just sit at a big long table with everyone there and have get-togethers with aunties, uncles, cousins, friends, and a real togetherness vibe. Just enjoying food together, having good conversations, just connecting, having fun and sharing as well. I think that having that it is lost today because we have our phones which are always with us and different things are distracting [us]. I like to turn off my phone here and there, and people get annoyed with me. 'Why aren't you responding?' I need to disconnect. You've just got to be present."
On changing her diet and some fake friendships:
"I used to eat KFC and McDonald's every night after playing in a cover band. When I quit school at 15, I'd be playing out at Australian pubs until 3 a.m., and then McDonald's is open, right? So you could go there or KFC. I even had a deep fryer. My mother bought me one for my birthday. I used to deep fry everything; I was just crazy. I guess I just had a good metabolism, and I was just eating and drinking bourbon. It was terrible. My lifestyle was awful, and then I decided to go completely vegan when I was like 19 or 20. I changed again and started eating chicken again, and I stopped drinking. I was just a complete health freak, and then I started drinking martinis again when I was 24 or 25 when I met up with Dave Stewart, actually. It was really funny. We had a dinner with Stevie Wonder, Tina McBride, Kris Kristofferson... We were all sitting around having dinner, and they had martinis. I'm like, I'll have one. Oh my god, after that I was like, martinis are my jam, for a while. I still have my occasional martini. I do enjoy that.
"I just got really stuck into drinking a lot again and then after shows, and then just [would] feel like crap. You just fall into that thing of, 'We played the show. Let's all celebrate and hang out.' Especially the Alice Cooper tour, and then my own stuff after that, having friends over. When you get home from tour, the party doesn't stop. The party actually begins more, right? Because people know you've made a lot of money, you're home.
"I had this really amazing apartment right in West Hollywood. It was party central. Go over to Ori's place — it was just food, drinks, guitars, music, everything. It was a non-stop party for a long time for me, and then I was just worn out. Because a lot of people came home for the wrong reasons too. One of my guitars got damaged, my apartment was damaged, things were smashed. It was awful actually. That's not cool."
Trading drinking for CBD:
"I just refrain from drinking as much as I can. I'm more into edibles and stuff like that, to be honest with you. CBD has changed my life. It got rid of my migraines, got rid of my sleeping problems, a ton of things. And people look down upon it. I don't smoke when I wake up or anything like that. But to fall asleep, I do take these gummies that have CBD in them. I don't do it before business calls or performances. Some people can, and that's great. I don't judge anyone. It's a weird thing. It's like no one's died from doing weed. People have died from drinking, people have died from smoking a cigarette. But there's this thing that's associated with it. It's bizarre actually. I find it to be very weird."
Her thoughts about working with Alice Cooper:
"Alice is one of the most level people that I've ever met in this industry because he's been through it all. He was in a mental ward at one point, and he went through a lot of crazy ups and downs. But an incredible, incredible person, incredible entertainer. You get 110%, [he's] in the same mood every day. He's got his shit completely together and has for a very long time. His family are amazing, the band are amazing. I had the most incredible time with Alice and everybody. He's just so professional. He encouraged me to be the best I could be and just get better and better."
Orianthi's first new studio album in seven years and her first new music as a solo artist in six years, "O", came out on November 6 via Frontiers Music Srl.
Born in Australia, Orianthi was inspired to learn guitar at a young age after discovering her father's vinyl collection. She rose to international fame at age 24 after the release of her hit single "According To You" and a high-energy performance backing Carrie Underwood at the 2009 Grammy Awards. Although she had already been invited to jam with the likes of Carlos Santana and Steve Vai, mainstream audiences had not previously heard of this captivating guitar prodigy.
Her recognition increased even further when Michael Jackson called with an offer to be his guitarist for his dates at the O2 Arena in London. Although the concert series was not to be, the release of the behind-the-scenes documentary "Michael Jackson's This Is It" showcased Orianthi's masterful playing as well as her creativity and collaboration.