Interview by Lonn M. Friend
I have to workout every morning on the road. I’m on tour with Alice Cooper right now, woke up early, the gym in the hotel was closed so I just barged in and used in the equipment anyway! Yeah, man, the adrenaline rush at night on stage for two hours keeping up with (Alice who never stops moving), carrying a heavy electric guitar…that’s a workout, man. And then, there’s endorphin rush in the morning at the gym, which usually consists of an hour of cardio, hour of weights and two to three hundred, sits. I’d be grumpy all day if I didn’t workout.
I stay away from packaged foods for the most part…little bit of dairy, gluten free whenever possible and organic vegetables. I request on my rider that each show I have a nice assortment of berries…all kinds of berries. I love berries. And recently I discovered turkey jerky. Not beef jerky. Turkey jerky. It’s a great snack.
I’m half Greek. Growing up my grandma made enormous multi-course dinners for the family. She was an incredible cook. “Eat more you’ll grow up strong!” She would make enough food for a hundred people. There were four of us. I learned to cook from her and my mom. I was a very active kid, always outside, playing basketball, building things and running after chickens. We had a big house and huge yard, about ten minutes outside the city of Adelaide, Australia. We had lots of animals. At one point we had about 30 rabbits, two burros, ducks, dogs – I got my cardio workout running after critters when they got out the front gate!
I have a green superfood drink every morning. I get all my greens first thing. I buy it at Whole Foods. I get massages because my back goes out a lot, not so much from performance but from sleeping in tour bus bunk beds! Sometimes it’s cool ‘cause I’m so tired from the show I pass out for hours and other times, when the insomnia kicks in, not so good on the back. I had bouts with insomnia for years. I get this Natural Calm drink with high amounts of magnesium. It’s helped a lot with my bouts of insomnia. Sometimes I’ll go a week with lousy sleep. Then I’ll be okay for a week. It’s weird. I went more than two years without sleeping well before I discovered the magnesium. And ROOIBIS TEA, which is an African red blend loaded with antioxidants. When I was playing guitar for Michael Jackson before he sadly passed away, I thought about asking him about his insomnia. But we were just working musicians in his company and we never got to speak personally. He was so busy. Each of us was doing one thing and Michael was doing everything.
When I’m not on the road, I feel a bit uncomfortable. So I need to find things to do, like hiking or horseback riding, to help me get that high I receive on stage. But it’s not the same. Once you’ve taste the drug of performance and an arena full of fans, it’s hard to live without. You want and love that natural high. It’s freeing. Playing the guitar and entertaining crowds who are letting go and having a great time…that energy can’t be equaled. I started playing gigs around Adelaide when I was fourteen. At 16, I met and learned from Steve Vai. Then I spent some wonderful time with Carlos Santana when I was 18. My first touring experience in America was with Steve Vai. I was 21. He taught me about being vegetarian. He was and still is really into meditation. If being vegetarian or vegan works for your psyche, great. I tried it a couple years ago and lost 15 pounds! That was cool. Steve never tried to convert me.
I live in West Hollywood, which gets pretty crazy, so I like to walk a lot, go hiking in the canyons, and be around the trees. It helps clear my mind. I also enjoy the occasional extra dry martini. This might not be entirely fitting with the whole health program but I figure I can sweat ‘em off. Dave Stewart introduced me to the three-olive Grey Goose martini. At first I hated them but that’s changed.
A favorite healthy recipe? I love to make gluten free pizzas with brown rice flour I don’t use a lot of cheese but maybe a soy cheese and topped with chicken or pineapple. I’ll make a tomato sauce from scratch with lots of herbs.
I used to have an eco-friendly guitar. Martin Guitars made it. It was a cool concept. Whenever they’d cut down a tree to build a guitar, they’d plant a new tree to replace it. They used beautiful woods to make these beautiful pieces of musical art.
For More Information about Orianthi and her incredible career as a Rock Goddess go to: www.OrianthiMusic.com
All photos courtesy of www.OriantheMusic.com