Wendy Eisenberg is a jazz guitarist by training who can often be heard playing just about anything but conventional jazz guitar. That includes free improv, art pop, noise and avant-garde punk with radically inventive bands like the now-defunct Birthing Hips and the currently active Editrix. In 2018, during an episode of Jeremiah Cymerman's excellent 5049 Podcast, Wendy — who uses gender-neutral pronouns — made a passing mention of their love for the Australian death-metal band Portal, and at that point, I knew I wanted to speak to them for Heavy Metal Bebop. We met up in March and delved into Wendy's vast musical universe. Topics discussed include: how hearing Sonny Sharrock helped expand their musical horizons, why Portal is their favorite band ever, why they feel like an outsider in both jazz and metal, how Birthing Hips flourished within the context of higher education, why they're not a fan of jazz covers of pop and rock tunes, how their early love for Pantera informs the music of Editrix, what they took away from playing with Curtis Fuller and Earl Klugh, and much more.
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