The Current's Guitar Collection: Adia Victoria, 2001 Gibson SG

Adia Victoria performs "Dead Eyes" live in the studios of 89.3 The Current. (MPR/Nate Ryan)
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When Adia Victoria visited The Current's studio for a recent session, she was tearing it up on a near-mint 2001 Gibson SG. She took some time after the session to tell us about it.

Tell us about your guitar.

It's a 2001 Gibson SG, I would call it near-mint. I just got that guitar a few months ago, in March, from Gruhn Guitars in Nashville. Sarah Rose Jones hooked me up — Sarah is also our tour manager.

I'd been playing [band member] Mason Hickman's SG, and he put a Bigsby [tremolo] on it and I really liked the sound, and it was lightweight and I could get around it quickly, so I went and got my own!

Had you gone to Gruhn to try a few or specifically to find an SG?

I knew I wanted an SG, so Mason recommended Gruhn. I went in and I was just floored by their selection. It's kind of like a candy store! Sarah kind of led me in the right direction and she said she'd be getting an SG in, and she got one in, and it worked perfectly. They customized it for me, and there you go.

And the guitar's name is Regine.

And you named your amp, too, correct?

White Lightnin'! I'm very childlike.

Did the name Regine come from your time in Paris?

No, Regine was a little girl who lived in our neighborhood in South Carolina. She was one of my sister's knucklehead friends. She was very sassy and adorable. She was a little elementary-school girl. And if you called her "Regine," she'd be like, "That's not my name! My name is Ray-Gene!" And I was like, "That's so cute!" So I named my guitar after her because she had the cutest little attitude.

When you're writing songs, do you typically write on guitar?

It just depends. It's a song-by-song basis. I don't really have a formula down pat yet.

Most songs come to me when I'm walking, when I'm not thinking about it. I'll get a rhythm going and then I'll go … I have a rule: If it sticks with me over the night and I wake up and I remember it, then I will sit down and write it. But if it's something that flits away, then I'm like, "OK, that didn't make a very lasting impression on me."

Have you ever had any good ideas that in the morning you didn't recall, or are you generally able to sort them out?

I can sort them out that way. I'm able to recall them. I mean, if it's just like, gold, I have my voice recorder and I'll make a note of it. But there's been instances where I've heard something, a vocal melody or a line and I've loved it, but for years, I've not been able to finish it, but then years later, I'll finish it. It's like (snaps fingers) "Oh! That's where I'll use this!"

Who are some of your guitar influences?

R.L. Burnside, Skip James, Jack White, Kurt Cobain.

In the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Tom Morello and others who put messages on their guitars, you have a sticker on your guitar, "Love trumps hate."

Yes, I got that in Tucson last week. I was at a coffee shop. We stopped downtown for some coffee before we hit the road. The shop we went into was a little independently owned one; it was run by, I believe, a Mexican-American woman. She was a political activist and social-justice activist as well, and so she had these amazing stickers — she had Frida Kahlo stickers and Isadora Duncan stickers, and then there was one that was red and just said, "Love trumps hate," and I thought "That's really cool." I figured it was particularly timely right now.

Anything else to share with us?

I'm just happy to be able to play guitar, and get paid to do it!

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  • Adia Victoria guitar
    Adia Victoria's Gibson SG in The Current's studio. (MPR photo/Luke Taylor)

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