James Bay Talks Fender American Vintage II Series and Upcoming Album – Hollywood Life


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Image Credit: Courtesy of Fender

“I started my musical life as a guitarist who had never sung a note,” James Bay recount HollywoodLife referring to its partnership with Fender and the launch of the American Vintage Series II. Celebrating Fender’s heritage with a line of guitars and basses that embody vintage-inspired style and sound, the American Vintage II Series feels tailor-made for musicians and players like James. “A few years later, I kind of started singing because we started playing in bands,” James explains. “And while that is the case, I consider myself a guitarist first and foremost.”

James Bay (Courtesy of Fender)

As James says in this EXCLUSIVE interview, being a guitarist is about more than just learning notes and theory. It is also having a sense of style. “In the 50s, 60s and 70s, a lot happened in pop culture and fashion. We can’t argue how timeless a lot of things seem,” he says. “A guitar for a guitarist who is starting out – or who is 10-20-30 years old – there is something in the process, the experience of finding a new [guitar] or another, it’s like wanting a new jacket. You walk around this stuff; you go to thrift stores; you go to these places out of time. Fender, of course, is on the map like Levi’s or Saint Laurent is. You won’t make any mistakes if you go with them.

“I think what’s cool about this new American Vintage II series is that they’ve lent themselves to this almost further than ever before,” says James. “They replicated stuff from the 50s and stuff from the 60s and, and different stuff from the 70s. But [this line] really resonated with me. The way they own their own cool is unashamed, and that appeals to me even more. I think as a guitar fan, guitarist and Fender fan, I like to see them and I want to go to them.

The Fender American Vintage II series (courtesy of Fender)

James and Fender went hand-in-hand – literally – as he established himself as a modern six-string slingshotr. James has partnered with Fender for his unique Master Built Pink Lemonade Mustang guitar, named after the track from his 2018 album, electric light. In July, James released Jumpthe follow-up of electric light. When asked if there was a possible instrumental album in his future – his version of Surfing with the Alien, Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar, or such – he says it’s more likely than we think.

“I’ve been bottling this version of me, this instrumental musician version of me, for a while now to show the world, as best I can, that I’m a songwriter. In a way, I guess I will say that sometimes I think I may have overlooked the instrumental person that I am. And suddenly, I don’t know if there is a purely instrumental album on the horizon. I know there’s a lot more [music]. I just put on album three, and I’m already, I’m already working on album four.

(Courtesy of Fender)

“I feel more resigned than ever – and that’s a strange word to use, because I say this in a very positive way – I feel more resigned and excited for the guitar solos on this next album,” James said. HollywoodLife. “There are many more instruments [music] coming from me in the future. I was talking to a few guitar magazines recently, and they asked me some questions because, live, I’m doing more guitar solos than ever. I have a song with three solos in it – Intro, Middle Solo, outro.

These solos came from a custom Fender guitar, so James was the perfect candidate to partner with the brand when they launched the American Vintage II series. There are no other guitars like this, which means it will one day be destined for a museum. ”

To think he’s playing on a piece of living history is “such a huge thing” to consider, James says. “It’s just ‘my little guitar’, that’s how I thought of it. And you know, I didn’t push my way forward of a line or anything. C It was such a strange scenario when it all started to come to life. Paul Waller, the master builder, reached out to me on Instagram and was like, “Do you still want this?” And that was a photo of the laminate that would go on the helmet. So he said “Fender Pink Lemonade”. And, at that moment, I was like, ‘Oh, uh, yeah! Yeah, that would be great. Is it even a like, possible or allowed? He had left me, all the potential, because the guy who had kind of started pushing him to Fender for me had left Fender.

“So from that kind of scenario maybe/nothing to the potential of being in a museum one day or something, it’s, it’s a huge leap,” James says. He says his Fender won’t soon become an exhibit. “It’s way down the road,” he said HollywoodLife. “The guitar needs a lot of play and I want to play a lot on it first.”

Click here for more information on Fender’s American Vintage II series.


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