What inspires *funky*sexy*guitar*grrl* Ali Handal to roll out of her Los Angeles area queen-size bed every morning? Well, when it's not her cat Indy meowing loudly in her ear, it's the opportunity for her to spend another day expressing her passions through her guitar.
Ali quit taking piano lessons to pick up the guitar when, in 7th grade, she got her first taste of Led Zeppelin. Blown away by Jimmy Page's explosive riffs and the band's carnal grooves, Ali was determined to become involved in rock n roll in any and every way she could.
Three guitar-playing boyfriends later, it struck Ali that perhaps it might be better to BE in a rock band rather than just date all the guitar players she knew (funny how her soloing wasn't improving), so she got serious about mastering the instrument herself.
Fast forward a few years, and we find Ali exploring themes of passion, sex, and life as an independent young woman on her debut CD Dirty Little Secret. The songs range from aggressive funky rockers to tender ballads but are tied together throughout by Ali's passionate, dynamic vocals and insightful lyrics. Oh, yeah-and by her guitar playing-she played every guitar you hear on the CD.
Her funky rhythm guitar style reveals influences such as John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and James Brown, while her soloing explores the blues-infused side of rock n roll, a la Slash, Jimmy Page and Joe Perry. Ali's vocal inspirations range from the fervent breathy wails of ani difranco to the dark, honeyed brooding of Fiona Apple.
Ali's quintessential *funkysexygtrgrrl* style is epitomized in the song "While You're Here," where she teases the listener with a taste of feedback from her Les Paul, then kicks in with a locomotive groove and sultry, come-hither vocals daring the listener to "take what you want/I don't care if it's wrong or it's right/You know you'll get what I've got if it takes you all night." She ponders, "Some would say no, send you home before you cross that line, but why should I care bout your girl when it's me on your mind?" then rips into her guitar, doubling the vocal melody as she croons, "yes, I think I'll take you while you're here."
Moving from the screaming rock guitars and raw sexuality of "While You're Here" to the bittersweet introspection of "Distance," the listener discovers the depth and range of Ali's songwriting and musical abilities. The sparse arrangement-acoustic guitar, vocal, and shaker-showcases Ali's expressive voice and evocative lyrics about her conflicting needs for both independence and companionship. Ali muses "I kinda like knowing the phone's always for me/I kinda like not needing a referee/I kinda like taking control of the remote/and I kinda like casting the one and only vote. But still..."
As Ali writes and records new songs such as "Mr. Right Now," "Sex Changes Everything," and "Pour Me Another," she continues to explore themes of passion, sex, and the inner battle between fearless independence and the longing for companionship that defines both Ali Handal the person and Ali Handal the recording artist.