St Vincent live guitar concert
Image: Christian Bertrand /

St Vincent recently dropped by the BBC Radio 6 Music studio for a trip down memory lane. She presented the guitar riffs that impacted her life and career, proving that even an accomplished—and enigmatic—guitarist like her cut their teeth on the classics.

Armed with a jet black Waterloo WL-12, St Vincent—real name Annie Clark—oozed effortless cool as she cranked out Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Pantera’s “Cowboys from Hell,” and The Breeders’ “Cannonball,” among others. But the riffs that made her want to pick up the guitar all those years ago? Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” and Led Zep’s “Black Dog.”

They’re not stunning re-creations of those riffs; it’s more an off-the-cuff interview than a lesson. But hearing those familiar licks from one of contemporary indie rock’s most prominent guitar players is heartening—and it’ll make you want to pick up your axe, too.

Watch the interview here: