Thursday, October 8, 2009

Interview with Billy the Kid

I think this song is really pretty. So I asked Billy a few questions.

My sister's name is Billie, and I don't think she always loved it. Hahha, so what drew you to the pseudonym Billy?

Sometimes people choose their nicknames. I did not. After years of always being the youngest, I acquired the nickname "Kid." I skipped a grade in elementary school and soon after, started playing in bands with people 10 years my senior. Eventually the people in my band began to call me "The Kid." One day I got in my 1965 Valiant at the ripe old age of 16, and my bass player turned to me and said: "You're Billy the Kid."

I'm an expressive arts therapist, so I've always been interested in how people utilize the arts to cope with adversity. I'm not sure how accurate your Wikipedia page is, but it says you were in foster care and group homes as a kid. Can you talk about how the arts have influenced your life overall?

Art saved my life. Any form of expression that can be used as an outlet, I am an avid supporter of. I have books upon books filled with scribbles, sketches and syllables, and although they look like the psychotic banter of about 20 different people, funneling my aggression in to those pages kept me alive back then. Looking back, I see how important the music lessons from Youth Workers were, and how much they altered my existence. Now that I'm a bit older and not struggling in the same ways, I'm committed to giving back to this world, having lived a life changed by art.

Do you live in LA or Vancouver? What are the scenes like there?

I've been splitting my time between Vancouver, where I'm from, and L.A. for the past year and a half. Vancouver will always be my home since it's where I grew up and I'm still good friends with a lot of the people I played with in my first bands. In that sense, it's more...uh...friendly. L.A. sometimes lives up to it's reputation but more often that not, I find it to be filled with some of the nicest people I've yet to meet. There's is a LOT less ego than people believe there to be. Musically there is just a ton more "work" for musicians so most session players or hired guns end up in L.A.

How has it been for you to be a female musician/producer etc.?

I know there are positives, and I know there are negative, but I try not to think about either. My hope is that if I don't care about it, others will soon follow suit. As any human being, I just want to be treated the same way as anyone else, fairly, justly and equally.

What drew you to do the softer, Billy the Kid stuff?

Unbeknownst to some, I've always written and played this type of music. My first guitar was a nylon string classical guitar, which is traditionally used for "Classical" music. Sure I pounded out my fair share of Nirvana and Green Day on that thing but I also wrote hundreds of softer sounding songs. When I started playing with a band, I would still play coffee shops, with just me and a guitar. Sometimes if the band got asked to do a show and one of the guys couldn't make it, I'd just play by myself, even if it was a bunch of metal bands on the bill. I've always been of the mindset you never say no to a show, no matter what.

It seems like you have a strong DIY ethic. Tell me more about Lost records.

Lost Records started because no one would put out my records. If you're in band, you know what this feels like. So I quit my job, started this company and before I knew it, it was more of a collection of friends helping one another than anything else. I started booking tours for people and helping friends get their CDs to radio stations and newspapers and before I knew it, I was surrounded by 3 desks, 4 computers and 2 friends (or more) helping. Some of the happiest times of my life have been working for 18 hours a day on 3 different tours and marketing campaigns. I guess that's just the way I am.

Tell me more about the Ramores (Billy was in Vancouver's Ramones cover band)

Hahaha! Well, for awhile it was the longest running band I was ever in! They're still together too. I played drums and really had to learn to play fast. To this day that's about all I can do behind a kit haha.

Who are some of your favorite female musicians?

I grew up listening to Babes In Toyland, Bikini Kill and Hole. These days (now that I'm old) I'm more of a Kathleen Edwards, Serena Ryder, Brooke Fraser, Kaia, KT Tunstall kinda girl.

Billy the Kid Online
Billy the Kid Blog
Billy the Kid on Myspace

Billy and the Lost Boys on Myspace
Billy and the Lost Boys

Lost Records


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