Originally published in March, 2004 in the Belgian blues publication
Back to the Roots.
Interview conducted in email by Peter Jacobs.
Background and Early Influences
Your real name is Pollack. Are you descended from an immigrant
family? Or is Pollack a common name in the US?
My family are of Russian/Polish Jewish origin. My grandparents left
Europe during the 1930s and immigrated to the U.S. My parents were born
in the U.S., though. Actually, the correct spelling of my last name is
"Pollak" (everyone makes this same mistake!).
Why did you change your name to Price and when was that?
I have a brother who is three years older than me, and although he was
never much of a music enthusiast, a few of his friends were big R&B,
soul, and doo-wop fans. They used to go to a bar in Spring Valley, NY
called the White Birch Inn, where they had a great house band (Melvin
and the Soul Messengers) and sometimes had special shows on the weekends
with recording artists. They took me with them one night, and I got drunk
and, at the urging of my companions, went on stage for the amateur contest.
At the time, there was a popular version of "Stand By Me" by
Spyder Turner, in which he imitated guys like Smokey Robinson, Chuck Jackson,
and others, so I went on stage with the band, sang "Stand By Me,"
and imitated some of my favorites--Otis Redding, Little Anthony, others
I don't recall.
I guess the sight of a little white kid singing this stuff captured the
fancy of the audience, and I won the amateur contest. They asked me what
my name was, and, thinking about Lloyd Price, I just blurted out, "Billy
Price." I thought it sounded kind of cool. So before we left that
night, the manager of the club took my phone number, and later that summer,
I appeared as the featured artist on a weekend at the White Birch Inn.
When the dates were advertised in the newspaper as "The Billy Price
Revue with Frankie Patterson and Melvin and the Soul Messengers,"
I was Billy Price forever.
Who were your parents? Did you come from a musical family? Are
there any other family members with musical ambitions?
My father was a dentist who had a successful practice in northern New
Jersey, where we lived. My mother had been an English teacher before my
brother and I were born. My mother played a bit of piano, and my father
had played the violin in his youth, but ours was by no means a musical
family. The radio, which I remember as being particularly splendid during
the 1950s and 1960s, had the strongest influence on me musically, much
stronger than any influence exercised by my family.
Where did you grow up? How was your childhood and youth? You
seem like an intelligent person. What education did you enjoy?
As I said, I grew up in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, which was about a 20-minute
drive to New York by car. I had a happy and relatively trouble-free childhood.
I went to public school and had a good education, although I didn't excel
academically in high school--I was more interested in listening to and
playing music, and having fun on the weekends. I went to college at the
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), a large school in central
Pennsylvania, where I graduated in 1971 with degrees in religious studies
and English. I later got a masters degree in professional writing from
Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh,
where I now work. I'm manager of communications at a Carnegie Mellon research
institute called the Software Engineering
Institute, and I also teach at Carnegie Mellon as an adjunct professor
once a year. The course I teach is for English majors, and it's called
Marketing, Public Relations, and Corporate Communications.
You wrote you got a degree in religious studies...What did these
studies contain? Are you a religious person? Is religion important, do
you think? Is that because of your Russian/Polish Jewish background?
I became interested in Eastern religions when I was in college, particularly
Buddhism. When I was at Penn State, there was a professor there named
Garma Chen-Chi Chang who taught courses in Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism
and Eastern philosophy. I became his teaching assistant, and he also taught
me how to meditate. Anticipating your next question, I will say that I
no longer meditate, and have not done so in many years. But spirituality
certainly still has a role in my life, although I don't think my ethnic
or religious background are particularly relevant to this part of my life.
When did you first become interested in music and why was that?
The "when" question is a lot easier to answer than the "why"
question. Some of my very earliest memories involve noticing and tuning
in to music on the radio. I remember Saturday mornings in my basement
listening to a combination radio/record player that was about the size
of a refrigerator. I must have been only about five or six years old.
There was a radio program called "The Make-Believe Ballroom,"
and they would play the top hits on the pop, country, and rhythm and blues
charts, one after the other, in ascending order. I liked a lot of the
pop and country, but I used to always look forward to the rhythm &
blues countdown--artists such as Fats Domino, Little Richard, Joe Turner,
Ray Charles, the Coasters, the Flamingos, the Moonglows, and the Dubs.
There was also a black woman who worked in our house who used to listen
to gospel music on the radio in our kitchen, and I used to love the sounds
that filled our house when she was there. Collecting records became a
hobby of mine early in life, and has continued to this day.
As I mentioned, I grew up in an exciting and fertile time for black music,
and I couldn't get enough of the great radio stations in the area in which
I lived. Like most people who liked rhythm and blues in my area at that
time, I loved vocal group doo-wop, but also loved the early rock 'n roll
of the fifties and early soul of the sixties--Sam Cooke, Clyde McPhatter,
Solomon Burke, Jackie Wilson, Chuck Jackson. There was one disk jockey
in particular, Douglas "Jocko" Henderson, who was a strong influence
on me. A lot of people consider Jocko one of if not the first rapper--he
used to introduce songs with rhymes. He was the only English-speaking
disk jockey on a Spanish station in Newark, New Jersey called WADO. I
remember lying in bed with a transistor stuck to my ear, when I was supposed
to be sleeping because I had school the next day, and I will never forget
the experience of hearing Otis Redding sing "I've Been Loving You
Too Long" on that radio. When he sang, "You were ti-i-i-red,
and you want to be free," the effect on me was unforgettable--chills
down my spine, goose bumps, tears welling in my eyes. After enough experiences
like that one, I was sure that I wanted to try to get my voice to do something
like that, or to have a sound like that come through my body and have
that kind of an effect on people.
Another disk jockey I used to listen to religiously when I was in high
school was Enoch Hawthorne Gregory, the Dixie Drifter, on WWRL in New
York. The Dixie Drifter was from Georgia, and he favored the deeper, more
gospel-influenced soul music of the south (as opposed to Motown or the
more pop-oriented stuff that was produced in the big cities), and played
it heavily during his shows. (The Dixie Drifter made a couple of spoken-word
records for Roulette that were minor hits, including one called "Soul
Did you always want to be a singer? Do you play other instruments
then the voice?
I did want to be a singer from a very young age. I used to entertain
my parents and their friends with Elvis Presley imitations, and had my
first band ("The Thunderbirds") when I was 12 years old and
in the sixth grade in school. During my high school years, my band--Billy
and the Uptights--was one of the most popular bands in our area, and I
have to laugh now thinking about some of the material that we did. I remember
a version of "Lost Someone" that we performed verbatim by copying
word for word and inflection for inflection from James
Brown Live at the Apollo, Volume One, which of course must have seemed
ridiculous, or at least incongruous, to an audience of mostly pimply white
teenagers in the throes of puberty.
I played guitar a little bit, but not very well, and never did take to
the instrument. As long as I could stand up in front of a band and sing,
I was happy. If there had been karaoke around at the time I was growing
up, I may not have needed a band at all.
When I got to Penn State to go to college, I quickly formed another band--the
Respectables--and we made a lot of money playing for fraternity parties
and college concerts. On some of our songs, I would pick up an electric
guitar and play "rhythm guitar" to help out. At the end of the
night one night, our regular guitar player came up to me and said, "You're
a great singer, but I wish you wouldn't play that guitar anymore."
That was the end of my career as an instrumentalist.
Did you get to see the big soul/blues artists in New Jersey or
New York in your youth? Any good memories? I can imagine you took the
20 minute drive to NY lots of times. And later at Penn State or Pittsburgh...
Was/is Pittsburgh a musical place?
Oh yes, definitely. Going into NY to hear people sing was a big part
of my growing up. I saw Otis three times and was a member of his international
fan club. Saw James Brown live at Madison Square Garden in 1967 (the single
most impressive spectacle I have ever witnessed), and also was in the
audience for his appearance on the Ed Sullivan TV show (my friend's father
was a cameraman). There was a disc jockey in NY named "Murray the
K," and he used to host four holiday shows a year at the Brooklyn
Fox theater. I went to as many of those as I could, and saw, among others,
Jackie Wilson, Ben E. King, Percy Sledge, Billy Stewart, Garnet Mimms,
the O'Jays, the Manhattans, the Spinners,
all the big Motown/Tamla artists, Chuck Jackson, Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett,
Arthur Conley, Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles, Dionne Warwick, Gene
Chandler...I could go on with this all day!
Pittsburgh is a great city for music. There was a strong jazz tradition
in the city, and as a result, a strong tradition for rock 'n roll and
R&B that featured great horn players--that late 1940s/early 1950s
Kansas City/Texas jump sound was big here. So it was a good place to play
jazzy blues with a jump feel, and that's the kind of music I was into
when I moved here.
Penn State, on the other hand, is just an isolated college town in the
middle of the most culturally desolate part of the state of Pennsylvania.
So anything interesting that goes on there is imported from either Philadelphia
back to top
When did you become a singer? What was/were your first band(s)
called? Any success or names we should know of concerning those first
The first band I had that got any attention beyond the local areas where
we played was the Rhythm Kings. I formed this band at Penn State in the
early 1970s, and we eventually moved to Pittsburgh, where we became quite
popular. It was a lineup similar to the one I had in Peer--full
rhythm section and horn section, only the horn section consisted of three
and sometime four saxophones, with no trumpets or trombones. This band
became popular during the waning days of the hippie phenomenon--peace
and love, flower power, all that kind of stuff--and we affected a kind
of hard, tough-guy attitude in the way we dressed and presented ourselves
on stage (the J. Geils Band was a strong stylistic influence). We played
what at that time was a retro style of music, with a lot of classic rock
'n roll and jump blues--a style that had always been popular in Pittsburgh,
where Roy Brown and Wynonie Harris records are among the most-played "oldies"
to this day. Someone later told me that a lot of people in Pittsburgh
thought that the Rhythm Kings were Vietnam-war veterans and drug addicts
who had somehow missed the cultural revolution of the 1960s; of course
this wasn't true, but the fact that anyone believed this is indicative
of the sort of mystique that we conveyed.
By this time, I had become much more of a blues fanatic than I had been
during my high school years, and I was particularly stuck on Bobby Blue
Bland as a vocalist. I listened incessantly to his recordings on the Duke
label, and actually still do. I also liked all of the classic Chicago
stuff, especially Muddy, Magic Sam, and Otis Rush, and of course, Robert
Johnson. Anyhow, the Rhythm Kings were a saxophone-heavy blues band, and
we started to hook up with and play shows with other bands with similar
styles, such as the Nighthhawks
from Washington, DC and Roomful of Blues
In another interview I read of you, with the Rhythm Kings, you
said, music became a religious thing. "That's when I really learned
the preaching thing. The audience was hanging on every word and responding."
Is that what you really need out of a gig? Is there any connection with
your studies or is it that the gospel-influence?
Yes, it is more the gospel influence than any connection with my studies.
I think that all of the really great frontmen in rock 'n roll or soul
music--James Brown (of course), Mick Jagger, Solomon Burke, Otis Clay,
Al Green, Aretha--are communicators, and the model for this kind of communication
is the gospel church preacher. I would not say that I "need"
this out of a gig--if the audience isn't responding, I can motivate myself
just through the music itself or through trying to practice the craft
of singing--but the gigs that I enjoy the most are those in which I'm
playing the role of the preacher and the audience is playing the role
of the congregation.
I say that the model for this kind of communication is the "gospel
church" preacher and not just any preacher because I view singing
in front of a band as a kind of testimony, not as an opportunity to express
my opinions, tell people what I think, tell people what they should think,
or exhort them to do something. A gospel preacher, and a good soul singer,
testifies--"This is what happened to me. Can I get a witness?"
back to top
How, when and why did you become a member of Roy Buchanan's band?
There was a guy from Pittsburgh named Jay Reich who was going to school
in Washington, DC, had become a fan of Buchanan's, and had convinced Buchanan
to let him become his business manager. When Jay visited his home in Pittsburgh,
he would often come to see the Rhythm Kings play--he had a lot of friends
who were fans of ours. When it came time for Buchanan to cut his third
LP for Polydor Records, That's What I'm Here For, Jay was the
producer of that LP, and he thought that I would be a good choice as a
vocalist for Buchanan. At the same time, he was reconstituting Buchanan's
touring band, and wanted me to leave the Rhythm Kings and join Roy's band.
I was torn at the time, because the Rhythm Kings were a great band, were
getting more popular every day, and played the music that I wanted to
play in the way that I wanted to present it. Eventually, though, the lure
of singing with a nationally known artist whose acclaim seemed to be on
the rise was too strong to resist, and I started touring with Buchanan
and his band.
In Buchanan's band, I was the young guy (about 23, in around 1972) with
a bunch of guys in their 30s, and after leading my own band and doing
things my way, it was a difficult adjustment. Roy did things a little
differently. You probably saw from my show in Peer that tightness and
precision are important musical values to me, which I learned from guys
like James Brown, Bobby Bland, and Otis Clay.
In contrast, my very first gig with Roy was a major network TV show, and
I just went on stage and sang "I Hear You Knockin'" and "Johnny
B. Goode" without ever having rehearsed with Roy and the band before
the cameras began rolling! But I did get to travel throughout the U.S.
and Canada with Roy and play in impressive venues such as Carnegie Hall
in New York, the Roxy in Los Angeles, and several large arenas and stadiums.
So the experience I gained during those years was valuable.
Did you ever make recordings with The Rhythm Kings, were they
ever released? I heard the TRK had contacts with Atlantic records?
Unfortunately, no. I just have a few tapes remaining from those days
that are of very poor quality. Jay Reich, whom I mentioned earlier (Buchanan's
manager) pitched the Rhythm Kings to Atlantic Records, and we did generate
some interest there, but nothing ever happened.
It must have been very hard to leave the Rhythm Kings... I read
you all lived together in a big mansion and had a really great time, obviously
you were good friends... Was it hard to make that decision?
Certainly, yes. In the end, though, when anyone offers an ambitious 22-year-old
guy an opportunity to join a nationally known touring band, with the possibility
of becoming rich and famous, sooner or later you will be able to get him
to say "Yes." My grand plan at the time was to spend a few years
with Buchanan and use the resulting fame and notoriety as a means of getting
a recording contract for myself with the Rhythm Kings. Obviously, things
didn't turn out that way.
So you joined Buchanan's band and were thrown into the deep with
the unrehearsed television show. You were used to sing the best of soul
songs with a very tight band, now you had to sing the "I hear you
knocking/Johnny B. Goode" - repertoire... How did that make you feel?
I was not crazy about that way of doing things. I had certainly participated
in lots of informal jam sessions as a singer--gotten on stage with musicians
I didn't know well and had never rehearsed with--and sometimes those situations
do result in some exciting music. But that kind of thing was Roy's standard
operating procedure. By my standards, he was a little bit looser about
performance than I was comfortable with. But I guess when you could play
guitar with the facility that he could, there didn't seem to be much need
for advance planning.
Did you go on tour right away or did you record the album That's
What I'm Here For first?
I think we did a few dates before we recorded that album, but did not
really go on tour until after the album was released.
Were you happy in Roy's band? There was no more soul connection,
I probably wasn't as happy musically singing with Roy as I was singing
with the Rhythm Kings. Roy was every bit as much an enthusiast of R&B,
soul, blues, and African-American music as I was, and we did spend many
enjoyable hours listening to tapes and talking about music. But as I've
said, the approach that Roy took was not as focused as the approach I
took in later years with my own bands. I don't say that either approach
is better, just that they are different. Aside from the music, though,
I was able to travel, play in the biggest venues, and learn a great deal
about the music business at that time, and I also made good money, which
I spent with impunity.
So you recorded your first album in 1972 (or was it 1971). Where
and how did the recordings proceed? Did you have any influence on the
recordings? How was it to sing for a "superstar" at the age
of 23? Now you're a star yourself, how do you reflect on that period?
Did you learn how to treat/not to treat your own musicians?
I think it was 1972, but I'm not certain about that. We recorded at the
Record Plant in New York for Polydor Records. Jay Reich was the producer
of the LP and, although Jay was and is a friend, I will say honestly that
he had neither the experience nor the temperament to produce a successful
LP at that time. Buchanan, Jay, the record company, and other friends
and advisors who surrounded Buchanan at that time believed that he was
on the verge of breaking out as a major recording artist, and they were
urging him to stretch beyond the things he did well--play simple, supportive
guitar on country and blues songs--and remake himself into some sort of
bluesy rock guitarist. Roy was a great admirer of Jimi Hendrix, so this
was not as implausible as it might sound. To my mind, Jay gave Roy all
the wrong advice in the studio. For example, Roy would cut a clean, economical,
tasteful solo in the studio, and Jay would urge him to try another take
and "throw in more bullshit for the kids," which meant to make
his fingers move fast and perform flashy gymnastics on the guitar. As
for the songs on the LP, there was very little attention paid to songwriting.
So little, in fact, that I was credited with co-writing a few of them!
As the young guy in the group, I didn't speak up much, but tried to
do what I thought was expected of me. My performance on that LP is somewhat
embarrassing to me, and I haven't listened to it in at least 15 years!
I am sure that that experience did shape me in many ways, but it is hard
to identify anything specific. I wasn't mistreated by Roy in any way,
and remain grateful to him for the opportunity he gave me. Sadly, Roy
was usually too consumed with his own demons to think or care much about
how to lead a band, so I don't think I learned much about that from Roy.
I am hardly a "star myself," but I do enjoy working with musicians,
and I think that most people who have played with me would say that it
is fun and rewarding to play in my bands. I try to give credit to musicians
who work with me and give them lots of opportunity to shine individually
and to be recognized for their talents and contributions.
How were the album/concert reviews? I read you weren't too happy
about the comments...
The reviews were mixed, some good and some bad, but the review of That's
What I'm Here For that appeared in Rolling Stone was brutal,
and I took it to heart much more than was necessary (as I now know).
I'm a little bit ashamed to say I don't know your work with Buchanan.
How would you describe the music and your singing with Roy. Were/are you
satisfied with the records/gigs you did with him?
In retrospect, the decision to team me up with Buchanan was based on
the fallacy that talent is a commodity akin to money or gold--that if
musician X has this much talent and musician Y has that much talent, all
you have to do is put them together, and the aggregate sum will increase.
Roy was not a strong singer, but he was unmistakably sincere and credible.
Somebody thought that that wasn't enough, so they brought me in. But when
I was at my best according to my standards, I served only to distract
attention from Roy, who was the personality and focal point that listeners
wanted to concentrate on when they experienced his music. In addition
to all of that is the fact that I wasn't particularly good at that time,
and got better as I got older. So really, the whole thing was kind of
In 1974 Polygram released Livestock. I presume a live
album. Where and when was it recorded?
It was recorded at Avery Fisher Hall in NY in 1974. By that time, I was
back with the Rhythm Kings, and most of the singing for the touring group
was being handled by Ronnie "Byrd" Foster, the drummer in Roy's
band, also a guy from Pittsburgh and a fine singer. There had been another
studio album between That's What I'm Here For and Livestock,
with all studio musicians and a different vocalist. For this live album,
they decided they wanted to bring me back to sing, so I agreed to do this
concert with them. This LP is more of a loose jam session, but I think
it is truer to Roy's essence and talents than That's What I'm Here
For and works a lot better.
You left Buchanan in 1976. I read your were thinking about leaving
the music business and you re-entered as a student at Penn Sate to get
the writing degree. Was the disappointment in the business this big? What
was the real reason?
I was suffering from the disappointment that comes from the intersection
of unrealistic expectations and reality. Things had also not worked out
as I intended with the Rhythm Kings--by the time I tried to return to
the group, the old magic that we had was gone. So at that time, I was
trying to figure out what to do with my life, and I decided to give singing
a rest for a while.
For the record: Did you ever come to Europe with the Buchanan
band or did you ever come to Europe before playing on the Peer
festival this year? I just couldn't believe that an artist of your
caliber was never before invited to come to tour in Europe!
No, this was my first-ever performance in Europe. Had I stayed with
Roy another year or two, I would have been to Europe with him, but Byrd
Foster was singing from behind the drum set on Roy's first European tour.
(Note: For a good summary of Roy's Career, see The
Life and Times of Roy Buchanan, by Phil Carson.)
back to top
Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band
So you left Buchanan in 1976 an went back to university. How
long did you stay out of the music biz? What was it that made you change
your mind and go on singing again?
I laid low for a couple of years at that time, trying to figure out what
I wanted to do. In the college town I was living in, there was an existing
band that was in the process of breaking up because their lead singer/guitarist
was moving to California, so I started rehearsing and jamming with the
remnants of that band, and after a while we started doing some gigs. At
first it was very rough and unprofessional, but in that town we were quickly
able to get gigs and make money ("In the land of the blind, the one-eyed
man is king"), and before long the thing evolved into the Keystone
During that time, I didn't have much confidence in my abilities as a
singer, and I was also troubled by physical problems with my voice. I
had surgery for vocal nodules once and had several other episodes of nodules
that I treated with combinations of steroids and voice rest. In fact,
I had nodules on my vocal cords when I recorded Livestock. But
despite all of this, I never lost my love of and obsession with music,
so eventually I drifted back toward singing and leading a band. And I
really have not had physical problems with my voice, other than the occasional
bout of laryngitis, since the late 1970s.
You said you had physical problems with your voice in the late
70ties.It was a less happy period in your life, could it've been also
mental? Did your alcohol use in those days had anything to do with it?
Were you at any time addicted to drugs and/or alcohol? If i'm getting
too private, just skip the question!
There was undoubtedly a psychosomatic component to the things that were
going on with my larynx during that time, although it's always hard to
identify how much of an ailment is mental and how much is physical. But
I was certainly not doing well at that time in my life, and I did attempt,
unsuccessfully, to medicate my confusion with alcohol and drugs. I'm happy
to say that, although I am still frequently confused, I stopped all of
that self-medication in 1980.
What do you do to keep your voice in good shape? Do you smoke?
Seems to me you're one of those performers who sing better live than in
the studio, or am I mistaken? Do you like studio work or is it a necessity
you can't do without as a singer?
I stopped smoking quite some time ago. I took vocal lessons from an opera
singer during the time I was having problems with nodules, and although
I didn't know it at the time, in the end those lessons did help me learn
to sing with more control, power, and physical support. I used to do a
lot of vocal exercises to warm up before I sang, but since my voice now
almost always does what I want it to do, I've become undisciplined and
basically just walk onstage and sing.
You're right, I find studio work tedious compared to singing live in
front of an audience, and I think I probably do sing better live than
in the studio. There's a story in Sweet
Soul Music by Peter Guralnick about Solomon Burke's first recording
session for Atlantic. Solomon was always involved in lots of other businesses
beside singing. After the session was over, the engineer, Tom Dowd I think,
assumed that Solomon would want to stay in the studio and listen to the
final mix. But Solomon left the studio quickly without bothering to listen
to anything he had done. It was snowing, and he had a fleet of snow-removal
vehicles in Philadelphia that he had to get to as soon as possible.
I always identified with that story. There's nothing I hate more than
listening to the same take of myself singing hundreds of times. This probably
also explains why I've always preferred a documentary style of studio
recording, using live, simultaneous performances as much as possible rather
than layering and extensive overdubbing. I'd rather try to make something
magical happen in the studio and have the recording document the magic.
What were your plans after you would graduate.(how long was the
study?) Were you planning a career as a writer?
Yes, I guess I was. After I had the piece about Jackie Wilson published
in the Village Voice, had I been more ambitious and aggressive, I probably
could have hooked on with some magazine somewhere as a writer, but I worked
on that piece off and on for at least a year, and by the time it found
its way into print, I was back in the bars singing again.
We know now that you became a known writer, you wrote articles
on Jackie Wilson, Otis Clay, Gene
Chandler, O.V. Wright (!!!), Syl
Johnson, etc. What's your favorite piece?
What piece makes you proud?
I wrote the articles you mentioned for a book called MusicHound R&B:
The Essential Album Guide. I think the articles on Syl
Johnson and O.V. Wright are okay. I actually
get a lot of odd email about those articles,
because I posted them on the Web and they seem to come up close to the
top on Google searches for the artists I wrote about. So people send email
to me assuming that I have some sort of insider information on, say, Linda
Jones or Tyrone Davis, which of course, I
do not. I wrote some similar pieces for the African American Culture volume
of the Dictionary of Twentieth Century Culture, published by
So what happened to your plan to reform the Rhythm Kings after
you left Buchanan? Were there Rhythm Kings-members in your new band?
I suppose that the guys in that band got tired of my indecision and wavering
back and forth between Buchanan's band and the Rhythm Kings, and they
carried on with a succession of other vocalists for several years. The
only former member of the Rhythm Kings that I worked with again was Fred
Delu, a keyboard player who did some time with Buchanan and who has played
from time to time with the Billy Price Band,
my current group, in recent years.
back to top
Is It Over?
Did you become a live band first or did you record Is It
Over? right away? Was it hard to find a record company? How did this
album come about?
We were a live bar band first. By the time Is It Over? was recorded,
I had begun to augment the original Keystone Rhythm Band lineup with some
better musicians from Pittsburgh, including Kenny
Blake, an outstanding alto sax player and recording artist, and Eric
Leeds, who later recorded with Prince (and still works with Prince to
this day) and released CDs under his own name as well.
For this question, I think it's best to refer you to the liner
notes of The Soul Collection, where I describe Jeree
Records, the recording studio, and Don Garvin, who produced both Is
It Over? and The Soul Collection. The label Green Dolphin
was owned by Don and his partner Jerry Reed. Don and I discovered sometime
around the time that we recorded Is It Over? that we are musical
kindred spirits, so recording for his label was a natural consequence.
We tried strenuously to license or sell Is It Over? to a larger
label with better distribution, but it never happened.
Would you agree when I say that Is It Over? is an album
with a J.Geils Band feel to it? Surely not as raw as Geils/Wolf and co.
but this album contains a mixture of soul, blues, rhythm & blues and
even some rock influences with a lot of street credibility. (Didn't they
record "Lickin' Stick" also?) Anyway, would you agree and do
you like bands like The J.Geils Band?
I was certainly influenced by the J. Geils Band when I was younger, around
the time I was with Buchanan. I thought that Peter Wolf was a terrific
front man and entertainer, though I now realize that he wasn't much of
a soul singer. But yes, they were a strong influence on me. I don't think
they ever cut "Lickin' Stick," though. That song, originally
recorded by George Torrence and the Naturals on the Shout label, was a
favorite among Pittsburgh R&B/soul fans. Some record collector here
first introduced me to it and suggested that I record it.
Is it Over? contains not only the sincere version of
Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love" but also the
co-written soul song (with an infectious ska/reggae beat!) "Eldorado
Cafe." How come you only have written a few songs? Don't you see
yourself as a writer or is it because you think the old stuff is better
and more suitable for your voice and mind/feelings? When you do write,
how do you do it, inspiration, first the words or the music, etc?
I think there are a couple of reasons why I haven't recorded more stuff
that I have written. First--and I'm not sure why this is--but the songs
I've written have never been particularly good vehicles for me as a singer.
There always seem to be so many other songs that I prefer singing to the
ones that I have written. I guess this is because I see myself as a singer/performer/front
man first and as a songwriter second.
During the year or two before the Keystone Rhythm Band released Free
at Last, we wrote many, many songs and tried them out in our live
performances. The best of those made it onto Free at Last, and
I think several of them on that CD still sound fine today.
To answer your last question, I have written songs many different ways,
sometimes beginning with a phrase or even a fully completed set of lyrics,
other times working with a musician who has a chord progression or set
of changes and trying to fit lyrics to match the mood and rhythm of the
Is it Over? was produced, engineered and mixed by one
person, Don Garvin. That's a lot of responsibility for one person, don't
Well, perhaps so, but in practice, all of us really collaborated on the
recordings we made at Jeree, and calling one person the producer or engineer
doesn't reflect the collaborative nature of how we did things there. But
Don was certainly the most important figure in the recording sessions.
I should add that he also was the person who fixed the equipment when
it broke down, which happened frequently!
How was the album received? Did you go on tour after the release?
The album received great reviews from everyone who heard it, but unfortunately,
with limited distribution, not too many people heard it. After we released
it, we toured almost incessantly around the U.S. for the next
several years. Is It Over? is still the most popular recording
I ever made and continues to sell well to this day.
back to top
They Found Me Guilty
Seems to me that over the years you had a lot of personnel changes.
On every album almost there's another guitarist. What was the problem
The guitar position is one that has changed a lot over the years, but
for no particular reason. Chuck Roethel and Don Garvin both played guitar
on Is It Over?. Chuck moved to California with his wife sometime
after that LP was released, and we replaced him with a guy who jammed
with us frequently in Washington, Keith Grimes (Keith is currently well
known for his work with Eva Cassidy). Keith moved to Pittsburgh to work
with us, but after he was less than satisfied with the results of They
Found Me Guilty, both commercially and artistically, he moved back
to Washington and we replaced with another Washington-area guy, Glenn
Pavone. Glenn now leads his own band here in Pittsburgh, Glenn
Pavone and the Cyclones. Wim should consider having them at Peer some
year, because Glenn is an extraordinary guitarist--you can hear him on
Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band Live.
Is it Over? included the Green song "Let's get
Married," a song obviously, more like the Hi records sound.. That
typical sharp, hard beat we can hear a lot on your next album "They
Found me Guilty." There's more pure soul, more Hi sound on this album.
I can hear more Otis Clay and O.V.
Wright influences...Was that a conscious choice?
That is certainly the sound that I was into at that time, so yes, I guess
it was a conscious choice. "Let's Get Married" was actually
an outtake that didn't make it to the vinyl LP. We remixed and added it
to the CD when we released a CD of that album years later. I think it's
kind of a lame vocal performance by me, to be honest about it.
On the song "Hijackin' Love," you sound almost like
Johnnie Taylor. (very Nnce!!!) Could you tell me a little bit more about
this song, it's a great song!
We worked on the They Found Me Guilty album with Denny Bruce,
who was managing the Fabulous Thunderbirds at that time, and a friend
of his named Craig Leon, who was producing a lot of early punk bands back
then (1981). Denny was a soul fanatic like me, and we had similar taste.
I think we picked songs over the phone, and "Hijackin' Love"
was one of the ones we thought would be cool to record. It's one of a
string of hits that Johnnie Taylor had in the 1970s. I've always thought
that Johnnie Taylor was a vastly underrated artist. Look at the volume
of great stuff he produced over the course of a career that lasted more
than 30 years! The stuff he was during for Malaco a few years before he
died was every bit as strong as his earlier stuff.
"Tell Me" and "Nothing Could Change my Mind"
were written by your guitarist Keith Grimes. Listening to the album you
can hear he's a very diverse player. Could you tell me a little bit more
about Keith? And in relation who is Eva Cassidy?
I've always thought that Keith and the guitarist in my band who followed
Keith, Glenn Pavone, were an interesting study in contrasts. Keith was
very much a "head" player--he knew exactly what he wanted to
play, he had studied the genre carefully, and he spent hours and hours
perfecting the slightest nuances of his guitar parts. His playing was
always precise and accurate. Glenn, on the other hand, was all heart,
all inspiration, all feel. Keith excelled in the studio while Glenn excelled
in live performance. In that sense, I'd say that I felt a closer affinity
with Glenn's approach, but both Denny Bruce and I certainly appreciated
everything that Keith was able to do.
I don't know a whole lot more about Eva Cassidy than you do. She was
a singer songwriter who had done some CDs that didn't do much until she
died in 1996 of cancer, I think, and then because very popular. See Eva
Cassidy's Web site. There is a long
interview with Keith Grimes there.
The Green song "I Feel Good" sounds very gospel/disco.
Why this choice? Were you trying to score a hit record? (was it released
as a single?) Did the record company push? Please explain?
No, it wasn't any kind of push from the record company, and it wasn't
released as a single. We just dug the song and played it in our live performances.
It became a great vehicle for Eric Leeds to play sax. Eric was more of
a modern "outside" player than, say, Jim Emminger or Kenny Blake,
and his playing often pushed us outside the idiomatic bounds of the classic
soul genre; you can hear that on his solo, I think. As I mentioned in
an earlier answer, Eric later went on to play with James Brown and with
Otis Clay, O.V.
Wright, etc all recorded at Hi Records. Was that the reason why you
wanted They Found Me Guilty to sound like that? Or were the producers
Denny Bruce and Craig Leon responsible?
I just think that's what I was into at that time. I was a Stax/Volt
nut in the 1960s, and there was a time when it seemed as if all of that
great Memphis/Muscle Shoals deep soul was just going to go away. And then,
in the middle of early disco, funk and the psychedelic floppy-hat era
of Motown, along came Al Green, Willie Mitchell, Otis
Clay, Syl Johnson, Ann Peebles, and O.V.
Wright, doing the deep stuff again but with a modern sensibility.
So I just loved the 70s-80s Memphis Sound. I actually don't think that
Denny and Craig succeeded too well in evoking that sound on They Found
Me Guilty, although that is probably what they were going for. I
think Don Garvin came closest to it years later on The Soul Collection.
back to top
Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band Live
Between the albums They Found... and the live album is about
3 years. What did you and the band do during that time?
We worked lots and lots of dates and toured incessantly along the , especially in the Southeast. We had a regular circuit of clubs
we played and visited 3-4 times a year. So really just a lot of traveling,
riding in vans, and playing club gigs.
Seems to me that the Keystone Band's repertoire changed a lot
over the years live. From your previous albums only one song ("Eldorado
Cafe") made it to the live album. Why was that? (there were a lot
of good songs on the previous albums...)
At that point in our recording career--our third album--it seemed early
to record a live retrospective. We were still performing many of the same
songs in our live shows, but when it came to choosing songs for the Live
LP, we chose songs that we hadn't released in any form previously. The
two songs we were most excited about at that time were "Since You've
Gone Again" and "Can't Lose the Blues." Joe Rock was involved
with both those songs. Joe was a friend of mine from Pittsburgh who managed
the Skyliners and wrote "Since I Don't Have You" and all of
their other hit records. He had also been working with Otis Redding at
the time of Otis's death. Joe managed a white R&B singer from Pittsburgh
named Johnny Daye who had recorded for Stax in the 60s, and Otis had interest
in recording him or managing him at around the time that Otis died. Joe
was the co-writer, with Otis, of "I've Got Dreams to Remember,"
which was released after Otis's death on one of his posthumous LPs. Anyhow,
"Since You've Gone Again" was another song that Joe and Otis
had written together, but at the time we recorded Live, there
was no known recording of the song, so Joe had to teach it to us from
memory. Eventually the song did appear on a compilation of Otis's lost
recordings, and it was actually quite similar to what we had done on Live.
But ours was the first publicly available release of the song. "Can't
Lose the Blues" was something that Glenn and I wrote along with Joe
and his nephew, Perry Darke.
We recorded for two nights at the Wax Museum in DC, and there is a lot
more material on the tapes than what was released on that LP. If I wanted
to, I could probably unearth those tapes, take them into the studio, and
release volumes II and III of that LP. But I remember that there were
some troublesome technical problems with the recordings that took a long
time to resolve, and I'm not inclined to sink a lot of time into wrestling
with all of that again.
Did Live help to establish a good live reputation in
the US? Or did the Keystone Band already have a rep? How was it received?
While that LP was held up by the technical problems, we also were in
the process of switching managers, from Tom Carrico of Studio One Artists
in Maryland to Cornerstone Management in Philadelphia. Cornerstone at
the time managed a popular Columbia act called The
Hooters, and their intention was to push us in a more commercial direction.
The new management company was lukewarm about releasing Live,
but hey ended up releasing it on Antenna, a label that they owned, but
by the time it was released, we had already begun to alter our style and
sound at management's urging, and the LP no longer accurately reflected
the current band. So they didn't push the LP very hard.
Our fans loved it, though, and so it didn't really hurt us with the
base that we had already been building up over the years. And the LP was
a great showcase for Glenn
Pavone's guitar playing.
For the first time your name was on the credits as a producer.
Since that time you're on your albums as co-producer or executive prod.
Is producing something that interests you? Would you like to be a producer?
Would you like to produce other artists besides yourself?
I would say that the term "producer" is loosely defined and
can mean a variety of things, depending on the project. Generally speaking,
it is not something I am much interested in, because of what I wrote in
a previous answer. I don't think I have the patience for studio work.
I prefer to get on stage in front of an audience, sing, sweat, and go
But is it not true that a lot of "producers" are actually
superfluous. Isn't (most of the times) the artist himself with the help
of a good engineer the real producer?
Yes, this is true. For those projects on which I designated myself as
a "producer," I took responsibility for setting direction of
the project in the studio. On others, such as Can
I Change My Mind with Swamp
Dogg, I allowed myself to be directed.
back to top
Free at Last
Could you tell me a little bit more about the Free At Last
album? When was it released? Why is it called free at last? You said you
and the band wrote a lot of material for this album, but there are no
credits on the cd...Whose idea was it to use the art/painting for the
cover and back of the album. Who made it? It's different, original...
I mentioned Cornerstone Management in an earlier answer. They did a good
job of increasing our per-gig fee by increasing the demand for us in the
venues in which we played, with the intention that we would not need to
perform as frequently or to burn ourselves out with constant touring so
that we could concentrate on writing. So we wrote, I'd say, at least 100
songs and performed many of them in our shows, saving the best for the
Free at Last album. I will have to get the song credits to you.
They were on the LP, but are not visible on the CD, which was packaged
as kind of an afterthought, as CDs were just then becoming popular, and
most people did not have CD players. This was around 1988.
Many of the songs had themes of hope and liberation, probably because
it was a positive time in my life. I was recently remarried to my current
wife, Rebecca, and beginning to get well beyond the addiction problems
that had dogged me in earlier years. In fact, the cover art was Rebecca's
idea. We had an artist friend named Robert
Qualters whose work we admired, and we thought it would be great to
ask Bob to design an album cover for us, a medium in which he had never
worked but that was well suited to his style. Unfortunately, LP was the
only format that did justice to the work, which looked terrible on the
CD and on the cassette tapes. I have the original artwork on my dining
room wall to this day.
I was quite irritated with the negotiations over the artwork between
Qualters and the Philistines at Cornerstone, who said things to him such
as, "We have to get that smile off Billy's face, he doesn't look
cool enough." And I would scream at them and tell them to leave Qualters
alone and let him do whatever he wanted to do, because he was a goddamned
artist not an advertising company. It still ticks me off to this day,
just thinking about it.
Maybe I can find an album cover with the full credits for all the songs
and send it to you. I think that album was quite good and should have
done better than it did. I'm not quite sure what was going on at Cornerstone
at the time, but after the long buildup and all the hard work that went
into writing for it and recording it, again Cornerstone did not come through
with much push for the album, and it became clear very quickly that it
was not going to do for our careers what we hoped it was going to do.
It's a shame, because that was some excellent band at that time, and we
were ready to break out of our regional status; but I guess it just was
not meant to be.
You mentioned your wife Rebecca. Is she an inspiration? How does
she handle an artist, ha ha? Is she artistic herself? I ask this because
a lot of artists I interview they all say the same thing: you gotta have
an understanding and strong women beside you...
I don't think that the need for a strong and understanding partner is
unique to people in the music business. But I certainly am blessed as
a human being to have found such a lovely, strong, and supportive soul
mate in Rebecca.
The album Free at Last wasn't pushed enough, it went
down. What did you do? I can imagine you were mad after all the work you
put into it...
No, I would say it is not quite as simple as my being mad at the management
company/record company for not pushing the album. There are hundreds of
reasons why an album is not successful, so to focus on this one reason
seems myopic. After all, the majority of recordings that are released
do not succeed--those that do are the exception. If it's true that the
management company at that time did not believe in the product sufficiently
to be willing to sink energy and treasure into promoting it, then it is
also true that I and my bandmates failed to make them believe. So although
I may have been "mad" at that time, the passage of time has
enabled me to see things more objectively.
What was true is that BP and the Keystone Rhythm Band, as it had evolved
to that point, was no longer giving me much joy or musical satisfaction.
As odd as this may sound, the band had grown out of my control, to the
point that there was no longer space for me as a vocalist. Mostly, this
was because Glenn
Pavone was so strong as a guitarist that his instrument and his presence
began to dominate the band musically. I didn't resent him for this exactly--it
wasn't his fault that he was great, and he was a sweet, likable, and unassuming
guy. So the band was great, but I had become a very ordinary rock singer,
straining to make myself heard above the band, increasingly mechanical,
and losing my commitment to the music that we were putting out for people
night after night. At that point, we had been at it for about 10 years,
there were no surprises or opportunities ahead of us, we were doing the
same things and playing the same gigs over and over again, and it just
began to feel like it was time to do something else.
When ('90?) and how did the Keystone Rhythm Band crash? Did
you yourself disband the band?
Yes, I decided to disband the group and told the other guys of my decision.
I had applied to graduate school at Carnegie Mellon and been accepted,
and now we decided to make one last appearance at all of the venues that
we played regularly on the East Coast. Our last tour was exciting and
fun, but in a bittersweet kind of way. We opened up our repertoire and
brought back much of the earlier material that we had done on our earlier
LPs. In Pittsburgh, we sold out two nights at a big venue called Graffiti,
and for that show, we had a reunion with many of the players who had come
and gone from the band in earlier years. Those were two unforgettable
back to top
Billy Price and the Swingtime Five, Danger Zone, and
the Billy Price Band
You were off the self medication, got a whole new family at once
and you quit the Keystone band. Did you have plans for the future. Did
you want to quit music and go to a regular job or back to studying? What
did you do in between the Free at Last album and the new band The Billy
As I said, I went to graduate school with the intention of training myself
for a job that would enable me to support my family; but in the meantime,
I had begun to jam with some jazz musicians once a week, singing a lot
of early Bobby Bland, Roy Milton, Percy Mayfield, Ray Charles stuff--that
late 40s/early 50s R&B that I had been doing in the early days of
the Rhythm Kings, but this time with accomplished musicians
who played the stuff with authority. This was the group that we began
to call "Billy Price and the Swingtime Five," led by a drummer
named H.B. Bennett, who booked bands at a Pittsburgh jazz club called
For me, this group was everything that the Keystone Rhythm Band wasn't--it
was loose, informal, almost acoustic (or at least lightly amplified),
sometimes sloppy but sometimes inspired, and profoundly unserious. In
that group, there was a lot of wide open space in which to sing, and I
began to find my voice again. What I liked about that group was that I
didn't have to worry any more about what Robert Cray was doing, what Huey
Lewis and the News were doing, what the Fabulous Thunderbirds were doing,
who was going to play what on the radio, and all of that other crap that
had consumed me during the days of working with Cornerstone Management,
and I could just work on the craft of singing.
So you started a blue/jump/swing band called Billy Price and
the Swingtime Five. Something totally different from The Keystone Rhythm
band. Why was that?
I sometimes think of this as similar to what fine restaurants do between
courses--they serve sherbet to cleanse the palate. Billy Price and the
Swingtime Five cleansed my palate from the Keystone Rhythm Band and enabled
me to come to experience music in a fresh way again.
In an interview
with Toby Thompson you say "There was space and room to breathe"...
Can you explain that? Was that the reason why you started a blues band?
It was great to get back to singing blues after the years when I felt
that I had prostituted myself. I am really a purist at heart, although
by that I don't mean that I am a formalist or that I believe in copying
the old music note for note. But I do believe in remaining true to the
spirit of the musical areas I work in, and because I have this purist
bias, I had become uncomfortable with the "anything for success"
mentality that I had adopted in the late 1980s. I think that the motivation
for achieving success at any cost came from the growing need to support
myself and a family as I reached an age at which most responsible men
are able to do that. But I've been fortunate to have found another way
to do that now, which is what enables me to indulge my musical purism.
How did you choose the songs for Danger Zone? There
are three Percy Mayfield
songs on the album, is the poet of the blues your favorite blues singer?
Those songs came from the repertoire of Billy Price and the Swingtime
Five. I was going for great songs, so of course there were a lot of Percy
Mayfield songs because he is, to me, the greatest writer in that genre.
He's not my favorite blues singer though. That would certainly be Bobby
Bland, for me. I have been studying Bobby Bland since I was 16 years old,
and I never tire of listening to him.
How did you find the new musicians for the band and the album?
Guitarist Don Garvin is back since 1979/80. He sounds different than he
did earlier and he's also credited as a producer now...?
Yes, the Jeree recording studio
was always where I was most comfortable, so it was a natural for us to
go there to record. Garvin and a bass player named Bob "Pecky"
Peckman, who has always played bass with Garvin, were playing in a popular
"oldies" group called Pure
Gold, and moonlighting with us when that group wasn't working. They
eventually became our regular bass and guitar players in Billy Price and
the Swingtime Five, which we eventually began to just call "The Billy
Price Band." So Garvin, H.B., and Pecky were all in the band, and
it was natural that we would record the CD at Garvin's studio.
Regarding Garvin sounding different, I think that the guitarist you are
hearing on Is It Over? is probably Chuck Roethel, who was the
first guitarist in the Keystone Rhythm Band. Garvin played a little bit
on Is It Over?, but I think most of the guitar playing was done
by Chuck. Garvin has been playing basically the same way the whole time
I have known him.
Don't you think Garvin's guitar playing suits more the soul music
than the blues (maybe a little too rough) on Danger Zone?
Yes, I would agree that his forte is definitely Memphis/Muscle Shoals
soul guitar. But he plays some stuff on Danger Zone that absolutely
delights me, even though it may not be idiomatically correct!
Could you tell me a little bit more about the process of making
Danger Zone. Who are HB Bennett and the great sax player? Are
you happy with the result? I think it's a fine album also productionwise...
The sax player is Nick Dialoiso--great player with a big, round sound.
There are lots of great players on that CD. Max
Leake is also a fine, fine, keyboard player. I don't listen to that
CD often, but I think I sang well and I know that I had the privilege
of working with some of the most gifted musicians in Pittsburgh. What
I love about the album is that it is so uncompromising and so uncommercial!
A lot of the fans of the late Keystone Rhythm Band were turned off by
it, but in a way it was intended to be an assertion of independence from
other people's expectations.
A word about HB. HB has been my business partner and has helped me lead
the Billy Price Band from the very beginning. He was not able to make
the trip to Belgium with us because he had a liver transplant last November,
and has played with us only once since then. But we are praying that he
has a full recovery.
You said you probably lost a lot of fans by doing the Danger
Zone album. Were you not afraid of that, to start all over again
Nah, I don't think I lost any fans permanently because of that album,
nor was I afraid of doing so. I probably gained as many as I lost and,
most importantly, at that point in my career it was important to me to
assert the right to do what I felt like doing instead of what my managers
thought was the smart commercial thing to do. I guess I was ridding myself
of the last vestiges of Cornerstone Management and everything that they
represented--consciously and deliberately burning those bridges.
back to top
The Soul Collection
The next album The Soul Collection is some kinda mark
in your career. Can I say the start of the new Billy Price Band? This
cd is f**king good!!!!! What does this cd mean to you, what did it do
Thanks, I'm glad you like that one, because I do too, probably more than
anything else I've done with the possible exception of Is It Over?.
I had always wanted to do a CD like this one, at Jeree,
with great musical and vocal support. Soul
Collection to me is Is It Over? volume II, but with
better musicians, and a little slicker. This CD got a good bit of attention
in the blues and soul magazines, and also served notice to my fans that
I wasn't quite finished yet.
Who came up with the idea of doing an album like this, almost
a tribute to soul music?
HB Bennett and I conceived the idea for this CD, and we got Don Garvin
involved in both the conception and execution very early. Garvin played
most of the guitar on the CD, because Lenny Smith, the guitar player in
my performing band, didn't have enough time available to go out to Jeree
frequently enough to record--it takes about 45 minutes to drive there
from Pittsburgh. So that meant that Garvin was the guitar player in addition
to being the engineer. Lenny is a also great guitar player and would have
also done just fine on the CD if he had been available. I think he is
on a few of the tunes on the album, actually. But as you said earlier,
Don Garvin is a beautiful guitar player in the Muscle Shoals style. Generally
speaking, I used a lot of different players from Pittsburgh on Soul
Collection, choosing the guys who I thought would work best for each
How did everything come together? It's again recorded at the
Jeree studios and your old time pal is playing with the studio buttons...and
there's that Hi sound again...
Well, the most fortunate thing that happened, which I think made the
album so special, was the addition of the background vocalists. We decided
that we wanted female vocals, something I had never had on my CDs before,
to add an extra level of polish and support. We tried to get vocalists
in Pittsburgh, but didn't find anyone we thought was great enough. At
first, we were considering trying to contact Rhodes, Chalmers, and Rhodes,
the singers who sang background on all the Hi recordings, but they were
too expensive. Then I thought about Theresa Davis, whom I had met when
she was working with Otis Clay. So I contacted Theresa, she contacted
Diane Madison and Robin Robinson, and we arranged to go to Chicago to
overdub the vocals there. Theresa had sung previously with the Emotions,
Diane would sing with Aretha Franklin shortly after she recorded on our
CD, and all three have recording credits that are way too numerous to
list here. They were absolutely amazing--fast, efficient, creative, professional,
precise--just astonishing how good they were. And, fortunately for us,
Otis Clay showed up at the Chicago session, added
a lead vocal to "That's How It Is," and helped with the background
vocals on "Gonna Forget About You."
Could you tell me a little bit more about Green Dolphin and
the relation with Jeree and Don Garvin?
Jerry Reed, who died a couple of years ago, owned the studio, Jeree,
and the labels Green Dolphin and Jeree Records, and Don Garvin was his
partner who built the studio and did a lot of the engineering (although
Jerry was also a great engineer). They released a lot of stuff on Jeree--some
rock, some gospel, and a lot of country. They generally reserved Green
Dolphin for our stuff and any other blues, jazz, or R&B stuff that
I remember one day when we were in the studio working on The Soul
Collection. Jerry was sitting in the office smoking a cigarette,
as he often did, and I was sitting on the couch with HB. The door to the
studio was open, and Garvin was inside listening to a playback of one
of the tunes.
HB says to me, "What are we going to do with this when we're finished?
Are you going to shop it around to labels?"
So I hollered in to Garvin, "Hey Don, is it okay if we release this
on Green Dolphin?"
"I don't give a shit," he hollered back.
"Congratulations, HB," I said, "We just got a recording
Am I correct if I say that this album really did make the BPBand
It would be more correct to say that it got us to the tarmac at the airport,
but we're still waiting to take off.
But it would be correct to say that this CD did a lot to spread our reputation
further than it ever had spread before. I think a lot of this also had
to do with the Internet. By the time we released this CD, in 1997, it
was already a lot easier for an independent artist to reach fans directly
rather than having to rely on a record company to act as an intermediary.
So I've exploited the Internet since 1997 or so and been able to control
my career more than was possible before the Internet existed.
You're singing "That's How it Is" in a duet with Otis
Clay. How was that? Did you know Clay before that? What kinda person is
I was a huge fan of Otis Clay, especially after Denny Bruce made a tape
for me of Otis's first live LP recorded in Japan. There are two. The one
that is easily available today on CD, Soul Man Live in Japan,
is not the one I'm talking about. There was an earlier one, Live Otis
Clay, issued by JVC, and it is incredible. So this first live in
Japan album was in my tape player incessantly for several months. Of course,
the song "Is It Over?" was originally recorded by Otis in Muscle
Shoals at Fame Studios, produced by Rick Hall and released on Cotillion.
So my manager at the time, Tom Carrico, thought it would be cool to bring
Otis to the East Coast to perform with my band. It took Tom a long time
to convince Otis to make the trip, but finally he agreed to perform with
us at Desperado's in Washington, DC and at Mancini's Lounge in Pittsburgh.
We rehearsed with Otis, and we were all kind of tentative at first, but
the shows turned out great. I'll never forget the first time I got to
sing "Is It Ove?r" with Otis, in Washington. I got so emotional
I didn't think I'd be able to get a sound out of my voice!
We were doing a lot of dates with Otis around the time we that we were
recording the Live album. Since then, I've played many shows
with Otis and sung together with him many times. I admire Otis not just
for the way that he sings and performs, but also for the man that he is.
I saw him most recently a couple of months ago when he was passing through
Pittsburgh. He's closely involved now with the Soul
Stirrers gospel group, singing lead with them and working with them
on some recording projects in Chicago.
What you hear on "That's How It Is" is something Otis and I
had done together many times before live audiences--basically just singing
one of his songs and trading off lines. This was an example of what I
referred to earlier when I wrote about a "documentary recording."
We didn't do a lot of takes and didn't go back to clean things up very
much. We just opened up the microphones, captured a moment in time, and
put it on the album.
Who made it possible to do this with Clay? Are you happy with
I think that Theresa Davis arranged for Otis to come to the session in
Chicago. Otis knew we were coming, of course, but I wouldn't have presumed
to come out and ask him to do the guest vocal appearance on the album;
although I hoped that it might happen, and we brought the tape of "That's
How It Is" along with us just in case!
There are 3 songs from Clay's songbook on the cd. Could I say
that Clay was/is a big influence on you. Maybe he's is kind of your mentor
Definitely yes to both questions. He's been a huge influence on me as
well as a mentor. There is no substitute for working closely and directly
with someone who is more experienced and accomplished, to watch what he
does and how he carries himself both onstage and off. So really, whenever
I perform anywhere, Otis Clay is there in everything that I do.
For the record: when did you record this album (how long did
it take, it must have been a big production) and when was it released?
We must have worked on it for a year, at least. It was finally released
back to top
Can I Change My Mind
Can you explain how, when and where you met Jerry "Swamp
The first thing I remember about Swamp
Dogg was hearing "Baby, You're My Everything" on the radio
in the late 1960s, by Jerry Williams, who was also known as "Little
Jerry Williams" on some of his earlier recordings. The song was a
big favorite of mine. At some point in his career, he took on the Swamp
Dogg persona, and I'm sure I heard and listened to some Swamp Dogg recordings
in the 70s and liked them. I was also vaguely aware of his prolific talents
as a songwriter and producer for other artists, especially Solomon
Burke's "Sidewalks, Fences, and Walls," which is one of
my favorite Solomon recordings.
So...When I was recording They Found Me Guilty with Denny Bruce,
Denny at that time owned Takoma Records, and right after he worked with
me, he released a CD on Takoma by Swamp Dogg called I'm Not Selling
Out, I'm Buying In. Denny sent me a copy of the album when it came
out--it had Denny's picture on the cover along with several other white
guys, made up to look like music-business executives, and Denny also enjoyed
regaling me on the phone with stories about the sessions and about Swamp
Dogg, who is, to anyone who has ever met him, an unforgettable character.
makes a cameo performance on that album, and, as I recall, there was a
good bit of friction in the studio when they were recording her vocals.
Included with the album was a cookbook that Swamp had written, and I
think I cooked the recipe for gumbo from that cookbook a few times and
later lost it. So, many years later, I noticed that Swamp was posting
frequently on a Yahoo
mailing list about southern soul music that I looked at and posted
to from time to time, and just for laughs I decided to contact Swamp,
tell him that we had a mutual friend in Denny Bruce, and offer to trade
a copy of my latest CD, Soul Collection at that time, for a copy
of his cookbook. He was glad to do that, and then several weeks later,
he sent me email raving about how much he liked Soul Collection.
From there, we started talking about the possibility of working together,
and this eventually led to Can I Change My Mind.
Could you tell me a little bit more about this man (and co producer
There are short bios of Swamp at the bottom of the page at http://www.billyprice.com/Swamp.php--you
should be able to get the main details of his career from there. My favorite
productions by Swamp are the recordings he produced for Doris Duke, which
are among my very favorite female soul recordings. They are about as deep
as deep soul can get. He also did some incredible stuff with Irma
Thomas, and many others. Yvonne Williams, who sadly died a couple
of months ago, was Swamp's wife and business partner. They functioned
very much as team, and wherever Swamp went, Yvonne went with him. She
attended all the recording sessions for Change My Mind, for example.
They live in a beautiful house in Simi Valley, California, outside of
Los Angeles, and have six children.
Swamp is brilliant, often hilariously funny, musically gifted with an
almost inexhaustible store of creative ideas, always irreverent (just
listen to some of the Swamp Dogg recordings), and at times infuriating,
and he has fiercely loyal friends and admirers as well as avowed enemies
within the music business (one of whom, by the way, is Solomon Burke).
Your last cd The Soul Collection was like a soul tribute...
Your next cd Can I Change my Mind is almost entirely written
by Williams (apart from 2 songs). Who came up with the idea? Why the sudden
After Soul Collection, I wanted to see what it would be like
to record songs that had never been recorded by anyone else other than
me. So the idea of working with a great soul writer who was also an experienced
producer was appealing to me. I was excited by the idea of Swamp writing
songs specifically with my voice in mind and, in retrospect, there are
a couple of songs on the CD that I'm proud of--"Mine
All Mine All Mine" and "What Is Love (And What Makes You
Think You Deserve Some)."
A lot of musicians on this album are new to me. Are they studio
musicians? Did they come with the Williams' deal? What did your road band
think of that? Could you tell me some things about guitarist Landis Armstrong?
Swamp is well known in Los Angeles, where he seems to have access to
an almost endless supply of competent musicians to do studio work. The
guys on this CD were hired as studio musicians for the sessions by Swamp
and Yvonne, and they were drawn from bands of people like Little Milton,
Barry White, and Otis Day and the Knights. We recorded in a studio owned
by former recording artist Leon Hayward ("She's With Her Other Love,"
"It's Got to Be Mellow"), and Leon would pop his head in from
time to time and offer a suggestion (usually a great one).
Landis Armstrong was a special case, brought
in specifically for this CD. Swamp doesn't perform live much, but he does
sometimes perform in Austin, Texas, which is where he met Landis. Landis's
band backed up Swamp a few times down there, and so Swamp hired him to
come to Los Angeles and record on this CD with me. He is a fine guitar
player, and reminds me a bit of Keith Grimes. He's a Steve Cropper fanatic,
and his playing on the CD was, in my opinion, superb.
I guess there may have been some ill feeling among my road band about
my going out to LA alone to record the CD, but they are all grown ups
and, I hope, they all recognized that doing this CD was at least a plausible
option for me at that point in my career. Naturally, they weren't as enthusiastic
about playing the songs from this CD as they might have been if they had
recorded on it, but there were no bad scenes or confrontations about any
of this. Swamp doesn't leave LA too often, and there was never any question
of his using any musicians on the CD other than the guys he was used to
working with. Taking the whole band out to the West Coast to record would
have been prohibitively expensive.
Can I Change My Mind was released December 1999, only
two years after The Soul Collection. Two big productions in such
a short period must have been exhausting...working like crazy?
Yes, it was a busy time, and I must say it took a toll on my personal
life. Don't forget, I also have a full-time job during the day that takes
up a lot of time and energy.
How long did it take to record this album and are you satisfied
with the "Swamp Dogg"result (songs and production)?
We recorded all of the rhythm tracks in one week, and then Swamp added
background vocals and horns after I had already returned to Pittsburgh.
I will say honestly that this is not my favorite Billy Price CD, but I
do think that Swamp was able to draw some great performances out of me
and, as I say, there are a few songs on the CD that I think are fine.
What attracts the attention are the nice cut songs and almost
perfect arrangements and production...But there is less room for soloists...Can
you agree on this?
Yes, and this was a conscious choice on our part. I think that the same
could be said about Soul Collection, although to a lesser extent.
In contrast, you hear a lot of solos and featuring of the players on Sworn
Testimony. My approach with Soul Collection, and Swamp's
approach with Change My Mind, was to make interesting and engaging
recordings, not to use the recordings as a vehicle for the artistic expression
of the musicians. I think that's how great records are made. On my favorite
records, the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. Playing
a twelve-bar blues and allowing the musicians to express themselves is
fine for live performance, but I don't think it leads to recordings that
anyone wants to hear more than a few times. So I am a believer in great
songs sung by great singers in supportive musical environments.
Would you work with Williams or a different person with the
same impact/capacity as Williams?
Sure. It was an experience I am glad that I had.
What did Can I Change my Mind do for the BPB?
Probably because of the esteem in which Swamp Dogg is held, especially
in Europe and England, this CD got a lot more people to pay attention
to me than had done so before, and that was certainly a good thing for
my career. And I think that, as a result of the attention that this CD
received, a lot of people went back and investigated some of my earlier
back to top
First of all, could you tell me some more about guitarist Lenny
Smith. Since when are you making music together?
Lenny is a fine guitarist who has the authentic pedigree of having been
born and raised in Florence, Alabama, near Muscle Shoals, the place where
so many of the great soul recordings that we love were recorded. Lenny's
father was a professional country guitarist and guitar teacher. I first
met Lenny when a friend of mine told me that there was a great blues guitar
player playing in bands here in Pittsburgh who was from Muscle Shoals.
This was at the time when Don Garvin was still playing guitar with me
and HB in the early version of the Billy Price Band (Billy Price and the
Swingtime Five). So a gig came along on a night when Don was playing with
his oldies band, Pure Gold, and I thought about this guitar player whom
my friend had told me about, so I decided to give him a call. He did a
great job filling in for Garvin, and eventually he became the regular
guitar player with the Billy Price Band.
Have Mercy! was recorded live at a radio station...How
WYEP is a listener-sponsored public
radio station in Pittsburgh that has become successful during the past
10 years or so. In their early years, when they were struggling to survive,
the Rhythm Kings played a benefit concert for them that many of the old-timers
at WYEP credit for giving them a much-needed financial boost during a
difficult time in their history. They invited me to perform live on the
air with my band for the 25th anniversary of the station, on Bumble
Bee Slim's Blues & Rhythm show, which has been on the air for
many years. The station gave us a CD of the concert, and I put mp3 files
from the CD on my Web site. I eventually decided to press some CDs of
the broadcast and sell them over the Net on my Web site, because a lot
of my fans didn't know how to deal with mp3 files. But we didn't print
too many of them, and when they were sold out, we didn't restock them.The
mp3 files are all on my Web site now.
Could you tell me a little bit more about the song "Have
a Little Mercy." It's not really what we're used to. It's daring,
it's dynamic, it's something different, but very beautiful and strong...
Great song. It was recorded originally by a female singer named Jean
Wells, who had at least one other great recording called "After Loving
You." We rocked the song up a bit and allowed Lenny to cut loose
When I performed this live, I used to do a dramatic drop to my knees
at the end of the guitar solo. A semi-professional soul singer I met at
a summer gig in the Catskill Mountains in New York when I was 17 years
old taught me a knee-drop technique with a microphone in a mike stand
that I have used ever since. It took me several days to perfect the technique,
and I bruised my knees pretty badly trying to learn it. If we ever meet
again and there is a mike and mike stand nearby, I'll teach it to you.
And what about "Nothing
Takes the Place of You." You sometimes sound like Sam Cooke.
The song is stripped to basics...goose bumps!
Oh yes, what a wonderful song that is. It was recorded by Toussaint McCall
in around 1967, and raised many goose bumps on my skin over the years
as well. There's actually a movie by a Baltimore filmmaker named John
Waters called "Hairspray"
in which Toussaint McCall makes a cameo appearance singing this song.
At the time we recorded "Nothing Takes the Place of You," my
keyboard player, John
Burgh and I had just begun doing some acoustic gigs with just the
two of us at a few places in Pittsburgh. This was one of the first songs
that we learned. Radio One had a tent on the festival grounds at Peer,
and John and I did a couple of numbers from our repertoire that were broadcast
over Radio One the weekend of the festival.
back to top
Your next album is called Sworn Testimony. Could you
explain this, probably, meaningful title?
I always got a kick out of "Jury of Love" soul songs, such
as "Eight Men, Four Women" by O.V. Wright, "I Stand Accused"
by Jerry Butler (and Isaac Hayes), "Court of Love," by the Unifics,
and a million others, and I used to do a long medley based on "Cry,
Cry, Cry" by Bobby Bland in which I took off on the whole jury of
love idea. This is the last cut on They Found Me Guilty, which,
on the cover, depicts me being dragged off in handcuffs by two policemen.
Free at Last was a variation on this theme--if you could see
the Robert Qualters cover art on the LP, you'd see that it is based on
the idea of liberation from bondage--in this case, I was thinking more
of spiritual bondage than physical--the picture on the cover is encircled
by giant handcuffs, and the theme runs through both the cover art and
the title song of that album. So, for this live album, "Sworn Testimony"
seemed an apt name to build further on the same theme--a live soul performance
as a kind of giving of testimony in the Court of Love.
Yet another live album! Why? Why not a studio album: there are
enough new songs on the album...?
I recorded Sworn Testimony because, at that time, I thought
that my live performing band was in peak form, and I wanted to capture
a documentary recording of that band that would allow the musicians to
have the space to show off their talents and the opportunity to be recognized.
Two times 74 minutes: That's value for your money. Why a double
cd? Isn't that a little too expensive for the working people...?
We probably could have cut things down to a single CD if we had wanted
to, but we recorded two full nights of performances, and it all sounded
so good to us that we could see it was going to be difficult to decide
what songs to exclude. So in the end, we just decided to fill two discs
with music. Yes, it is a generous CD that stays on the player for a long
time. I don't really think we lost many sales because of the additional
expense of selling a double CD, but I could be wrong.
Are you happy with these recordings/album? What impact did this
I'm happy with it, yes--I think it accomplished my intentions of showcasing
the live band. I didn't put as much effort into promoting it as I did
Can I Change My Mind and Soul Collection, so I don't
think we got as many reviews published; what's more, some of the
reviews that were published pointed out, correctly, that despite the
quality of the performances, there was no new or original material on
back to top
Belgium Rhythm & Blues Festival and Funky...Funky
Obviously, your live reputation brought you to Europe. How did
this go, who contacted you....etc. Did you stay long in Europe? Did you
do other gigs? Or was it exclusive for the Peer
Wim Vermeijen of BRBF contacted me about a year before the festival,
inquired about Sworn Testimony, which he had heard about, and
asked if I would be interested in playing in Belgium at the Peer festival.
I guess Wim had been a fan of mine since They Found Me Guilty,
or maybe even since Is It Over?. It seems to me that Wim prides
himself in discovering and bringing to Peer artists that are not well
known in Europe, such as myself, Sharrie Williams and Richard Johnston,
and I think that Wim's passion for the music is one reason why the Peer
festival is so unique and of such high quality. Anyhow, Wim and I corresponded
through email, worked out all the details, and made the performance happen.
Peer was the only gig the band did while in Europe. We had hoped to book
some other gigs, but it was festival season and there didn't seem to be
any club gigs available to us at that time.
I must say that Peer
was one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences of my entire
career. I loved the challenge of performing for people who were not
familiar with my music and, I hope, winning them over. My wife Rebecca
and I spent a few extra days in Brussels and in Amsterdam, and enjoyed
our trip immensely. The people we met were warm, friendly, and gracious,
and we hope to have an opportunity to return.
The Peer concert was recorded on video and at the moment you're
producing a DVD. Will the DVD be
in the shops or will you sell it only on the web site? Is everything finished?
When will it be released?
We're finishing things up within the next day or two. I'm excited about
it and I think it looks wonderful, although I find it difficult and embarrassing
to watch myself and all of my goofy mannerisms on stage. It seems that
other people don't think I look as ridiculous as I think I look..otherwise
I would not have been able to continue to do this for all this time!
The title of the DVD is Funky...Funky Soul!!! and it will be
for sale through my Web site and through Amazon.com,
and at all of our live performances. I expect it to be released sometime
around December 10.
back to top
The last 10 years you made several top albums and last year
you topped it all with this live double album. What's next? Aren't you
a little bit afraid to make a follow up? How can you beat this? What are
your plans for the future?
I wouldn't say that I am afraid to make a follow up, but it's also true
that I don't have plans or ideas for a follow up at this time. I do think
that it is time for me to try again to write some songs, so if I had to
guess, I would guess that my next release will contain at least some new
original material. Or, I might decide to do "Soul Collection II"--who
It may sound strange to say this, but the way it has usually worked for
me is that I come to the decision to do a new CD spontaneously, without
much forethought or planning. An idea just seems to come to me, seemingly
out of nowhere, and then all the plans come together in a short period
of time. This is the way the ideas for Soul Collection, Can I Change
My Mind, and Sworn Testimony came together, and I expect
that whatever I do next will come together in a similar way.
I am really concentrating most these days on spending time with my family
and my wonderful wife, whom I have neglected badly during the past five
years or so, and have worked much less frequently with the band in the
past year than I did in the previous several years. I guess I could say
that I am concentrating more on quality than on quantity. We don't work
nearly as much, but when we do, it is usually quite special.
You made about 10 albums and they all differ slightly...They
all have a slightly different approach to them... Was that a conscience
choice or did it just turn out that way?
I think that it "just turned out that way." But on the other
hand, there has been an element of conscious choice as well. Ever since
Free at Last, I have not had to rely on my music career to make
a living, so I have been free to do what I felt like doing and when I
felt like doing it. I often tell people that I am not famous enough to
be constrained by the requirements of the music industry; this is one
of the consolations of not being famous!
My day job has afforded me this freedom. I haven't sold a large number
of CDs, but I am happy with the variety and quality of the music I've
created since Free at Last, and fortunately, there have been
enough people interested in what I do that I've been able at least to
break even on the venture of creating, producing, and distributing this
What's your own favorite Billy Price album/song and why?
My two favorites are Is It Over? and Soul Collection.
On Is It Over?, my favorite song is probably the title song,
and on Soul Collection I also like the ballads, especially "Your
Time to Cry" and "That's How It Is." I am also partial
to "Betcha Didn't Know That."
Which album did turn out the best for BP? In other words, which
one did sell the most?
Over the years, Is It Over? has proven to be remarkably durable,
and it continues to sell steadily while the other older recordings, such
as the first Live album, Danger Zone, and Free at
Last, don't sell much at all. My core fans in Pittsburgh and on the
East Coast of the US continue to identify me with "Eldorado Cafe,"
"Lickin Stick," "Ace of Spades," "You Left the
Water Running," and "She's Tough," which are the most popular
songs from the Is It Over? album.
If you'd not have the day job, could you and your family survive
on the music income?
Probably, but it wouldn't be much of a life, I don't think.
What do you think about the blues/soul scene today? Is it still
healthy? Are there (enough) new names/artists, you think, to keep it alive?
Any new names we have to look out for?
I'm not confident that I am qualified to answer this, because I don't
follow the music scene as closely nowadays as I have in the past. I think
that the Malaco label from Jackson, Mississippi continues to be a real
soul music label and, although I haven't followed their releases too closely
in a few years, they were producing great stuff during the past decade
that the many people who consider themselves fans of blues and soul may
have overlooked. The continuing market for soul/blues in the U.S. is a
surprise, and a pleasant one. There really is a lot of decent soul music
being recorded on small labels like Malaco. Although much of it is formulaic,
there are too many cheesy sounding electronic instruments, and some of
the lyrics are either way too raunchy or repeat old themes of infidelity,
there are still a lot of great classic soul singers who are recording,
and that's a good thing.
The market for what I would call derivative blues and blues rock also
seems to be healthy and, if anything, growing from year to year. I could
argue that no one will ever do anything to rival the great Chess blues
recordings (Muddy, Wolf, Sonny Boy, Little Walter, etc.), but there surely
are a lot of artists, bands, clubs, labels, and festivals that concentrate
on blues-based music, and there is a viable, self-sustaining scene that
is making it possible for a lot of people to make a living in support
of what is a retro style of music. I remember sitting in a bar with a
friend of mine in the early 70s lamenting the impending demise of blues.
We thought that Buddy Guy and Otis Rush were probably going to be the
last real bluesmen, and that the stuff was just going to fade away with
their generation. Obviously, that prediction hasn't turned out to have
In a way, though, I'd have to think that if anything really significant
is happening right now in African-American music, it's probably happening
in genres that I don't pay much attention to, such as hip hop and contemporary
R&B, rather than in the world of retro, derivative blues and soul/blues
that I inhabit. If there is a 22-year-old somewhere who is the next incarnation
of Sam Cooke, he's probably setting his sights on the musical mainstream,
because he's going to want to reach millions of people, not thousands.
This is the way it has always been.
As for new names to look for...I'm listening lately to a young guy named
Calvin Richardson, a contemporary R&B artist who sounds like Bobby
Womack and Sam Cooke at times. My favorite group for some time now has
been the Canton
Spirituals, a contemporary gospel group that played Peer a few years
ago. And Al Green is about to release a new secular CD on BlueNote that
was produced by Willie Mitchell and sounds like it could have been recorded
in 1978. I've heard some of the songs on the BlueNote Web site, and they
are incredibly great. That's about all I know about contemporary music!
With whom would you like to work with in the future (studio
or live)? Dan Penn, Steve Cropper, Booker T and the MG's? Irma Thomas
did this album "The songs of Dan Penn". It was not spectacular
but it was ok. Would you like to do something like that (again) in the
Sure, all of the above. I was disappointed with the Irma Thomas/Dan Penn
CD--I thought it was a bit tepid--but I loved the idea of it.
People who are trying to dig out soul music, where should they
start according to you? Could you make like a top-5-beginners-album-list?
Oh, boy, this is a tough one. OK...
Steps from the Blues, Bobby Bland
Cooke with the Soul Stirrers
Brown Live at the Apollo, Volume One
Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul
5. tie: James
Carr, O.V. Wright, Al
Green, Otis Clay, Syl
Johnson, Aretha, Shirley
Brown, Solomon Burke,
Peebles, Bobby Womack
and we have even talked about vocal groups, blues artists, gospel artists.
Sorry, I just can't narrow it down any better than this!
Any tips on books we should surely read?
I think Sweet
Soul Music by Peter Guralnick is the best book about soul that I've
ever read. Others that come to mind are Rythm
Oil by Stanley Booth, Soul
Music: The Birth of a Sound in Black America, by Michael Haralambos,
Soul by Robert Pruter, The
Gospel Sound by Tony Heilbut, Great
God 'A Mighty by Jerry Zolten (about the Dixie Hummingbirds).
You have the day job, your music, you write and a beautiful
family (who you dedicated the last album to).... Any goals left in your
life? What more would you like to archive?
I'm not driven by ambition in the way that I was when I was younger (BTW,
today is my 54th birthday!). If my life continues in the path that it
has taken during the past year, I would be as happy as I could be. My
only specific goal is to get back to Europe to perform frequently during
the coming years!
That's it! We are finished! I hope you've enjoyed this as much
as I did! I know 92 questions is a lot. I want to thank you very, very
much. Of course I'll keep in touch...Nope, didn't beat the record, ha
ha, I asked Little Milton 95 questions....but then again his career was
a little bit longer than yours...
This has been a pleasure for me too. Thanks so much for doing this.