Nashville, TN, originally from Santa Barbara, CA
When did you start playing? My best friend in elemetary school started
taking guitar lessons in 5th grade and that got me interested. The next year I
got a guitar for Christmas and a couple months later the Beatles were on Ed
Sullivan. That cinched it.
First guitar: Gibson LG-I acoustic. The same model guitar my friend had.
Except the first time we got together to play, we both strummed an E chord and
the difference was astounding....his suddenly sounded dry & brittle, mine
sounded rich, warm and twice as loud. That was an exceptional
sounding guitar - I grew up on it and it was stolen while I was in college....
I still miss it.
Early influences: Coming of age in Southern California in the early
'60's, I was listening to surf music. Most of it being guitar instrumentals, I
learned tunes by the Ventures, Duane Eddy, the Challengers, the Lively Ones, etc.
Of course, the Beach Boys were the biggest thing. Until the Beatles arrived. It
wasn't long before us teenage boys that had a guitar realized if we brought
it to school and started playing Beatle tunes, we'd soon be surrounded by girls
who would otherwise ignore us. It became a competition to see who could learn
the latest song first.
Early playing days: I jammed with some friends (& took lessons) all
through high school but was much too shy to actually join a band. I didn't do that
until after graduation and then joined a band across town so I wouldn't have
to worry about my friends seeing me.
First gig: A church dance (across town). During the first song, my hands
were shaking so bad I couldn't hold on to the guitar. Luckily, it got easier
after that and by the end of our first set, I was hooked.
Acoustic guitars you own: 2 Bryan Galloup Northern Lights, 2 Taylors
(812 and 714), an old Guild, fretted Dobro, Ramirez classical, Hirade classical
and a bouzouki made by William Petersen.
Favorite guitar: My newer Galloup, which I got about 2 years ago. It's my
main acoustic for sessions. Sounds great solo but also lays perfectly within
a band track. Very even and the most in tune acoustic I've ever owned. My
first Galloup was one of Bryan's first proptotypes and has aged well....it's one
of my main stage guitars but the newer one is amazing, he has made incredible
progress and improvements over the past 6 years. By the way, all my stage
guitars are equipped with L.R. Baggs Duet systems (p.u. & mic).
Your style: A little bit of everything. You have to be diverse to earn a living as a
sideman. Developed by listening to all styles of music and learning from other
instruments, not just guitarists.
Practice regimen: These days, if I'm practicing, it's for an upcoming
tour, session, project....or songwriting. There was a time, however, (about 25
years ago) when I did the 8 hours a day thing.
Favorite Artist(s): Too many to list but I've got to mention Leo Kottke
for acoustic guitar. First heard him in the mid '70's and I heard what was
possible for solo steel string guitar playing and composing. Heard him again in
concert last year and he hasn't lost a step (may have gained a couple, in fact).
As a professional, any words of wisdom: If you want to go for it (music
as a profession), you'd better be driven by the music. Otherwise you'll
probably get discouraged long before you see any return on your investment of time
and hard work. As an early music teacher told me, "If the music isn't enough,
put the guitar back in the case." When people ask me about moving to Nashville
to break in to the music business, I'm usually kind of discouraging. Mainly,
because it is tough to do but I also know the ones who are absolutely motivated
by the music will never even hear my words of caution.
Anything else: I feel very fortunate to be able to make a living with the
guitar. It's a privledge to be able to work with Kathy Mattea
and other artists of that caliber. After all these years, I'm having more fun than ever!
Check out Bill's website and his new CD "A Turn in the Road"