BILLY SQUIER - “I’m Hopelessly Inactive In Terms Of Promoting My Own Career”
February 14, 2008, 10 years ago
BW&BK; recently got in contact with singer, guitarist, and successful solo artist BILLY SQUIER for a little chat about happenings in the Squier camp. Capping off a long chat about PIPER’s Can’t Wait album for the upcoming fourth edition of the Ye Olde Metal series (Ye Olde Metal: 1977), Squier had this to say about reviving his career at a relaxed and controlled pace…“I would say that career-wise, I’m not career-oriented at all. My career now kind of evolves around people coming to me with ideas, and I’ll do it if it’s something that sounds interesting to me. If I can enjoy it without being sucked back into the vortex of the music business, then I’m happy to do it. The most recent thing like that was playing with RINGO (Starr) a couple of years ago, in the ALL STAR BAND, which, I’m looking forward to doing this year too. Rumour has it (laughs), that we’re going to go again. So if you say that, you have to say rumour has it, because it’s not official yet. A lot of us would like to see that happen again, including Ringo. But that’s a fantastic gig, because you play with these great musicians and you do each other’s songs, and you end up having a great band. We did that two years ago and it was one of the best things I ever did; I really enjoyed that. But I’ve done some odd bits and pieces here and there. I did something for a blues history, a Delta blues history, which is going to come out any time now, which is just me playing acoustic guitar and singing, just like the guys back on the porch. But I really like that style and that kind of music. And I write the odd song once in a while. It’s usually just because I hear it and I want to do it. I’d really have to say that I’m hopelessly inactive in terms of promoting my own career (laughs).
There is also some reissue news, is there not?
“Yes, Capitol put together a new label called American Beat, and they’ve re-released Emotions In Motion and Signs Of Life, which is a start. Tale Of The Tape was re-released a couple years ago in England, on a label called Rock Candy, and that is a spectacular re-release. And it sounds amazing; John Astley remastered it and did an incredible job. I did the book along with those guys, and it’s one of the best pieces of Billy Squier that you can ever get. So I highly recommend that. Also, after years of having nothing to do with my website, I’ve got much more involved with my website. There are some great people who run it, but I came up with an idea to get more of my catalogue out. We’re getting more of my catalogue up, and right now we’re in the process of putting up everything I’ve ever done. We do it release by release, one at a time.”
Do you mean to sell via iTunes?“Yes, you can buy any of the songs individually, or you could buy them as a package and get discounts, the usual stuff. But it’s not as much of a moneymaking venture, as it is… because Capitol put so much of my catalogue out of print, it’s basically… you go to a store, all you can get is Don’t Say No and Greatest Hits. And for me, whether people buy my catalogue or buy my music, it’s up to them. But I’d like to have people have a chance to buy it. We’re making it available so you can listen to it. And I also write liner notes for each one. I try to write stuff that you haven’t heard about before. It’s kind of an autobiographical chapter of what happened during the making of those records. So that’s something that… I mean, I promote it to Billy Squier fans. I think if you’re a Billy Squier fan, you should go to the website, because you’ll get a lot of stuff out of it. So yes, American Beat have re-released Emotions In Motion, and they’ve just released Signs Of Life, and hopefully they will do more. So at this point we kind of have my first four solo records out, and then we still have four more to go (laughs). But a lot of that stuff now, like I said, you can get, selectively or collectively, through Billy Squier.com.”
“There has been more and more talk about taking the band out again,” adds Billy, who’s got to know fans are starved for hearing that voice of his on stage again. “I think we’re getting close to that. I’m waiting to see how this year lines up - if Ringo wants to go, I want to go with him. Because it’s an experience that doesn’t come around that often, and I want to do that. And I would say after that, I would be seriously thinking about doing more shows. Whether or not that happens this year, it might not happen ‘til ‘09. But it’s definitely... enough people have thrown it my way. It’s definitely on my radar now. It feels like, yeah, it’s been a while, I should go out, it would be fun.”
Legendary KISS manager Bill Aucoin (also Piper, STARZ, and recently LORDI) has made it known that he’d love to be a part of reviving Squier’s career.“I talk to him every once in awhile,” notes Billy. “I know if I wanted to make a record, he would love to make a record with me. He’s always been a real supportive fan, so I know that he would like to do that. I figured, I haven’t had a manager for years, because, you know, what do I need a manager for? I’m not working. I have my publisher and my agent. I mean, if I went out, I might need someone to help me out. Because handling managerial duties is not something that I really aspire to. I don’t know, a lot of it remains to be seen, going out, you know, who would be involved in it, because a lot of the old band members aren’t around. So we would get who we could, and then we would fill in some slots. So it’s still to be determined. But I think yes, I think it would be good to go and do maybe something like I’ve never really done. I’ve really been thinking a lot about doing an idea of A Night With Billy Squier. And really doing it for the fans, doing it in smaller venues and doing a long show - and doing the whole history. Not just going out and doing the ten songs that you want to hear. There is so much more that I would like to do. There is so much of my music... songs to me are like my children, I love all of them. There is so much of my stuff where I go, ‘Why don’t people listen to this?’ But I know the fans do. So I’d like to go and make the show not just a greatest hits revue, but do something where people go, ‘Wow, he did this, he did that, wow, he did an acoustic section!’ I’m always looking for something to keep it interesting for me. And that’s about the only thing I haven’t done, as a touring artist, is to do something really comprehensive.”
And the voice is good?“Fine - better than it used to be. It seems to be. Whenever I go out to sing... and I think a lot of that is because I’m very relaxed. I’m comfortable in my skin. Because it’s been a long time, and you suddenly realize gee, I guess I don’t have anything to prove anymore. I guess people DO like me. I guess I am good, you know? (laughs). So when that happens, you feel a lot more at ease.”
For a Squier-penned history of Signs Of Life (the latest reissue), plus the above discussed downloads, please visit www.billysquier.com