THE LONESOME ROAD
Upon first meeting Bloodshot Bill at the 2006 Drop Dead Festival in New York City, we were enamored by his musical talent. A Montreal-based rockabilly one-man band, Bill has a raw and wild 1950s style, which has often been compared to the great legend Hasil Adkins. Shortly after that festival, Bill was no longer able to gain admittance into the United States, in fact, for five long years. Luckily for all American rockabilly fanatics, he is now able to tour freely throughout the U.S. Bloodshot Bill is also now on the Norton Records label. Photography Alexander Thompson. https://www.bloodshotbill.com/
PONYBOY: Bill, please tell us about your background.
BLOODSHOT BILL: I’m Trinitalian (half Italian, half Trinidadian, that is) and born and raised in Canada. I started playing music in high school – the drums first – and only started playing guitar in my early 20s. I play with many bands, as well as doing my own solo/one-man band shows. I have many recorded releases and hope you pick one up.
PONYBOY: At what age did you start getting into music?
BLOODSHOT BILL: I was pretty young. My best friend in first grade had an older brother with cool records and an older cousin who actually played in a rockabilly band. We thought it was pretty cool. I recently played a show with the older cousin (George Stryker). It was the first time I’d seen him in about 30 years! Also around that age, when my family would go on little weekend trips in the car, we’d always have this one Conway Twitty tape on. And we’d all sing along! I knew all the words and never got sick of it. I guess I was 6 or 7 years old.
PONYBOY: You toured in the United States for a while, then were forbidden to re-enter the U.S. Please tell us a bit about that.
BLOODSHOT BILL: I crossed into the States without a proper work visa. That’s it. And I was banned for 5 years. Now, I’m allowed back in and have the proper visa, etc. All is well, but what a pain it is to get that visa going. Eeef!
PONYBOY: Did you feel it set your career back at the time?
BLOODSHOT BILL: I don’t know. My expectations aren’t too high considering the kind of stuff I do. I was really bummed to not be able to play, see friends, travel, etc
PONYBOY: Since you’ve been able to enter the States and play, it seems like you are now touring more than ever. Is this correct?
BLOODSHOT BILL: No, I used to tour much more than I do now. I still get around. I’m just more selective of where I go. Before, I used to just hop in the car and be gone for months and months at a time. Now, I try to just head out on weekends, or for two weeks tops.
PONYBOY: You are now signed with Norton Records, a great American label. How has that been for you? It seems a perfect fit.
BLOODSHOT BILL: It’s a really great feeling to be on my favorite record label, and a huge honor to be one of the very few modern acts to release albums with them. I love everything they’ve done. And they really are the greatest people, too.
PONYBOY: How many records have you done with Norton? And many have you done in total?
BLOODSHOT BILL: With Norton, I’ve released 5 albums (as Bloodshot Bill, Ding-Dongs, and Tandoori Knights), 7 singles/EPs (as Bloodshot Bill, Tandoori Knights, and Bollywood Argyles), and have a new album planned for release this year with them. In total, with various labels (and not counting tracks on compilations), I have had 40 releases.
PONYBOY: That’s quite an extensive music library at a young age. We also love that you have your very own Bloodshot Bill Pomade Nice’N’Greasy. How did that come about?
BLOODSHOT BILL: I played a weekender in Kansas City years ago called Greaserama. The organizers also ran American Greaser Supply. We hit it off really well, and they sponsored me. They made me my own Frankenstein blend of their greases. It was the best. I still have some left but am hanging on to it hoarder-style, since they sold the company years ago.
PONYBOY: You now have a family. Please tell us about your daughter.
BLOODSHOT BILL: My daughter is the best! I love her so much. Her name is Penny Lee. She’s turning two next week. I smile everytime I look at her.
PONYBOY: What are your plans as far as recording and future touring?
BLOODSHOT BILL: I’m gonna “keep on keepin’ on”. I’ve got lots of new recordings coming out this year and plenty more touring. I’m heading to Florida next week, France, Belgium, and maybe the Yukon at some point this year. I’ve got lots of fun stuff planned.