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LEW PHILLIPS
THE PREPPY VOICE

  • Musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • The young rockabilly musician know as Mr. Lew Phillips from Canada. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Canadian musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • A B&W portrait of rockabilly performer Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Photos of Canadian musician Lew Phillips smoking. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Assorted photos of rockabilly musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Canadian musician Lew Phillips wears formal attire onstage. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • B&W images of Canadian musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Photos of young rockabilly performer Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Rockabilly musician Mr. Lew Phillips from Montreal Canada. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheets of Canadian musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • B&W images of Montreal musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Photos of Canadian musician known as Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • 50s inspired images of musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Rockabilly musician know as Mr. Lew Phillips from Montreal Canada. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • The Preppy Voice - Canadian musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Portraits of rockabilly musician Lew Phillips with guitar. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • A turtlenecked Lew Phillips with cigarette. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Wild Records and Rhythm Bomb Records product for musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Photos of young rockabilly Canadian musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • A B&W photos of rockabilly performer Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • The Preppy Voice - musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • B&W portrait of rockabilly performer Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • A B&W portraits of rockabilly performer Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • Portraits of Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • A B&W photos of young rockabilly performer Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Young rockabilly Canadian musician Mr. Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheets of musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine New York.
  • The young rockabilly musician know as Mr. Lew Phillips from Montreal Canada. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Canadian musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Portraits of rockabilly musician Mr. Lew Phillips from Montreal Canada. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Portraits of the rockabilly musician Mr. Lew Phillips from Montreal. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • B&W photos of musician Lew Phillips. Ponyboy magazine NY.

LEW PHILLIPS

THE PREPPY VOICE

Lew Phillips is the young, 23 year old Canadian musician that we stumbled upon a few years back, and since then we’ve been captivated by both his music and personal style. There are the many photographs of the handsome young singer in 50s clothing with his trademark cigarette dangling out of his mouth. At 17 he put out his first release, and shortly after he had a 45rpm with the highly popular Wild Records from California, as well as a follow-up album with Rhythm Bomb Records. Phillips has now gone on to consistently self-produce his own singles. We caught up with the performer to inquire about his background, as well as the evolution from his early rockabilly style, to his more 60s inspired, self-described, “Preppy Voice”.  All photographs courtesy of Lew Phillips. https://www.reverbnation.com/lewphillips  https://soundcloud.com/lewphillips   https://www.instagram.com/lewphillipsmusic/?hl=en

PONYBOY:  Lew, we first saw a video of you on YouTube a few years back and thought for sure it must be a Buddy Holly cover. And since, we’ve followed your music career. Tell us about your Canadian roots.

LEW PHILLIPS:  I actually wrote the song “Your Love” even though I was heavily influenced by the great, late Buddy Holly. I did do a cover of a Buddy Holly number during the Wild Weekender in Santa Ana, California in 2013. I grew up in a small Canadian town of Quebec’s Province called Joliette. I am basically from French-Canadian and Scottish-Canadian descendants. As a kid, I used to be sick very often and my grandparents used to babysit me all the time. That’s where I got my first “so called” musical education. My grandparents being too old for rock’n’roll, they were from the Country music generation; so the first singers I heard were Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Hank “LaRiviere” Rivers, etc…

PONYBOY:   Tell us how you first got into playing music.

LEW PHILLIPS:   As a kid, I loved to grab my grandpa’s acoustic guitar and sing along with him. So, I guess we could say that’s where it started. I thought I could become a professional hockey and baseball player, but when I finally became a teenager, I realized that was wasn’t going to happen and that I sucked anyway. So, I realized my dream to become a professional singer, songwriter and recording artist and that was it!

PONYBOY:   Your inspirations might be obvious to some, but tell us what musicians inspire you when writing and playing music.

LEW PHILLIPS:   I guess you’re not only talking about the lyrics, but the melody as well. So, here’s the ones which I think are my biggest influences, not just because they’ve been highly proclaimed and called geniuses over the years, but mostly because they helped me shape and develop my own songwriting technique. I’d say even when I was a teenager who wanted to pursue a rock ‘n’ roll/rockabilly career, I was listening to a lot of Beatles music from their Hamburg period through the Rubber Soul album. There’s something about them and their music which I can’t explain, but love it. They were using non-conventional chords for the early 1960s. When I look at Lennon and McCartney’s songs and hear them, I feel like I’m with them and know what they had to say. Each time I listen to them, I’m like, God, they knew how to write perfect lyrics with amazing melodies. So that’s why they’re very important to me. Then, there is Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. Do I need to explain why? I mean this guy had the whole thing in his head. He could hear the whole damn song with all the instruments in his head even before he started recording it. That helped me a lot, because I’m now able to do the same thing. There’s also Phil Spector, even though he wasn’t a musical composer, but in terms of musical production he was the best. Neil Sedaka and the whole Brill Building team are also among my biggest influences, because contrary to nowadays composers in pop culture, they knew how to write some real good pop music. Finally, the great, late Buddy Holly is a guy of his own class. Just like Paul McCartney once said, he was writing his own songs, played guitar, did the solos and sang at the same time. So, if he can do it, why couldn’t we?

PONYBOY:   How would you describe your sound?

LEW PHILLIPS:  I would describe it as nostalgic music with contemporary lyrics. But if you wanna get more specific, I’d say it’s modern vintage pop music with a touch of rock ‘n’ roll, vocal harmonies and a country music beat in the back.

PONYBOY:  When we first became aware of your music, you had a single on Wild Records, and then recorded with Rhythm Bomb Records. You now self-publish your own music, correct?

LEW PHILLIPS:   That is absolutely correct! In 2015, my contract with Rhythm Bomb was about to expire in a few months and I was supposed to be making a second album for them, but I was now at a point where I felt like I no longer recognized myself in this record label. They wanted me to make a rock ‘n’ roll album and I wanted to explore and go on a personal musical journey; and they didn’t accept it. They even publicly spoke negatively about me and my decisions and they even tried to sue me. But that’s their problem. I’m doing music because that’s my reason to live. So, at first I thought I’d find another label, like a commercial one in Canada or in the United States. Then I found out life was happening with it’s reality. Nothing was happening. I wasn’t making any money. I was broke. So, finally in 2017, I decided to create my own record label just so I’d have a label to put on my records and started recording in my apartment, but still, there was a lot to learn about. Not only did I find out it was much harder to make a great sounding recording, but also that it was much harder to promote yourself and do all the things that a record label normally does for you. So I started studying and studying about recordings and social media marketing and all those dirty jobs you have to do yourself. Finally, last Spring, I realized I couldn’t do it anymore without any financial support. My fiancee told me she was going to leave me if I didn’t get a steady job to pay the bills. I got hired in a supermarket in my neighborhood and started releasing digital singles and evolving as singer, songwriter, recording artist and producer. I bought myself a new little guitar amplifier (a very cool 60s Vox reissue) and I started to think like a modern artist, because the whole game’s changed. The only similarity with the 50s or 60s is that the only way to make music is to play gigs and tour. So, I started to do my research and try to find some promoters, considering I wanted to tour the US. But I found out you somehow had to have some connections and that maybe I should do it on my own, but it takes money. And my steady job at the supermarket wasn’t paying so well, so I applied for a job at a beer company called Molson, which is the very first brewery in North America (Sorry fellas, hahaha) that a guy named John Molson founded in 1786 and they are still brewing in the same old building. So I guess the rest will be history, eh!

PONYBOY:   Your music and style has evolved from that 50s sound and look you had when you first started out. Would you say that you’ve lost some of the fans that first had an interest in you, the rockabilly crowd?

LEW PHILLIPS:   Definitely! Which is sad, but I can’t force anyone to like what I do. I’m for freedom of speech and expression, so if they don’t like what I do anymore, there’s nothing I can do. That’s just life. I mean, it happens, but life goes on. I just want to make people happy with my music, that’s all.

PONYBOY:   And what is your style of dress now? You describe yourself as “The Preppy Voice”. Do you wear primarily vintage? Are there any menswear designer’s/labels that you tend to like?

LEW PHILLIPS:  Yes! I don’t wear vintage clothes anymore. I got sick of buying old and expensive clothes only to find out months later they were good for the trash. And I don’t like the fact that some grandpas or whatever you wanna call them, wore those clothes and might have had a little accident in those pants. I know it shocks, eh! Some will say, yeah, but we wash the clothes anyway. I typically reply, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re old and used to be someone else’s clothes. So I decided I’d change my wardrobe and get some at the “Canadian Macy’s” (Hudson Bay Company) to get some brand new and cool clothes and find my own personal style. I’m a big fan of British brands like Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, Topman, but I also love brands like Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, G.H. Bass & Co., etc. I love classic labels that offer classic clothes with a bit of a vintage touch.

PONYBOY:   Tell us your thoughts and frustrations with the music industry.

LEW PHILLIPS:  I think it’s mostly when it comes to booking and gigging. I mean, I can’t speak for everywhere, but in Montreal, the music scene sucks. If you’re not in some privileged gang, they won’t let you play their bars. They won’t even reply to your emails. But, eh, no need to cry like a baby. Instead of doing so, you wash your bloody hands, get your head off the sand and work harder and try to get booked in let’s say Ontario. So then when you succeed you can show those people who refused to give you a chance that you proved them wrong. And that is what I’m planning to do.

PONYBOY:   How many records/singles do you have as of now?

LEW PHILLIPS:   I’ve released an EP on my own before Wild Records, then “Mister Colter/Silent Love” on Wild Records, and then my first album on Rhythm Bomb Records. As for on my own record label called Barking Puzzle Records, my first single was “Dreaming About Summertime”, then “Give Up”, and then “Don’t Cry”, then “Big Wide World” and finally my newest one (for the moment) is “A Taste Of Love”, which by the way you can all listen to on YouTube, bandcamp, Reverbnation and Soundcloud.

PONYBOY:   We’ve seen in some of your social media posts that you have a home based music/recording space. What does your recording process consist of?

LEW PHILLIPS:  I’m working with a soundcard, one single microphone, a couple of free plugins and the room where I’m recording as a natural echo. I don’t use any effects on guitars or any other instruments, except reverb and delay for the final mix. I do overdub tracks. I do all the instruments, except for the drums. My drummer is the session player for the drums part. Isn’t it amazing that nowadays we can do more with a computer than George Martin with The Beatles in 1964!

PONYBOY:   Being based in Montreal, do you have a fan base there? Is there a “scene” for your kind of music?

LEW PHILLIPS:   Here’s the funny thing; there is no existence of any scene related to what I do and I think it has its pros and cons. It makes my music very original, since nobody else is doing the same stuff I do. But it also means it’s very tough to get people to know me and see me play. I think it’ll take time to make it happen, but I do think at the end it’ll be worth it.

PONYBOY:   What modern day musicians do you have an affinity for?

LEW PHILLIPS:   I basically love Nick Waterhouse, Leon Bridges, Allah Las, The Molochs, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats. I think they all have something to offer to the world and it makes me happy to see these guys enjoying some success and popularity among the pop culture. It makes me dream and gives me hope that someday this could also happen to the young Canuck man that I am.

PONYBOY:   Does being a Canadian make touring in the US difficult? Do you have any plans to tour the US or Europe in the near future?

LEW PHILLIPS:   You want me to be honest with you? Look, I love the United States. In fact, I’m a huge fan of your country. A bunch of humble men got together to build a strong and free nation. You created the modern show business industry, you can do anything you want, and you can be anyone you want to. But we, as Canadians, your northern neighbors, we have always been into the shadow of the USA. We have always had to work harder than anyone else in the music industry to prove to you that we can make it too. Now, we are starting to get more recognition from you which I’m very grateful for. But some things never change; what I’m talking about is when it comes to touring. It costs $800 for Canadian musicians to get a visa and be able to tour your country. But, on the contrary, it doesn’t cost a dime to US musicians who want to tour. All they have to do, is to sign some form and show the merchandise they want to bring with them at the Canadian borders. But, that is mainly due to the fact the Canadian government has never had any balls whatsoever, so I guess there’s nothing we can do about that other than following the rules and do the right things legally. But it definitely ain’t your fault. I am definitely planning to tour the USA and England. My two favorite countries in the world, after my own country, my dear Canada.

PONYBOY:   Finally, what plans do you have in store for your music career in the future?

LEW PHILLIPS:   I’m taking it easy. Step by step. So, now my plans are that I want to release as many singles as possible. I’m already releasing one new single each month. I also wanna grow my audience in Canada, the US and England. I want to tour Canada and the US. The final step would be to quit my steady job and make my music a living, not necessarily being a millionaire, but just being able to live a decent life and making music my main and only job.

BLOODSHOT
VIRTUOSO

  • Opening spread of Bloodshot Bill for Ponyboy Magazine by photographer Alexander Thompson.
  • B&W head shots of Norton Records artist Bloodshot Bill, photographed by Alexander Thompson.
  • Collage of Bloodshot Bill
  • Photograph of rockabilly singer Bloodshot Bill, photographed at The New England Shakeup weekender by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy Magazine.
  • Various flyers of shows for rockabilly legend Bloodshot Bill, for Ponyboy Magazine in New York City.
  • Repeat of Bloodshot Bill Japan Tour, for Ponyboy Magazine in New York City.
  • Rockabilly sensation Bloodshot Bill performing in New York City. Photographed by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy Magazine.
  • Assortment of flyers, for rockabilly performer Bloodshot Bill. For Ponyboy Magazine in New York City.
  • Rockabilly artist Bloodshot Bill on stage, photographed by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy Magazine.
  • Bloodshot Bill album covers, a rockabilly artist with Norton Records, for Ponyboy Magazine in New York City.
  • Rockabilly artist Bloodshot Bill, photographed with a PBR beer. Photograph by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy Magazine in New York City.
  • Assorted album covers of Norton Records rockabilly performer Bloodshot Bill. For Ponyboy Magazine in New York City.
  • Bloodshot Bill with guitar, photographed for Ponyboy Magazine by Alexander Thompson in New York City.
  • Collage of rockabilly one man band Bloodshot Bill, for Ponyboy Magazine in New York City.
  • Norton Recording artist Bloodshot Bill, photographed backstage in New York City for Ponyboy Magazine by Alexander Thompson.
  • Blooshot Bill performing in New York City, photographed for Ponyboy Magazine by Alexander Thompson.
  • Collage of Norton Records rockabilly singer Bloodshot Bill, for Ponyboy Magazine in New York City.
  • Rockabilly legend Bloodshot BIll photographed by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy Magazine in New York City.
  • Photograph of Bloodshot Bill guitar by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy Magazine.
  • Close-up image of Bloodshot Bill pompadour by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy Magazine.

BLOODSHOT BILL

ONE MAN BAND

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 50’s 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.

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 20’s. 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 honour 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.

BETTINA MAY
BURLESQUE QUEEN

Bettina May. Red head. Pin-up model. Burlesque Queen. Always in demand. Always on the go. With bombshell movie star looks, Ponyboy caught up with this beauty recently before she jumped on a plane for a quick chat. All photos courtesy of Bettina May.

THE BEAUTIFUL NYC REDHEAD

40’s-50’s PIN-UP MODEL

  • Bettina May photographed in NYC 2013 at R Bar. Photo by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy Magazine.
  • Photo collage of Burlesque Beauty Bettina May for Ponyboy Magazine.
  • The beautiful Bettina May, collage for Ponyboy Magazine.
  • Photo collage of pin-up model Bettina May for Ponyboy Magazine.

PONYBOY:  You hail from Canada originally?

BETTINA MAY:  Yes, I was born in a little town in British Columbia near Vancouver and moved to Victoria to go to university. And from there I moved to New York.

PONYBOY:  How did you get into burlesque performing?

BETTINA MAY:  I got into it through vintage culture, hairstyles and outfits. I did pin-up modeling first  and through that was introduced to the burlesque world. I basically saw it as a way to explore my love of all things vintage.

PONYBOY:  It really is a true talent, not just something that anyone can do. Who are your burlesque idols?

BETTINA MAY:  I have to give a huge shout out to Dita Von Teese for bringing the modern burlesque resurgence to a more mainstream audience without diluting the art form.  I also love the work of Tempest Storm, Tiffany Carter and Bambi Jones – true legends of burlesque.

PONYBOY:  Have you always been into the  vintage aesthetic? 40-50’s?

BETTINA MAY:  Yes, it has appealed to me for as long as I can remember.  I grew up watching “I Love Lucy” and “Leave It To Beaver” and couldn’t wait to dress like all the stylish ladies I admired onscreen.  I dabbled with 60’s and 70’s styles in grade school and spent a lot of time working on perfecting hairstyles, makeup and collecting clothes from the 30’s-50’s.

PONYBOY:  All that glamour you have…you must get stopped in the street a lot. Do people recognize you?

BETTINA MAY:  People are definitely not used to seeing red lips and precisely coiffed hair out in public, even in New York City. So I do get a lot of attention. Once in a while people recognize me, but mostly they just think I must be someone legitimately famous. People still associate that high level of glamour that Hollywood starlets in the golden age of cinema flaunted with celebrity, so I get asked if I’m “somebody” quite a bit.  Short answer: No! Hahaha!

PONYBOY:   Are you a natural redhead?

BETTINA MAY:  While red hair runs in my family  and I prayed for years that it would come in, my dreams did not in fact come true. I took matters in my own hands.

PONYBOY:  In your burlesque career, what has been your favorite performance?

BETTINA MAY:  Oh goodness, that’s a tough one!  Every time I get on stage is my next favorite because I enjoy being up there and sharing my love of dance with every person in the audience and feeling their enjoyment reflected back on me.  I think the one I’ll always remember was during my first European tour in 2007. I performed in a beautiful little club in Lisbon, Portugal to a gorgeous, perfectly dressed audience of vintage culture enthusiasts. Unforgettable!

PONYBOY:  Who was your favorite celebrity to perform for?

BETTINA MAY:  Performing for Brooke Shields was my favorite experience. We got to meet her after the show. She was so lovely, genuine and sweet – everything I’d hoped she’d be.

PONYBOY:  What brought about your Bettina May Pin-up classes?

BETTINA MAY:  When I started performing I had so many ladies come up to me after shows asking me for hairstyling and make-up tips. After a while of trying to explain the finer points of a proper roller set in a loud night club to drunk fans, I decided a proper class was in order.  The first class in 2006 was a great success. And since then I’ve brought my class around the world and tour the US with it at least once per year.  It’s been amazing to see how life-changing it can be for my students. It’s truly heart-warming.

PONYBOY:  Congratulations on your green card. Any big plans for the future?

BETTINA MAY:  Thank you so much!  It seemed an impossible task, but now that the US Government has declared me an Alien of Extraordinary Ability in burlesque and pin-up modeling, I’m inspired to set much larger and loftier goals.  I’m currently booking another European tour for Spring 2014, and lots of other exciting projects are in the planning stages that I need to keep under wraps for now.