Billy
billy jenkins with the blues collectivesadtimes.co.uk
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dick Ward interviews the Blues Collective

In keeping with the theme of this recording, local journalist Dick Ward decided to ask each band member twelve (one for each bar) questions. He conducted the interviews by e-mail.

Dylan Bates - electric violin
Richard 'Homer' Bolton - rhythm guitar
Thad Kelly - electric bass
Mike Pickering - drumkit
Billy Jenkins - guitar + voice
 

BILLY'S BLUES LYRICS
 


 
 

The Dick Ward Interviews
 
 

DYLAN BATES - electric electric violinist.
 
 


 
 

1)

Is it true you almost died just after you were born? Do you want to tell me about it?
 
 

I can't remember, Dick; you'd be better off asking my parents about that.  I can tell you that I was two months premature, drunk, and weighed only four pounds.
 
 

2)

I believe you wrote to Billy when you were a teenager asking to play with him. What inspired you to write that letter?
 
 

Well, I had heard some of Billy's records, and I realised that he was the only guitarist with the speed I required for a band I had at the time.  In the course of our ensuing letters, however, he advised me that "All guitarists are crap", and I never asked him again.
 
 

3)

What's this I hear about you (before you joined the Blues Collective) attacking BJ onstage with a replica pistol?
 
 

WHAT?!! Where did you hear that?! I think someone's been pulling your leg.
 
 

4)

You play your violin through an effects box (and very wonderfully, too, I might add). Where do you sit in the 'acoustic v. electric debate?
 
 

Hm. I only got that effects thing because Rick [Bolton] seemed to have so much more fun at gigs than I did.  But the Blues is always Bluer on the other side of the fence, and I might throw that effects box away; I only like three of its infinite effects, and even those aren't up to much. Besides, I don't have an amp. 
 
 

5)

Tell me about your musical influences - especially in relation to the blues.
 
 

I have hundreds of records, most of which have influenced me somehow. Only a few are Blues records: Robert Johnson, Snooks Eaglin, Captain Beefheart... Then there's Sugarcane Harris and Gatemouth Brown in specifically violinistic terms... One of my main Blues influences is Robert Ward; I don't suppose you're related?
 
 

6)

You lead your own band - 'Waiting On Dwarfs'. Tell me about the music and philosophy behind it.
 
 

There's no philosophy behind the music; rather, the music is behind the philosophy. Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must make music, Dick. 
 
 

7)

I've seen Billy grab you by the ear and haul you to your feet when in concert. How do you put up with such crass rudeness from the bandleader?
 
 

Oh, well... As a young man, I always wanted to play with Billy; now I have achieved a childhood aspiration! I'm not likely to throw it all away for the sake of a sore ear, now, am I?  I have a fear of standing up in front of crowds, and Billy has done wonders for my confidence, with nothing more than a finger and thumb... it's cheaper than hypnotherapy.
 
 

8)

Also, when you're soloing, Billy sometimes changes the chords behind your back. How does that make you feel?
 
 

Oh, that doesn't bother me at all.  He never changes them in an uncomfortable way, and a change is as good as a rest. It's not so much like being stabbed in the back as having acupuncture. 
 
 

9)

You obviously are multi-faceted. Asides from playing with the Blues Collective, what projects will you be working on in the coming year?
 
 

It's true, I have a wealth of ideas and potential projects; I'm not so good at the admin side of things, which explains the scarcity of Waiting On Dwarfs gigs, for instance. I will be recording with my brother Roland's band, Bitten By A Monkey, and playing with Nigel Burch's Flea-Pit Orchestra; and if previous years are anything to go by, I may very well form a few new bands... Also, I'd like to concentrate on some music-theatre ideas I have, with some puppeteers I met the other day.
 
 

10)

What style of music are you most at home with and what style is the real you and where did you get it from?
 
 

Hmm. I play regularly with a band called the Flea-Pit Orchestra, which is difficult to categorise, and there I feel I am in my element: I suppose that my contributions come from a muddle of swing, early calypso, with a gypsy flavour, which might stem from a classical training in tandem with a jazz and world environment... or who knows? It could be innate. 
 
 

11)

This Blues Voodoo thing surrounding the band. Is it true? Have there really been power cuts before Blues Collective gigs? Does it scare you?
 
 

Indeed, yes! Power cuts, accidents, illnesses... even death... Yes.  Before a gig - sometimes weeks before - I have nightmares and premonitions of doom.
 
 

12)

Finally, Dylan, say whatever you want about working with Billy, the Blues Collective and the importance of blues to society...
 
 

We all have our worries, our neuroses, our depressions... That is what the Blues is for. Oh Yeah.
 
 

return to top
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

RICHARD 'Homer' BOLTON - electric electric rhythm guitar
 
 


 
 

1)

Where did you first come across Billy?
 
 

AT WOODWHARF REHEARSAL STUDIOS, WHICH BILLY MANAGED WITH FIENDISH COMMERCIAL ACUMEN; NOT ONLY DID YOU PAY FOR THE SPACE, BUT BY MAKING AND SELLING THE SANDWICHES THE JENKINS CLAN MANAGED TO DISGUISE A BIT OF BLATANT PROFITEERING OF A CAPTIVE MARKET AS 'THE PERSONAL TOUCH'.
 
 

2)

How did you end up being in the Blues Collective?
 
 

I BELIEVE THAT I WAS RECOMMENDED BY THE OTHER MEMBERS OF MY TRIO, THAD KELLY & MIKE PICKERING.
 
 

3)

Why does Billy hog all the solos on sadtimes? Isnt it a bit demeaning to be billed as rhythm guitarist  when youre such a wonderful player in your own right?
 
 

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING A RHYTHM GUITARIST; IT'S OFTEN MORE FUN TO PLAY THE GROOVE, AND IT USUALLY SOUNDS BETTER. IN ANY CASE, AT THE LAST COUNT THERE WERE TWO (SORT OF) SOLOS OF MINE. THAT'S PLENTY.
 
 

4)

You play many, many different styles of music. How does the blues fit in?
 
 

THE BLUES WAS FIRST (RIGHT AFTER LEARNING THE MOST BASIC CHORDS IN FIRST POSITION AND NOT QUITE BEING ABLE TO DO CALYPSO FINGERPICKING). IT HAS INFORMED MOST OF THE OTHER MUSIC I'VE PLAYED SINCE, SOMETIMES AGAINST MY BETTER JUDGEMENT (YOU JUST CAN'T SHAKE THE DAMN STUFF OFF). ALTHOUGH I'M STILL HEARING MORE AND LEARNING MORE ABOUT IT, THE BLUES ALWAYS FEELS THE MOST NATURAL THING IN THE WORLD TO PLAY, LIKE WEARING YOUR FAVOURITE OLD PAIR OF JEANS.
 
 

5)

Billy seems to be quite cruel onstage. Ive heard him introduce you as Homer Simpson, Michael Bolton, Michael Jackson, Gerald Ford, Uncle Fester  the list goes on. Whats that all about?
 
 

ENTERTAINMENT.
 
 

6)

Billy also seems to undermine your onstage soloing by changing the chords behind you when youre not looking. How do you cope with crap like that?
 
 

YOU USE YOUR EARS, IF YOU'RE AWAKE, AND YOU GET TO EXPECT IT.
 
 

7)

Is it true you once drove an over 500 mile round trip in one day, just to play with the Blues Collective? Why? It must have been financially well worth it!
 
 

YES; GUILT; NOT REALLY (NOT IN THE BIG SCHEME OF THINGS).
 
 

8)

What's Billy like as a bandleader? You run your own trio and have are currently about to release your own CD. Billy hates bandleading. Why? How do you find it?
 
 

I DON'T BELIEVE BILLY HATES BANDLEADING - HE'S DONE SO MUCH OF IT, HE MUST BE AN EXPERT BY NOW.  BY CONTRAST I AM A MERE TYRO EMBARKING ON THE FIRST BAND THAT IS SOLELY MY OWN RESPONSIBILITY. IT'S FRIGHTENING. (IN FACT, AS I WRITE I AM PUTTING OFF TYPING SOMETHING NECESSARY FOR THE MIX OF THE CD BALLADS 'N' FUNK' BY THE RICHARD BOLTON GROUP, OUT VERY SOON AT A GIG NEAR YOU.)
 
 

9)

Is it true you sometimes work with Rolf Harris? And tell me some of the other musicians you've worked with in the past  especially the ones who have driven you to seek refuge in the blues.
 
 

I OCCASIONALLY  DEPUTISE FOR GRAEME TAYLOR, ROLF'S REGULAR PICKER, AND I CAN BE HEARD ON FIVE TRACKS OF ROLF'S LATEST 'BIRTHDAY ALBUM'. MY FIRST EVER 'PRO' GIG AFTER LEAVING SCHOOL WAS AT THE GAY TOWER BALLROOM IN BIRMINGHAM. THEY STILL DID TWO  'STRICT TEMPO' NIGHTS. THEN, WHEN I DROPPED OUT OF A MUSIC DEGREE COURSE AT BRISTOL UNIVERSITY, I JOINED A BAND CALLED TICKLE THAT PLAYED IN WORKINGMEN'S CLUBS. WE SUPPORTED SUZI QUATRO AT THE BOURNEMOUTH ODEON. LATER, I WAS TWICE EMPLOYED AT THE TOP RANK IN CARDIFF. I HAD TO TRANSCRIBE 'HOOKED ON CLASSICS' OFF THE RECORD AND WRITE OUT THE PARTS FOR THE BAND. IN 1987 I PLAYED IN THE DISCO BAND ON THE QE2 FOR SIX WEEKS. DID YOU KNOW THAT THE SUN NEVER SHINES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ATLANTIC? JUST AFTER, OR JUST BEFORE, THAT I PLAYED THE WEST LONDON COUNTRY ' N' IRISH CIRCUIT (ACTON, HANWELL, HILLINGDON) WITH CHARLES ANTHONY.
NUFF SAID.
 
 

10)

You tenure with the Blues Collective seems to co-incide with becoming a father. Any substance in that?
 
 

YES.
 
 

11)

This blues voodoo thing.. Is it true your mother  passed away having heard the Blues Prayer recited by Ned Sherrin, Mark Almond, Arthur Smith, Dylan Bates and Billy on BBC R4s Loose Ends?  And that time you were rushed to hospital when the band was on a December tour. Did those things really happen?
 
 

YES. MY MOTHER WAS EATING A SANDWICH AT THE TIME, AND BILLY MADE HER CHOKE ON IT.  THE NURSING HOME SAID THAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN PUREED, BUT SHE WAS BROUGHT UP A DEVOUT METHODIST...
YES, I WAS RUSHED TO HOSPITAL WITH PNEUMONIA (THE OLD BLUESMAN'S FRIEND, THEY USED TO CALL IT). FORTUNATELY, I ONLY HAD TO MISS ONE GIG, BECAUSE THE OTHERS ALL GOT BLOWN OUT ANYWAY. I DID START TO REALLY RECOVER, HOWEVER, AFTER A BLAZING BLUES BURNUP AT THE VORTEX A MONTH LATER.
 
 

12)

Finally, Rick. Tell me anything you would like to make public about the Blues Collective, the blues, and sadtimes.co.uk.
 
 

THE BLUES COLLECTIVE IS THE BLUES TODAY AND sadtimes.co.uk IS ITS LATEST RECORD.
 

return to top
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

THAD KELLY - electric electric bass guitar
 
 


 
 

 1) 

Your bass sound is amazing! I heard you on BBC R3 with Partisans recently and even dear old Auntie got a good sound. Whats the secret?
 
 

Thats a very interesting question Dick. The trick is to always borrow someone else's bass. The thinking behind this is that a cheese sandwich is just a plain old cheese sandwich unless someone makes it  for you, then, it takes on a quality of the finest cuisine ever to grace your pallette. Its really good if you can borrow leads and an amp as well, I'm working on this. BBC R3 engineers like cheese sarnies too I guess.
 
 

2)

What's happened to the double bass?
 
 

I ate it.
 
 

3)

You work closely with saxophonist Julian Seigal and guitarist Phil Robson in Partisans in fact youve a huge UK tour this autumn. How do you switch from that type of genre to the blues?
 
 

That's a very interesting question, Dick. It's fairly easy because the blues is relevant to all forms of jazz and rock, It's where it all comes from, so. I'm either there or going back...  or somewhere in between..  or something...
 
 

4)

Doesn't it get a bit monotonous plonking on the same three chords all the time?
 
 

Certainly can if you're not  careful. You only have to listen to most blues bands in this country.Its important to play open forms of the blues. It's all to easy to play the same bass line on different tunes.
 
 

5)

I notice that onstage with the Blues Collective, you always seem to wear scruffy brown shoes whilst your leader has very nice polished black ones. Fashion statement or what? And why is the band dressing up anyway? Is it a pathetic attempt to attract a Blues Brother type audience?
 
 

For a long time I never owned a suit and had to borrow a jacket off our drummer (see question 1). I think bandleading and highly polished black shoes were a quality admired by Himmler and Goebels. Dressing up is a pathetic attempt to attract any type of audience.
 
 

6)

Does the blues come naturally to you? And if yes, why?
 
 

No.
 
 

7)

What is your stance on the old 'blues is an Afro-American form and white Europeans can't play it chestnut?'
 
 

If you listen to most British blues bands you'd have to agree. They sing about working in the cotton fields which isn't very relevant to white Europeans living in the 21st Century. Billy sings about Barbie dolls and pizza delivery bikers, much more relevant to us all don't you think?
 
 

8)

Is it true you started out as a rock musician? Tell me about that and how you found your metier in jazz.
 
 

No it's not true. I grew up listening to Miles and Gillespie, jazz was never an alien sound like it was initially to some musicians. It felt natural to play that way.
 
 

9)

You never seem to take a bass solo onstage. Why?
 
 

Come on Dick, don't tell me you've been to a gig and not talked through the bass solo!? The truth is they are incredibly boring. Even in great players it tends to be a display of technique rather than of music. Everything kind of stops to let this low rumbling instrument fart around. It's the same with drum solos.
 
 

10)

You and Mike Pickering together seem to be one of the U.K.'s most potent rhythm sections. How long have you worked together and in what formats?
 
 

Too long and in both formats - CD and cassette.
 
 

11)

Tell me about this blues voodoo that seems to hang around the band. It sounds like showbiz poppycock to me!
 
 

Don't mess with things you don't understand, Dick. Don't underestimate the power of the darkside.
 
 

12)

Finally, is there anything you would like to make public about working with Billy. Go on, spill the beans. He's a bullshitter isnt he? I've been interviewing him on and off for quite a few years now and I'm still sceptical. Tell me like it really is, Thad.
 
 

Billy is a professional. He studies and deconstructs his chosen genre in great detail. If you don't get it by now Dick I suggest you get a job at Jazz FM. Don't waste my time. Yuppie.
 

return to top
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

MIKE PICKERING - drumming drummer
 
 


 
 

1)

Is it true you quit art college to play the blues?
 
 

Well I did leave college to play the drums and get into music.I'd been into jazz and blues and realised I liked players that were improvising/blowing so I thought I better get serious. I got a job delivering sandwiches.
 
 

2)

Part of your blues apprenticeship involved looking after the drums for Rick Lee and Ten Year's After. Tell me about observing a band like that and how it affects your blues playing now?
 
 

I learnt not to watch Spinal Tap constantly on the tour bus with a band in which one of the leading members 'girlfriends' had decided to become the manager and design all the band outfits and who'd had an album called 'Stonedhenge'.
 
 

3)

What's the difference between jazz drumming and blues drumming?
 
 

You tell me Dick.
 
 

4)

How come you play the blues so naturally? What's gone wrong in your life, Mike?
 
 

Piss off.
 
 

5)

You advised Tony and Billy on the production of 'sadtimes.co.uk'. Is studio work something you are actively involved with and if so, with whom?
 
 

Yes. I love it in the studio. This year I've made albums with a rock band called 'Stangeways', a 'A Man Called Adam' who play um, chillout house! An album  with Richard Bolton and film sessions for a film called 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' are my most recent projects in the studio. At some point I'd like to produce,if something came up.
 
 

6)

When you recorded 'S.A.D.' with the Blues Collective in 1996, you were also playing (as you still do) some ridiculously amazingly complicated but amazingly good stuff with flautist Eddie Parker. How are you able to switch styles so easily?
 
 

I don't know how to answer that. It's just different music that requires different disciplines. Next!
 
 

7)

Is it true you first played with Billy in front of several thousand people at an Austrian Jazz Festival? What was that like?
 
 

Yes. It was scarey but Billy always goes down well at festivals.They love it.
 
 

8)

You do blues, you do jazz. You also do pop and latin. Which style is you and why, Mike?
 
 

I don't think about styles. There's only two kinds of music - good or bad. I try not to play the second type.
 
 

9)

Of all the styles you play, is the blues one of the easiest or hardest?
 
 

Both.
 
 

10)

You're also an experienced one to one teacher, class teacher and workshop leader. Relating this to the blues - what are the key elements you'd impress upon a student?
 
 

You can try and teach someone to play their instrument and then you have to tell them to listen to as much music as possible. So for the blues I'd tell people to listen to some. It's more about feel than technique.
 
 

11)

The Blues Voodoo. True or False?  I heard that Thad Kelly once missed a blues rehearsal because he 'put his foot through into the flat below'. Oh yes, like you would - 'put your foot through the floor'. But then - it's not something that happens every day.
 
 

It's true, it's true. Last week we tried to have the first Blues Collective rehearsal for a couple of months. I got in my car, drove one hundred yards - flat tyre! Tyre man fixed it, was just about to put it on when he found a second nail puncturing the new inner tube he'd just put in. That's the first puncture in five years!There's loads more - and they always seem to happen around the blues.
 
 

12)

Finally Mike, as Billy would say, 'tell it like it isn't, wasn't and never will be' about sadtimes.co.uk., the blues and the Blues Collective. Go on, spill the beans..
 
 

Thad's got a shed. Billy plays crash videos. Rick is now Richard and Dylan wears bright red cords....and they can all tell it how it is.
 

return to top
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

BILLY JENKINS - electric electric guitarist
 
 


 
 

1)

So, Billy. Still got the blues,eh?
 
 

Always had 'em, Dick. But things have gotten worse now the family have one of these web-net PC things. They got you trapped. The ol' paranoia creeping in. I just noticed that Annies's e-mail address [Annie is the mother of Billy's children] has been timed out cos she ain't contacted anyone no time, for as a teacher of excluded and special needs kids she's been doing stupid, stupid OFSTED stuff - nothing to do with helping kids, all to do with 'accountability', job creation for educated people with no self initiative or drive. The TV watchers. This so called 'Labour' government has screwed up. They're pathetic. Give me a cheatin', lyin', self interested brazen Tory. At least we know where we stand with 'em. So my bird has got to re-register. Pathetic. And what is the point.....
 
 

Hold on, hold on, Billy. You're just ranting. 'Pissed Off Boy' and all that (if I may
refer you to one of your songs on the last Blues Collective CD..)
 
 

Sorry, Dick. You're right.The kids are getting older, my three wheeler is getting older, me grandparents are long dead, me Mum's dead, my oldest mate Frank is dead, me Dad's dementia is getting worse, there's less work for living creative musicians..Did you know, Dick, that there is no reason why anyone born in say the last twenty five years might never have heard or seen live professional musicians?! Yes,the blues are getting deeper.
 
 

2)

So I suppose your way at kicking back at these, if you may forgive me, rather trivial day to day occurrences, is to write dubious songs about meeting Cliff Richard and suchlike.
 
 

You haven't a clue, have you Dick! I hear you interviewed the other Blues Collective guys. But I've seen the transcripts and you tried to spot cracks in my modus operandi- but there ain't any (except in the roof of mi garden shed). Listen, all I'm doing is what I've always done. Aural art. I create a musical cartoon of a subject. Sometimes the subject is a place or person or whatever. In this instance, as words are quite important to me these days, I can conjure up an event aligned with sub social political innuendo pondering the falseness of media infiltration upon the way one conducts one self on a day to day basis. I don't want to spell it out to you Dick - can't you just feel the groove?
 
 

3)

Well I'm not sure whether I can 'feel the groove'. It's all a bit uncomfortable for me. Take 'Badlands', the first track, for instance. That's not a blues groove - it's 'reggae'..
 
 

Is it really, Dick!? Yes, a reggae feel and if you played an instrument, you'd find that F# minor is a pretty uncomfortable key to play in. This is a multi-cultural society. Here in London, one of the world's great cities, people are still insular and territorial. Everyone has their own 'badlands' just down the road. To be frank, you could say the sentiment is, sadly, racist - like 'Monkey Men' on 'Scratches Of Spain' [Babel BDV9404]. That was composed from a bigoted tourist's point of view. To the ignorant Englishman abroad (almost as frightening as the American tourist) many Spaniards might look like a lighter skinned James Brown. 'Badlands' has the same ethos. There's quite a few Yardie shootings doing down round here. The stupid person might equate the Jamaican groove with 'badness'..
 
 

4)

This is the first time that I can recall you've actually taken a working live unit into the recording studio. Why is this so?
 
 

I've talked to you about the need for kineticism in jazz, Dick. Blues is a deeper thing. It's our little church. Oh, and the minor point that all the guys are brilliant and need to be documented and heard. Blues is an old Master. It takes trust and understanding. Some people just ain't got it - some of the VOGC guys ain't got 'em. Fantastic musicians. But the guys on the record have got 'em deep - despite what some of them might say. Just listen, Dick. The reason I've taken the live act into the studios is the fact that the Blues Collective is the only unit I'm really happy to appear in public with. That 'Suburbia' Classical Collective thing was a year out of my life I was not happy with. Been there and done that. Great players - a joy to stand in front and direct, but that music has left my body.

I've always treated live work with indifference. It is a PERFORMANCE. That's why most of my music starts in the studio. Well it actually starts with pencil and paper. So I make my aural art pieces onto tape, get a record out, then I'm obliged to cobble a composite band together to promote the recording.

This is one of the reasons why I'm taking a break from the Babel Label. We needed to tour to sell units so my Muse was being held to ransom. Now, by reactivating VOTP I'm back at the helm. No regrets at all and only positive things to say about the Babel years. I could be back with 'em. Just need to tread my own dirty water for a while.
 
 

5)

You eschew guitar effects. You consider double tracking unethical, will never use samples or drum machines where you can use a real player and you have spoken in the past about 'proportional representation' of sound in the studio. Why are you such a technophobe?
 
 

Bollocks. I'm sitting here thrashing away at this bloomin' PC. I find modern stuff very amusing and great fun. It's just that people like me need to focus, and such is the weight of consumerism and commerce, it's very hard to. Pleasure for me comes from a deep appreciation of something - not quickfire knee trembler fast food pointlessness. I'm not adverse to a 'quickie' - but not repeatedly, all the time. It just gets too superficial.

Listen Dick, I use PEOPLE. I'm not a great socialiser and I find many people shallow, repetitive and boring (and no doubt they would say the same about me). But at least I stick up for my fellow travelers. As for 'effects' on my guitar I want as little energy from skin, thumb pick, string and pick up diluted. One speaker, small amp up at 9 and a half. And those guitarists I've worked with who have got all those stupid little coloured boxes say - 'great sound, Billy'. The weird thing is, both Dylan and Rick use effects brilliantly. But not me.
 
 

6)

Tell me about the other tunes on <sadtimes.co.uk>.
 
 

Just look at the titles and listen to the music, Dick.

Like John Lee Said, I'm Happy that the Duke and Me are Resting On My Bed Of Blues in Badlands and I Love Your Smell even though Cliff Richard Spoke To Me and made me log onto sadtimes.co.uk..
 
 

7)

Well, I'm sure I 'Love Your Smell' too, Billy. Why did you wait five years between Blues Collective records?
 
 

I never rush recordings. That rare solo guitar album issued in Germany in 1988 - 'In The Nude' [West Wind WW010]. I waited nineteen years before I felt ready to document my solo playing. Nineteen years! 'Still Sounds Like Bromley' [Babel BDV9717]- eleven years putting that together. Some of the pieces on the 1999 release 'Suburbia' [Babel BDV9926]I wrote in 1974!
 
 

8)

You mentioned the Blues Collective being your 'little church'. Tell me about this religious hang up you've got.
 
 

Well I've worked it out at last. I was baptized and confirmed into the Church of England. My parents are and were deeply Christian (me Mum died, as I mentioned earlier, on Easter Day just gone. What a great day for a believer to go). Other family members are deeply involved in the church, both professionally and pastorally. But not one family member ever forced me towards it - they put me through the obligatory processes, but only as a matter of course. They let me find my own way in this world. So I was singing away in the Parish choir from about the age of 10 and sussing out all the backstage duplicity until I took up the guitar aged 12. And what was I drawn too? Not the pop sound of the day - the irreverent crappy poppy Beatles or the jangle jangle smiley goodtime shite-y bands. No, I was drawn to what in effect was, and is the opposite to sacred music - the 'devil's music'. Blues. The sound of people singing and playing for themselves. Making the most of this complex life without the help of an 'Almighty'. See, the church had to pour scorn on the blues. The bluesman said bollocks to all that bible stuff - 'we're going it alone'. The blues was anti-church - had to be chastised.

So now that I feel, without irony, that I've become a 'born-again' bluesman. For I now realize that was my calling - not rock and roll, show business, the big time blah blah. HUMANITY. Taken me quite a few years to come home.

But I'm scared it's another one of my flighty obsessions - but then, I'm a committed family man and I've enjoyed the ups and downs of my twin daughters for sixteen years now..

No, faith in a Godhead is a dangerous philosophy. Faith in humanity is much more realistic.
 
 

9)

So does this mean all your work outside of blues over the last three decades is invalid?
 
 

Don't be stupid, Dick! Of COURSE it is!! Everything I've realized I have had 100% belief in. All the Babel recordings of the Nineties are very relevant and part of what's made this new recording. I've talked to you about this when 'S.A.D.' [Babel BDV9615] was released in '96. Telling it like it is with one note stuff .
 
 

10)

So, Billy. What are your current obsessions these days?
 
 

Well. It was the Enfield motorcycle last year - I always get one every ten years it seems. In fact I go through a 'ten year motorcycle' ha ha. Then it was drinking honey and lemon. Off that now. Now I've prescribed myself a game of bowls twice a week. I'm hoping that, like the blues, will see through till the end.
 
 

11)

Ah, talking about fate - what have you got to say about the 'blues voodoo?
 
 

You've spoken to the other guys, Dick. Things really do happen. I'd really rather not talk about it.
 
 

12)

Finally, Billy, tell me some juicy intimate details about the rest of the band.
 
 

Er. funnily enough, Dick, they all uniquely had the similar thing to say about something
 
 

And what's that?
 
 

They all thought that you're a few inches short of a column - or words to that effect.
 
 

return to top
 
 
 
 
 
 

sadtimes.co.uk
 

buy online now for only 12 (incl. p&p) from www.billyjenkins.com
 

See also CD REVIEWS
 

BILLY'S BLUES LYRICS