We are always so appreciative to the artists that take the time to do an interview with us. They all have been great. Yet, talking with our guy, Billy Brown, has to be a highlight. We hope you enjoy this as much as we do.
TEN QUESTIONS WITH Billy Brown
- Rob – Billy, during this interview, we won’t try to expose you as being a really nice guy. It would ruin your reputation. However, we appreciate everything you have done for Masters Radio. Why have you done this?
Billy – Because if I wasn’t nice, Neil Frost, David Philp and Phil Hendriks threatened to be my friends.
- Rob – The more “curmudgeony” you appear, the more we laugh. Tell us how you got started?
Billy – I got started as an embryo and it just grew from there
- Rob – Your music tends to harken back to a time BEFORE Friends of Gavin. Was the band really your musical style?
Billy – Very much so. I was the main songwriter in the Band, and yes they did add things to songs and we collaborated, but it was mostly my style. That sadly caused egos to get involved, and other members had other ideas for what we style we should be, which really didn’t suit me. As he singer, you have to like what you’re singing otherwise it just doesn’t work. We did reform a couple of years ago, and did two sell out London gigs, but again, egos got in the way, and what style we should do, and we split again. Now I’ve gone back to being solo I can do what it is I like doing, but I do prefer a Band to solo.
- Rob – You, Phil Hendriks, Neil Frost, and David Philp, make up the UK Collective. Tell us about your hit song from last year.
Billy – I have issues with streaming. They don’t pay what I believe to be a fair share of royalties, whereas the major artists and their record companies definitely get the lions share, so we decided to collaborate and do a song about the unfairness of it all. David really wrote the song, and we added our individual bits to it. We do plan another song soon…what though has not been decided but watch this space!
- Rob – In the 1950’s, artists would release one song at a time before albums were a “thing.” Your style in recent years has been to emulate this model. Why?
Billy – Putting an album together is hard work in all aspects, so it’s easier to do singles in that respect. I did have plans to do another album, but I need a break from music, so it’s very much now on the back burner. I am taking a break from it all, but not my radio show which I love doing, and I know I do a different type of show to others in terms of what I play. I play what others don’t, and it sems to be popular as it’s now on 38 stations.
- Rob – If we visited any artist, we probably would find a drawer full of songs yet published or even recorded. Do you have that same drawer?
Billy – Oh yes. I have loads of songs I’ve written and rough recorded and never gone back to. I also have songs I’ve never recorded and forgotten about. I think that’s normal for any artist. Occasionally, you might go back to them and revisit them and rewrite them or even take two songs and make one out of them.
- Rob – Tell us about the best crowd you have ever performed in front of?
Billy – Probably in Paris when Friends of Gavin supported The Fleshtones. We went on stage and beer bottles were hurled at us, and Nick the Bass player and me, kicked and threw them back. That got the respect of the audience, and we had a great night.
- Rob – Take the “boys” we’ve mentioned in this interview out of the equation. Who are some of the best artists you have ever played with?
Billy – I’ve never actually played with other artists apart from Spizzenergi, and that was because at one early gig, he came on to do our encore and we did Captain Kirk. When we reformed, Spizz came on again and we did Captain Kirk again, which was great fun. In terms of supporting Bands, we supported many great acts, but R.E.M. must be the best.
- Rob – Most of our questions are made to highlight an artist, a new song, or an upcoming tour. And some of them are considered “fluff.” We promise artists that we don’t ask “gotcha” type questions. Although this sounds like a “but” question, it isn’t. If you had to change anything in your career, what would it be?
Billy – That’s a tough one. Back in the Friends of Gavin days, a record company approached me to be solo. I didn’t have the guts or confidence to do it and was worried that perhaps the Band would be successful if I left and I wouldn’t, so didn’t. 20/20 hindsight is great vision to have…so I guess I’d have gone solo if I had that time again.
- Rob – Finally, there is a stupid game that we in the States play called “Date, Marry, or Kill.” Between Phil, David, and Neal, who would you “Date, Marry, or Kill” and why?
Billy – I’d kill all of them, as I’m very happy being single.