Interview with guitarist Billy Rowe of Jetboy / The Butlers
Name: Billy Rowe
Birth date: 5/4
Place of birth: San Francisco, California, USA
Bands: Jetboy / American Heartbreak / The Butlers
Favorite album of all time? That’s really tough to pick just one?! But to give a one title answer i'll go with AC/DC Highway To Hell
What is the first CD or LP you ever bought? There were only LP’s/Albums, 45’s & 8. Tracks when I was a kid getting into music. It was Kiss Alive in 1975 on vinyl.
A guitar: It was a 1969 Gibson SG Special (wish I still had it)
Favorite musician: I have quite a few these days, but Ace Frehley was my first big guitar hero.
Favorite band or group: Hard for me to name just one. I'll go with Kiss, AC/DC, Aerosmith,Cheap Trick, Generation X, & The Wildhearts.
As you describe yourself ? I can be quiet and a bit shy. I have a big passion for music and being creative.
Billy, what are your most recently completed projects and what are you currently working on?
Right now my main thing has been my guitar company Rock N Roll Relics. Jetboy get’s together every so often to do shows which we did in January for the 50th anniversary of the Whisky A Go Go. We are talking about recording some new material soon. The last Jetboy release was in 2010 titled ‘Off Your Rocker’.I also have a cover band called The Butlers. We play out at least once a month so that keeps me charged up for my playing live fix. I’m also working on some originals with two members of the Butlers and Electric Sister bass player. No band name or singer yet but we have about 5 songs. It’s pretty straight forward Rock N Roll.
How did you become a guitarist?
I was drawn to guitar after getting Kiss Alive in 1975.The main photo of Ace Frehley inside the LP booklet completely blew me away as a kid.
From that day on I knew I wanted to play guitar and be in a band.
Who is your favorite guitar player of all time?
It’s too hard to pick just one, all my favorite guitar players have their own style and impacted me individually which helped shape my style as a guitar player. To name a few would be Ace Frehley, Malcolm Young, Rick Nielsen, Joe Perry, Punky Meadows, Johnny Thunders, Jimmy Page & Wally Stocker.
Who were the bands or musicians who had the greatest influence on you?And Who are your main musical and guitar influences?
Kiss, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Cheap Trick, GenerationX, Hanoi Rocks,The Babys, Angel, The Stones, Alice Cooper, NY Dolls, Led Zeppelin...the list is long. Guitar players again would be as I mentioned before, Ace Frehley, Malcolm Young, Rick Nielsen, Joe Perry, Punky Meadows, Johnny Thunders, Jimmy Page & Wally Stocker.
How would you describe your playing style?
I’ve always been the rhythm machine in Jetboy ,very Malcolm Young. I’m not a big lead player but when I do I like to play melodic memorable solos. I also play slide guitar so i’d say my style is very blues based with a pinch of punk along with some early 80’s metal from bands like Judas Priest & Motorhead.
Has the dynamic of the band changed over the years?
Definitely. My main band has always been Jetboy .The band started in 1983 with a very fast and punkish sound. We evolved quickly through the early years of playing together from say 1984-1987. Especially after we signed a major record deal in late 1986. The band became our everyday life day and night. We lived and breathed Jetboy from 1984-1990. I learned so much in those few years and a lot after we moved to Hollywood in 1986. That music scene Jetboy was a huge part of soon became known worldwide.
What is music to you?
Music is such a big part of who I am and helped shape who i’ve become.
It’s a big passion of mine like for many others. We all have our own reasons how it impacts us. To me music is one of the best things ever.
What are your next projects?
To work on some new Jetboy material along with a new project i’m doing with two guys from the Butlers. We have about 5 songs and they all shine an influence from a different era of the 70‘s & 80‘s. It’s a mash up of Rock N Roll, early 80‘s metal, pop and punk.
To end the interview, a phrase you want to leave ....
Bon wrote it perfectly. Gettin’ had, gettin’ took, I tell ya folks it’s harder then it looks... It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n roll.