Interview with Jason Vivone of The Billy Bats from BLUES MATTERS #52
As a teenager, I’d wait backstage for the old blues guys in ..Chicago.. and ….Kansas City…. to show me something on guitar. Hubert Sumlin, Son Seals, Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis, Jessie Mae Hemphill and a woman I don’t think is known outside of Kansas City too much, Rosemary Robinson. In my mid-20’s, I was in Branson playing for an Elvis impersonator and I put my guitar away for years. It made me sick to be without my blues. About three years ago, I was directing a production of THE COLORED MUSEUM and hired myself to play guitar. I went to some jams and was offered some studio time and stumbled into Zach McCall. Zach makes it all come to life. If I’m Dr. Frankenstein, then he’s the Lightning.”
A lot has been made about the fact that we’re a drums and guitar duo. There’s always a third member of our band and that’s the audience. They bring out new things in us all the time.
We’re pretty old school. You buy new stuff but still put in Hooker, Wolf, Wynonie Harris. It just ends up that way, y’know? That stuff from the ’50’s is so audacious.
Today, there’s too much focus on guitar players. I play guitar so I can say this. The Uninitiated think that’s all Blues is – guitar solos. What about the songwriters?
Our song Kung Pow Chicken’s really grown. We just have to get out of its way. We squeezed it into the later half of our recording session. I didn’t think anyone else would get it. I mean How Many UpTempo Post Coitus tunes can you name?
The next gig is always important. We would love to tour more, get overseas, do some festivals. We want to spend some time with the old guys to say thanks.