Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Interview with Billy Stark (Blessed) Part 3

ME: Since you were so young, what did you think of the fact that you had fans?

BILLY: Age really had nothing to do with it. I don’t think or felt at the time that ‘How unusual it is that we’re so young and have "fans". We were a new band and pleased that it was working and people were coming to see us and each show the crowds grew and grew so it was as it would be for ANY band regardless of age. I mean I didn’t know any different being 15 or 16 or whatever, it was all I knew at that point so there was nothing to compare it to.

Now, Do you mean now looking back? -its what we set out to do and it worked to a certain degree-its interesting that it DID work to an extent-Not to the level we would have liked or were aiming for nor did the real message I think we were driving at once we got rolling(no pun intended) the whole Teenage aspect was unavoidable and we just dealt with it head on so, the fact was that we WERE teenagers who HATED being teenagers and ranted about it-not in a dopey angst way like many emo-esque bands do today but I just couldn’t stand these 30 year old guys singing about how they wish they were 16 again…. Oh, to relive those good times blah blah blah SHUT UP I’M 16 AND IT SUCKS AND I DON’T ever want to go through this again.

Even now I have no desire to be 16 again heh especially now –lol-most teenagers are very self conscious and just want to fit in and all. We had was an over the top amount of swagger and self-confidence and reveled in our otherness that was rare for a bunch of teenagers. We didn’t sing about your run of the mill teen subjects but in a world weary and jaded maybe slightly feigned way for guys our age and I think most importantly we played up to the fact that we aware that we (at least thought ) we were COOL but in a very non-chalant way, not in an arrogantly off putting way but a genuine healthy kind of take no prisoners confidence despite whatever the situation we were in.

But its funny because we never wanted to really dwell on our YOUNGER THAN THOU stance because that can only last so long and not really what we wanted to be. It was an IN and it was a good way to start off to make our mark and move on. Ironically Nick leaving the band at the time allowed us to do just that-leave it behind and move on although I would have liked to have had an album of that period for posterity but we have some tapes and videos. I’m still trying to track down so that’s that. In conclusion its funny because we never intentionally set out nor planned to be THIS TEENAGE BAND. We just happened to be teenagers-any other member had we met them could have been a 20 year old or whatever on Bass or Drums-it truly was serendipitous that we came together-right place right time. THERE WAS NO ELSE OUT THERE AT THAT TIME.

We really were a perfect snapshot of disaffected yet smart alecky pseudo-intellectual City kids in the mid to late 70’s NYC who feigned an impression of being world weary and jaded @ 16. We were the combination of this new energy and the Punk scene and everything we played up our Younger than thou stance and it allowed us to be more obnoxious than otherwise. We hated it when some people were condescending and ‘Oh, aren’t they cute and all’ first and foremost we wanted to be taken seriously as real contenders in the arena.

Keep in mind that most groups play around a lot before they get noticed but right from the get go from our first gig we had a crowd, made some real $$$, and wound up in major mags. We had to grow-up and learn our craft in the spotlight so we never had a chance to work out any kinks in the band-we did all that on stage. One other thing I do regret is us telling Frank Zappa(RIP) to ‘F*ck off’.He had come to see us play and was interested in maybe buying Howie’s ‘Rare’ Dan Electro Bass and when word was sent to us that Frank wanted to talk we said ‘Tell him to F*ck Off’-nothing personal against Frank-it just seemed like ‘the thing for us to do’. In retrospect I would have enjoyed chatting with him. Plus we never did find out how much he was willing to offer for the Bass-lol-. Finally I will admit in retrospect there was probably a certain Three Stooges quality to the Three of us banging and bounding into other-who is which Stooge is up to conjecture Though (I’ll take Moe’s spot Thank You-lol)

ME: Where was your favorite show you played?

BILLY: Oh all of them !!!-you should ask which were my LEAST favorites–lol- but favorites I think our best ‘FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS’ one so to speak was the Rock convention/Flea market-@ the Diplomat Hotel(same venue the Dolls had played years before I think when Kiss were still opening for them but I’m not sure if it was the same ballroom or not). Also most of the shows at Maxs. Both Nick and Walter eras-this club on West 8th St. downstairs called Rock Bottoms we had some good ones, a few CBGB’s ones- also playing w/ the Dead Boys was fun despite people during the first set yelling out ‘Bring on the real Dead Boys’ and ‘We want the Real Dead Boys-lol- but by the second set and second night we were getting encores so there ya’ go (and I had a tape of that first set with all the cat calls too-but its gone but I just got pix of it though!).

Of course the ‘21’ club would have to be mentioned and the party @ the Nirvana restaurant. I think Nicks last show with us was really good, not because it was his last one-lol- but we showed this old hard core XXX 8mm movie before we on and the crowd had this whole L.A. contingent that converged onto NYC at the time, among the audience was-and if I forget anyone apologies all round but Kid Congo-Trudie-members of X-members of the Dickies I think-members of the Screamers I think-Alice Bag etc, I used to have a tape of this show and Nick played great-he just ROARED and of course the shows we did w/The Student Teachers,The Misfits,The Fast,The Stimulators,The Contortions, The Senders, (if I have forgotten anyone I apologize-please send an E-Mail to the Administrator) !But yeah the Rock Convention/flea market (w/ Legendary Night Bob ( Dolls Stooges, Aerosmith Etc) doing sound for us was MY favorite.

ME: Yes - I will write about the show at the Rock & Roll Flea Market at the Diplomat Hotel when I get up to that section in my diary. You played there on my 21st birthday on April 1st, 1979. What a perfect birthday gift.


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