Posts Tagged ‘#BILLLEVERTY’

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BEST BAND of the DAY is proud to present to you a Star Interview with

                                 Bill Leverty………………………..Guitarist of FireHouse and Solo Artist.

Thanks so much Bill for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me today.

1.When was the moment you knew music was your life mission?

It was a series of little moments for me. Each time I saw a rock concert, I stepped closer to wanting to be a full time musician. My first concerts were The Doobie Brothers, Ted Nugent, Kiss, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd and BTO. Playing guitar during this time in my life helped draw me closer. The final decision to try to be a full-time musician came when I decided to take an indefinite hiatus after my first year of college. After many years of working real hard, I started to see some positive results.

2.Did you try to sound like anyone else when you were learning the guitar?

I tried to learn my favorite songs like they were on the recordings. These were the only real lessons I got other than the first basic chord chart lessons I got when I first started. Yes, I wanted to get the songs and solos right, so I guess I was trying to sound like everyone in my record collection.

3.Who was the first Major band you saw live?

The Doobie Brothers. They were amazing.

4.What was the first record you bought and why?

Ted Nugent’s first album. I heard “Stranglehold” and had to own it, then I had to learn how to play it.

5.what inspired you to take up the guitar?

I was always drawn to the sound of the guitar. When I learned my first 3 chords (D, C, and G), I could play “Sweet Home Alabama”. I was hooked from then on.

6.How does musical inspiration come to you?

It’s 90% perspiration, 10% inspiration. I go down to my studio and play my guitar until I come up with something that I think sounds interesting to me. It usually takes a lot of time. I’ve also been inspired by singing. Sometimes, just singing a melody helps to generate the spark that lights the fire. Sometimes an idea will come in a dream. More often than not though, it’s just going into my studio and working, practicing, and trying to come up with something that I haven’t done before.

7.who are your favourite Songwriters?

There are so many. I’ll name a few of the bands. Beatles, Scorpions, Skynyrd, Boston, Aerosmith, Dixie Dregs, The Eagles. I could go on and on. I’m sure I’m leaving some out. There are so many great writers out there.

8.When you began learning guitar did you have an ambition to turn it into a successful career?

Not at first, but pretty soon I wanted to be able to make a living as a professional musician. I never wanted to be a big rock star or anything like that. I just wanted to be a professional musician who could pay my bills.

9.what are you most proud of as a musician?

I’m proud to have been a part of a band whose songs have had a positive impact on people’s lives. I’ve heard stories that our songs have made a difference for people in a good way, either keeping a family together, helped someone who was going through a depression in their life, or helped someone fight cancer. These are the things that make me feel good about what I’ve done as a musician.

10.How do you approach writing for Firehouse compared to your solo work?

I try to write any way I can. It’s a never ending challenge. When You’re not thinking about it, it doesn’t happen. Writing is pretty much the same process not matter how I’m doing it. I try to come up with an idea that has potential. Either a riff or a chorus, or just a title or hook it can get it started. If the idea is good enough, it’ll hopefully lead to the next part of the song, next chord change, etc. I try to let the song tell me where it wants to go. I don’t force it. When I work on my own, I don’t have the other guys to bounce the ideas off of, so things tend to go a bit slower.

11.How does your live guitar rig differ from your recording rig.?

I’ve been using the Fractal Audio Axe FX 2 for both. The only thing that has changed is that a few months ago, I got a Fractal Audio AX8, which is pedal board with the same amazing amp and speaker tone. It’s more compact and fits in my backpack. My Axe FX 2 is now in my studio. The  AX8 has a little less processing power so you can only use 2 amps in one patch and you can’t load up a bunch of effects all at once, but my sound isn’t very heavy with effects anyway.

12.What is your approach to recording your guitar parts?

I start out with the writing process, hoping that I can use some of the tracks that I’m initially recording. So, I’ve got a guitar sound dialed up with the Axe FX that fits the part of the song I’m working on, and I just record it directly into Protools. I save the preset because frequently, I’ll want to change what I played, and with the Axe FX2, it’s so easy to just go to that preset and it’s right there. No changing settings on an amp, adjusting the mic in the other room, mic pre, EQ, compressor, etc. It’s exactly the same, so it really takes the pressure off. There’s much more freedom now and the tone is STUNNING.

13.what’s the best advice you have been given?

“Take a course in music theory.”

14.A lot of musicians don’t read music or know theory.What is your take on this.?

I’m not a good sight reader, but taking music theory REALLY helped me. I’ll never know enough theory. It’s the kind of thing that can always improve my musicianship. Music theory probably helped me more than anything. I also had a great teacher which made it a lot of fun.

14.As someone in the Rock spotlight, how do you balance your music with having a family.?

It was tough at first to be honest. I managed and tour managed our band for over 9 years. I was in my office most of the day advancing shows, production, rider requirements, etc. I was working with our booking agent to organize tours, working with the other guys in the band to get a consensus on business decisions, working with our accountant to keep our books organized so that it was easier for him to prepare our corporate returns at the end of the year. I was booking the flights, hotels, vans, busses, writing the paychecks, managing the merch inventory, on and on. On a show day, my to-do list was completely full, then I had to get up on stage and smile, sing, & play guitar. On top of all this, I was producing and engineering recording projects, running our indy label, working with distributors around the world to get our CD’s out. There was very little time left for my family. I didn’t see a problem for a long time because I have an amazing wife, but it soon became readily apparent that we needed a change. I talked to the band and told them that I just couldn’t carry this workload much longer. They understood and right about that time, a guy, who we all knew and loved, gave me a call looking for a gig. He jumped right in as our tour manager. I then learned what balance really felt like. It’s easier these days because we mainly go out and play gigs on the weekends so I’m at home during the week. I can go to my daughter’s sporting events, plays, etc. I can be there when she gets home from school and help her with her homework. I still get dragged into the management of our band from time to time, but nothing like it used to be.

15.Any weird stories backstage at one of your gigs ?

There are so many. It seems like every night there’s something weird that happens. Most of the stories are things that I can’t repeat because I’d be throwing someone under the bus. I can say that backstage has gotten much less of an animal house vibe now that we’re a little bit more seasoned. Back in the day, everyone was on eleven.

16.which solo album MOST represents who you are as a musician ?

For me, it’s a tie between SOUTHERN EXPOSURE and DRIVE. SOUTHERN EXPOSURE represents myself as a guitarist playing instrumental music, basically singing the melodies with my guitar. I tried to write interesting changes in those songs and still make it easy to listen to as an instrumental album. DRIVE, which is an album of cover tunes from my youth, shows my influences before I decided that I wanted to become a musician. I tried to put my style into these songs without losing the vibe of the original artist. I feel like this album shows where I’m coming from as a singer. It’s my way of going back in time and being the singer in a cover tunes band. These are the songs that I’d want to have in the setlist. I’m working on my fifth solo album now. I hope to have it done by the end of the year.

17.Who made you feel the most starstruck when you met them ?

Ted Nugent. He was one of my biggest influences, and when I met him for the first time, I was shaking. Later, in 1993, FireHouse got to tour with Damn Yankees and Poison. On this tour, Ted was extremely kind to me and we became friends. He’d sit down and eat with me at catering. Ted would come to where I was warming up with my little 9 volt battery powered Marshall amp that I had clipped to my belt and he’d play me something he was working on. Last year, FireHouse opened up for him at Sturgis and Ted was on the side of the stage watching us. After his set, he walked right up to me and shook my hand. He’s a great guy and he’s singing and playing better than ever.

18.Ok Bill.Final question 😉 All Family are safe, but your house is burning! You can save only ONE of the following.What would it be ?

from your GUITARS                 My CR Alsip “13” guitar

from your AMPS                       My   Splawn Quick Rod

from your PEDALS                   My   Fractal Audio AX8

from your RECORD COLLECTION           Dixie Dregs – “Bring ‘Em Back Alive”

from your BOOKS                         The Holy Bible

from your FILM COLLECTION.         Spinal Tap

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Huge thanks to BILL LEVERTY for taking the time to be interviewed this week.

Bill is working on his 5th solo album. Here’s where you can listen to all of his tunes:

ADE FISHER