Ode To The Dudes | Billie Reid

“Poet, songwriter, Billie Reid eschews the road of rock’n’roll excess and fake outrage”

Some people sell out, they get worn down or just become plain desperate for a payoff or hunger fame, but for others their music and words are non-negotiable. They never do the record company thing and can’t sway from their chosen path, always true to their roots it’s in the DNA of their lyrics and tunes. That’s Billie Reid. Perhaps he knew he would never fit in. Honest and unpretentious with an almost indifferent disregard to what was fashionable and in the charts. He couldn’t and wouldn’t play the music biz game.

Like so many before him, Billie honed his craft busking on the streets of Fremantle, Western Australia. At the heart of his songwriting I feel he is a poet. This may sound trite and perhaps clich├ęd, in this present age of tortured sensitive artistes, but in essence I believe this is the truth.

“… I was born to this planet, alive and unarmed, I was thrown into structures more easily farmed. With doctors and lawyers ‘n’ labourers ‘n’ sheep, ‘n’ cattle ‘n’ businessmen, all in a heap …”

Perhaps those like myself who have somehow stumbled across his small cache of songs have found some connection that defies the hype of what is trendy and shallow. We live in an age where packaging is everything and often the promised magic is a sad illusion of what we want it to be.

Yet nothing stays the same and ultimately this small cluster of songs are a hurried snapshot that captures the innocence and promise of what could and what might have been. Some songs can and do have a second coming, and perhaps with the benefit of distance they can be revisited and appreciated with more clarity. I feel that Billie’s time has now come ’round and is worthy of a prolonged revisit.

“… On the planet I’m born on the bastards ‘ll tell ya, that slavery’s banned, while they package ‘n’ sell ya. They won’t let us live on the beaches ‘n’ trees, while they breakfast at Maxim’s and brunch in Los Angeles …”

But Billie isn’t desperate for fame, he won’t play that game. Reclusive and flying under the radar he eschews the road of rock’n’roll excess and fake outrage, and in his own way his game plan has made him the underdog. It’s a dangerous fickle game that can lead to nowhere, but with this territory comes credibility and I guess this is priceless, and Billie has it by the bucket load.

His songs are here. Give them time and they will slowly seep into your life. All that matters is the moment and the emotion. Simple words, honest musicianship.

John Young (Musicologist)