“… ‘Midnight Alibis’ could be a monster American hit, but no one knows about this song … it’s a classic”

* Contemporary Musicologist John Young interview with Tony Hartney, discussing the music of Australian poet, songwriter, Billie Reid.

Well there’s the man we’re talking about. That’s Billie Reid ‘Ticket Out Of Dizneyland’ and to talk about Billie and his music, John Young, well-known musicologist. Welcome John. (Tony Hartney).

Thank you for having me, I’m so happy to be here. (John Young).

Now he’s a man you enthusiastically describe as the real deal?

I must confess, I’ve never met him and I’ve been hearing about him for a couple of years and only recently have I managed to get my hands on a CD.

We don’t know much about Billie the man because he’s such a recluse isn’t he?

He is an enigma ok. He’s a complex person and I think he has had enough of the music scene, I don’t know. And I think his music is honest and he hasn’t fitted into the game that the music industry plays ….. and I think he has written a great Australian album.

When did you hear that first Billie Reid track? What was it?

Well the first song I ever heard was ‘Love Song 612’. Unusual title ….

He’d written 620 before that?

He probably had done, to get to that stage, to write with such simplicity. The melody line on that track is just to die for. He’s like something that should be in Nashville, and it’s haunting and beautiful …. So that was my introduction to Billie. Sensitivity and beauty, and then there’s the other side of Billie with his songs that I think are snarling, aggressive, cynical and yet not bitter. I can’t explain that to you. He is an observer.

As you have mentioned in the past, Billie is a great poet, he’s a great tunesmith, but pretty hard to pin down genre wise isn’t he?

Early Bob Dylan. Rockabilly, psychobilly, Kentucky, banjo …. punk …. Snarling short little vignettes that are angry. I just love it. and just as you want the song to go on a little bit more, he teases you, he teases you, and then it’s over. Because he doesn’t want to say any more. He’s stirred up your interest you know and I think too many songwriters they labour the point, their craft goes on and on …. he’s the master of the very very short story.

Listening to him he seems to get to the point very fast. One song in particular, ‘Ode To The Dudes That Own Their Own Nukes’ runs one minute twenty six seconds. It sounds like to me when I hear it, that it should be an eight minute opus but it’s not.

I felt he just got into the first verse then he stops. If you listen to that track it has this fantastic Ry Cooder landscape guitar evolving right at the beginning. You think this is nice, where’s this going then suddenly it’s over. Yeah it’s the shortest track on the album. Yeah one of the best.

He does that. He keeps them short and succinct. Why, why’s that?

I don’t know. Why not. Because he can …. and he wants to, and I suspect as an artist he probably has a willful temperament and streak and I’m not sure, some artists are driven by success money fame sex drugs and all the peripheral stuff. I think he is driven by the art of what he is doing and it’s on his terms only.

Billie Reid can be out there one moment and then deliver a very radio friendly song like ‘Demon Street’. Let’s have a listen to that.

Jacques Brel, The Doors, Bowie, Kerouac … howling voices. Yeah the guy lives in Demon Street. I don’t know what his demons are, but that’s how he wants to live his life and, you know, the girl in the story, he wants her to come back to Demon Street but it’s not going to work out …

Who’s demons are they?

They could be mine, they could be yours. I think it’s whatever you want them to be. And look, this is all pre-twilight fantasy stuff that is big now you know. When you go back to the history of the blues, Beal Street, ‘Demon Street’, and Van Morrison again, you know, everything is an avenue, or it’s something …. it’s something personal to a person you know. I’ve never seen a Demon Street. There might be one in Perth I’m sure there is.

Now Billie Reid is probably one of the most … he’s written a lot of songs, probably one of the most prolific songwriters that no one has ever heard. What’s going on there?

I don’t know. He doesn’t play on the album, but he is a musician. I suspect that he is a great manipulator of the chemicals … putting them together. And he’s a moments man. He’s into that performance, which is a very Van Morrison thing as well. If it’s going to happen it’s going to happen, if it’s not it’s not, and I suspect that once it’s done he’s not that really bothered about it, he’s moved on, because in his mind there’s something else happening you know. Look there’s a track there on the album, track 12, ‘Midnight Alibis’. The beginning is pure Hot Chilli Peppers. It sounds as though it could be a massive monster American hit but no one knows about this song. It’s something that people should be grabbing and doing cover versions of because it’s a classic.

Others have been very taken by Billie’s songs. They have recorded their own versions. What do you think attracts others to Billie’s music as performers?

Look, I think he is one of those great songwriters. People can take his song and they can find something in it that is their own. Some songwriters are so strong that you can’t do that with their material but Billie seems to work both lines. I think there are some songs on this album that are so personal that no one would touch them because they couldn’t cram the words in like Billie does. But there are other songs that are a little bit straighter and they are adaptable for different markets, and I think he’s a great songwriter in those genres as well.

Just on that John, recently, Fremantle girl Lily recorded her own take on Billie Reid’s ‘Dreamer’. Let’s have a listen to that.

Lily | Dreamer (Official Music Video) | Ode To The Dudes | Youtube

What a great voice she’s got. I’m just really moved. She’s got into that song and she’s found something personal with it and to me Lily’s just another great …. why is Australia just full of such talented people. What is it about the landscape that, you know, you can go to a barbecue, you can go anywhere, you’ll find someone playing the guitar who is just, you know, is just the best. It’s something about Australian culture …. and I think it’s just the love of entertainment. I think Australia’s just a great place …. it’s a powerhouse of songwriters.

Well if Billie Reid is going to be such a recluse, maybe more people should record his songs then to get him out there.

I think there’s a couple of songs here that I’m going to be talking to some people in the UK about I know in the business. I just think he deserves to be heard.

He does, you also said he refuses to play the game. What do you mean by that?

Oh I don’t really, well look, play the game? Do you really want to go there? The biz, the biz, the gigs the bullshit, the hype …. aah!, …. the image, some people just aren’t cut out for that crap you know. Five percent creativity and ninety five percent of the lifestyle. They want the creativity but they don’t want all the other stuff that goes with it and at the end of the day, publishing, record companies, the machine, it sometimes destroys people.

Would the machine be able to keep tabs on someone like Billie Reid?

Look, maybe Billie’s time is coming. Maybe it’s needed a period of being buried away, for people to come along and discover him, to love his music, to love his songs and say …. for others to be champions, and I see nothing wrong with that at all, and I’m an advocate for Billie for his art.

I’m thinking like if Billie doesn’t really care about the music machine, as you say, how is his music going to get out there then, through people like yourself?

I think so. I think other artists will come along and cover him and I think other people will re-invent him and they will add something new to the melting pot. Technology has moved on a lot in the last ten years. Ten, fifteen years ago making music at a professional level was an incredibly expensive adventure. It’s not these days. And time, multiple takes, people can do things in their own time. I suspect that someone will find something in him …. Fiddy (50 Cent) would find something in one of his songs and use it in a rap and it would be just the coolest thing …. why not. I think that should happen you know. What more can I say.

He’s a unique artist. It would be a great shame if Billie Reid and his music, as you put it, just fell through the cracks.

It’s not going to happen I can tell you.

* Contemporary Musicologist John Young interview with Tony Hartney, discussing the music of Australian poet, songwriter, Billie Reid. (25th Feb 2012).

“Tombstones and a cheating heart … a dark reading on a timeless theme” | Demon Street | Billie Reid

Modern technology gives us a chance to explore Billie Reid’s “alt” version of ‘Demon Street’. Sneering ‘Clash’ inspired chords, college-art backing, and snarling lyrics that bite. Tombstones and a cheating heart … “I ain’t got no time for lies” … this isn’t trendy art but a dark reading on a timeless theme. There’s darkness and a sense of desperation that pulls you in. ‘Demon Street’, don’t go there, but if you do, I wish you luck because this song has no room for sensitive types. It’s a bitter tirade lamenting loss, yet there’s no sense of introspection or poignant reflection from the safety of distance. Self pity isn’t in Billie’s emotional vocabulary. ‘Demon Street’ is hard edged, razor-sharp, and word perfect. Perhaps only those who have been hurt will connect.

Demon Street | “… a bitter brew of betrayal, torment and regret, whipped up into a fiery song of defiance”

‘Demon Street’ captures Australian axeman Phil Bradley at his fiery best, locked in a brutal Strummer-esque guitar-attack with the track’s stomping percussion, whilst Reid relays a tale of love and loss with the bile and poetic fervour of a punk troubadour. He presents the listener with the fiery sound of defiance .… “I’m not about to waste my life on someone else’s whim”  …. mixing up a bitter brew of betrayal, torment and regret, whipped up into song form. Anger, he reminds us, is an energy after all. When your world falls down, it’s better to feel something rather than nothing at all.

‘Demon Street’ is sure to provide an ideal swig of Dutch courage for anyone undergoing a painful, messy breakup. Why mope around when you could, like Billie Reid, count your losses and continue to kick ass! Liam Allen.

“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.

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.

“… put more simply, Billie Reid is a poet and he **** **** knows it!”

“… this street walkin’ cheetah, with a heart full of napalm, has a lot to say about love, loss, and the state of the world. Put more simply, Billie Reid is a poet and he **** **** knows it!”

… the unfurling lyrical attack of Reid as he aims straight for the jugular, singing “they won’t let us live on the beaches, they won’t let us live in the trees, the bastards just lock us in stables, and sell one another the keys”. The lyrics appear to be born out of a particular brand of anti-capitalistic fervour aroused by the Occupy protests, with a call for an alternative beyond the current dire political outlook of partisan politics and limiting left/right perspectives.

Reid’s uncompromising spirit shines through the course of this album. This is a man whose footsteps aim to re-find the path set down by the luminaries of the independent music scene. While the machine-gun delivery of his words recalls the lyrical fire and brimstone of Bob Dylan, as well as the acerbic energy of Johnny Cash, the quick-fire musical vignettes that fill this LP bring to mind punk stalwarts the Wire. Resultantly, Billie Reid’s music is a volatile hybrid, combining the purebred folk compulsions of bluegrass and rockabilly, infused with Reid’s own punk-influenced approach to songwriting. This street walkin’ cheetah, with a heart full of napalm, has a lot to say about love, loss, and the state of the world. Put more simply, Billie Reid is a poet and he **** **** knows it!

* Nikola Tesla had a knack of being able to draw printed circuitry in his mind that worked, my forte is being able to totally rehabilitate this entire Planet, every last detail in my mind, all perfectly workable, TRULY Green, revivifying the deserts of the Planet as oasis after oasis producing more food than ten times the current population could use, more water than 100 times the current population could use, non-polluting power production, removal of current pollution and constructive recycling thereof, a Planet where your kids won’t be required to live in rabbit hutches. Billie Reid.

Billie Reid | ‘self, muso, poet, regenerationist extrordinaire, polymathic re-planetarizationist’

i began wandering around Australia, mostly on foot working farms, building sites, gold claims etc, from the south west through the gold fields and northern gold fields, out to the Kimberleys for walks through boab “forests”, into the northern territory (probably my favourite part of any good walk, that 1st glimpse each time of the rocks and “cliffs” before Victoria River as you 1st walk in from west oz) because you know Katherine ain’t “far”, all the while checking out the different facets of the Natural eco-system, how it’s changed since my last walk there in a different season etc, checking out the man-made catchments and dams stretching out around northern wa, etc, etc, et ***, cetera, my goal, to put all of this knowledge, hard won, into developing a plan to put PEOPLES in the “driving seat” of Australia again, which i proceeded to do, and to give y’all these perfectly workable ideas, designed to benefit y’all and your Kids and their Kids ad infinitum … njoi!billie

Billie Reid | Single Tachyon Extrapolation of Existence | Ode To The Dudes | Youtube

“the subconscious mind of Eternity” | “… this may be metaphorically considered as the consciousness of creation, the mind” | Billie Reid

“…. this is the lightspeed and below universe of our physical senses, the single-particle-theory tachyon soup created as the single tachyon intersects with itself in different places at the same time, and the same place at different times; this may be metaphorically considered as the consciousness of creation, the mind ….

Just as the cosmos in its physical sense is a totally inter-related manifestation of its component attributes of gravitational and electromagnetic coincidence, so the events/consciousness’s within that cosmos may be seen to be dependent on/connected to everything else that occurs within that same instant (i.e, synchronicity). Accepting this, and being that we can have no real concept of (or existence in) an instantaneous universe, we may extrapolate that for all our intents and purposes a combined continuity of time and space is a prerequisite of our conscious awareness of the reality that we appear to occupy and that therefore, all events throughout time and space are influenced by and influencing all other events within that continuum in a coherent and instantaneous manner regardless of temporal and/or spatial remoteness. This is the lightspeed and below universe of our physical senses, the single-particle-theory tachyon soup created as the single “tachyon” (4want’v betr word, i.e, instantaneous particle/wave “pixel/bit/packet” … no mass, no volume, “just” infinite velocity) intersects with itself in different places at the same time, and the same place at different times; this may be metaphorically considered as the consciousness of creation, the mind. The faster than light realm of the uninterrupted tachyon may be thought of as the subconscious mind of Eternity (as above, so below etc). We have the potential (in our role as an interface between rational/instinctive/emotional consciousness, between physical/spiritual, matter and energy) to challenge the apparent boundaries of our existence, to examine the walls of our cell for loose stones, to grab a can of spray paint and try to tag the invisible as it moves amongst us. Some try…. this is their Lounge … Welcome to the Dawn … “The game is afoot” … Eternity Beware, Oblivion is at hand. LOL.