Ask Bill – April 3, 2023
1) I always wondered when artists are on the road in a bus who pays for what? When pulling over into a truck stop, does each person pay for his own meal? Who buys the water for the bus? The toilet paper? And even coffee and the other essentials of life?
This probably varies from artist to artist and bus to bus, but in my case I always supplied the bottles of drinking water, the ice to keep it cold, the paper towels, the toilet paper, and other basic essentials. The band members were responsible for their own meals, their own personal items (toothpaste, etc.) and their own individual cups of coffee. If we made a pot of coffee, which in our case was seldom, I furnished that. There are no set rules and, like I said, it probably varies from group to group.
2) You said you planned to read a lot while recovering from your surgery. What kinds of books do you like? I’m just wondering because I am an avid reader too.
If you were to look at the bookshelves in my house you would definitely wonder what kind of an idiot lives there. I read the widest range of books imaginable. I like mysteries, humor, biographies, books on history and current events, sports…almost anything that is well written, informative, and entertaining. I have a very large collection of books written by and about my friends in country music, many of which are personally autographed to me and highly treasured. Although I enjoy reading at any point during the day, I do most of my reading at night before going to sleep. I find it’s a great way to relax and de-stress from the events of the day.
3) What was it like recording a combination of country music and disco on your “Ladies Choice” album? Has anyone ever described you as the Barry White of country music?
Yes, they have, and I take that as a compliment. Barry White was a great communicator. It was my idea to see if country music melodies would mesh with disco rhythms, and along with my record producer at the time, Buddy Killen, we discovered that they would. I’ve never been afraid to try different things with my music, and I saw the country/disco merger as a challenge. People either seemed to love what we did or they didn’t like it at all. There wasn’t a lot of middle ground. Frankly, if I could go back to that time in my career, I would probably try to ride that horse a little longer. It might have been interesting to see just where it would have taken me.
4) Our Question Of The Month comes from Chris in Wisconsin: “My question to you is what makes someone a legend? A pioneer in the industry? The years in the industry? The number of hits by an artist? Why are some country singers called legends and some are not?”
That’s a great question. I just wish I had a great answer. In fact, I’m not sure there even is an answer. I would say, though, that it’s a combination of the things you mentioned above mixed in with factors that are far less tangible…things like charisma, originality, uniqueness. Even the dictionary has a hard time pinning it down. Mr. Webster says a legend is “one who achieves legendary fame.” I think we all knew that! I would say that a legend is quite possibly defined in the eyes and ears and minds of the beholder. A legend to one person is not necessarily a legend to another. Do you agree?
Quickies: Is there a celebrity you really want to meet or record with? There probably is, but at the moment I can’t think of who it might be. Hey, when you’ve recorded with everyone from Dolly Parton to David Alan Coe, there’s not a lot of uncharted water remaining. Have you ever recorded with BRELAND or with Jeannie Seely? Jeannie, yes, BRELAND, no. When people have been nominated for a Grammy, who votes or determines the winner? The members of The Recording Academy. How did you come up with the song, “Unicorn?” I did not write that song. Shel Silverstein did, and he was a creative genius. Did you write “Slippin’ Away” for Jean Shepard and, if not, how did she come to record it? And when you wrote it, which came first the lyrics or the catchy melody? I seldom write songs for a particular artist. In this case, I think Jean’s producer, Larry Butler, heard the song and thought it would be good for her. I started composing the song with the lyric first, which I usually do, and let the lyric “suggest” the melody. And before I sign off here, the vast majority of you agreed that “Tips” of my fingers is correct rather than “Tip” of my fingers. Thanks for your input…it was fun hearing from you.
If you have a question you’d like for me to try and answer, send it to me at email@example.com and I’ll give it my best shot. If yours is chosen our Question Of The Month, you will win any item from our online store free of charge. Put your curiosity cap on, and we’ll see you back here again next month.