Billy Burnette, March 18 - 31 , 2000

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Billy - I promised you many questions so I'm just keeping my word! I hope that your new album gets the promotion it deserves and that rock-a-psycho-Billy Burnette is heard every time someone turns on the car radio. If your recent live web-cast was any indication of what the new record will sound like, then 'Are You With Me, Baby' is really going to ROCK! (Tony S., Wellman, Iowa, USA)

Yes that's exactly what it sounds like - a recorded live album.

You and Rocky are the rightful heirs to the rock-a-billy throne. Have the two of you ever discussed recording an album together? (Tony S.)

Yes, the Lincoln Center in New York last summer.

Have you and Rocky shared a stage in the last few years? (Tony S.)

Rocky and I had recorded Train Kept a Rollin' on Sweet Fish Records.

I see that Ian Wallace is back behind the drums. Up until 'All Night Long', had you two recorded anything together since your 1980 self-titled album? (Tony S.)

Ian is on my new album Are You With Me Baby due in stores on May 9th.

Hi Billy :) Thank you for answering some questions for us. I have a few to ask. First, what is your favorite outlet of music? Do you enjoy singing the most or playing? (Janet S., Palmyra, New Jersey, USA)

Both.

Do you like the studio more than being on stage or the other way around? (Janet S.)

Performing live.

Also..what musical acts of today do you enjoy..and do you like to listen to other forms of music like rap or alternative ( since you said your son is into that). (Janet S.)

I listen to a lot of new bands.

Also I see you act...do you really want to get into that more seriously or are you just mainly a musician? (Janet S.)

I'd like to do more acting, but my first love is music.

Last question...do you still keep in touch with Christine McVie since you two were such good friends? Will you two ever collaborate again in something musical? Thank you for doing this for us once again....Im sorry if you were asked any of these questions already ..good luck with your new album and tour! (Janet S.)

Yes, I hope to write with Christine again. She is one of my favorites. Thanks.

What's up Billy! This is Greg Takacs writing back, your "Coming Home" fan! I got some more questions for you. That's the greatest country album I've ever listed to, mostly because of the theme of "Coming Home", going home to your country roots after being away for a while. Would you say that it's your personal favorite? (Greg Takacs, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Yes, its one of my favorites. Thanks.

Billy, I'm also a fan of your self titled 1981 album. That album seemed have much more sound rockabilly than "Coming Home". Being a huge Elvis fan, I couldn't help noticing the "One Night" cover, and the fact that you remind me of him a lot. Just as Lindsey had the Beach Boys has his biggest influence, would you say that Elvis is your biggest influence? Did your rockabilly star father know Elvis? Did you? (Greg Takacs)

I met Elvis when I was a kid. My Dad was my biggest influence and also influenced Elvis. Delaney Bramlett, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, John Fogherty, and Steve Windell are just a few of the other influences in my life.

When the 1997 reunion came about, it's too bad you weren't asked to participate. You could've at least joined on rythym guitar or something. Why weren't you asked to re-join? Was it difficult seeing a band you had been a part of for 10 years go on without you? What are your overall opinions on the "Dance" reunion? (Greg Takacs)

I was interested in persuing my roots. So that led me on the road of making this new record Are You With Me Baby, that's coming out in May.

Did not being included in the "Dance Tour" inspire you to continue in your solo carrer? I noticed that you have released two albums in short time of each other? Does "All Night Long" have that contemporary country feel of "Coming Home" What about "Are you with me Baby"? Is that more rockabilly? Hoped to order an autographed copy from cyberpenguin.net! (Greg Takacs)

Are You With Me Baby is rockabilly.

So what are your plans now? Do you like where your career is going? (Greg Takacs)

Yes.

Do you think you'll ever do anything Fleetwood Mac related again? Billy I want to thank you for answering all of my questions! It's been great meeting one of my favorite stars! (Greg Takacs)

If given the opportunity, I would love to.

Billy Burnette; Photo credit and copyright: John Lee Montgomery III, Nouveau Photography
Billy Burnette, 2000

What are your opinions on Bob Welch? He happens my next favorite frontman for the Mac. Since he lives near you in Nashville, do you have contact with him? (Greg Takacs)

Bob is a friend of mine. I see him from time to time here in Nashville.

Why don't you play something with Brian Setzer....and his orchestra? (Marco Wijnands, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Brian Setzer played on a couple of tracks of mine a few years ago.

I loved the FM concert in Leiden 94/95...thank you. What a great singer Bekka Bramlett is, don't you think so too!!! (Marco Wijnands)

Yes, one of the best I ever heard.

Hey Billy-- My favorite song on BTM of yours is "In the Back of My mind". The intro is awesome, I read how long it took to make in a previous question you answered. I noticed that on some BTM shows, you guys opened with that song. Did the intro to that song get the crowd pumped up?? Also who decided what songs to play on the BTM tour? I would have loved to see Freedom played live. Thanks! (Noel, St. Louis, Missouri, USA)

Yes, the crowd went wild when we performed that intro. We mostly performed the Fleetwood Mac hits during the tour.

Hi Billy, I greatly appreciate this opportunity. I just stumbled onto this full-service Fleetwood Mac website a few weeks ago and have found it full of amazing stuff, and my old interest in collecting the group has been rekindled like nothing before. Just like when I was thrilled to discover your dad and uncle's rockabilly recordings hidden behind their early 60s pop releases, hearing how thoroughly substantial and beautiful the Fleetwood Mac recordings have been in the 90s has given me a greater appreciation of their talent and diversity - and yours as well. What a gift all around. Your Columbia LPs have long been favorites of mine, and these days I have been listening to the "All Night Long," "Behind the Mask" and "Time" CDs whenever I can. Just pure joy to hear. Oh yes, a question: Will there be any releases of "Zoo" material? (John Lindquist, Madison, Wisconscin, USA)

Probably the Zoo material will be on CD soon, I hope.

Also, any chance you will record with fellow Memphisite James Griffin? It would be great to hear him do some rockabilly. (Can't let these Bread guys mellow out beyond repair!) (John Lindquist)

He is singing on 3 of the songs on my new album Are You With Me Baby.

Billy, What is Rocky up to these days? Does he ever plan on recording again? Are you close? (C. Mark Gomez, Grand Junction, Colorado, USA)

Rocky is recording a rockabilly record at this time. He is like a brother to me rather than my cousin.

I've read everything to date (3/28) and not one person has asked what the hell Mick is saying at the beginning of "Back of My Mind." Do you realize how maddening that is for a fan not to know something about one of their all time favorite songs? Can you remember what he's saying? (Tim Bucci, Springfield, Illinois, USA)

Mick is asking each band member beginning with me "What's it like, Billy?" and so on.

It's an eerily captivating song, but Mick Fleetwood playing guitar on "These Strange Times?" What the hell! This must have been before you or Dave came on board, right? (Tim Bucci)

No. We let Mick have that guitar part. He has always been a closet guitar player.

Since you and Mick are still close, has he ever commented on this website, especially since you're guesting here? These guys do one fantastic job!

Yes, he just asked about the website the other night.

Final observation: You and Rick (helluva nice guy, that Rick) brought such good, positive, professional talent to FM during BTM (and you in TIME) ... I just wanted to say, as a fan, I was glad to see new life infused into the group. But what were you thinking?! Soap opera = record sales, man! You should have had some scandalous relationship with one of the women (I'm hoping like hell that you're laughing at this right now)! Anyway, thanks for everything, Billy. Good luck in all you do. (Tim Bucci)

Yes, I am laughing right now. Thanks.

Billy, you have written so many great songs. Talkin' to my Heart is one of my favorites, and it's a great recording, too (the volume gets cranked for that one)! Did you (co-) write that song particularly for Fleetwood Mac to do? Bekka's harmony sounds so natural and blends well with your voice. Did she just kind of jump in and start singing it with you, or did you have her vocal parts in mind? (Raven, Cold Spring, New York, USA)

The song was something I already had written and worked it for that project. Bekka is a great singer and we sang together before that point.

Hi! I was just wondering how exaclty you got the call to join the Mac in '87? Did you have to audition, or had you already sat in with the band before? (Hardy Lloyd, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

No I didn't have to audition. I had played with the band before.

When on stage, how did the crowds react to you (although just as talented) standing in Lindsey's shoes? Were they welcoming to having you replace their longtime member, or were they suprised not to see him? (Hardy Lloyd)

There was pressure before the first gig. After that, it was great!

Similar to my previous question for you, what were audience reactions like on the Time Tour? I'm under the impression that they were dissapointed (although I hope that's not the case) because there were no performers from the Rumours lineup: Stevie, Christine or Lindsey. (Hardy Lloyd)

Great! Just like any other Fleetwood Mac audience.

What did the setlist consist of mostly? (Hardy Lloyd)

Mostly Fleetwood Mac hits and a few newer things as well.

So when people see you these days do, they know you from your solo country career or for your Fleetwood Mac career? (Greg Takacs)

Both.

Did your Fleetwood Mac career help your solo career? (Greg Takacs)

Yes.

Do you think the absence of Lindsey was reason why "Behind the Mask" wasn't as great of a seller as their other albums? (Greg Takacs)

No.

Hey Billy! I was surprised at your amazing guitar skills after seeing the Tango in the Night video. You were rockin! Anyhow I have a simple question: How did you play that little Stand Back riff on the video? It came right before Rick went into the slide guitar solo. Thanks man, and take care. (Brandon J., Whitehall, Arizona, USA)

I just played the lick that was on the record.

Reading that the Beatles were one of your influences, the first time I heard "Hard Feelings", I noticed that the production has an obvious (to me anyway) Beatles' "Sgt Pepper/Magical Mystery Tour"-type sound. Was this an intentionally premeditated thing during the sessions? Or, am I the only one to notice that similarity? :-) (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)

The process of that intro was to make it Mick's baby. Mick used his percussion skills and Vito performed a great solo. Part of the song was played all at the same time, it was not spliced together.

Hi, Billy! I have a few questions regarding various aspects of your career, but mostly I want to take this opportunity to compliment you on your amazing talents and to thank you for bringing so much joy to so many. Because of your tenure in Fleetwood Mac, I have been introduced to your solo output in particular and have developed a great appreciation for country and rockabilly music in general. I really dislike categorizing genres -- to me, it is all rock 'n' roll!

With the help of online auctions, used record stores, and especially the incredibly detailed discography in Mick's 1992 pictorial book, I think I finally have all your pre-Mac solo LP's, culminating in finding your 1972 debut last month.

It is clear that in the early 80's you were busy recording your music, as well as recording and performing with Christine, Mick, Lindsey, and probably countless other musicians. What about the 70's, though? Your second album came out seven years after your first. Would you please tell us a bit about that period in your career? Thanks, Billy! (Jonathon Donahue, New York, New York, USA)

In the 70's, I was living in Memphis, TN. Later I moved to Nashville, then Atlanta, and then back to Nashville.

I also feel a need to comment on my favorite of your albums: "Coming Home". It has a really great theme of going back to your roots after being gone for a long time. What are your opinions on your "Coming Home" effort? Does your latest album sound anything like it? Hope it does! (George Rockwell, Landover, Maryland, USA)

Coming Home is a favorite, but Are You With Me Baby is more of a rock-n-roll record.

When Lindsey left the band in 1987, it must have truly been an honour for you to join one of the most popular bands in history. I have to admit too, as much as I like Lindsey and his what he did for the band, you and Rick gave the band's sound that "country" accent it needed as opposed to Lindsey's "beach boy" accent. Was Mick looking for that "country sound" when he asked you and Rick to join? Also, what was your relationship with Lindsey like? How well do you know him? How did he react to being replaced by an Elvis-influenced country artist in the band? (Greg Takacs)

Lindsey is a good friend of mine. He had me join in the 80's to do a Saturday Night Live show with the band called the Cholos and later that turned into the Zoo.

Hey, this is your fan Greg writing again! I have to say the Mac is one of my favorite bands--mostly because of the array of music it offers from all those line-up changes from all those years. If you think about it, the various tensions that have arised in the Mac over the years, very much resemble what happend with Pink Floyd--the way Roger Waters left the band, but they still were able to carry on without him. Are you a Pink Floyd fan? Floyd and the Mac are tied as my favorite. Have you noticed the striking similarites between the way lineups changed in that band, to how they changed in your band? Interesting, huh? (Greg Takacs, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

A band sometimes needs changes to be successful.

Hi Billy, Considering your vast musical background (and your family's!), do you happen to know the actual origins of the term "rockabilly"? I've heard different things about how that term actually got started. (Justine, North Hollywood, California, USA)

It actually came about when my dad wrote the 1953 song "Rockabilly Boogie" . The song was about my cousin, Rocky, and myself, Billy, hence the term Rockabilly.

If you had to describe Lindsey in 3 words what would they be ???? (Kristy, Los Angeles, California, USA)

Sorry, it would have to four words, 'I'm a big fan.'

Behind The Mask
Behind The Mask - Fleetwood Mac

HI BILLY! My question for you is what is your opinion on the Mirage album from 1982? It's my favorite Fleetwood Mac album af all time. Is it your favorite too? If not what is? Thanks! (Laura Lubinski, Fresno, California, USA)

I liked Mirage but favorite is still Rumours.

Do you have any contact with the most popular, although not really the best, Garth Brooks? Any chance you'll work with him some day? (Mike Robbins, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

That door is always open.

I was wondering if you consider Elvis your biggest influence? You look like him, sound like him, and in a lot of ways are him. It is so great seeing a star like you pay tribute to the King of Rock & Roll in the way you do.If there's a living person today who could be named "the Next Elvis", it would definitely be you! THANKS! (Greg Takacs)

Thank you. I am a huge Elvis fan but my dad was my biggest influence.

Hi Billy. I have always wondered why Michael Thompson plays guitar on Christine's songs from Behind the Mask. Did he replace yourself and/or Dave Mason for those songs or add to your guitar parts? (Gail, Southampton, United Kingdom)

Michael Thompson played on a few tracks on the Time. Michael's work was just added to our parts.

Living in Nashville, do you have any contact with Bob Welch, who also lives in Nashville? What are your opinions on the Bob Welch years of Fleetwood Mac? (Al Stiehl, Landover, Maryland, USA)

I see Bob around Nashville. I liked his music with Fleetwood Mac.

Thank you so much for answering our questions Billy! First of all I just want to say that everyone on this site knows that YOU WERE FLEETWOOD MAC. My question is how do you and Lindsey get along? Do you consider him a friend or a rival, considering you were not allowed to play along with him on the reunion tour? (Lisa Davenport, Phoenix, Arizona, USA)

We get along great and he is a friend. The Reunion tour was great and I knew that the line-up would get back together. Thank you.

Now that I think of it WHY WEREN'T YOU INVITED TO PLAY ON THE DANCE TOUR??? It's a real shame, because we all know how great of a performer you are. Your just as good as Lindsey if not better. So you should've been invited to join along! WE LOVE YOU BILLY! (Lisa Davenport)

They just wanted the five Rumours members for the Dance Tour. Bekka and I had other plans at that time anyway.

Billy, it's so great for you to give your fans a chance to meet you. My question has to do with your solo country/rockabilly work. Which solo album would you say is your best? Which solo album sold best? Which album do you wish would've sold better? (George Rockwell, Landover, Maryland, USA)

My best solo album would have to be my new one, Are You With Me Baby, due in stores on May 9th. I hope it sells better than all the others.

Billy if we wanted to send you fan mail (snail or e-mail) where would we send it? (Trey Marshall, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

Fan mail can be sent to the following address:

Billy Burnette
1100 17th Ave. South
Nashville, TN 37212

Billy, thanks again for taking the time to answer all of these questions. I appreciate the honesty of your answers. As you can see by the response you've gotten, you have many fans who follow your work and appreciate your dedication to your craft. I will ask a few more questions and promise that I will not flood you with any more questions! The last one is a bit more personal and I know my son will be very interested in what you have to say. Does Billy Jr. make an appearance on 'Are You With Me, Baby'? (Tony, Wellman, Iowa, USA)

No.

What part (if any) do you play in his solo career? (Tony)

I help him write songs and produce along with Luke Colton.

My son is 8 years old and has been taking guitar lessons for about a year. I pointed out to him that you made your first professional recording at about the same age. What advice would you give a young guitarist who's just learning to play? Thanks again, Billy. Here's hoping 'Are You With Me, Baby' sells a million! (Tony)

Play as much as possible. It will help him with school as well.

Thanks Billy for your fine precise answers! I do not know your music but will now purchase your new cd ...Are You With Me Baby...due out May 9th.!!! I have a SNL question...when you played and sang back-up with Lindsey, who were the names of the other guitar player and especially the bass player? I thought the announcer said...The Cherros! ? Thanks...just curious as you were all so great!!! Rock On!!! (Char, North Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

George Hawkins played bass and Steve Ross played guitar. It was the Cholos.

Do you have a favorite song your father either sang or wrote? (Linda, Orlando, Florida, USA)

Yes, it is called "Suddenly There's A Valley." Thanks.

Hi Billy - I saw you TWICE in the UK, remember the Wembley stadium gig on that misty September day all those years ago!!??! I don't want to pry into your personal finances (of course), but did you make a living from songwriting or from performing before joining the group? I hope to be able to buy your new album in the UK soon. (Stephen, Addington, United Kingdom)

Before I joined the group, I made my living by songwriting and performing just as I do now.

Hey Billy, Just wondering are you on-line? (Mary Beth Green, New York, New York, USA)

No not yet, but hopefully soon.

[Notation: Billy is answering these questions at his management's office, The Left Bank Organization.]

Hello Billy Burnette! This is a surreal experience for me. I first became aquainted with you watching Christine's concert on MTV in 1984. I never dreamed then I'd be corresponding with you in any form. Anyway, here's my questions: 1). In my opinion, your songs and performances on "Time" are far superior (harder-edged, sparely arranged, wonderfully harmonized) than those from Mask. I sense you were invigorated by working with Bekka. Were you two trying to "duplicate" a Lindsey-Stevie partnership for the sake of Mick? If so, your pairings were successfully unique. (Tony Leuzzi, Rochester, New York, USA)

No, we were being ourselves. If anyone, we were trying to be like Delaney and Bonnie.

In the making of "Time" why did Christine choose to have another guitarist outside of the band play her songs? Was she recording them separately fromthe group? Did she work with the rest of the group at all? Thanks so much for taking time to do this. (Tony Leuzzi)

No she did not record outside separate. All of us participated on this project. Although, someone else was brought in on guitar only to experiment.

Okay, one last question. Throughout your career, what has been the funniest memory to date? (Steve MacDougall, Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Probably when I did the voices for all three of the Chipmunks for the Chipmunk Friends in Low Places project.

Closing Comments:

First of all, I want to thank everyone who participated in this Q&A! I had great time and your questions were incredible. I hadn't realized how many Mac fans are still out there. Countless memories were brought back through your questions and comments. On behalf of the band, thank you for your continued support. Fans make it all worth the hard work.

Thanks to Martin and Lisa for inviting me to participate in the Q&A and for managing such an in depth website on Fleetwood Mac. A special thanks to Michele Mategrano for her hard work on my bio. You did a fabulous job!! Thank you.

I hope to see each and everyone of you when I start touring with my new album, ARE YOU WITH ME BABY. Keep checking the Penguin site for upcoming show dates. The new album will be in stores on May 9th - I hope you enjoy it!

Once again thank you all and God Bless!

Love,

Billy Burnette

We would like to thank Gina Miller from The Left Bank Organization
for helping to make this Q&A possible.

Place your order for Billy Burnette's most recent album, Are You With Me Baby now ! These albums are priced at $12.75 (lower than the street price) and are autographed by Billy Burnette when purchased through The Penguin. S/H is $1.75 within the United States; international shipping will be more. You can place your order for this album now in The Penguin Album Corner. Also available is Billy Burnette's 1999 album, All Night Long. We have this album in stock and it can be shipped to you right away. This album is available EXCLUSIVELY through The Penguin.

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