I didn’t mention before in our weekend wrap-up that the highlight of the Trolley Tour was hanging out with Billie Worley and the folks at the Memphis Music Foundation. Billie is one of the performers for the 30 Days of Hope Benefit Concert, tomorrow night, Thursday, April 30 at Nocturnal. He will be performing an acoustic set specially put together for our benefit concert. Don’t miss it!
Billie also worked as a TV and movie actor in Los Angeles until he married a Memphian who returned to Memphis to work with the Memphis Music Foundation, which supports local musicians with business resources and a network of passionate music supporters. Some of his work in film and TV include “Early Edition” as a long running character Patrick Quinn, ER guest appearance, and Ed Wood's I Woke Up Early the Day I Died. He is also involved behind the camera with the most recent work as assistant director for a Memphis film The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306.
Below he answers some similar questions to ones posed to Memphis Jones.
Describe your path into music and performing and path to forming the band Billie Worley and the Candy Company.
I started playing music at 9 in the school band. I originally played drums and worked my way from the snare drum to playing Timpani and the full drum set in high school. I moved to Los Angeles at 20 to pursue an acting career and in the down time I decided to teach myself guitar. To tell the truth I was tired of being in the back on drums and thought I would do better out front, sort of an ego maniac right? But I really caught the bug to perform when I had the opportunity to tour with a friend of mine. He was the lead singer of a band named Candlebox, which had a couple of hit songs in the 90’s. I played the encores with the band on rhythm guitar and was absolutely sold on playing more. The immediate response from fans is something that always was very fulfilling to me as a performer. Even while I was acting in TV shows and Films in LA, doing plays was always much more satisfying. For me performing is a give and take with the audience and without them it’s a total vacuum.
How would you describe the band and its music?
The band is really 2 things. First I wanted to have a band that had great songs and played those songs exceptionally well. Second I wanted to make sure we were also entertaining. Being an actor I had to throw in some theatrics and being someone who loves silent films, especially the comedies I had to punch up our performance somehow. Thus I introduced the Moustache and black eye to sort of create a character like the Tramp. Although I wanted my creation to be a bit ambiguous, is he the Hero or is he the Villain. It sounds a bit heady but I think image is as important as the music, but mostly I want to Rock!!
How has living in Memphis contributed to you as a musician?
Amazingly…in fact before I moved here 5 years ago, I would never have called myself a musician. I just wasn’t good enough. Seeing and experiencing the best live music in the country and meeting those musicians has made me raise the bar on myself. It really is in the water down here.
I have always been curious about Memphis being such a significant city in the history of music and what significance it is currently contributing to the global music world. Where do you think Memphis stands in that regard? Do you see Memphis lacking anything to achieve that?
I think that globally it is important. The music from the 50-70’s influenced the entire world. Everywhere I go if I mention I am from Memphis people freak out. They want to know what it’s like, who you know, who have you seen play. It’s great, and I have real pride living here and spread the word on Memphis everywhere I go. As for modern music here in town, I think we are as talented as ever. There are so many great bands, singers, musicians, and they cross every genre of music, but as someone who is not from here looking in, I have to say I get the feeling that Memphis doesn’t care what the world thinks. We are going to do what we do and that’s it. I think with a little help from the city and a few non –profits, like the Memphis Music Foundation, we can be that beacon of great music in the world again.
If you had the choice, would you do music full time?
Yes…I love music and I love playing for people. Trying to create a moment together as performer and audience is job #1.
What other things do you enjoy doing that may or may not involve music?
I have a 4 year old daughter, and playing with her on the playground or making up songs with her or getting an ice cream and talking about the world from her point of view, pretty much cannot be topped. I also play golf and at one time as a teen wanted to go pro, but now love to get out and enjoy a few hours of relaxation/frustration!!
Can you share what experiences in acting helped you evolve into a musician if it did? Why did you make the transition? Do you plan on any TV or film projects in the future?
Acting helped tremendously. What acting taught me was to make strong choices and believe in them. Commit fully to yourself as an artist and do not let anyone try to tell you different. Confidence, now that is not to say not to try and learn as much as you can and be open to other ideas and thoughts. It is very important as both an actor and a musician to stay open to anything. You will be surprised where you find inspiration and the more avenues you have to pull from the better artist you will be. I made the transition for a couple of reasons; first, I was a musician in the beginning. Music helped me as a punk kid get thru weird times. I always seem to turn to my favorite albums when things didn’t make sense to me and music just goes deep and right to the point for me. Another reason was performing is a huge part of who I am and in the TV and film world of acting you can’t just do that whenever you want. Your ability to perform in that world is dependent on someone else hiring you. I needed an outlet a little more immediate and controllable for me. If I start to get that itch, as a musician, I can call a few clubs and see who has a slot open and within a couple weeks do a show and get my performing fix. It may sound egotistical but I really have some sort of need to do something in front of people otherwise it effects my psyche. I really get down when I have no outlet to work in.
There are a couple filmmakers in town that I have worked with since moving here and I really enjoyed the experience. Anytime they call I am available to do whatever they need, but as far as headed back to LA for the big time…I think I am going to wait until my daughter graduates college and then head back out, they always need the crazy old man in Hollywood!!
Ps- you can see some of my acting here at this website. Mark Jones created and directed this and I enjoyed every second!
Billie and the band are trying to finish making their first album and have 5 more songs to record. Please support them through donations in order to help get that done ~ "studio time ain’t cheap!!”
Billie Worley and the Candy Company ~ Band members
Billie Worley ~ Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals
Bob Buckley ~ Bass Guitar
Jeremy Stanfill ~ Keyboards, Background Vocals
Chris Mitchell ~Lead Guitar
Jon Emerson ~ Drums
Listen to the latest tracks and keep up with the band by clicking below.
Please also show your support for Memphis music by visiting the Memphis Music Foundation website and getting involved. http://memphismusicfoundation.org/