"This is the best ever job that doesn't make any money" says Donny Fallgatter, frontman for Nashville's young country rockers Kingbilly. It's unlikely that KingBilly will be broke for much longer, though. Riding high with the popularity of its latest music video on the popular country music channel GAC and a prominent spotlight in Country Weekly magazine, Kingbilly might just be on the cusp of being the next big thing out of Nashville. We had a chance to get a glimpse of life on the road with KingBilly through a chat with guitarist John Osborne in advance of the band's first ever Denver appearance at the Toad Tavern. Electric fences, farm animal fun, and rocking out with the Wolverine are just the tip of the iceberg. Read the full interview after the jump.
Westword (Dutch Seyfarth): How did your band come to be called KingBilly?
John Osborne: We wish we could say that there was an over the top, interesting story about how we got our name, but we simply wrote a bunch of words down on a piece of paper that we thought sounded cool, connected the dots and we got KingBilly. All one word. Capital K. Capital B.
WW: Your band claims Nashville as it's hometown. Is that where the band originated from?
JO: We all live in Nasvhille now. Five out of the six of us actually live within a few houses on the same street. The house where Matt, Charlie and Josh lives got the nickname Hotel Villa, since the street we all live on is Villa Place. It's where we hang, rehearse, write, party, etc. It's the central headquarters for the band in a way. But originally we're all from different parts of the country. I'm from Deale, Maryland, Kevin is from Bradenton, Florida, Josh is from Magnolia, Arkansas, Donny is from Steel, North Dakota, Charlie is from Grenada, Mississippi, and Matt is from Atlanta, Georgia. We all come from different walks of life which helps make us unique in style.
WW: When and how did all of you come together to form KingBilly?
JO: Josh and I met at Belmont University back in 2001; Charlie and Matt went to Berklee together. So there was a connection before the band even existed. We actually found out later that Josh and Charlie actually jammed once at a bluegrass festival when they we're kids. But the band formed in 2004 after we all met through friends and other musicians. We all had such a great time playing and writing together that we decided to see what would happen if we made it a full time thing. It's been a blast ever since. In the words of Donny Fallgatter "this is the best ever job that doesn't make any money".
WW: Has the sound of KingBilly changed at all during the band's existence?
JO: Funny you ask. We we're driving back to Nashville in the van last night, talking about our first show ever. It was awful. There's actually a video floating around that needs to burned, shot, covered in battery acid and flushed down the toilet. Since then, we have evolved tremendously. In the past five years, we learned to sing better, write better, play better and perform better. The last few years have been a huge time for us to learn and grow as people, as well as musicians. In my opinion, we've only scratched the surface.
WW: Your band describes it's sound as country, rock and bluegrass. Is there more of one ingredient compared to the others in your new album?
JO: It depends on which track you listen to. If you listen to "Make Her Bad," you'll hear a lot of Aerosmith. If you listen to "When She Breaks Down," you'll hear the side of us that's inspired by bluegrass. The track "Who I Love," lyrically and harmonically, is derived from our more traditional roots with and edgier side to it. You'll hear a lot of different influences throughout the record, but as songwriters, we play according to the lyric. That's how it should always be.
WW: Your band is now more or less on constant tour across the USA, does the band have any great tour stories?
JO: Where to start! You can actually check out our website, www.kingbilly.com and our YouTube site for blogs and videos we post. We recently saw a guy driving a convertible naked! And yes, we posted a video of it. Also a video of farm animals and fun with an electric fence. Most recently at Joe's Bar in Chicago Hugh Jackman got on stage, along with Richard Marx, and jammed with us. Freakin Wolverine man!!!
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WW: Is this KingBilly's first trip to Colorado? If so, have any of the bandmembers visited Colorado before and have any stories to relate?
JO: This is KingBilly's first trip to Colorado, collectively -- that is if you don't count the time we flew into it on the way to Wyoming. We have some good friends up that way and can't wait to make many more!
Kingbilly performs at the Toad Tavern Friday August 28th with special guests With Kory Brunson Band, Ashley Buchart, and John Truscelli. For more information visit the Toad's Website.