San Diego Symphony's second night of the Masterworks season showcased the power of place and personality
Garrett Harris noon, Oct. 13
Sound description: Alternative pop rock.
RIYL: The Police, Radiohead, Wilco
Inception: San Diego, 2004
Influences: The Police, Radiohead, Billy Joel, Sublime, Brian Wilson, Phish, Stevie Wonder, Wilco, Miles Davis, Cake, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Arthur Rubinstein
Three-piece "bill" prefers to have their name spelled with a lowercase b. "Happens to be two of our dads' names and can be spelled on your right hand," says bass and sax player David Marciano.
"Besides the fact that our dads are named Bill, the name's simple and memorable," says drummer and pianist Jonathan Coyle. "There are so many bands who are named, like, 'the Razor Light Symphonic Turtle Doves.' Hey, I like that -- maybe a possible side project?" Curtis Hartling plays guitar.
Bill went to Toronto, Canada in 2008, where their new album was mixed by Steve Thompson, famed for his work on Guns N’ Roses’ first album. “We learned all the gossip we ever wanted to know about Guns N’ Roses,” says guitarist Dagart Allison. “Steve let us listen to the demo version of ‘November Rain,’ which had been in the works years before Use Your Illusion came out. It was a lo-fi recording of an out-of-tune guitar and a scratchy-voiced Axl that seemed like a very distant relative of the grandiose final version.”
Outside the studio, however, “We were surprised to be rudely snubbed by Canadians at the airport and at the bus stop.… We went to jump on the metro [bus], but we didn’t have exact change. Not sure how things work in Canada, before jumping on the bus we asked the driver, ‘Do we need exact change?’ He answered ‘No’ but proceeded to slam the door in our faces and drive off.…
“Just when we thought we were all set to return to the good ol’ USA, customs security decided to do a thorough search of Jon [Coyle, singer/keyboardist]. Upon inspection, they found a small pumpkin with a face painted on it. While holding the pumpkin face squarely pointed at Jon, they proceeded to lecture [him] about the dangers of agricultural infringements and threatened a $10,000 fine. But they let Jon go with the agreement that the pumpkin stays.”
At the beginning of summer 2008, the band lost saxophonist Russ Gonzales to California’s wine country. Then they had to replace their drummer Michael Cannon; Danny Hambrick took over on drums, as the band went on to win the 2008 San Diego Fair Battle of the Bands, as well as earning a nomination for Best Pop Album at the San Diego Music Awards.