Friday, October 23, 2009
Billy Hector at Skip's
Billy Hector at Skip's in Browns Mills, Friday, October 30, Mischief Night.
Newark Star-Ledger photo by John O'Boyle.
Billy Comes To Browns Mills
We were all sitting around talking about going to see Billy Hector at Jake's Escape on Friday, October 30th, when word got out it was cancelled. So I emailed Suzan and asked about getting another gig nearby, and she said go for it.
So there we were at J.C.'s, going through a list of joints - Country Lakes Pub is packed with DJ on Fridays, which leaves Mercedies, the Terrace and Skip's as possibilities, along with Todd's farm, but he already has a bonfire party planned for Saturday night, and we'd all have to chip in for it.
Timmy said "Let's go talk to Skip," and Ross said he would drive so we went over and talked to Skip, who was having some problems with his joint and was looking for a new crowd. We explained how Jake's Escape had cancelled Billy's gig, and he was looking for a new joint to play, and we gave him the convincer - we would bring in a totally new clientele - older, more sophisticated, better tippers, who like good music.
We routinely drive twenty, thirty miles one way to see Billy play, and now we got him in our own back yard.
Skip's used to be Frank's, which was once the legendary O'Bies - O'Brian's, back in the day when it was a worker's bar.
Just down the street towards Pemberton was the Sunset Inn, which became Alexander's, a strip bar and concert hall, as it was a huge room that could hold hundreds of people, no problem.
Alexander's was THE Place for about a year, [See: article on Alexander's and photo of Lowell George of Little Feat], and now its gone.
But the Vibes are back with Billy Hector coming to town, and expectations are running high.
Billy Hector's Web Site: http://www.billyhector.com/m_calendar1.html
Billy was the subject of a great article in the Newark Star-Ledger,
which I will post in its entirety,
and was already written up in the New York Times [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/07colnj.htmlr=2&oref=slogin]
and by me [http://jerseyshorenightbeat.blogspot.com/2008/02/billy-hector-hard-drivin-blues.html], (also see below),
but this is the best Billy Story, so far.
I'm not done with him yet.
And you can find out where Billy Hector is playing every week at Roger's Roadhouse Report: http://www.angelfire.com/nj/Roadhouse51/index.html
Thank's Mark. And good pix John.
Story by MARK VOGER
Photos by JOHN O'BOYLE/THE STAR-LEDGER
By Star-Ledger Staff
October 16, 2009, 5:41PM
Guitarist lives to fulfill two missions — one onstage, one at home
A white Chevy van is illuminated by neon signs — Miller Lite, Budweiser — as Billy Hector unloads the tools of his trade outside of Magee’s West Side Tavern in Point Pleasant on a cool, comfortable Thursday evening. He tilts one of two heavy JBL speaker cabinets onto a hand truck and rolls it up a couple of steps to enter the side door of the club.
"I used to do two at a time," says the blues guitarist and singer. "Then I got old."
As Hector enters the club, the voice of another Jersey Shore musician can be heard from the jukebox: "Mister I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man, and I believe in a promised land."
For Hector, the promised land is right here at the back wall of Magee’s, where he performs every Thursday — a modest space by the kitchen decorated with a mirror, two dartboards, a neon Jose Cuervo sign and, in a nod to the season, cotton cobwebs and cardboard figures of a skeleton, vampire and mummy.
Hector, 53, is a veteran of the Shore music scene that was ignited in the 1970s by the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, among many acts. Most of the clubs and bands from those days are no longer in existence, but Hector has, as he puts it, "soldiered on." About four nights any given week, Hector and his weathered ’74 "Strat" — that is, the Fender Stratocaster guitar he’s owned since he was a teenager — can be found onstage in Asbury Park, Montclair, Southampton, Belmar, Chatsworth, Long Branch, Clementon, Jackson, Medford Lakes or New York City.
Some of these gigs may run together, but an upcoming one has special significance for the guitarist.
Hector is scheduled to perform in a multi-act benefit organized on behalf of Suzan Lastovica, his partner of 29 years who is often referred to as his wife, on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. at the Headliner in Neptune.
"We’re ’hippie married,’" Hector says of the woman he calls "the Queen," who has been battling multiple sclerosis for many years.
"You lose a little bit, you gain a little bit," he says of the couple’s struggle with the disease.
"He has never faltered in making me feel, ever, that I’ve been a burden," says Lastovica, a singer who sometimes performs with Hector.
"This is a chronic disability. We’re talking decades. He was always right there, supporting me, taking me to the doctor. He has never missed a step. That’s very special for people who are disabled."
He may not look like an entrepreneur with his do-rag, ponytail and bushy sideburns, but Hector has been a self-employed guitarist for going on three decades. Besides the stage, his other place of work is his inner sanctum, his fortress of solitude: the cellar of his Spring Lake Heights home, where he rehearses, writes and teaches.
It is cluttered with souvenirs of his interests and career. Instruments and old equipment are everywhere: four organs, a row of electric guitars, a banjo, an acoustic guitar, tape decks, a computer. There are framed posters: Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Mighty Mouse and two by underground comics icon Robert Crumb, including his infamous "Stoned Again." A poster of a recent gig Hector played with blues legend Hubert Sumlin — who is often backed by Hector’s band — indicates that he is still actively framing.
"I got an old Howlin’ Wolf poster from the Fillmore comin’ in," he says before settling into an easy chair.
A big, black, padded amplifier standing imposingly in a corner must be 6 feet high. "Somebody was getting rid of that," Hector says, nodding toward the amp. "It was in a garage. I said, ’I’ll have it.’ It’s just there as a monument."
Hector was born and raised in Orange, where his parents first met.
"There’s four generations of firemen in my family," he says. "My nephew is a fireman now. My father was a fireman; my grandfather was a fireman; my brother was a fireman. My mother’s from Newark; she moved up to Orange. My parents met in a playground, playing ping-pong. They lived a block and a half away from each other.
"Orange is a lot like Asbury or Neptune. It’s a mixed crowd. Folks get along. There were tough kids. I was the sensitive kid."
Hector attended parochial school for 12 years.
"That’s hardcore," he says with a chuckle. "Our Lady of the Valley. I got along with the nuns. I would get mixed signals. One would ask me what I was gonna do (for a living), and I said I was gonna be a musician. She said, ’Oh, you should be a priest.’ Then after I played an assembly, the next nun that asked me what I was gonna do, I said, ’Oh, I don’t know.’ And she goes, ’Oh, you’re crazy. You should be a musician.’
"But I tried to stay away from the nuns, actually. I tried to do my thing and stay off the radar. Because if you got on the radar, bad things could happen."
Meanwhile, Hector began to take notice of a homegrown phenomenon in Orange.
"There were a lot of bands in the neighborhood," he recalls.
"Everybody had a rock band in the ’60s. There were four bands on my block. I could hear all the older guys. I started to get involved. I started to play."
To support his newfound interest, Hector took odd jobs.
"I delivered the Newark Evening News, because I couldn’t get up early enough for The Star-Ledger — that was a morning paper," Hector says, laughing again.
"I caddied awhile down here, in Manasquan. My parents bought a summer home in Ocean Grove in 1969. My father knew the golf pro at the Brielle club. I used to put my cousin on the bike — on the handle bars — ride from Ocean Grove to Brielle, do nine or 18 holes, and then ride back. Think about that. At 13. That’s crazy. I’m tired just talking about it.
"I worked on the boardwalk in Seaside (Heights) after I got out of high school, as a dishwasher-waiter kind of thing. They only paid me waiter wages, which was, like, a dollar-ten and tips. And I’m an ugly, long-haired kid, with all these young girls around me. So I wasn’t gettin’ many tips, let’s put it that way."
Hector started a band at the Shore and began attending shows by "Southside" Johnny Lyon and the Jukes, who were having hits by the mid-’70s. The shows often took place at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.
"The Jukes were goin’ great guns," Hector recalls. "I mean, the Pony was packed three nights a week. Bruce was showin’ up and playin’ with ’em. He’d just got the Time (and Newsweek) magazine covers (in 1975), so the place was blowin’ up. I met a lot of musicians down there."
When Hector was invited to join the Shots, a horn-centric band that spun off of the Jukes, it was a turning point in the musician’s life.
"I moved down to the Asbury Park area to play with the Shots in 1977," Hector recalls, "and I’ve been here since. And actually, it was a good move. There were clubs down here to play. I didn’t have the personality for New York. When I came down here, I sort of fit in. I got along with all the musicians. Eighteen-year-olds could drink. There were clubs. I mean, it wasn’t just the Pony. There were six, seven clubs in a two-block area. That’s a lot of clubs. And then there were all clubs outside of Asbury, and they all had bands. And then all little bars on the sides would have bands. They were just all over the place. There are at least 15 I can think of in three towns — Asbury, Long Branch and Belmar."
But the golden days of the Shore scene wouldn’t last forever. Several factors — including the raising of the drinking age to 21 and the maturing of the Baby Boomer generation — contributed to the waning of the scene. Even the musicians themselves were dropping out.
"Everybody started doing weddings, this and that," Hector recalls. "They were getting in their 30s. They wanted to make real money." (In the past, Hector has joked that in order to remain in this profession, one must take a "vow of poverty.")
While Hector strove to stay in the game, navigating from band to band, another milestone in his life occurred. Around 1980, he met Lastovica.
"I was giving her guitar lessons," Hector recalls. "She liked the music. She came out to see the band. She liked the fact that I was playing music and she supported me in it. She would help out with bookings, or just the vibe that everything’s okay."
"I don’t think we even knew it was happening," Lastovica, a native of Elizabeth, says of their budding romance.
"We just became best buddies, and then we took it to the next step. We could stay up all night and talk. I don’t want to sound too much like Bruce, but we liked the same music and we liked the same clothes," Lastovica adds, referring to the lyrics of Springsteen’s song "Bobby Jean."
"One night, someone asked Billy what he did for a living and he said he was a truck driver. I said, ’You’re not a truck driver. You’re a guitarist, and a darn good one.’ That might’ve been the night he first kissed me on the forehead."
Bill Stanton and Carol Dragona, both of Ortley Beach, dance as Hector performs with drummer Rich Scanella of Berkeley Heights.
Hector and Lastovica spent the next few years performing together in bands, notably the Fairlanes. As more musicians dropped out of the scene to take on more of life’s responsibilities, Hector began to rotate his rhythm sections — a practice he has maintained ever since.
"Orange is a lot like Asbury or Neptune. It’s a mixed crowd. Folks get along. There were tough kids. I was the sensitive kid." — BILLY HECTOR, on growing up in Orange
Nowadays, when you go to see the Billy Hector Band, it’s anybody’s guess who will be playing bass and drums. You also won’t know what songs he will play — nor will Hector himself. He never plans a set list; as a result, no two Billy Hector shows are alike.
"I don’t write anything down, no," Hector says of winging it.
His stable of bassists and drummers have long since gotten used to Hector’s presumably precarious system.
"Most bands I’m in have a set list, or at least, they rehearse," says drummer Rich Scanella of Berkeley Heights. "With Billy, it’s just ’come as you are.’"‰
"I call him ’the Professor,’" says bassist Winston Roye of New York City, who has been playing with Hector since 1995. (Among many career achievements, Roye is the founding bassist of the hit Broadway musical "Rock of Ages.") "A lot of musicians who’ve played with Billy — we’ve gone on to do many things. We attribute that directly to him. He’s a teacher."
Roger Beckwith of Browns Mills operates the website roadhousereport.com, which alerts readers to blues acts playing throughout New Jersey. Beckwith first saw Hector perform in the mid-’90s, and has attended "uncountable" shows since. "It’s like an addiction," Beckwith says. "If I haven’t seen Billy for a week, I’ll drive for hours just to catch a show. Some of us call it a ’Billy fix.’""‰
"I always felt Billy was the most authentic blues guitar player I’ve ever gotten to know," says another Shore blues guitarist, Matt O’Ree of Holmdel. (O’Ree is scheduled to perform at the Nov. 8 benefit for Lastovica.) "Just to watch him practice his craft always seems authentic and very inspiring for me."
"I think Billy is an unsung hero," says bassist Michael Stanzilis of Mount Arlington, who was playing with John Eddie in the late ’80s when he first joined Hector onstage. "He’s like an unknown legend in New Jersey."
Hector is philosophical about Lastovica’s fight.
"We’re doing good," he says.
"It’s like you’re driving a car and you get a flat tire. What you do is, you get out and you change the tire. Or, you can bitch and moan about it. It all depends on your attitude.
"We knew she had this for a long time. She’s doing things for it — PT (physical therapy), and now they have a drug. That definitely helps things out. Physical therapy is the best thing for her, but the insurance company says she can’t have it. It’s the old joke: The doctor gets off the phone and says, ’Well, the insurance company says there’s no cure.’
"You know, she walks with a walker around the house, canes when she’s outdoors. It is what it is, when you have MS. It’s always a heavy spiritual journey, as anything is in life."
"I don’t think I’d have much of a life if not for Billy," Lastovica says.
"I was never ’broken’ to him. That’s priceless to a person in my position. Believe me, I’ve sat in a lot of doctors’ offices. There are husbands out there who don’t understand why their wives (who have MS) don’t have dinner ready on the table every night when they get home."
Continuing to perform onstage also helps for Lastovica.
"That and my garden are the things that keep me from being an unhappy person," she says. "I have Billy, and my music and my garden."
The music keeps Hector going, too.
"Let’s continue on our road to happiness here," he says as he kicks off his second set at the Point Pleasant gig. Hector soon has the dance floor jumping. A dishwasher peeks his head out the kitchen door to watch as Hector rolls his slide up and down the neck of his Strat.
When Hector makes a dedication to a couple getting married that weekend, his choice of song puts his sometimes ironic humor on display: "Beast of Burden."
"I’m the most comfortable onstage," Hector says of performing. "As soon as we get onstage, everything’s cool. I’m in the game. The ball is in the air, the ball gets hit, and you follow that. Everybody’s playing — the musicians, the audience. The ball’s going back and forth. The energy’s going back and forth. That’s how it works."
Young guitar nerd:
"I used to play all the time when I was a kid. I used to have to stop myself from playing and do something else."
Why Hector bought his 1974 Fender Stratocaster guitar:
Hector’s first guitar was a Harmony Stratotone — not exactly a coveted make and model. "One time, I was in a band," he recalls, "and they were gonna throw me out unless I got a ‘real’ guitar. That’s how they put it to me. They said, ‘You talk to your father tonight about gettin’ a real guitar, or else you’re outta here.’ So I got the (Stratocaster) that I play now, when I was (a teenager).
New York Times
Still Strumming and Rocking After All These Years
By KEVIN COYNE
Published: September 5, 2008
BILLY HECTOR’S office is wherever he plugs in his old sunburst Fender Stratocaster, and on this night — the night of his 52nd birthday — it was three blocks, and three decades, away from the place where he first started playing locally, back when everybody with a guitar around here was planning to be a star.
Most of the other musicians from those heady days, when record scouts were trolling Shore bars for the next Bruce Springsteen, have long since surrendered to day jobs, but Mr. Hector was where he always is on a Friday night, and on four other nights most weeks: at work, playing his guitar. Dancers filled the floor in front of the stage at the Wonder Bar, many of them shouting along to the lyrics of “Vagabond,” one of the several hundred songs he has written.
“Happy Birthday, Billy!” someone called when the song ended, and Mr. Hector — his black sideburns tinged with gray, the spotlight reflecting off the glasses he started wearing two years ago — took a small bow with an abashed grin before starting the next one.
It’s a powerful dream that has lured many, but eluded most: to earn your keep in life with nothing but your guitar. It’s what brought Mr. Hector south from his hometown of Orange in 1977, when he joined the Shots, the house band at the Stone Pony; what drove him through the string of other bands in the 1980s and ’90s that almost, but never quite, broke out of the local club scene; and what sustains him still, 14 albums and more than 7,000 gigs later.
“I need to play music — it’s that simple,” said Mr. Hector, whose last regular paycheck was as an equipment tester at a guitar factory in Neptune Township in the early ’80s. “It’s like a calling. My life really hasn’t changed since I was 24. It’s the same goal.”
What has changed, though, is the music business. Record companies, their sales declining, have been paring their rosters, not adding to them, leading more musicians to the conclusion that Mr. Hector reached long ago: that sometimes it’s better to put out your own recordings, and sell them yourself to loyal fans, 3,000 of whom are on his mailing list. And every year or two, another of his regular venues — the Stanhope House was the most recent — closes, and forces him to scramble to fill the empty night in his schedule.
“But when I finally put the guitar on I think to myself, ‘Thank God I’m here now,’ ” he said. “And on the good days, you go beyond thought, and the white light comes in, and then things happen. All time ceases and you don’t even think about what the next chord is, you just speak it.”
In the Wonder Bar as midnight neared, he seemed to have ascended into that realm as he closed his first set with a raucous version of “Old School Thang,” a funk-driven original that is a particular favorite among his fans. He usually plays with just a bass player and drummer, but for his birthday he splurged on two sax players, a trombonist and a harmonica player.
“These are the glory gigs,” he said as he slipped out the back door for one of the cigarettes he avoids smoking at the ranch house in Wall Township he shares with his partner — and co-writer, producer and occasional singer — of 28 years, Suzan Lastovica, who uses canes to get around these days because of her multiple sclerosis.
“There’s a lot of things you do without,” he said about the often precarious gig-to-gig life of a musician. “You don’t get the color TV for a long time. But the gauge for success is whatever you think it is. It’s not necessarily money. My gauge is that I’m still playing.”
Mr. Hector has played for big crowds (including at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland) and with big names (Bonnie Raitt, B. B. King), but he is most at home in a bar like this, on a night like this, with 150 people who come to see him not just because of what he sounds like, but also because of who he is — the one who still carries the torch after so many others have fallen away.
“Like the Statue of Liberty, and hopefully it will never go out,” said Steve Garcia, 49, of Fair Haven, who fights forest fires each summer and was grateful to have returned in time from a deployment in California for Mr. Hector’s birthday. He first saw him in the early ’80s at Mrs. Jay’s, the long-departed biker bar next to the Stone Pony, and was later a regular at the Tideaway in Long Branch, another vanished nightspot. Last call was looming, but Mr. Hector kept the dance floor filled with a 23-minute version of another original, propelled by extended solos by everybody in the band, and he closed with a new composition he called “New Jersey Transit,” an instrumental with a jazzy flavor not often heard past midnight in this rock ’n’ roll town.
“That was my birthday present,” he said as he slipped out the back for another cigarette before he loaded his equipment into his Chevy van for the next night’s gig.
“I got what I wanted.”
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2008
Billy Hector "Hard Drivin' Blues"
NIGHTBEAT – 050407 – Billy Hector’s Hard Drivin’ Blues
Ocean City SandPaper
I went looking for the future of rock & roll and found it never left Jersey.
Billy Hector is still here, he’s never left, but has yet to venture to the South Jersey Shore.
And he has it all – guitar licks, tight band, great songs and a new CD “Hard Drivin’ Blues,” being released today. The music is there, but there’s something missing – fame and fortune. He drives hard, but not far enough.
Here he is playing a piney roadhouse juke joint in the middle of No Where New Jersey, 20 miles in any direction from a red light, Wa Wa or gas station, plugging into the mahogany wall of the Hedger House, an ancient pit stop for weary travelers. The Hedger House is technically in Tabernacle, but is actually a few miles north of Chatsworth, the unofficial capitol of the Pine Barons (Post office, no light).
The Hedger House location is literally hundreds of years old and you can find it on some of the oldest maps of New Jersey, right there in the middle of nowhere. So it attracts patrons like a light in the forest, especially bikers, Pinies and people who like good music.
It’s acoustic night, with Billy booked by himself, but Sim Cain, Tim Tindal and Winston Roye, his regular drummer and alternate bass players show up anyway and play along without the amps, just for the fun of it.
Sometimes they play with the whole power trio in the other, larger room, and Billy is booked to play outside every other Sunday afternoon all summer, but for this Friday night it’s up against the bar room’s wooden booths, the crowd pressed close together.
Usually Billy Hector plays what they call “down the shore,” but it’s really down the North Jersey Shore.
Hector’s done time in Asbury Park, in the heyday, when he first made a name for himself playing guitar with the Shots, Hot Romance and the horn heavy Fairlanes. Stints in those bands earned a whole chapter to himself in Gary Wien’s book “Beyond the Palace,” a chronicle of the Asbury Park music scene. But now it’s different. He’s beginning to branch out beyond the Park, but hasn’t yet made it to the SouthJersey Shore.
You know Bruce, Southside Johnny and Little Steve, but if you’re not from North Jersey you haven’t heard of Billy Hector even though he’s won three Asbury Park Music Awards for best guitarist, best blues band and a living legend award. He recently played with Sumlin in Asbury Park and backed Bonnie Rait at the Muddy Waters tribute at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But it’s still Billy Who?
After playing with the Stone Pony’s post-Jukes house band, the Shots, Hector continued playing with Suzan Lastovica, and put together a separate power trio that’s come together so tight that you’re not surprised to learn they’ve been playing together for years.
Not your typical new, flashy kid with a guitar, Hector is a veteran journeyman who’s been on the road a long time, though that road has been pretty much limited to North Jersey and New York.
Playing primarily blues, some key originals and classic songs he bends with a Hector twinge, he’s accumulated a vast repertoire and a small but growing clan who follow him from club to club. He plays with with an acoustic gig with Suzan Lastovica at the Ragin Cajun every Wednesday in Belmar every Thursday with the trio at Magees (Rt. 88) in Point Pleasant, and a small circuit of clubs like Harpers in Clementon, the Stanhope House, Daddz, Dempsters and Clarkes in Mt. Holly and the Hedger House.
Once a month he plays the Bitter End in New York City where he entertains the visiting tourists and is gathering another small cadre of serious city fans.
Having traveled to most of those places to see Hector perform, I’ve come to know some of his most regular crowd – led by Roger Beckwith, a former radio DJ whose Roadhouse web site has been listing live band gigs for the past decade.
I first heard of Billy Hector from one of his fans, Timmy Todd, who claimed Hector is “the best guitarist playing today anywhere,” a statement I challenged at the time, but now have reluctantly come to agree with.
You know how restaurant critics eat at a place three times before rating it? Well, after witnessing Hector performs more than a dozen times at many different venues, I’ve never been disappointed and in fact, he continues to amaze me. He seems to be taking his talent to another level each time I catch his act. Billy Hector is the real deal. Of course he couldn’t just be getting better now, or was always so good, but nobody noticed, so he must be just coming into own.
Hector plays with a decided blues bent, having shared the stage with Bruce, B.B. King, Billy Preston, Bo Diddley, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy, Dr. John and most recently at Asbury Park with Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist. But he gives everything he plays some kind of a unique Hector twist that even makes classic songs (“I Fought the Law,” “Stray Cat Blues) a little bit different.
“The future will not be blues as we know it,” Hector says, “after all, there’s only one Wolf…,” but it seems Billy has a roadmap in his head that will take the blues to another level, and maybe come out with a new Jersey Blues vein.
One Friday night I had the opportunity to see New Orleans piano giant Dr. John, but instead of standing in line to pay $50 for tickets and go through the cattle call arena routine, I caught Billy Hector at a little Piney bar and had a better time. Billy Hector is the Dr. John of guitar, complete with hat, bandanna and style.
Billy has a pug face out of an Our Gang Bowry Boys neighborhood, and a quirky smile that gives you the impression he knows something special, and maybe he does. He’ll play an obscure Dylan – “It’s alright Ma,” with a slide guitar and slow sleepwalking solo. Then he’ll do a totally unique original “Last Night I Got Loaded,” which is to the blues what ska is to reggae - offbeat, upbeat and danceable.
I’ve never fawned over any musician before, but it’s been a long time since I heard such jaw dropping, mesmerizing riffs that take you to some interesting places on such a roller coaster ride that when it’s over, makes you want to get back on again. And nobody’s talking, the whole room is listening and appreciates the fact they are experiencing something special.
So if this guy is so great, why haven’t we heard of him?
Well, the only answer I can come up with is that Billy Hector is part of the North Jersey Scene, and hasn’t yet crossed the South Jersey barrier, which also separates the fans of Eagles and Giants, Flyers and Devils and Sixers and Nets. It’s an unofficial Mason-Dixon line that runs south of Trenton to Atlantic City that is strictly adhered to, even by the Philly and New York mobs.
Like Springsteen, who has never played South Jersey Shore below Atlantic City, Billy Hector and other Asbury Park bands play Spring Lake, Belmar and Point Pleasant, but never consider playing such garage band bar south shore towns like Somers Point, Sea Isle City, Wildwood and Cape May, which might as well be in another universe. We’re outside their territory, which encompasses everywhere in New Jersey north of Atlantic City.
North Jersey bands stay north of AC and South Jersey bands play the South Jersey Shore scene, and that has made all the difference.
Maybe we can have a battle of the bands, featuring a shoot-out of the hottest guitarists, North Jersey vs. South Jersey bands, and Billy Hector and Little Steve verses Lew London and Danny Eyre, and see who comes out on top.
I have a feeling however, that those guitar gunslingers who check out Billy Hector’s chops won’t even show up to duel, though there’s still time for a South Jersey Shore club owner to be the first to book Billy Hector South of Atlantic City.
Though he hasn’t driven far south enough yet, Billy Hector’s new CD “Hard Drivin’ Blues” is now available [See: www.Billyhector.com].
[Bill Kelly can be reached at email@example.com]