May 14, 2011

Billy Sheehan - Interview 2011

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

BILLY SHEEHAN interview:



Rock N Roll Experience: I was always curious, why did you pick up playing bass rather than guitar?

Billy Sheehan: I just think it's still inherently cooler, whenever you see like the idea of cool the first thing you hear is a bass in the background...the bass has a coolness to it. Guitar is a spectacular & wonderful instrument but the bass has a built in cool...like a cat, it's automatically cool, or jazz is automatically cool.

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you still talk to David Lee Roth at all?

Billy Sheehan: Once in a while I run into him.

Rock N Roll Experience: How come you are no longer playing with David Lee Roth?

Billy Sheehan: Well, I don't know...you'll have to ask him (laugh)

Rock N Roll Experience: So why did you decide to do a Mr. Big record at this point?

Billy Sheehan: That's a good question...we didn't really plan on doing a record when we got together, it was presented to us at one point to do a record & we said we'll do it if we can do it like we did our old records...we are all in a room together working & it's fun & it's cool & everybodies contributing rather than piecing it together a person at a time or whatever..that's what later records from Mr. Big turned in to so we all agreed that would be the way to do it so we said, ok, let's give it a shot & who knows what could have happened, so far, by my estimation it seems to be well received, so I'm glad about that....but who knows what the future may bring.

Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen who only plays super fast & never slows down his playing style.

Billy Sheehan: Well, I happen to love the first Rising Force record, I think that blew everybodies mind, it was '83 I think, but I've heard him play the blues & in soundcheck Yngwie kills...I've heard him play the blues & he's really a supreme grand master at the instrument...what he chooses to do, that's his choice.

Rock N Roll Experience: It's weird to see Mr. Big on the M3 bill because I don't consider Mr. Big a hair band....do you consider Mr. Big a hair band?

Billy Sheehan: I never did, it's funny because all the hair bands didn't like us because we were players and all the players didn't like us because we had hair so we were caught in the middle of this player zone...I don't know what it was but we just wanted to be a band & inevitably people start putting labels on things because it's easier to categorize people if you pop a label on them so as long as they come to the shows & enjoy themselves I don't care what they call us. (laughs)

Rock N Roll Experience: Are you still playing with the drill onstage?

Billy Sheehan: We do.

Rock N Roll Experience: Doesn't that destroy your bass & guitars?

Billy Sheehan: Yes it does, so they all get that little spot worn in them but that's kinda cool

Rock N Roll Experience: So you probably use one bass that you ONLY use with the drill, right?

Billy Sheehan: I use the same bass through the whole show, they do get beat up & I use one bass for a long period of time before I...there's a new version of my Yahama that just came out so I'm using that tonight...they sorta get beat up, pounded & worn in really well & it will go in with the other ones that are similiar to that & a new one will come along and we'll do the same.