MGS - Thanks alot for taking the time to answer my questions Will I greatly
WR - My pleasure.
MGS - I think most of our readers are familiar with your history and youve
covered that in other interviews. What have you b een up to recently, what
WR - These days you have to be multi-tasking to survive in the music world.
I own a studio and produce a lot of local artists. I also do a lot of guitar
clinics across the country, write songs, do session work, write a column in
Guitar Player Mag, design my own model guitar for G&L, teach guitar lessons,
have instructional videos, have an internet sales business - I do what I have
to do to make a living.
MGS - Can you tell us a little about the internet business? `Feel free to
plug what you like.
WR - It's really just selling my CD'S and merchandise on ebay as well as on the Hellecasters site. My wife Gayle handles the sales parton Ebay while i fill the orders. On the Hellecasters site our managerJim Cowenhandles the details and i get a monthly check from sales of my stuff. It's just another way to have income coming in. In the not too distant future, most artists will be handling their own sales rather than letting a label do it and never get paid.
MGS -I teach 4 days a week and gig but it doesent seem to be enough. How
about we colaborate on a rap track together. Do you you think we can get G&L to
make us matching bling blinged out guitars?
WR - Heck Im open to almost anything that has a possibility to have fun and make some money. Rap doesnt have to be bad. I think with a little imagination It could be really interesting. Who knows...
MGS- Ive been reading your column in the guitar magazine, its lots of fun.
youre an Ebay sniper eh? How did the column come about?
WR - I was an eBay fanatic from day one, and thought a column about
internet auction strategies might be cool.
I went to GP with the idea, they turned me down, and I kept pestering them
every couple of months until they finally gave me a column, probably to get me
off their backs. Persistance pays off I guess.
MGS - Whats the last 3 gear purchases you made on ebay?
WR - A DVD Player battery, a cassette walkman, and an old epiphone 60s Olympic with a repaired broken headstock.It was a Buy It Now for $190.
MGS - Its good to know you are a gear hound just like the rest of us.
WR - I love technology. I love little toys to play with. Musicians are just
big kids who never grew up.
I also think guitars, amps and effects made today are better and cheaper
than stuff made in the 50's. Don't get me wrong - the old guitars and amps still
sound great to me, but they're not as consistent as stuff made today.
However, they had access to nice woods back then, and nothing sounds quite like a
nice piece of aged wood. But give the new guitars time to age, and they will
be smokin' in 30 years.
MGS -Can you give our readers a rundown of your currect gear? We are really
into pedalboards. Have you caught on to this boutique pedal craze?
WR - My gear is always evolving. There was a time when I wanted to sound
like everyone else, out of insecurity I suppose. But then when I got to a
certain stage in my career, I wanted to sound completely different from everyone
else. Currently, my pedalboard consists of a Boss CS-3 compressor, Boss VB-2
vibrato, Boss PS-2 pitch shifter, VooDoo Labs Sparkle Drive distortion , Boss
DD-2 digital delay and Maxon OD-9 Tube Screamer. I have tons of other pedals
that I will sometimes take to sessions.
There are a lot of boutique pedals that I like out there, but they are way
too pricey for a bottom feeder like me.
MGS- With those guitars of yours I imagine that you have this 32 Coupe with
flames and skulls on it. I can see you putting on your racing gloves and
goggles and roaring down the highway. Ok give it up whats in the garage?
WR - You'll be disappointed. A 1999 Toyota Camry and a 1991 Honda Accord.
I'm a practical guy when it comes to driving, and I love Japanese cars. Just
get me to the gig and back without breaking down. That's all I ask.
MGS - Tell us a little bit about your G&L guitar.`Has it changed over the
WR -Not really. Just give me great sounding pickups, a nice comfortable neck & skulls on the fingerboard and Im a happy camper. No need to change things.
MGS- Please tell us about the current CD.
WR - I'm currently finishing a CD on a group I play in called "The
Buzzards". It's a fun little band where I get to write and play a lot. Someone else
sings, which is a load off me, and I can concentrate more on guitar. It's
sorta like Roy Orbison meets Johnny Cash in Bill Monroe's garage.
MGS -Wow Will it sounds very cool. How will we be able to find out about
release info etc?
WR - Check on the Hellecasters web site or do a search on Ebay. Like the Hellecasters stuff, Itll have kinda spotty distribution.
MGS - Anything in the works for the Hellecasters?
WR - Not really. We're all taking a haitus at the moment working on our own
projects. Jerry Donahue and I are about to release a live Duo-casters kind
of thing we did a few years ago. It'll have some Hellecasters stuff as well as
some of our solo things.
MGS - You three seem to be the type to play practical jokes on each other,
anything of note? Also what is the funniest thing thats ever happened to
stage and off.
WR - John, Jerry and myself are always playing jokes on each other. For
instance, when we're on the road taveling in a van, if anyone falls asleep with
their mouth open, they're likely to wake up and find things like banana peels
or little pieces of paper in there. You learn to sleep with your mouth
closed. The song "Major Troutage" comes from a term we use for how you look when
you're asleep on tour - like a trout with its mouth open.
MGS - What do you listen to currently? How about your top 5 CDs and top 5
WR - Hmmm. I'm really bad about listening to new music. The problem is that
radio sucks and won't play cool music anymore. So it's getting harder to
find good new artists. But currently I listen to Cheryl Crow and Amie Mann CD's,
but they're a couple of years old. I kinda live in the past I guess.
MGS - Dont well. Not much great new music out there these days is there? Im
sure there is but thanks to Clear Channel we will never hear it.
WR - Ah yes, Clear Channel. The Microsoft of the radio waves.
I do go to iTunes and download songs. But the last one I downloaded was
(gasp) "Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin. Kinda sad, isn't it?
MGS - Naaaa. Did you see the Kevin Spacey movie about him? Hey that reminds
me of an old JJ video of him playing City without shame I think its called with
some pastel Matchless amps behind him. You guys ever do that live together?
WR - Nope. We've never done Annette Funacello songs either. Or Duke Ellington songs. It's still wide open out there.
MGS - Is there a player out there now that scares you?
WR - Yeah. Jerry Donahue waking up on a tour bus in the morning before he
has his coffee.
Seriously though, I'm not as scared of players the way I used to be. Not
because I'm so good now, more because I just don't care anymore. I do my thing,
and let other players do their thing. There's plenty of room for all of us.
But one guy who can really play in that Danny Gatton style is Johnny Hiland.
And Danny was the scariest mofo of them all in my opinion. I gave up guitar
for a while after seeing Danny play in the early 80's. It was the wrong thing
for me to do, but sometimes you need a little scare to start woodshedding
again. I had to build extra woodsheds after seeing him.
MGS - Yea i hear you on Gatton but you are definately on my scary list. Well
maybe not so much now that I found out you dont drive the 32 coupe. But
seriously your playing and music are extremely inspiring.
WR - Well thanks. I like inspiring people. Inspiring people is almost a religious experience to me. The inspired eventually become the inspirer. God knows I sure had alot of people who inspired me, from Danny Gatton to Charlie Christian to Peter Frampton to Jerry Garcia.