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Billy Sherwood

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Billy Sherwood from 2009
MSJ: It's been a while since we chatted. Can you catch us up on what's been going on in your world? I know you've had several band scenarios going on.
I have been focusing on this new band formed from myself, Bobby Kimball {lead singer of Toto}, Tony Kaye, Jimmy Haun called Yoso. We just finished a new CD 12 songs. Has the flavors of Yoso and Yes of course by proxy but also has a fresh new vibe within the material that feels like a new band thing for the future. I am very excited about it. We just returned from Mexico where we did a small tour, the band was very well received, lots of people showed up for the gig and we have already been asked back for more shows.
MSJ: Since you were a member of Yes, have you been following the latest developments there and if so, what is your take on the situation?
I know they are touring without Jon, beyond that I don't really follow much these days.
MSJ: Do you stay in touch with any of the guys anymore? Well, obviously Alan White was in Circa: with you - do you see yourself working with any of them again?
I am not in touch with them as I once was. Alan White was the original drummer for Circa: I enjoyed playing with him. That said I keep moving forward, sometimes that includes people I have worked with in the past and sometimes it is new people I've never worked with. You just don't know until your get there.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Playing PC games (laughter)
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Yoso playing live is what I am most looking forward to currently. I am always producing projects but the live thing has now become a passion once more. I always loved playing live, the studio requires a different mind set and focus where live is more about the moment and actually playing the instrument {without stopping and starting or overdubbing}. The one project I am working on in studio is a young guy named "Nigel Briggs" who contacted me to produce a few of his songs, cool sounding music so I jumped on board. I love helping other musicians find their path, I know how difficult it can be to find a path.
MSJ: Are there still musicians out there you'd like to work with?
Yes many... from various genres. The list is too long to consider. I am all about learning and growing as an artist and for me the best way to do so is to work with others and capture some of their mojo and put it into my own mixture of mojoazation.
MSJ: If you were a superhero what music person would be your arch-nemesis and why?
Funny question...if I were a super musical hero I would fight against all things "square". If it doesn't groove or have a vibe I don't want to know about it. Of course music is art and art is subject able but we all have our own standards of what's "cool" and what's not. "One nation under a groove" !
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band, who would be in it?
I had the honor of working with two versions of Yes, the 90125 line up (or Yes West as it's often called} and also the classic line up {as it's also often called}. Yes was always my favorite band, for me that is the ultimate band.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view, who would be playing?
It would have to take place beyond this life... I would want Weather Report with Zawinul and Jaco, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Hendrix doing a set together. Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina doing a set. I would need row 1 center for that!
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought, or what have you been listening to lately?  
On the road I listen to my ipod loaded with over 1,000 songs from my CD collection {all taken in to ipod at loss-less for any audio heads out there}. In there is Pat Metheny, Jaco, Weather Report, Jobim, UK, Floyd, Yes, Genesis and every other musical adventure I've been on over my life. As for new music, I think the last CD I bought recently was Switchfoot {that was a few years ago now}. I buy PC games much more than music these days... I work so much on music that when I am finished the last thing I want to do is listen to more music, at that point I just want to be transformed into another dimension, or as I call it "Star Wars Galaxies, level 90 Jedi”.
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?  
I have not attended a concert except for the ones I've performed at in ages.
MSJ: Finally, are there any closing thoughts you'd like to get out there?
First off, thanks for the interview, it's an honor. Besides that I am just happy to be able to make music and have friends and fans out there who support the craft. I love meeting people out there and hope to meet more as Yoso begins its adventures. I am working on my 4th solo CD as we speak, I have roughly 30 minutes of it completed and hope to have it all wrapped up by year’s end. Looking forward to 2010 and beyond!
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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