Born in Rochester, NY, Billy's musical journey started out around the age of four when he discovered the piano at his aunt's house. Shortly after that his parents bought an old used piano, put it in their living room, and Billy started taking lessons. By the time he turned eight his musical focus had shifted (much to his parent's dismay) to the drums. "Actually, my fascination with the drums started very early. One of my uncles was a volunteer fireman and he would march with the fire department in all the local parades and my family would always go to watch. I remember being excited by the fact that whenever a marching band paraded by, the drummers were always playing. Even if the rest of the band stopped and just marched, the drummers kept it going." By the time he reached the seventh grade Billy was practicing several hours a day and playing after school with his high school rock band.
It was around the age of fourteen that Billy got his first studio experience which eventually led to him becoming an 'on-call' drummer of sorts for a couple of small local recording studios. "To be honest, it all started because I lived within walking distance of the one of the studios and would go over and just hang out whenever I could. I recorded a few tunes there with my rock band and that led to me being asked to play on some other people's songs. Nobody ever got paid for any of the stuff I played on back then but that didn't matter. I was getting the best hands-on training I could get into the studio world."
During high school Billy's musical opportunities continued to grow as he branched out to fill the roll of timpanist in a local symphony orchestra, played in numerous pit orchestras for local theater groups, as well as beginning to develop his writing skills. Billy also spent a couple of summers playing in jazz workshops led by, GRAMMY Award Winning composer, arranger, and conductor, Jeff Tyzik.
The musical foundation, and pocket, created by a drummer and bass player is crucial both in the studio and live. And, Billy has recorded with some of the best - including Willie Weeks, Dee Murray, and Bob Babbitt.
Billy spent many years living and touring out of Nashville. During his time in Nashville, in addition to studio work, Billy held down the drum chair for, multi-platinum recording artist, Ricky Van Shelton. He has toured with Reba, The Judds, Alabama, Randy Travis, Clint Black, Highway 101, Lee Greenwood, Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson and many others. Billy has appeared on several shows for The Nashville Network including Nashville Now (the old Ralph Emery program), The Grand Ole Opry, and Hee Haw as well as The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Grammy Awards, Austin City Limits, The Country Music Awards, The American Music Awards, and The Peoples Choice Awards programs.
1990, Billy was honored to have feature article about
him in Modern Drummer Magazine.
Click on the
magazine cover at the right to view a PDF file of the
With 30+ years of professional playing, Billy's experience includes club gigs, orchestral work, studio recording, national and international touring - playing some of the world's greatest venues including Madison Square Garden, Caesar's Palace, The Houston Astrodome, The Universal Amphitheatre (now named the Gibson Ampthitheatre) and The Fox Theater -- along with countless theaters and arenas throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Currently residing in Upstate NY, Billy concentrates his musical efforts on session work, live gigs, writing, clinics, and teaching.
In addition to playing, Billy is a regular contributor to the Drum Forum as the writer of a professional column. The Drum Forum began in late August of 2005 as a replacement for the Drum Center Forum run by Harry Cangany where he was also a professional column contributor before it closed. The new Drum Forum has over 23,000 registered members, countless guest visitors, and continues to grow as one of the premier on-line drum communities.