Trio of hard rock Junk formed by Billy Blair, have released their debut release entitled the "Double Soundtrack", with plans on playing shows with much more underway as well. Frontman vocalist/guitarist Billy Blair an actor turned musician discusses his time in acting and music too!
1. So how does one go from being an actor to a musician?
Billy: Actually I was a musician first. I’ve been in bands ever since I was 13 years old. It wasn’t till the mid 90’s when I decided to get into acting. But I was always a musician. It’s in my blood.
2. Why do actors tend to make that switch going from the acting life to the music life, what is the appeal about it?
Billy: I think it’s because it’s all in the same realm. It’s entertainment. That’s what they’re best at. It goes hand in hand. Only thing is one of them is going to be your best asset. You have people like Bruce Willis, Kevin Bacon and Billy Bob Thornton that are actors/musicians, you never really heard their music because it’s not all that great but you know their movies because they’re good actors. But then there’s actors like Jared Leto and Jennifer Lopez where they’re really good at both, very few like that get to succeed on both avenues. And then there’s Cory Feldman…
3. Do you think being an actor turned musician is a gift, for most if not all actors, because most people would see that such and such was an actor as a child or this time of such and such's life, then now they are an artist or in a band, how is that so?
Billy: It’s definitely a gift. Especially if they can write really good music. You see, anybody can learn and play the guitar or the piano or drums or whatever, and get really good at it, but if you want to do it for a living and be an original musician, you gotta write really good songs. I also think sometimes that these actors that are successful and they turn to music really don’t put a whole lot into their music and I think it’s because they’re at that comfort level. You got to be really hungry and determined to be a really good songwriter/ musician, if that makes any sense.
4. Would you say that most if not all actors will go from acting to music most of the time, or is it because their managers, publicists, tell them this is what you gota do next in terms of career paths.
Billy: Nah, they do it because they want to do it. One thing for sure is that in this business, (entertainment business),making movies pays the bills. Actors like Will Smith, which crossed over to acting from music, will say, “I gotta pay the bills, so I do movies more instead”. This I know because, as you know, I do both. Haha. But to answer your question, they do it because they want to be rockstars too.
5. Where does the acting fall for you in your career path, do you still act ever now and again or is it out of the picture for the time being?
Billy: No I do whatever I can do. I recently just finished a horror film this past month. And I got a couple of other things in the works. I’m also doing a play this coming month. So I’ll take whatever comes my way. I manage to do both at the same time. Music and movies. It’s what I love most. That’s all I know. Haha.
6. Whilst acting does occur it did come into effect for a film based on Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita manga. Are you familiar with the manga or anime, or those forms of mediums in general?
Billy: Yeah I was aware of that and all other anime cartoons because my oldest daughter was into that when she was a kid. I’m not a huge fan of it but I think it’s cool. I was more into the old Bugs Bunny/Droopy cartoons. But speaking about Alita: Battle Angel, as you know, I’m in the movie that’s coming out later this summer by Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron.
7. If you are familiar with said prior mediums, which are some of your favorites and why? Would you ever consider doing an English dub in terms of an anime of choice if one popped up?
Billy: Like I said I’m not a huge fan of it, but my kid would watch that, so I’d watch it with her. We would watch Dragonball Z, Pokémon and stuff like that. I remember watching Go Speed Racer as a kid. Now that I loved. And of coarse I’d do a movie based on any of that! Haha. Like I said, I’ll do anything that comes my way. I want to work dammit!
8. Let's move onto music, tell me about your EP "Double Soundtrack", why take that title, how does this EP become a double soundtrack?
Billy: It is called Double Soundtrack because all the songs on the EP are in soundtracks of movies I’ve done. Another thing you gotta know is that I also produce movies and those movies I star in and put my music into also. The songs, Built To Last and Like Lightning are in a movie called Blood Sombrero, which came out couple of years ago. And Pop Rock Genocide and The Sasquatch are in another movie called, Cherokee Creek, which is suppose to come out later this year.
9. What about the artwork behind the EP, describe that for me, what does it mean for the music that comes from it?
Billy: That was drawn by my oldest daughter, Ashley. She’s an amazing artist. The picture on the top right is the artwork from my Blood Sombrero movie. The bottom left is the artwork from my Cherokee Creek movie. And the bottom right is just a picture indicating that it’s from movie soundtracks.
10. "Built To Last", was made into a single then video, for the EP, why was this so?
Billy: Well I had to write a couple of songs for the Blood Sombrero movie that I produced and starred in. So Built To Last was the second song I wrote. I wanted to do a video of course , so I called my buddy/actor/director, Todd Jenkins to shoot my video and we made it happen.
11. What would be the best way to describe the EP as a whole?
Billy: They’re kick ass music that are in movies! Haha.
12. How did the signing with Zombie Shark Records, happen?
Billy: Noah came to me saying if I needed any kind of music for any of my movies, that he’s got a lot of them. He sent me all the bands that are on his label, all their music. And of coarse me being in an unsigned band at the time, I asked him if he was signing new bands. He said yes, so I said, eh-hum, I have a band, and I sent him my stuff. He said, whoa! We can do something with this, and here we are.
13. What about the band's name Junk, why go with such a name, for this band?
Billy: Well… I hated the name. Here’s the story. I was in a previous band called, Love Stricken Demise. We were a signed band and it was really cool but unfortunately it became demised, haha. During that time I went through a bunch of crap with band mates and the music biz in general and wanted to stay clear from music for a while. My drummer from that band was the original drummer for Junk. He then came to me right after LSD broke up and said, “Hey let’s start a new band. I was really hesitant but he kept begging me. He wanted to call it Junk. So I finally said, what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. So he got me and 3 other guys and we tried making music. It really wasn’t going that well because all of us were from different styles of music so to speak. And me being a guitar player/songwriter, and doing what I like doing, it wasn’t meshing up. It was a train wreck. So we finally got by do a show. Man. That show was a disaster. Nobody was in together. So after that show we fired everyone. So it was just me and the drummer. I used to jam with Ben, who is my bass player/vocalist now, back in the day, and I immediately recruited him in the band and it just worked. So we kept going. But I wasn’t 100% in the band and just really didn’t care where it went because I was just so burnt out of the biz. And we kept Junk because like I said I didn’t really care. Now that we’re signed and already established as Junk, we have to stick with it I guess. Haha.
14. Where does the band see themselves headed for this year's run of activity and plans?
Billy: Well we’re fired up! We want to hit the road. Play festivals. Jump on a tour. Anything! We’re ready to rock!
15. Would you like to say or want to add on anything more?
Billy: I just want to say that I’m thankful for my old bud, who was the original drummer for Junk, to get my rocks back on to getting this going again. And for the band sticking together and accomplishing what we wanted in the first place. And running in with Noah and Zombie Shark Records. It’s all I want to do. Being able to do this and making movies is a blessing. I try not to take things for granted and just live day by day and just say, what the hell. Let’s do it. And when we’re out on the road and coming to your town I hope to see everyone of you there.