Billy Keane- Born February 18
Sign of Aquarius
Billy Keane was born in Los Angeles, CA to a musical family. His mother played the clarinet and sang. She was still performing right up until her passing. Growing up, all of Billy’s cousins had formal training in piano and played in the school band. His Uncle Allen was the music coordinator for the Fresno Unified School District and his uncle, Walter Keane, was a world famous artist in the 50’s and 60’s. Walter was known for his signature “Keane” paintings depicting children with big eyes. His life story is the focus of Tim Burton’s new movie, Big Eyes, due out Christmas of 2014.
Billy began playing the piano at the age of 8 with his Nana teaching him the basic notes. He took much interest in the piano and studied privately for the next 6 years. At age 13, Billy joined the school band. He wanted to play the clarinet like his mother (and the cutest girl in the school) but when there weren’t enough clarinets to go around, Billy was put in the back with two snare drums, one bass drum and 13 other boys. Billy took a liking to the drums and soon wanted to play all the time. His first drum set was a chrome Ludwig with Zildjian cymbals. When he attended his first concert, Aerosmith with AC/DC as the opening act, Billy had one thing on his mind…Rock-N-Roll!!
In high school Billy joined his first rock band, Winged Victory. They played for the high school, Jr. high, and plenty of back yard party’s. Billy also drummed in his high school’s Jazz Band. After high school, Billy attended Fresno State University and played in many bands that circuited the club scene throughout Fresno, California and the San Joaquin Valley. (Not to mention playing at some legendary frat parties.) Upon graduating from FSU with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and a minor in Speech Communications, Billy threw a huge keg party that made him enough money to move to Hollywood the following weekend.
After being in Hollywood only a few weeks, Billy auditioned for one of the biggest bands on the Sunset Strip. He got the gig and was immediately playing the Whisky, The Roxy, The Troubadour and Gazzarri’s. About the same time Billy met the drummer for country artist Mac Davis who referred him to legendary drum teacher Fred Gruber who taught such artists as Neil Peart from Rush, Steve Smith from Journey and Anton Fig from The David Letterman Band. Billy studied privately with Fred for seven years while playing the strip and partying at the Rainbow Bar & Grill.
Five years after Billy moved to Hollywood, the Sunset Strip music scene dried up and Billy was forced to face the unresolved issues he had about his father’s death when he was only 2 ½ years old as well as other demons that had been haunting him. A couple of years later, Billy resurfaced a better person. It was then that his good friend Scott asked him to fill in for a gig at the Coconut Teaszer on Sunset. When that band took off Billy’s talent started to shine, which led to him getting calls to play shows with numerous bands. He played industry showcases, supported solo artists, and even played drums on the title track of the movie Silent Scream. Once again, Billy was playing all of the clubs on the world famous Sunset Strip, including The House of Blues, and the legendary Viper Room. Billy’s newest band Storyteller opened for Foreigner, Ratt, Y&T, L.A. Guns, Kip Winger, and Eric Martin of Mr. Big. Storyteller won” Best Songwriting” and “ Best Unsigned Band” two consecutive years at the L.A. Music Awards. Unable to attend the award show, Billy received a phone call letting him know his band had won Best Unsigned Band minutes before going on stage in Denver, Colorado. Billy toured extensively with that regional act playing everywhere west of Kansas.
Two days after opening for Eric Martin, Storyteller received a call from Martin’s management Co. asking them to be the opening act the following weekend in Las Vegas with the option of a tour to follow. Everyone in the band was excited but true to Rock –N- Roll, the band had a falling out. They had fallen victim to LSD…..(Lead Singer Disease)! After years of frustration dealing with his lead singers and wanting to express himself more as a musician, Billy re-invented himself and started singing. He started a classic rock cover band and began playing the greater L.A. area and soon found himself playing Vegas every other weekend. He was having a great time as well as strengthening his singing voice and writing skills. Billy began writing songs with various musicians which led him to: his well received debut single, 7 O’Clock, with his new band, Burnin’ on Bell Bottom Records. Catch Burnin’s current release, Drownin’ My Misery available now on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon.