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Billy Rowe - JetBoy

Interview with Billy Rowe from JetBoy
by Kayla Hutton at 26 January 2019, 3:29 AM

Sure, you’ve heard of POISON, GUNS N ROSES, and MOTLEY CRUE. But what separates the hardcore, die-hard fans from the posers of the 80’s rock scene? In a time when it was all about who you know, and who heard of who first, I’d like to bring you to speed on a band that pioneered a genre, JETBOY. Delivering their own unique brand of a more bluesy rock but still sporting the glam look they owned the club scene. Their career plays out like a made for TV drama. Label changes, line up changes, tragedy, and the implications of an evolving industry. Rather than exist to recapture their glory days JETBOY has a new album “Born to Fly” that will be available January 25th, 2019 via Frontiers Music. To give credit where credit is due and to learn a thing or two that I can share with you, check out the interview conducted by Metal-Temple writer Kayla Hutton with guitarist Billy Rowe of JETBOY.

You guys have this organic, not overproduced sound, has that always been a preference?

Yeah, that was kind of the goal. Just being a straight forward rock n roll band that's like, ya know, we grew up on all the 70's rock and some of the 80s, so that's really our thing, to keep it as live and as organic as possible.

JetBoy is considered one of the most under-rated bands of the '80s, do you agree?

Yeah, I'll agree with that. It's a good thing and a bad thing. But at least we are one of those underrated as in we were one of those from an era, from a time, when other bands we came up with, played shows with, were friends with became one of the biggest bands in the world. There's a lot of those underrated bands from growing up in the '70's, it's all about timing when things like this happen.

Are you happy with how the band has evolved from the start up to now?

Yeah, I mean it's how it went, I'm kind of a believer in "things happen for a reason". Especially being where we are at right now with a new record coming out, which came out of the blue. We've spoken about writing a new record, but it didn't happen until Frontiers (label) made this offer. For me, and I'm sure for the rest of the guys, looking back now it's like what we went through is what really got us to where we are at with this new record. We're pretty proud of this new record and excited that we even have a new record coming out.

What do you feel is the biggest misconception people have about JetBoy?

There are a few things, but I think going back to the earlier question, it is being the obscure band. I  think a lot of people don't realize that Jetboy was one of the forefronting bands of our era which was like 1985/1986. A core of those bands like Poison, Guns n Roses, Faster Pussycat, and L.A. Guns, We were kinda like those bands that were ruling the club scene. So I think that is kind of the misconception that a lot of people don't understand or realize that because the album came out a year later than it should've because we were dropped by Elektra then picked up by MCA. So we went from being a leader in that era to becoming like a follower. It would be cool if a lot of people, with the release of this new record, would understand the history of the band and go "ah so these guys actually came out before a lot of the bands that blew up and got humongous".

Do you think the grunge scene had anything to do with it as far as glam music dying out, you guys were kinda glam but kinda not, so do you think it's that or just timing?

I think that by the time grunge came along, it was time for a change. And that is kind of how the industry works. You always need something new and fresh. There is always a new generation of kids who start getting into music and going to shows, buying albums and merch and all that stuff. So its really inevitable that that happened. If you flip back in time it happened in the '50's, that is just how music evolves, which is just something that happens. Now we are in a time where what we listen to is classic. All kinds of genres are really thriving, whether they are just going out and playing their whole catalog or new stuff. A lot of bands from that era even including the grunge bands and even the next wave which would be more like the punk stuff like Rancid, Green Day, Blink 182 and whatever. All those bands are thriving and they are probably doing better than they have ever done.

So do you think now will be the time for you guys where it will be bigger than it was before?

Yeah, we can only hope. I think in a lot of ways it already has. For a lot of bands these days I don't think it really translates into record sales. The brand name of a band is just bigger. I heard an interview with Neil Schon the other day and Journey is bigger than they have ever been, it's not really from record sales its because the bands have been around for so long. The brand of the name is just so huge and I think that goes for a lot of bands. They are probably bigger now more than ever because of the newer generation of people getting into it.

You've released several albums prior, are you nervous about how this one will be perceived?

No. I don't get nervous. It's actually exciting since we haven't released, I mean this is our third full-length record the last full length was 28 years ago. We are just super pleased to be doing this still. We are getting a great response from what people have heard so far. I've been reading a couple of reviews and they are just, ya know, I couldn't ask for more.

I noticed you guys have a show coming up that is taking place on a cruise ship, is this the first time playing an event like this?

No, we haven't. This is our first Monsters of Rock cruise, first cruise period. It's going to be pretty cool. There are a lot of bands on it that are old friends of ours then there are bands we are super fans of.

Any plans to tour after the cruise shows?

No concrete plans yet, but there will be. We are working on it.

Is there anything you'd like to accomplish with Jetboy that you haven't so far?

Just to spread the word more about the band. The best accomplishment would be for this album to be one of our biggest albums.

And lastly, with all the changes in the music industry since you guys started out, things going from buying CD's to now digital downloads, do you think it has affected your album sales and the industry overall?

It has completely effected every angle of it, of the industry. What it is, you can't stop it, ya know I'm guilty myself of downloading in the past and streaming, and it's just kind of what it is. Vinyl is popular again which is great but I think it's just the evolution of things and here we are I don't see it going backward. If anything they could restructure the streaming where the artist makes a much more fair amount of money. Streaming could be like a record store and a radio station at the same time but the artist doesn't really get anything, but if that changes in favor of the artists and the bands I think everyone would be doing a lot better, could be similar to the old days. For fan outreach through the internet has endless possibilities.

That's about all I have unless there is anything else you would like to add.

Yeah, there is a release date of January 25th, I don't know if the interview will be up before that, but January 25th the album will be released and unleashed, worldwide.



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Edited 18 July 2019
 

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