Greg Billings Band

Tag: Rock
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It's a beautiful day on this Wednesday when I meet up with one of the coolest front men I have ever witnessed on stage. A long time Florida rocker, with bands like Stranger, Damn the Torpedo’s and now The Greg Billings Band (GBB). I finally get to sit down with Greg Billings himself. This incredible singer and entertainer, who has inspired many to grab a Budweiser and have a kick ass time no matter which band he was or is in. The Greg Billings Band is a longtime favorite among the local scenes in Central Florida, and especially in the Tampa Bay area, where the huge success of Stranger is still talked about today. So let’s find out what’s up with Greg, and GBB now!

Greg B: Well I was doing Damn the Torpedo’s and I got a little burnt out on it, and wanted to get my own thing together, always wanted my own band, so I got my buddies together, a couple other players in the early days, but ended up with George Harris, Leroy, Tom and Myself. We were together for about two years then, Rob Stoney played with us opening up for Whitesnake at Ruth Eckerd Hall, and he never left. He did one gig, and he was in the band, and that was it. We decide to do a CD called Do Overs, which is a few new songs, 2 songs from Damn the Torpedos, and some Stranger songs, which I wanted to re-do, because I didn’t like the way I sang ‘em. I wanted to change some lyrics and get a little soulful, and sing them better. Rob started on that project, and we brought in Ronnie Dee too. He did some horn and harmony work on a couple of songs, and I loved this guy. I had never worked with him before, there was a little bit of an age difference. He was playing with the Black Honkeys, and so I asked him if he ever wanted to sit in with us and play when he wasn’t playing, that would be great. We talked, he played with us at The Bret Michaels show, and I said I had to have him. I asked him if he ever wanted to join the band if he wasn’t in The Black Honkeys; we’d love to have him. Black Honkeys were also friends of mine. So eventually he did join. Ronnie Dee had many commitments he had to fulfill before making it to GBB. It’s been now about 2 years, and it’s worked out great. He’s really good on stage because he’s also a front man, to actually play horn, sing, and jump around, also to sit back and watch me, while I sing, and do my thing, it must be tough for him. We learn from each other.

Greg Billings photo

We’re all now writing tunes together. Leroy’s writing tunes; all of us. I’m getting ready to record a new album about 6 songs in. The new record will probably end up with 10 songs. All new music and maybe an old Stranger song, but I can’t tell ya which one. I forgot about it, heard it, and decided I want to re-do it. I’m also writing some tunes with Robin Zander now, from Cheap Trick. There’s one I’m really excited about. He gave me a ton of ideas, and I run them by him when I put the GBB twist on it. I also did one of his songs on Do Overs called Walking Shoes, which he makes a guest vocal appearance on a verse. He is always welcome to sing on the new one too. Robin gave me a song he always wanted to record, but Cheap Trick had not yet recorded. He’s always liked it, and so I said I’ll record it. I’ll take it! It’s gonna be a really cool song. Also Brian Johnson from AC/DC may get together with me on this, he gave me the thumbs up, we haven’t yet done anything, but he is in my back hip pocket. He was also on Do Overs. These guys are really good friends who actually can come over to my house and I feel comfortable getting creative with. It’s working out great. We are sponsored by Budweiser right now. We do all their gigs, Oldsmar, Dunedin, and Hooters, all size venues. The Leesburg Bikefest was an event that requested our band. I play now about 6 to 8 gigs a month. We play the Daquiri Deck on the last Wednesday of every month, and at the L.A. Hangout every 3rd Thursday. It keeps us fresh a bit. We have the kind of band that has many people come and sit in, like Kyle Ashley will be playing with us on an upcoming Wednesday at the Daquiri Deck. I’ll be playing at Hooters for Cinco De’Mayo on May 5th. It’s different on the weekends, we do a lot of biker events. Sometimes we do 10 dates a month, but I try to keep it down. We’re doing a fundraiser tonight at Ringside with Wendy and the Soulshakers. We do a lot of fund raisers. I always thought that at 54 yrs. old, I would be playing acoustic guitar at a Palm Pavilion. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I wouldn’t want to do that. It’s incredible to me that the gigs keep coming; I actually have gigs all the way into next year. So I can actually say that I will have a gig when I’m 55, because I have a gig already booked. It’s incredible to me. I’m still hitting the notes. I’m excited about what’s ahead especially about the new record.

Who is your favorite singer?

Greg B: Paul Rogers of Bad Company. We don’t do a lot of Bad Co. songs, but a few. We did open for them recently and saw them during soundcheck. I would never say hey you’re my favorite singer. My favorite chick singer is Bonnie Raitt. I froze when I met her, all this time I wanted to meet her, but I did make up for it and told her she looked really great. We talked for a little bit, small talk. That was the highlight of my life, I got to see her in the 10th row.

I’m so fortunate to have gotten together with these talented guys in my band now. So far we haven’t had a fight. It has taken a long time to actually get this group together. It didn’t just happen overnight. We do our recording at Panda Records, and we call our label St. Road 84 Records, that’s Alligator Alley. I get lots of orders all over the world for our music. I never give up hope that a rock or country artist would want to record one of our songs. That would be great! You can purchase our Do Overs CD at digstation.com. Right now, we’re just going to continue writing, and playing. It’s a good place to be in.

Who’s the most favorite band you ever played with?

Greg B: Cheap Trick at Ribfest was really great!!! I love his voice. You know when we write songs together and for Robin to be there in front of me singing, it’s like Wow!!! It would be great to open for AC/DC. I’d like that too.

Thank you Greg, thanks so much anything else you want your fans to know?

Greg B: I just want to stress this band didn’t happen overnight. This is a real close relationship, and we all really care about each other, and everyone’s family. I love the gigs when everyone brings their family and friends. Now it’s more about the music, and my family. I’m a front man, a singer. The others are five great musicians. We are all now in a good place.

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