An Interview with Billy Childs of Britny Fox


Formed in Philadelphia in 1985 Britny Fox made a name is for itself worldwide influencing many fans and other artists. They charted on Billboards Top 10 for the songs Girl School and Long Way To Love. After a long hiatus the band is currently in the studio writing and recording a follow up album to Bite Down Hard. The new album is slated to have a much harder edge than their last, 2003’s Springhead Motorshark. The current lineup consists of Tommy Paris(vocals), Chris Sanders(lead guitar), Billy Childs(Bass), and Johnny Dee(drums).

What were you like as a child? Do you happen to remember what your very first favorite song was?

Pretty normal, on the surface at least. Played little league, read a lot, spent a lot of time by myself. Basically introverted before they called it a behavioral disorder. I had a friend whose older brother had all the albums I’d never heard of, Black Sabbath included, so War Pigs was the first thing I remember. Loved the whole album, but that song in particular.

Who were some of your earliest influences?

Same as most rock guys from my era, Sabbath, Zep, Deep Purple, mostly the heavy bands from the 70’s. As I got better at playing, I started to like some progressive rock too, as that was harder to play and I learned a lot from it. Like Kansas, Genesis, good stuff to learn. I was always pushing myself in that regard.

When did you first take an interest in music?

Long before I knew what rock music really was. Anything I heard, really, just didn’t know how to classify it. I remember being a huge Motown fan, still am, also was very into early Beatles, which I still am as well. Can’t remember a time when I wasn’t affected by music in a big way. Anything, really.

Do you remember what it felt like when you got your first bass?

Yes I do! Had no idea what to do with it, my parents thought I was “going through a stage” and didn’t think it would last long. I had heard some ZZ Top tunes, and hearing the bass lines thought “Man, I could do that”, just needed to figure out where to put my fingers and how it all worked, never did take lessons. I was living in Florida where I was born, and there were 3 bands and 2 bass players. I wanted in, so I got a bass for my 13th birthday and told the band, “look, if you guys show me what to do, I’ll learn it and get better”. They said ok, but if you suck we have to get somebody else. I said I understood, but I think I’ll get this. After a month or so I was able to learn things on my own, and soon they didn’t have to show me anything. Just learning the tunings, etc, and playing to albums by ear was how I learned, and I still think that’s the best way as it trains your ear and forces you to think and experiment. Not really a believer in lessons, it’s far too personal an endeavor for that. At least for me. Though I’m sure it helps some, just not for me.

How do you think the music industry has changed most over the years?

I think it would be easier to ask how hasn’t it changed? Everything has changed, styles, formats, and recording, just everything. The only thing that hasn’t changed seems to be that at the end of the day, 90% of us get pretty fucked over by the labels, managers, and all the other assholes that turn this great thing called music into a cesspool. And somehow, I don’t see that ever changing, just the nature of the business and the people it draws to it. You have to really love it to put up with all the bullshit, that’s for sure.

What advice would you offer others wishing to pursue a career in the industry?

Only do it if you just can’t stay away. Don’t go into it thinking you’re going to succeed, go into it because you’re the moth, it’s the flame, and you just have an instinctual drive to do it. Seen way too many good people dash their hopes on these rocks we call the music business. If you take it lightly, do yourself a favor and do something else, this isn’t for you. Not a business for the faint of heart, it’ll destroy you. Sometimes I’m not so sure it didn’t destroy part of me. There’s a great Hunter S. Thompson quote about that, pretty much says it all. “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” Personally, I think he nailed it.

What do you love most about being a musician?

I get to play music is the short answer. I guess really, it’s like that old saying (which is non applicable most of the time), about whatever you would do for free, then that’s what you’re supposed to do for a living. Problem is, way too many of us do it for free, in the long run. I think many of us have a kind of love/hate relationship with it, shouldn’t be that way, but it is. The lifestyle is particularly suited to some, though, it’s got its rewards too. For me, the travel is always a plus as well, and I just seem more suited than most to the whole experience.


How does it feel to back doing what you love after such a long hiatus?

Well, I’ve never really had a hiatus. I consider myself a working musician, with a couple of those things being big enough that people are aware of them. I’ve been working since 1985 when Britny first took off, then played all over the east coast for 10 years, working 6-7 days a week most of the time. Around 2001 or 02 I took a 3-4 year break, I was beat up by then, and just gave lessons, hiked out West a lot, just took it easy. Then I finally got bored and started touring again, and in 2010 started with Get the Led Out and that’s taken me to this point. So that 3-4 years away was my only real break, and it is great to be back with Tommy and John doing this again. Love writing with Tommy, this band really is the fun part of it for me.

What can your fans expect from the new album?

The plan is something similar to Bite Down Hard, only adapting to the times, not an imitation of what we already did, but we do want the same spirit that one had. Just good crunchy riff rock, good melodies, nothing really preconceived, Tommy and I both think things have to be organic to really keep the soul. We do aim for short tunes, though. Want to try and keep them around 3 minutes. If something is longer, oh well, it will be if it warrants it. We just want a very solid, heavy rock album. Not enough of those around anymore it seems.

Do you have a dream project you’d most like to accomplish before your time is done?

Look, just spending my whole life doing this is good enough for me, I’m no musical heavyweight and suffer no delusions that I am. One album at a time, if it’s as good as we hope, and then get to do it again. That’s as close to a dream as I’ll ever come. And that’s good enough for me.

What do you think is key to a life well lived?

Gotta live in the moment. If you’re depressed you’re probably living in the past, anxious, you’re probably worried about a future that may or may not happen. Just stay in the moment, try to find joy in the simple things and be as true to yourself as much as you possibly can. I’ve cut off my nose to spite myself a few times, a definite mistake, but fuck worrying about that. What’s done is done, things happen for a reason. You just keep going, do the best you can and you’ll land on your feet, hopefully. We can all regret a thousand things, but why bother? No point, really.

Are you looking forward to going back on tour?

With these guys, very much. But we’re not really looking to grind at this point, just play the best shows that are offered to us and see what happens. I’ve always liked to travel, would like to get to some places I’ve never been before.

What does your touring gear consist of?

At least 2 Ampeg 8X10 cabs and a good, clean amp. Heavy strings are as important to my tone as anything, and plenty of speakers. Most high end amps do what I want, so whatever I’m playing at the time. I don’t use effects generally, and a good wireless system is a must. I’m kind of a minimalist when it comes to bass, playing and tone. Less is generally more if you know what I’m saying.

What projects are you looking forward to bringing into being next?

Just focused on this album for now, no plans or goals matter if this isn’t done first.

Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Just don’t judge Britny Fox on the things that you may be more familiar with. We’re like two different bands, the first two albums, then everything else on. Bite Down Hard is much more what we became than what we started as, but many more are familiar with our early stuff, due to the genre change that happened in 90-91. We’re just as heavy, maybe more so, just judge for yourself. If you like BDH, you’re going to like this a lot, I think.

“Matter” by Freya Pickard


If this be matter, what matter is it?
It leaves no stain upon my pale, cold skin,
I cannot feel it, touch, taste or hear it,
Yet I perceive it; just how can this be?

I am not dead; most certainly alive!
It is not light and yet illuminates,
Although wrapped in darkness, yet I can see
This all important and elusive thing;

That it matters is true enough, yet I
Cannot comprehend uncreated light.

© Freya Pickard 2015

Freya Pickard is a cancer survivor, trying to re-discover her creativity after the fact. She is the author of Dragonscale Leggings and is currently writing poetry in order to try and get her creative flow to return. Freya blogs at either: or

“Constant Creation” by Jack Freeman

Constant Creation


The stool on which I sit is crooked,
leaning left, making the room slope
like a ship sailing the North Sea
in winter when there’s only ice,
no land or sky or shore. Someone
made this stool and made it crooked.
He might’ve been an ex-soldier, half-blind,
missing his left leg from the kneecap.
Sometimes in the early morning when snow
flows in the streetlight out the window
he might feel it, the heat of the Marine-brand
he earned and lost down a Mosul side street
in April 2008. The day was clear and green.


When the professor gives his lecture on
constant creation, the guy to my right
leans over and stage-whispers “Bullshit.”
He wears a flat-billed ball cap; his tank top
exposes a tricolored eagle tattooed across
one bicep, a fiery skull on the other. He shakes,
he smells of tobacco and copper. I see
the professor’s eyes flicker, but he continues
on Descartes. The guy to my right returns
to his cell phone. Thousands of miles away
the sun dips below the Pacific horizon.


I stare at the flame of a candle
rising motionless from the wick. From
the window a drum roll of rain roams in.
Beyond, the clouds don’t break. I watch
as the fire descends through the wax,
and the wax flows down the column
of the candle. It drowns the charred match
strewn across its base. The tempo of rain
slows in a cool ritardando, but the candle
still burns. Light too falters until only
the candle shines. I’m asleep when it dies
in a dampened hush. I dream of the desert.

Jack Freeman is an undergraduate student studying history and creative writing at Wichita State University after spending a year abroad. His poems have appeared in Mikrokosmos, Off the Coast, and Old Red Kimono, and he has a poem forthcoming in New Welsh Review.

An Interview with The Boxmasters


The Boxmasters is an Americana Rock and Roll band currently made up of Billy Bob Thornton, J.D Andrew, Brad Davis, and Ted Andreadis. Their fourth album, Somewhere Down the Road was released on 101 Ranch Records, April 7, 2015. It was an honor to sit down with the band for a glimpse at the men behind the music.

What were you like as a child growing up? What is your most fond memory from that time in your life? Did your love of music develop at an early age?

Billy Bob Thornton: My love of music developed when I was 3 or 4 because we used to listen to music around my Grandma’s house. It was mostly what was on the radio at the time, especially Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis. A lot of Sun records. My mom loved Jim Reeves and Ray Price and people like that, so that was my earliest influences. I was a kid who loved baseball and music. And then I saw the Beatles in 1964 on Ed Sullivan and started playing drums because I wanted to be like Ringo.

J.D. Andrew: My family constantly listened to music. We always had the radio on and we loved listening to a radio show on the “oldies” station called “Solid Gold Saturday Night” and I would make cassettes of the songs and listen to them all week. I started singing in a church group when I was 6 or 7 and from then on was always in a singing group of some sort.

Ted Andreadis: There was always music in my house growing up. My Father played the mandolin. I started on the accordion when I was around 10 years, then picked up guitar.

Brad Davis: I was a loner and one that enjoyed being around older folks. I loved playing music with my family. I was a music student at the age of 5 learning bluegrass by ear.

Do you happen to remember your very first favorite song?

BBT: My very first favorite song was probably He’ll Have to Go by Jim Reeves.

J.D.: Mine was probably Surf City or Dead Man’s Curve by Jan and Dean or Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys.

Ted: That’s a tough one.

Brad: Trailers for Sale or Rent by Roger Miller

When did you first know you wanted to seriously pursue a life of music? Does a little determination go a long way when dealing with the various rejections you encounter along the way, etc?

BBT: Well, I knew that I wanted to be in music right away when I saw the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five on Ed Sullivan. I had little bands that would play 3 or 4 songs like House of the Rising Sun and Hanky Panky. I played in bands later that played VFW clubs, high school proms, and college fraternity parties all the way up to opening for huge acts at coliseums and festivals by the time I was in my early 20’s. Then I went to California to seek my fame and fortune. But I never looked back. I always just thought tomorrow’s the day and rejection never deterred me.

J.D.: I had sort of an epiphany that I wanted to make records in college. I was always fascinated with equipment and loved setting up equipment for high school dances and parties starting in junior high. I had a band in college, but it was not my intention to be an artist. I was quite happy striving to be the most famous recording engineer in the world. And while I’ve had minor rejections, I’ve always believed that this is what I do, so I’m not going to be doing anything else.

Ted: I knew what I wanted to do [like most kids] when I saw the Beatles. As far as making it last you have to believe in yourself and know when it’s working and when it’s not. And when it’s not working and you’ve tried that’s probably the time to say Eh I gave it a good shot.

Brad: At the age of 10 I knew that I wanted to have a career in music. And I have had many failures but most all of those failures have led to amazing opportunities.

What is your favorite track off the new album and why?

BBT: I think probably the sentiment of What Did You Do Today is my favorite, and my favorite “sounding” song is This Game Is Over because it reminds me of late 50’s and early 60’s rock and roll songs. It’s really Roy Orbison-y-esque which I really like.

J.D.: Somewhere Down the Road is probably my favorite because it is one of the songs that I really remember writing. Vividly. I remember the A-Ha! Moment of when we decided to add the chorus after the pre chorus part, which we hadn’t been thinking about. It was just a really joyous moment when that song all came together. I’m also very jealous that I wasn’t there when Billy and Brad wrote, This Game Is Over. They wrote it and Sometimes There’s a Reason in a hotel room in Austin on the same day.

Ted: I like What Did You Do Today cause it‘s a song that rings true for everyone.

Brad: I like too many to pick just one.

What do you hope the fans take away from this album?

BBT: I hope they get something out of the music, but I also hope that they get the message out of the lyrics. I don’t think lyrics are paid as much attention to these days, so hopefully they will pay attention to what the songs are about and get the messages.

J.D.: I hope people take away that this is a serious fucking band that writes some serious music. We have all dedicated years to this band, going on decades. We don’t do this because we make any money, or because we think that it’s a fun vacation from our other jobs. We do this because we love it. We love our music. We love being in a band with each other. And we all respect each other and love what each other bring to the sound and camaraderie of the band.

Ted: That the Boxmasters are a group to be reckoned with.

Brad: I hope the fans take the emotional energy that we felt when we wrote these songs in hopes that it will transport them to a special place in time.

When can we expect to see the videos filmed for this one? Which songs does that include?

BBT: We’ve recently shot a video for What Did You Do Today that is currently in the editing phase, so that one will be first.

J.D.: What he said.

Ted: Right now we just got done finishing a video for What Did You Do Today.

Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?

BBT: I love to watch curling as meditation.

J.D.: Most fans know nothing about me so everything will probably be a surprise. But I was in a show choir in college at Kansas State and did a lot of “jazz hands”.

Brad: I am an NRNPSBB and this means I am a non-religious, non-political, saved bible believer that loves to rock!

Is there any particular moment from over the course of your career so far that stands out most in your mind?

BBT: I got to play a snare drum behind Porter Wagoner in L.A. right before Porter died. I was recruited along with Dwight Yoakum by Marty Stuart to play snare drum and bass behind Porter, so for one night I got to be a Wagonmaster.

J.D.: We played the “Ramble At The Ryman” with Levon Helm. Just the thought of playing the Ryman almost made me want to throw up, plus playing with Levon was just unbelievable. I’ve also played poker with Willie Nelson, which I mostly remember.

Brad: The first time I realized that I discovered my very own original guitar technique I call the Double-Down-Up


What do you think is key to a life well lived?

BBT: Family first, career second and if you can look back and say that you did it your way, mistakes and all, that you were true to yourself and to realize that you may have regrets but it is all part of what makes up a life. You have to look at every bad thing as something that makes you learn a lesson. And it also helps you write songs.

J.D.: Do what you enjoy. Read. Have an open mind. Understand that other people have different views on things than you do. Listen. Learn your history. Realize that most “entertainment” is just a distraction from what is really going on in the world.

Ted: Enjoying every minute, being thankful, and Love All.

Brad: For me it’s knowing that I have eternal security based on what Christ did on the cross and to share that kind of love with all

Are there any dream projects you’d most like to bring into existence before your time is up?

BBT: I just want to keep writing and recording as long as I’m here. I don’t know if there is a dream project other than seeing our rock opera Dinosaur see the light of day.

J.D.: I would like for us to have our own studio again sometime and be able to make records constantly. And someday have a power trio with my 2 boys.

Ted: I would love to play in a Blues Band with Billy Gibbons.

Brad: I have always wanted to record a solo instrumental record with a record label that would gain international distribution and as of May 2015 my record label Bluegrass Valley records and Sony Red Music group are giving my that opportunity for my 3rd contracted record for the label.

What do The Boxmasters have in the works for the future?

BBT: Much, much more.

J.D.: We never stop working so there is always something going on. We are going to start releasing our back catalog stuff on our website and we will always be writing. So there will always be more. We have 5 finished LP’s besides the one we’ve released now and a couple of hundred other songs that haven’t been grouped together for an album.

Ted: More Records.More Touring.More Everything.

Brad: We have future plans to finally formulate, for all to hear, who we really are musically.

Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

BBT: Stay between the lines and keep looking forward.

J.D.: Let’s stop hiding behind our phones and computers and get out and enjoy life as a society Does saying mean things about people in a comment section really make you feel better about yourself? Does being a bully to children really make you feel better? There is brilliant art, music, and culture being brought forth all over the country that needs an audience to survive. If we don’t support it, it will die and we’re all going to die with it.

Ted: When you go to the website to buy the latest record, don’t forget to buy a t-shirt.

Brad: I just want to say thanks to my band mates for their continual positive energy and to all the fans for being there to capture the moment with us!

An Interview with Ron Thal a.ka. Bumblefoot

BUMBLEFOOT Press Photo (primary)

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is a guitar virtuoso, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. He is likely best known for his stint as lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses. His tenth album Little Brother Is Watching features Dennis Leeflang on drums. With over 20 years of experience in the music industry Ron has collaborated with some of the most iconic musicians of our time. Most recently he has collaborations with DMC (Run DMC) and Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, Art of Anarchy). Bumblefoot also has music appearing in TV, film, and videogames. He works with U.S Embassies around the world on cross-cultural music programs and works with dozens of international charities visiting orphanages and children’s hospitals.

Do you happen to remember what you very first favorite song was?

Probably the theme to Sesame Street. (laughs) I started listening to music very young.

What was it that first sparked your interest in music?
I heard a lot of classic ’60s and ’70s rock as a child, but it was hearing the KISS Alive! album for the first time that made me want to play music and follow that path. By age 6 I had a band together, we were writing songs and playing shows.

What is it like to work with the US Embassy to encourage musicians from all cultures? How did you first become involved in that?

I was doing workshops and charity work a lot on my own, working with musicians from all around the world. Two years ago I was approached by an organization that thought I’d be the right guy to do these things with US Embassies around the world. I met with delegates from around the world, we chatted, told stories about my travels, and we hit the road. I’m writing this on a plane heading home from Southeast Asia after weeks of concerts, workshops, playing at children’s hospitals in Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia with super-talented local musicians and singers. I’m coming home with wonderful memories! (smiles)

You also work with several charities. Do you think it is important that those in a position to help others do so?

Every bit helps, any time we can all get together and combine our efforts for a greater good…  Music is a motivator, and if I can do what I do to help others, then it’s worth doing what I do.
What do you love most about being a musician?

That. Helping kids’ needs, medical research, and of course teaching. Someone gives you a gift, they teach you how to do something that changes your life and others enjoy – pay that gift forward. Share the gift you’ve received, teach. Seeing a student go on to do great things, then they teach others and those students get out and play, charity and teaching, the best parts of being a musician.

What advice would you offer those wishing to pursue a career in the music industry?

Be as self-reliant as possible, get experienced in as many aspects as possible. Besides the independence it gives you, you’ll discover a lot more aspects of the business that you may enjoy and also want to pursue. Being a musician is much more than playing on stage.

When did you first develop your style of fretless playing?

I got my first fretless in ’98, after a year with Vigier Guitars ( I started writing and recording with it, and one of the first songs I recorded became the theme for That Metal Show.

BUMBLEFOOT Press Photo (Secondary)

Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?

I think they probably know more about me than they want to know (laughs). I don’t know what would surprise people, hmmm…one of the first times I ever sang, I was probably 4 or 5, it was the opera Carmen.

What do you think is key to a life well lived?

Not being afraid.

What was it like to have the chance to collaborate with DMC and Scott Weiland recently?

I love making music with people, and am happy to have so much music being released this year – new Bumblefoot album Little Brother Is Watching, Art Of Anarchy album (with Scott on vocals), playing on & producing the DMC / Generation Kill rap metal song releases.

Can you tell us a little about the album Little Brother Is Watching? What influenced you to create it when you did?

Influences all came from personal stories, personal experiences. Everything from mortality to relationships and interactions. This one is a lot more melodic with longer songs than my past albums, more space, dynamics, harmonies, production. I like to have the audience singing along at shows and wanted to capture that aspect, when the album was nearing completion I got together with 100 people at a venue in NY and had a listening party where everyone sang parts of songs all together, and included their singing and chanting in the song recordings. There’s videos of it and ‘Making Of’ videos on YouTube at There’s a little MP3 sampler at , and the album is available on CD at and on iTunes at

What projects are you currently working on?

Been doing some guest solos for different artists, and will keep putting out music with DMC / Generation Kill throughout the year, perhaps some shows and video as well. The Art Of Anarchy single Til the Dust Is Gone has been hitting radio and the music video is now on YouTube (, as well as the Little Brother Is Watching music video ( I’m looking to do more videos this year.

What direction would you most like to see your career take next?

Just want to keep doing what I’m doing, more of it (smiles). I’d like to do more to support the independent music scene globally, I have a plan for a festival that would bring attention to international independent artists, but that’s a big undertaking and will require a strong team.I’ve also been doing more film music, for indie horror films and have been taking on some acting roles in them as well – just finishing filming for one called Clean Cut ( which will be out 2016.

Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

A big thank you to everyone for being such a big part of my life, I look forward to seeing you all soon! I’ll be at Corfu Rock School ( August 1st – 8th. We spend a week at a resort together on the beautiful Greek island of Corfu, doing guitar workshops in the morning, then spend the afternoon at the beach and relaxing, a chef prepares lunch and dinner, and in the evening we work on songs and then we play gigs together at local pubs, jamming all night. I’ll also be doing 2 days of workshops at Raleigh Music Academy ( June 12th & 13th in Raleigh, North Carolina – hope to see you all, thanks so much!

BUMBLEFOOT Press Photo (extra) debuts “Little Brother Is Watching” music video

New Bumblefoot album “Little Brother Is Watching” now on iTunes

 Bumblefoot headlines Pattaya Bike Week festival in Thailand for children’s charity, raises $163,000

 Bumblefoot on BBC

 Bumblefoot on playing and giving

 Bumblefoot dazzles all ages at free SXSW show

 Bumblefoot visits orphanage in Jakarta

 DMC (Run DMC), Generation Kill, Bumblefoot release rap metal collaboration

 “Art Of Anarchy” supergroup to release album ft. Scott Weiland, Bumblefoot, John Moyer

 Bumblefoot: Behind the Scenes ~ That Metal Show (VH1Classic)

Watch ‘Making Of’ Bumblefoot “Little Brother Is Watching” album on YouTube


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