By Sonia Schnee | Posted Friday, February 23, 2018
On January 12th, the Billy Walton Band -- Jersey shore powerhouse rock 'n' soul-ers led by former Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes lead guitarist Billy Walton -- released their latest LP entitled Soul of a Man (iTunes | Amazon | Spotify). Read about lead guitarist/vocalist Billy Walton's musical influences, his personal journey, and words of advice for up-and-comers, below.
What's your name, where are you from, where are you based now?
BILLY WALTON: My name is Billy Walton, and I'm from a little town in New Jersey called Tuckerton. I now live in Egg Harbor Township. I lived up and down the coast of Jersey my whole life. The rest of the boys in the band are from all over New Jersey.
How would you describe your sound? Where do you record? Who are your influences, musically?
I consider my music rock and soul, but it has all the elements of blues, rock, and soul. We recorded the Wish for What You Want (2015) album in Long Branch, New Jersey and the latest record, Soul of a Man (2018), we recorded most of the tracks in Maui and a few in Philadelphia.
There are so many influences that shine throughout our records and live performances, and of course, the Jersey greats come through in the energy and showmanship of the band (Like Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and Bruce Springsteen), but that is just in our blood and where I grew up. The soul influences come from Stax records! As far as guitar influences -- and there are so many to mention I hate to leave any out, but I'll try -- Chuck Berry, Johnny Winter, Lowell George, Jimi Hendrix and many, many, many, many more!
How did you get started with music? What's been your personal journey? Are there any artists, bands, or producers who you'd love to collaborate with one day?
Well, I got started sneaking into a little club that was in the middle of my town. I would sit in with older blues cats that turned me onto cool blues like Freddie King or Johnny Winter. They would kick my ass every week, but at some point, the tables turned. I would spend hours in my room jamming along to Chuck Berry records, Skynyrd records, and anything I could get my hands on.
My personal music journey has been a great one -- I’ve been able to play my guitar all over the world; I’ve met a lot of my heroes. One of whom I have played with in his band for six years as a member of the Jukes. That is Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. We recorded a live record featuring Steven Van Zandt from the E Street Band. I've gotten to jam with Double Trouble. I've had a Grammy award-winning producer, Tony Braunagel, produce one of my records, and I’ve become good friends with Roger Mayer, the inventor of the Octavia that he made for Jimi Hendrix.
As far as collaborating with other artists, I would love to record with anyone that can bring something to the party!
What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone who wants to follow a similar passion?
My advice to any new artist that would like to do what I do would be to learn the business, always evolve musically, build your following, and when you are starting out -- play anywhere and everywhere.
What's next on the horizon for you? Do you have any shows coming up? Plans for your next album?
The next thing on our horizon is more tours and another record. I never stop writing and I am always looking forward to the next record. We just got back from a tour in the UK and now we are leaving this week to do a tour in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina then back to Jersey. In April, we are in Germany and the Netherlands.