He's one of Rock's most under-rated performers. His name is Billy Squier. With "The Stroke", Billy Squier is fast coming into his own. When we spoke with Billy, he was opening the show for Cheap Trick, but make no mistake about it, the 15,000 people in attendance were there to see Billy Squier.
Q - The media keeps reporting that Rock 'n' Roll is over. Being a rocker, what's your reaction to that?
A - That's a lot of rubbish. The media is always creating these new "hip" shotters like New Wave or Punk. They all come around in 6 months and die off. The real essence of Rock 'n' Roll has never died. If you go to the show, you'll see kids are there. We're sold out every place we play.
Q - Why didn't your first album receive as much promotion as "The Stroke"?
A - Well, I sort of surprised the record company. When they signed me, there wasn't a lot of fan fare. They didn't have much idea of what I was about. When I delivered the record, they had to catch up to the response the record was getting, which they never quite did. But they made up for it with this one.
Q - Compare the two albums for me.
A - "The Stroke" is far superior all the way around, but certainly better from a production standpoint. This is the first time I've really gotten what I want on record. It's a lot more spontaneous and a much higher level of performance and feeling. I like the first record though, don't get me wrong.
Q - You're not with Aucoin Management anymore?
A - No. I dissolved that partnership some time ago.
Q - Why?
A - I didn't feel it was an equitable situation for either Bill or myself.
Q - Why didn't your former group, Piper have more success? After all, you had the best booking agency and the best record company. Was it because you were the only driving force?
A - Well, that's part of it. But there was a lot of little things that go on behind the scenes that nobody sees. Without getting too involved, the best combinations on paper do not always work out in practice.
Q - Was it difficult to go it alone?
A - For me it was actually much easier 'cause there was a lot less conflict and I feel I have much more control over what I do, not only musically, but from a business standpoint. It's a lot of responsibility of course, but I would rather take on the extra responsibility and have the control. I think it's probably one of the most important decisions I ever made as far as my career goes.
Q - Did you write "Nobody Knows" for John Lennon?
A - I wrote the song before he died. As it turned out, we were finishing it up the night he was killed. When I wrote it, I wrote if for people like himself, for anybody who is in the public eye. The way people perceive us is quite different from the way we are.