Billy Rice is a legend in our town. He has been performing here and all over the country for over 40 years. That’s a very long and successful career. I got to know Billy and the Billy Rice Band quite well over the past several years.
Billy and I certainly are different, very different. Me, from metro New York and Billy raised in Bradenton, Florida…. No one thought we would get along. It certainly was not the perfect match!
We first got to know each other at the Flying Dog Café. Billy was playing there, and I could not believe how great the band was. On the other hand, their website was awful, and I didn’t think twice about telling him so. Billy said “I heard about you. Just build me a new website”. No questions asked and that’s how it all started between the two of us.
Now, a great website, 2 phenomenal music videos, a fabulous record, CD release party, 2 video release parties…. You get the picture. Billy and I got to know each other quite well.
It took me quite awhile to understand Mr. Rice. We went through one “trial separation” a few years ago. He said, “I was acting too much like a New Yorker”!” After a week, we reconciled and have never had an issue again. Yes, I admit it was my fault.
During the week Billy is complicated. He runs a large commercial construction company, conducts band practice a couple of times a week, performs a couple of times a week and always helps a charity when needed. Billy is a “giver”. Yes, it’s very complicated.
Well, there is an uncomplicated side of Billy that took awhile for me to figure out. His grandkids are the loves of his life. After that, well I don’t know why it took me so long. Billy becomes uncomplicated in two places- when he is out fishing and when he is performing.
Uncomplicated #1– When Billy is fishing everything else shuts down…. everything. No phones, not much talking, just fishing. And he loves to fish with his buddies. He took me out 45 miles last year in the Florida Keys and it was an experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life. Fish and blood and guts all over the boat. Whew! I loved every minute of it.
Uncomplicated #2– After watching Billy perform many many times, I’ve come to realize that performing on stage, big or small, Billy is at his best. It’s “Billy’s World” and he could not be happier or more uncomplicated. He loves to perform… his smile is HUGE. He is HAPPY HAPPY! On break he loves to schmooze with everyone…. especially the ladies. I have never met a more personable guy than Billy- his fans love him.
Billy came to my daughter’s wedding in NY last summer and sang “Daddy’s Little Girl” for Lindsay and me. It was beautiful and uncomplicated. The tears were rolling down my face. I think he was just as happy as me knowing how happy it made me having him there to sing.
More Complications? Not really. Although, last week we were hanging out together and he said “I’m thinking about making another record… in Nashville! Now it gets complicated again and I can’t wait. I always wanted to spend a week in “Music City” watching Billy do his thing.
Thanks for all you do, Billy. ……….to be continued
visit Billy”s website at www.thebillyriceband.com
Sarasota Post Photo & Vicky Sullivan Photo