It was in the backseat of a green Nash station wagon that Bill Batty heard the tune that that set the chart for his musical career. The name of the tune is lost to memory, but the snap of the snare drum still rings in Rhythm's head. So when 5th grade rolled around, it was a Majestic snare drum in Black Diamond Pearl and a set of 5a Pro-Mark sticks that got the nod.
By 7th grade, Rhythm was playing clubs in his first professional band. "The Family Tradition" was an award winning country band made up of all extended family. In fact, due to his age in the clubs, leader and cousin Cappy Elwell agreed to be a legal guardian--just in case.
High school came next and Rhythm was playing with bands Rival (complete with now Nashville studio cat Kevin Teel) and Rosevelt Franklin and the Bus Drivers. But it was pick-up bandmate Kevin Dowling (from the band Father Dowling and the Mysteries) that gave him the nickname Billy Rhythm. It stuck.
In college, he played with mid-coast Maine rockers "The Draw," as well as country/rock styled "Shadow" and rock and rollers "Straight Shake." Around 1994, Billy Rhythm became the first call drummer for Maine bluesman Blind Albert. He still sits on the throne for most of Blind Al's gigs. He also plays Christian blues/rock with "Mac Economy and the Exchange," in his own Jazz combo "The Uptown Rhythm Kings," and with party band "Spork." But it's when he's swingin' the cats of Three Button Deluxe with a ring-a-ding-ding, two handed shuffle that Billy Rhythm really feels he's in the groove.
My Main Suitcases
1958 WFL kit, White Marine Pearl
1964 Ludwig kit, Oyster Black Pearl
19? Pearl Pink Sparkle Jazz number, known affectionately as "Big Pink"
Phattie custom stand-up Cocktail kit in Green Onyx
Grey with white pinstripes, and a hard purple tie!
Bombay Sapphire, up, bone dry, Martini & Rossi vermouth, three olives - harpooned.