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World Without Borders main>Archives>Billy Mason transcript

Welcome to Pro-Mark Stix In Session!

Our guest today is Dance Hall Doctors Drummer, Billy Mason.

Ladies and gentlemen, on drums, Billy "Thunder" Mason. If you have ever heard Tim perform live, this nickname should come as no surprise. Sticks in hand, always at the ready, drummer Billy Mason is proud to be a part of the McGraw music machine.

Like many high school drummers, Billy played in the marching band and the drum corps. But it was in the blues clubs of Los Angeles that he got his first real taste of performing live. He and his father would regularly sit in with different blues singers, playing throughout the night
Billy later moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he finished high school and continued his playing. He found work with local bands and numerous studios. Rock clubs, country projects, pop bands and the occasional disco recording provided a lot of experience in many different musical worlds.

After ten years of the club scene, Billy made his way to Nashville. He quickly found work with country artists Bill Anderson and Paulette Carlson. Blues great Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown called on Billy's talents as well. But a chance meeting through a local band in Nashville would lead him to Tim McGraw. McGraw's drummer was leaving at the time, and "Indian Outlaw" was headed up the charts. Darran mentioned the possibility of working with McGraw, and Billy was more than ready to step in.

Eight years later, Billy is thrilled to be a part of the Dancehall Doctors. He still screams at the top of his lungs in the middle of their shows, and the excitement of making the "thunder" is just the same.Join us as he talks about life with the Dance Hall Doctors, their new album and swinging those Pro-Mark Stix!

We welcome Billy Mason!

Billy Mason: Hello to everybody! It's nice to be here.

GCS_Angel: Billy, could you please begin by briefly telling us a bit about your style of drumming?
Billy Mason: Very versatile drummer - all styles of drumming. I think those two things are very important.

GCS_Angel: How do you feel as part of the Dance Hall Doctors?
Billy Mason: It's great to be part of the band! It's a great, great family.

BBQChips: What's it like working with Tim? Is he as fun as he seems to be?
Billy Mason: It's great working with Tim - he is just great to work with and he really IS a good guy.

Regina: It was said earlier that you went to clubs with your dad. Was he a musician too?
Billy Mason:Yeah - my dad was a drummer which is why I started playing drums too.

GCS_Angel: How have you seen yourself mature while working with the Dance Hall Doctors?
Billy Mason: I feel like I have matured musically over the years because of the association with Tim. He pushes the band to continue to improve.

FancyPants: What's the writing process like with the band?
Billy Mason: The band does not write the music. We are given demo tapes to learn. Tim has picked out songs that he likes from a songwriter and we put our input into it so far as our playing goes.

Bethie: Do you think you would be as accomplished a drummer today if you had not started as a young boy?
Billy Mason: No. I think it is very important to start early, but then it is never too late to start either. I do think it has helped me by starting young.

MediaGuide: Hi Billy, just curious if we will see country music ever return to its roots, seems like everything is geared toward rock pop country fusion?
Billy Mason: I don't know. I think Tim is trying to musically keep music real.

GCS_Angel: Are there certain areas of the US or the world where you particularly enjoy performing, and why?
Billy Mason: I enjoy performing everywhere! It's a joy to be on stage no matter where I am.

GCS_Angel: What is your advice for beginning drummers?
Billy Mason: Listen to a lot of positive music.

Cys: Billy, tell us about your sticks! What makes a good stick?
Billy Mason: My sticks are Pro-Mark sticks. They are the Liberty Devito sticks. The quality of the wood, craftsmanship, the way they feel in my hand makes them a good stick. Pro-Mark feels the best, so far as I am concerned!

Regina: Do you know where the name Dance Hall Doctors came from?
Billy Mason:It came from one of Tim's first drummers. That's really all I know about it.

GCS_Angel: Have you or do you have any side projects where you had the chance to explore yourself creatively? 
Billy Mason: Yeah, I do a lot of demo studio work. I do clinics and I also do D.A.R.E programs.
GCS_Angel: Have you always been set on being a drummer? Did you ever want to pursue a different career?
Billy Mason: I started out wanting to be a piano player, but my dad was a drummer, so there were drums in the house. I started playing those when I was 5 years old.

DrumDittyDrumDittyDrumDrumDrum: How important is formal training to a drummer?
Billy Mason: I think it depends on what direction that person would want to go. I don't have any formal training. I got my experience from playing in a lot of different bands.

|GCS_Angel: Who are the musicians who have most influenced you over the years?
Billy Mason: Ringo Starr, Mickey Curry, Bryan Adams, and, of course, Liberty Devito is my idol. I even look like him!

Regina: Did you previously play in any bands we may have heard of?
Billy Mason: I played for Paulette Carlson who sang for Highway 101 and Clarence "Gate Mouth" Brown who is a blues artist. Jill Anderson, Grand Ole Opry Star.

Cys: You mentioned experience. In your opinion is there a tremendous value in *hanging* with other drummers? can you tell us about that please?
Billy Mason:I don't think "hanging" with other drummers is that important. I think listening and watching other drummers is more important.

Jason asks: What is the oddest thing you've used to get a certain sound on a song... like uhm frozen gym socks or plastic milk jug?
Billy Maso: Jason, I have used Pro-Mark tubes (they are like a plastic hollow tube) when I played a club one time because I was real loud.

tAiNtEd: Are there any artists that you would love to play or tour with in the future?
Billy Mason: Before my drumming career is over, I would love to play for Barry Mantilow, Cher Bryan Adams, and Paul McCartney. Oh! and The Osmonds.

Mercy: How important is the venue when playing to a crowd?
Billy Mason: The venue does not really matter; it's the crowd that matters. It's nice to see the crowd enjoying themselves.

GCS_Angel: What's coming up on the horizon for you, Billy?
Billy Mason: Tim's new album, and we have a tour next year.

GCS_Angel: Unfortunately we are almost out of time. Do you have any final comments or insights for our audience before we wrap up?
Billy Mason: Everybody just really focus on what you are doing musically and in life. Always treat the other person the way that you would want to be treated. It really affects your life as a whole. I really believe in living right and working hard.
Thanks to Pro-Mark when I play my drums hard, they sound great! God bless. Billy....

GCS_Angel: Thank you Billy Mason! I am so glad you could join us today here at WWB and Pro-Mark's In Session!

Billy Mason: "You gotta believe."

Click to purchase the Tim Mcgraw and the Dance Hall Doctors CD here.

To find out more about Pro-Mark Stix, go to:

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World Without Borders main>Archives>Billy Mason transcript