Canadian artist Bill 'B.D.' Gottfried is a quirky songwriter and lyricist. Fronting the band Autonomy in the past, B.D. has a vast and varied musical background as a performer, jobber, producer, songwriter and recording artist [recorded with ex-Manfred Mann and John Mayall members, etc]. However, since the demise of Autonomy, he's been recording and working as a solo artist and "The Warden's Picnic" is his latest offering to the slightly 'goofy' Gods of rock'n roll. It's a grand mix of  Prog-Rock and melodies in the vein of Chris De Burgh, David Gilmour, as well as Talking Heads. Here's: B.D. GOTTFRIED...

How has the reaction to your latest CD been?

B.D- The reaction is favourable at the college/university level listener wanting something different. Mainstream radio in Canada is Audio mediocrity or classic rock.

Any favourite songs and lyrical highlights on "The Warden's Picnic" and why?

B.D- I think "New Fifty Two" and "Sideways". They have some nice twists.

What's the story/idea behind a vivid title such as 'The Warden's Picnic'?

B.D- It seems our governments are constantly telling us our freedoms are threatened and yet they are the ones creating more laws, hiring more police and sending troops off to third world countries on a killing spree. Freedom is being redefined in a subtle and dangerous manner.

Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?

B.D- I would like to evoke new emotions and reactions in people. Try some left curves if possible without alienating anyone.

Would you say it's rather moody and "difficult" album, it takes more than one spin to get the hang of your ideas?

B.D- Usually the material needs "digesting". I find people either love it or hate it. Not too many fence sitters.

What's a successful album anyhow? a lifetime experience or the more commercial aspect?

B.D- Success for me is feeling I've captured the essence I set out to accomplish. If I wanted commercial success I would use standard song structure and catchy melodies... too boring.

Does your vision for music get affected at all by trends and changes?

B.D- I don't believe it does but we are all affected by the things and sounds around us.

How would you try and describe your sound? (I even noticed some Chris De Burgh and David Gilmour influences?)

B.D- I really can't. It speaks for itself. People do seem to hear nuances of other artists from time to time. But I think we all try to relate to the past as a reference point. As of late I'm listening to Daniel Lanois. I love Catherine Wheel, but hell my influences go back to the days of Cream... or should I say daze!

What's your favourite 1980's album(s)?

B.D.- I'm not going to tell you that!!! We had some bad hair and our own stylist traveling with the band. I thought only pirate hookers wore eyeliner but I did too! [Urban note: then again, Elvis Presley wore eyeliner and make-up, damn hooker! And we were talkin' about 'MUSIC' not the dodgy image :)].

What's Canada like for your type of music at the moment?

B.D- We have heavy American domination and that is Mainstream or Hip hop. There isn't a lot of room on commercial radio. Approx 10 stations gave me some airplay while 30 college and university gave the rest. I've been around for a lot of years. Too many gigs to want to remember. Had the pleasure of playing with rock stars and empty bars. I'm a diehard.

What do you do when you're not playing or listening to music?

B.D- I produce rock and technical videos, aside from that I may sip a whiskey.

What 3 words describe you best?

Persistent, honourable and learning

What song(s) do you identify with the most? (sorry, you can't pick one of your own)

B.D- Too hard to answer... I'm moody too and that can change...

What are your future plans?

B.D- To continue to write and record music. To grow at the craft till I can make odd palatable.

If there's anything you'd like to say, add, promote, please do:

B.D- Thanks for listening...I hope I didn't whine too much!
MySpace site

interview by Urban 'Wally' Wallstrom 
Photos from B.D.'s website & MySpace.

November 2010
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