ReverbNation Winner ~ Bill Zucker

Bill Zucker

Bill Zucker

I was already a big fan of rocker, comedian and actor Bill Zucker, before I noticed his entry to our ReverbNation contest. When I clicked the link to his song submission, I fell in love with his single Stranded. I love the song and the live video kills! Of course, the first question I asked Bill Zucker was for him to give me the back story behind this song.

Turns out, Bill Zucker told me the song has quite a history: “This is an older song of mine that keeps on coming back to haunt me, because no matter what I do new, people come back and say ‘There’s something about that song, I just love it.’ The original studio version was recorded before I formed the Bill Zucker Band. I played all the instruments. Each member of the Bill Zucker Band is someone I’ve had my eye on for years. After I formed the band, I took off my guitar tracks and replaced them with parts by the two guitar players in my band.”

Who’s in the Bill Zucker Band? Bill Zucker sings lead vocals and plays acoustic and electric guitars, piano, synthesizer, drums and harmonica. Sean Harrison is also lead vocal and plays percussion, some guitar and keyboards. Tony Marvici plays guitar; Joe Boyle also plays guitar. Donald Main sings and plays piano and synthesizers. Lenny Roberto is on drums and percussion. Steve Earnheart plays bass guitar. Dee Micaud and Kelley Leigh sing backing vocals. Terry Sanger plays sax and sings vocals. Wow, what a lineup!

Bill Zucker is dying to play live and tour with his band: “They would kick ass on tour! It’s tough. The music business is in such a bad state right now. Record companies are folding and joining each other. The economy has made it so people don’t have the money to go out to a concert. People are downloading music for free. The money is drying up. That’s one of the reasons I’m also an actor and a comedian on the side.”

Bill Zucker - Half the Man coverI also love the romantic rock ballad starring Jenny McCarthy for the single Half the Man. I had to know if this song was about a real-life relationship. Bill Zucker admitted: “It is, but it’s not about a relationship with Jenny. We quickly put that video together. That video, not that it’s my favorite, is a feel good video. When she’s spinning around at the end, after we get back together, it makes you feel good. As a writer, if I can get an emotion out of someone, then I know I’ve accomplished my goal.”

Believe it or not, Bill Zucker is a romantic: “A lot of people want grungy rock, where you can’t understand the lyrics. I go for songs where you can relate to the lyrics and they hit you in the heart.”

I did not know this, until Bill told me, that he did not know Jenny McCarthy before the video: “I still can’t figure out why she came after me and asked to be in that video. There’s a video on YouTube of Jenny dressed like a nun McCarthy apologizing to me for stalking me so badly. She did it to screw with my head. That’s when we became friends. She is the nicest person in the world.”

Bill Zucker is currently writing a comedy movie with a role for Jenny McCarthy: “I’m writing a comedy movie that is a parody of James Bond, and I put her in the move as agent 0069. She’s my partner. The script is really coming together, and it’s a seriously funny movie and the name is Thunderballs.”

Music really is where Bill Zucker’s heart is: “When I was younger, I was always writing songs. I never played other people’s music. I went to Berklee College of Music. Music is an important part of my life. I just don’t take it seriously enough or I’d be on tour right now. I’ve had a lot of opportunities, where companies wanted to sign me for a record deal, and I said, ‘Nah, I don’t want this headache. My music’s personal.’ As I get older, I realize I’m an idiot. Now, things are heading that way, whether I like it or not. I’m getting ready to rehearse the band and put a great show together.”

Bill Zucker concertI asked Bill Zucker if he felt that his being a well-known Hollywood entertainer has helped or hurt his career as a recording artist: “Definitely hurt. I’m my own worst enemy. Any agent that’s approached me has said to me, ‘Bill, you’re a comedian, you’re a serious actor, you’re a singer-songwriter that writes funny songs and you also write serious songs. Pick one thing and let’s make it work.’ I can’t pick, because I love it all. Eventually, I see myself touring and doing movies on the side or doing movies and touring on the side.”

Now that Bill has formed a band and he’s more serious about his music, what advice does he have for other recording artists? “If there was a formula that I could give, I would. I really think it’s about doing what’s in your heart and being prepared for when opportunity crosses your way. Make sure you grab that opportunity, because sometimes lightning won’t strike twice.”

Bill Zucker believes that writing music should not feel like work: “If I’m struggling with a song, that means I’m working too hard and it’s not going to be magical. For example, the song that I wrote for Gene Simmons and Shannon for their wedding wrote itself in two minutes. I sat down and the words just poured out of me. I literally wrote the words down, went into the studio and the music was already stuck in my head. I recorded the song, and when we went to make the video, the editor finished editing in 20 minutes. So, if it’s like pulling teeth, you’re on the wrong track.”

To continue appealing to a mass market, Bill Zucker has to be careful about what he does: “If I have a girl in my video that looks young, I’ll hear about it. You have to also be careful about the things you say too. Knowing that I have a half million people following me on Twitter, I’m smart enough not to bring up religion or politics. I have to be politically correct.”

Bill Zucker also recommends fan appreciation and positivity: “My fans know that I seriously love them; they’re my family. I appreciate everything everyone does to help me, because I believe you are nothing without your fans. I do my best to make people feel positive. I have no room for negativity. I’m known as the most positive guy on Twitter; I’m the non-spam guy. I could be making money spamming fans, but I refuse. I want it done right. I want it done with class. I don’t believe the school of thought that says it doesn’t matter how you get there. I cleaned up my act and, since I’ve been living that way, all these good things are coming.”

What’s up next musically for Bill Zucker? “If you know anyone who books tours, I’d like you to get a hold of Cynthia or myself and get the Bill Zucker Band on tour. The band rocks and the show is phenomenal.”

I’m going to help any way I can. I wish you all the best Bill Zucker. <3 U

Amused Now ReverbNation Contest Winners

Bill Zucker and guitarBill Zucker

Cynthia Kahn, Founder of Amused Now