Clip: Billy Childish west coast tour
Billy Childish: He might say that being a professional anything is
overrated. He loves what he does, and if you want to call the
painting, the music, the writing amateur stuff, well, it suits him
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Billy Childish, the veteran amateur, continues to paint, write and
play the blues for a living. He has released 30 collections of poetry
and more than 70 full-length albums with his various bands and has
produced more than 1,000 paintings in the past 20 years. He's spent
more time in all those media than people who call themselves
professional artists, but Childish has "no time for professionals."
"Being an amateur means you're doing it because that's what you love,
whereas the professional may well be doing it just to pay his
mortgage. Amateur doesn't mean that the results aren't as good. The
amateur should be able to make it better than the professional because
it's a much lighter touch. ... Generally speaking there are ulterior
motives for the professional. For us, the amateurs, it's nice and
clean and clear.
"Amateur is based on the French word 'to love,' it's something to do
with that. ... Love, to love what you do. It's not really insulting,
but it's good that it's got an insulting twang to it because it's
always good to be on the wrong end of the seesaw," he says.
In the late '70s Billy Childish started the Pop Rivets. Since then
he's led a handful of bands, including Thee Headcoats, Thee
Milkshakes, Thee Mighty Caesars and most recently The Buff Medways,
named after a type of poultry bred in his hometown of Chatham, Kent,
Some "professionals" have called Childish one of their greatest
influences, including Kurt Cobain, Jack White (of the White Stripes)
and Kylie Minogue, who even named one of her albums "Impossible
Princess" after a book of his poems.
Childish is playing five cities on a small West Coast tour. His
performance will include reading from his latest novel, "Sex Crimes of
the Futcher," as well as some blues guitar and a cappella pieces.
"I've been doing this sort of thing, this blues stuff, for the last 25
years, and people like that now and then."
Friday, 9:30 p.m. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk St., S.F. $15. 21+. (415)