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Clip: Billy Childish west coast tour

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  • Carl Z.
    Billy Childish: He might say that being a professional anything is overrated. He
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 21 6:34 AM
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      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
      just fine.

      Tony DuShane

      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)
      923-0925. www.hemlocktavern.com.
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