I first met Bill as he was a ‘touring musician’ with The Apples in Stereo. I hung out after the gig for an hour as I usually did back then and he seemed genuinely excited that I had The Olivia Tremor Control covers in my hand for him to sign. He was so nice and was thrilled to explain to me the origins of the album cover (his daughter’s artwork) and all the liner notes and why the OTC meant so much to him. Imagine a Bill Doss and Robert Schneider sandwich with me in the middle? Crazy!
Two years later we met again and he was as sweet and personable as the first time. As the musical ringleader (that’s how I saw it as a fan) of the incredible Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Show, he was in top form and still had the grace to talk and mingle with the awe-struck crowd. Last year the OTC played Pittsburgh and although I didn’t have the chance to say hi to Bill, it didn’t matter. He will always hang in my heart as being one of the nicest ‘rock stars’ this fan has ever met.
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I wasn’t expecting much from this set. Knowing that the band was essentially Julian from Neutral Milk Hotel and that his ‘solo’ stuff was experimental, minimalist, Eastern European folk, my intent was to get a few shots and patiently wait for openers The Olivia Tremor Control. What an absolute surprise to be wanting more after a quick hour of the trio’s wistful, endearing and more than anything funny ‘performance’. Incorporating music, abstract storytelling, and even an audience participation ‘magic’ trick, it was more absurdest theater than a concert. I for one was game. In case you couldn’t tell, I loved it!
I pretty much love everything Elephant 6. What I love about these guys, apart from their fantastically surreal and psychedelic vibe is how down to earth and totally approachable they all are. Just the nicest bunch of musicians around. Listen to an NPR archived show from a couple days later here.