Billy Rowe Interview

July 23, 2006

Guitarist Billy Rowe cut his teeth in the underrated 80s rockers Jetboy, but now he is promoting American Heartbreak who just released their self-titled album. In this interview Billy talked with Sarah about his influences, tour plans and goals for American Heartbreak.

SR: How long has American Heartbreak been in the music business? How did the band get started?

Billy RoweBR: We’ve been around for nearly ten years and started in 1996 early 1997, the bass player Mike Butler and myself were in previous bands in the 80s. I was in Jetboy and he was in Exodus and he knew Lance, our singer, and we wanted to get back to the basics and start a rock band. We started writing songs a few years later where we’re at right now.

SR: American Heartbreak has a classic sound, was it an intention to sound more classic?

BR: For this one yes. When we first started the band it was kind of like throwing darts at a wall, always wanted to be what we are now but the band had to evolve. So when we did this record, we had more previous stuff that was more punkish and off the wall, and pretty much recorded it. On this record we knew what we wanted to do and it is almost a tribute to our rock heroes but we also make that rock record that was missing all these years, people seem to gravitate towards that.

SR: What are your goals for the band?

BR: Keep on rolling and to play the rock. Our goals can go so many ways. I want people to hear what we do basically and play music and write music and to get it out to as many people as we can. Our goal is to bring the rock back or at least be part of it to today’s generation.

SR: Is there a meaning behind the bands name, and if so, what is it?

BR: Not really a meaning. It’s just kind of funny that the name of the band and lyrically have always been about love hate relationships and the name actually came from that. I turned our singer onto a band named Girl, which I was very into when it was new, one of the songs that he hung onto when we were digging around on what we were going to call ourselves was the last track on the first album, the sheer greed album, Heartbreak America. He said how about we turn that around and call ourselves American Heartbreak and right away I thought, that’s fucking great, so that’s pretty much it. For those who are lucky enough to know a band like Girl who is so underrated and got lost in the whole shuffle, I think that we are very lucky to know the band, and Def Leppard really didn’t turn a lot of people on to them.

SR: Where can fans find your music?

American HeartbreakBR: Buy it online, Amazon and Century Media, our store, our website, our myspace page, pretty much all the chains around the States. Most people are up on the click and ship, I would say online. It will be on itunes as well in another month or so.

SR: Is there a tour planned, and if so are there any other bands or artists on the tour?

BR: We are doing spot stuff our way, we are working with an agent and on a tour. Its jut tough to get on something that is worthwhile, if we don’t find anything we are just going to go on out on our own. We’ve been to Japan and Europe and once we secure the European thing we’ll be going over there again, but I’m actually more excited to do the States. It’s been so long for me. We are planning on going everywhere.

SR: I discovered American Heartbreak through Myspace, do you think that Myspace has given you more exposure or not?

BR: I think so, the internet to begin with is genius. Even in the day of just websites, now you have myspace, a community where people actually go in there to discover the craziest stuff or the biggest band in the world, or whatever, its all there. So obviously for us, yes being a new band, it’s been wonderful. It’s connected me with old friends, and family and fans from the Jetboy days.

SR: As a musician, who are your influences? What inspired you to pick up your instrument of choice?

BR: Ace Frehley from KISS pretty much, KISS alive. One of my dearest friends, been friends since way back, was kind of my guy I looked up to as a kid, started playing guitar and it was all over and it was all about Rock and Roll and the guitar. If I had to get stuck with just a few bands, Kiss, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, and the newer bands like the Babies. Their guitar players are my heroes as well.

SR: Of all the bands past and present which, if you could, would you like to perform with?

JetboyBR: AC/DC and Aerosmith would be ideal for me. Motley Crue. As in present bands; Butch Walker, Buckcherry, stuff like that. They are not a band on a super huge level but they are a band that is cut from the same rock and roll cloth. More of the newer bands would be the bands over in Europe; the Wildhearts, Ginger, Three Color Fred, Backyard Babies. We’ve done a lot with the Backyard Babies. Motley Crue would be the ultimate. We could go out in any direction, anything would work.

SR: Anything else you would like to say to your fans and supporters?

BR: Thank you to all of you who are friends and fans who have followed us over the years and myself in the Jetboy days, I look forward to meeting all of them on the road when we’re out on tour and I hope that everyone will support us with the rock and pick up the new album and make American Heartbreak a household name.

Thanks to Billy Rowe and interviewer Sarah