“Bloodshot Bill is unique. He represents the authentic, rockabilly style that we hear from many bands around the globe; in the end, they all sound the same. They are copy cats of each other, and then you have Bloodshot Bill, who is far from that.
“You can be a fan of crust punk or a fan of synth-pop; it doesn’t matter, you’ll get it. He is everything you hear and feel in his music; he truly loves rockabilly, and he grew up in a later time for it. He is the missing link from traditional rockabilly to today’s underground music movement.
“Bloodshot Bill is also a never-ending, touring machine and one of the hardest working men in the rock business today. Live? He’s an experience you will never forget in your life. It’s not that he stuffs microphones up his bunghole; it’s that he’s a unique greaser on stage making your brain work and your legs dance!! This is what we want!! We want the real deal, and Bloodshot Bill is the real deal!!” Reverend Beat-Man – songwriter/guitars/label owner – Reverend Beat-Man, The Monsters, Voodoo Rhythm Records
As the quote reads, Bloodshot Bill is the real deal. This obscure, one-man band packs the power and energy of a full-on wrecking crew in his live sets with his combination of postwar rockabilly mixed with bits of heavy hillbilly blues and trash rock. His consistency and dedication to this outlier genre keeps him in demand as a performer, auxiliary man, and collaborator for many groups.
As a solo artist, he’s one of the more recognizable faces and voices in today’s rockabilly world. Yet, he doesn’t exactly mesh with the modern rockabilly scene too. Bloodshot Bill lies in the grey areas with his own thing going, something everyone got first wind of when his debut Blood, Sex, & Rock n’ Roll! LP was released in 2001.
In a nutshell, Bloodshot Bill takes the ballads of Charlie Feathers and performs them with the power of a Link Wray album all with the eccentricities of Hasil Adkins. His singing voice is versatile and switches between drawls, wails, yelps, and rhythmic breathing work that John Waters has summarized as sounding like “Roy Orbison with a head wound.”
A solid work ethic backed up his his uniqueness and delivery of a high-octane show has carried him through a 22-year career crisscrossing Japan, Canada, United States, Mexico, and Europe while forging partnerships with a slew of underground labels along the way. Currently, Bloodshot Bill and Goner Records are in one of these partnerships to release his 18th album and sophomore effort for Memphis label with Get Loose or Get Lost.
Hailing from Montreal, Bloodshot Bill’s a mystery in some ways. He doesn’t reveal his real name outside his circle. He gives the media short answers to questions (when asked about why he received a five-year ban coming to the U.S. between 2006 – 2011, he only replies with “Lack of paperwork”).
The fact is, Bloodshot Bill’s resourcefulness and his network brought him some prime opportunities, including individual bands with each member of King Khan (The Tandoori Knights) and BBQ (The Ding Dongs), Deke Dickerson, and countless others, one being Heavy Trash, the rockabilly project of Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray.
His work with those two extend to tours as their stand up bassist, something Spencer recalls Bloodshot Bill laying claim he’s not the best at, but his passion and showmanship negate the claim. Spencer even goes deeper into his thoughts on Bloodshot Bill with an honest and candid note.
“A Bloodshot Bill show is nothing short of wild and frantic. He pays his dues and does what needs to happen to get things done with absolute integrity and is a sweet guy who loves what he does. In the future, the term “rock ‘n’ roll” should be textless and replaced with a photo of Bill; that would be justifiable.” – Jon Spencer – songwriter/guitars – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Heavy Trash, Boss Hog
Bloodshot Bill has paid his dues, know that. Get Loose or Get Lost is likely going to be obsolete by next year at the rate this guy releases music. Get Loose or Get Lost carries his lo-fi sounding, high-energy stomp ’n’ swing style throughout the 16 tracks of loud numbers, somber songwriting, and ballads.
His consistency with writing songs about the trials and tribulations of relationships continues on this record with varying tempos outlining their stages. The quick pace and ringing chords of “Baby Oh Baby,” along with the slamming drums and sliding riffs of “Miss Betty,” fall in line with the honeymoon phase one feels in the throes of lovin’.
Both tracks sound as if they’re performed so tight, you can sense the sweat beads spill across Bloodshot Bill’s brow causing his pomade held hair fall in strands across his eyes as he thrashes around from behind his kick drum. An opposite approach shows on “My Heart Cries For You” with his minor key guitar solos showing his vulnerable/tender side to love’s spell.
There’s a country feel that parallels the Billy Edd Wheeler & Jerry Leiber song “Jackson” on the track “Movin’ Faster,” and “Don’t Let Go” has a Jerry Lee Lewis feel throughout. He adds some rockabilly swing, too, with the rhythmic notes and percussion work featured on “Straight To The Moon” to add some diversification to the album’s mood. But, the highlight is the stripped and simplified instrumental “Cookout,” which gives good insight to the white hot intensity he shows in his live performances.
A growing trend is less is more; Bloodshot Bill’s been doing this before it was a thing and will keep doing his own thing until … well who knows? He’ll decide that.
Get a copy of Get Loose or Get Lost through Goner Records.