Features Overview

 
 
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Jake Ivory’s- Boston, MA

Billy started his Dueling Pianos odessey in 1992 when he was hired by Kevin Clover to play at a new Dueling Piano club on Lansdowne St. in Boston called Rebel Yell. The Rebel Yell club was quickly re-named Jake Ivories, as the whole Rebel Yell thing didn’t exactly connect with the people of Boston.

Billy was fortunate enough to learn the gig at Jake Ivories from players from Dallas Alley- (Kevin Clover, Arch Hooks, Jon Glazer), Pat O’Brien’s (Cyndi Chen), and other assorted Dueling Pianos clubs (Arthur Offen, and Chuck Christianson). Along the way, Jon Sherman and Matt Mello joined Jake Ivories staff, as did Neal Kern. Billy managed the entertainment staff in the Boston club for a while as well.

In 1995, one of the two Jake Ivories clubs closed, and Billy had the opportunity to move to San Antonio, TX, and become part of the piano staff at a club that had opened just a few months prior.


Howl at the Moon- San Antonio, TX

Sam Leatherwood was the Entertainment Director there, and Billy, along with Roger Hunt, Kevin Karlsgatt, Ricky Hernandez, and Brooks Manry became the foundation of the piano staff. Jon Sherman came over from Boston as well, and it wasn’t long before Geoff Smith and Eddie Thompson came on board. Tommy Raye joined in, as well as Martha Bowles, and Howl at the Moon San Antonio had a tremendous piano staff and was the most successful of all the Howl at the Moon franchises in the country. Jon Glazer came on for a spell, but then went back out on the road as Wynonna Judd’s keyboard player.

It was during these times in San Antonio where the Dueling Piano gig morphed into a different musical experience, adding drums and bass. Everyone learned the instruments, and Billy has enthusiastically pursued the drums and bass professionally ever since.

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Howl at the Moon- San Antonio, TX

It was during these times in San Antonio where the Dueling Piano gig morphed into a different musical experience, adding drums and bass. Everyone learned the instruments, and Billy has enthusiastically pursued the drums and bass professionally ever since.

As players left for greener pastures, others followed, and so Mike Clavijo and Mark Johnson and Joe Miraglilo and Danny Smith, Russel Boyd and Grey Gregson all became part of the San Antonio show.

In 2001, Sam Leatherwood and Meredyth (Nichols) Mueller (the General Manager off the San Antonio club) left to open their own club in St. Louis, MO called The Big Bang. Geoff Smith and Eddie Thompson were also a part of the new venture as well. Billy was promoted to Entertainment Director at Howl at the Moon in San Antonio, and ran the club until he left in 2003.

 

In 2003, Sam Leatherwood contacted Billy about a situation his brother and business partner George had come across in Tempe, AZ. Tempe had recently instituted a smoking ban in restaurants and bars, so needless to say, there were a lot of vacant clubs available, and George had found a spot right in the heart of Tempe on Mill Avenue. Billy and Sam worked out a deal, and Billy moved to Arizona to be part Owner/Entertainment Director/ Performer at the newest Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar.

It was a great opportunity for Billy to work with a whole slew of new players- Mike Clement, Julie Martinez-Simpson, and Paul MeGee had all moved from St. Louis to perform at the club, and other local talents came on board. Players such as Joe Brown, Travis Byers, Johnny Greco, and Collin Freestone all got their start in the Dueling Pianos gig at The Big Bang, Tempe.

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Billy and Pete Wilson also started up a show monthly at Vincitorio’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in Tempe, AZ. The monthly Dueling Pianos Show is still going strong at Vincitorio’s restaurant and Wine Bar, with Billy joined by Julie Martinez-Simpson on piano and with house drummer Matt Medrano. Billy also plays solo at Vincitorio’s on the weekends, with Jermaine Lockhart on Sax on Thursdays, and on select Sundays with Sarah Vanell on vocals.

 

Billy left the nightclub environment on a full time basis in 2011. He joined forces with Pete Wilson and his staff at Casino Arizona at Talking Stick in Scottsdale for their Dueling Piano Show

 
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