Welcome to my musical world! This is one man’s attempt to alert you to the best in area entertainment!
Willie Nile has walked away from the business side of things more than once during his brilliant musical career. “I’ve walked away when it became more about business than music,” said Nile as we touched on a variety of subjects during our recent conversation.
The man who has shared the stage with a host of rock’s top acts and performers has kept true to himself, as well as his music. “I was raised in an Irish Catholic family where I was exposed to lots of music,” said Nile. “I’m from Buffalo, NY, my grandfather ran an orchestra, yet I’ve never played on a stage in Buffalo; weird huh?”
A University of Buffalo graduate with a degree in philosophy, Nile drifted south to NYC where he received an education far more valuable than any dollar amount could buy. “I never had a band in those days, I couldn’t afford one,” said Nile. “I got a great New York City education, I played alone, made my way. I actually walked away from the music business twice; when it became more about the business than the music. I never had a chip on my shoulder, I just had problems dealing with the business side.”
Supported by some of music’s biggest names, Nile has a fan base which includes The Who’s Pete Townsend (with whom he toured in 1982), Bruce Springsteen, U2′s Bono, Paul Simon, Lou Reed andGraham Parker just to name a few. “Playing with Bruce, I’ve done so three times, is just an unbelievable experience. The man has the energy of a volcano on stage, the power of rock ‘n’ roll is still in him. I mean he’s an icon and he raises the level of everyone on stage with him, a great guy and such a joy to be around.”
A new CD titled American Ride is Nile’s first on new indie label Loud & Proud Records. “This CD,” says Nile, “This disc is about the good, bad and in between, it’s about a journey across America. It is a collection of songs with a variety of styles written about love, travel, politics and I am having a good time with it. Having my own label has opened doors, I am truly grateful for the journey, both the good times and the bad; I mean I toured with The Who, what a break that is! I’ve performed with Ringo and Bruce, so I don’t dwell on the negative. I love music but not the business side, so I choose to stay with the smaller indie labels.”
American Ride is Nile’s “ninth or tenth” studio recording and has drawn rave reviews. “I’m having a great time with this record. I’m getting ready to go to the UK where we spend four months a year touring. We’ve got great fans there who are very supportive and I don’t take that for granted; I love performing for them.”
Before departing for the UK, Nile has a host of shows in the U.S. of which one was Friday night (September 27, 2013) at the reopening Starland Ballroom in Sayreville. Devastated by Hurricane Sandy, this intimate concert venue was thought to be closed for good but faith and hard work have revitalized the popular hot spot. Willie was on the bill with Tegan & Sara and Plastiq Passion.
Upon returning to the states sometime around the holidays, Nile will once again be participating in the annual Light Of Day charity event that he’s participated in for the last thirteen years in Asbury Park. “I’ve been involved since day one. The camaraderie at these events is fantastic, I mean Bruce has joined me on stage three times and all involved have a great time. Parkinson’s disease is a rough one and when a cure comes it will be a joyous day.”
Recently, Jersey shore area artist Laura Johnson of the duo Strumberry Pie has taken to joining Nile on stage. “I recall a gig,” said Nile, “I recall a gig where one of my band mates started fooling around on stage and began playing “Super Freak” by Rick James. I jokingly asked if anyone knew the words and there was this woman jumping up and down and yelling, “I do.” I said OK then come on up and she sang the song. I was blown away by that voice, so I’ve asked her to join us a few times since; she’s a great singer with a true rock ‘n’ roll heart and a great spirit for sure.”
A gracious subject and an easy going personality, led me to ask Nile the difference between the kid from Buffalo who was schooled in NYC and the artist that he’s become and his answer was simple. “I’m still the same, for me it’s an ever evolving process. I want to be known as a poet rocker who plays from the heart.”