Frequently Asked Questions
Willie Hines

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If you were trapped on a desert island, what 10 albums would you take with you?

WILLIE: I don't know about you, but my desert island selections vary depending on my mood sometimes. For example, a Beatles album HAS to be on there, but it will be Revolver on most days, then the White Album once in a while, or Abbey Road; it changes, y'know? I HATE people who put box sets in their lists-that's cheating, or a cowards' way out at best, we go:

A)Elvis Presley-Elvis' Golden Records, Vol.1; 14 reasons why he truly is the king. All recorded before 1958, all essential. "All Shook Up" started the whole ball rolling for me.

B)The Beatles-Revolver; a band that went from "Love Me Do" to "Eleanor Rigby" in less than two years. Touch that. "Tomorrow Never Knows" is simply amazing. We miss you more than ever, John..

C)Django Reinhardt-Swing It Lightly; recorded 20 years after his death with a group of parisian guitarists called Guitars Unlimited. They extracted his solos from recordings and wrote charts around him. The arrangements are subtle and never imposing. Djangos' solos are melodic, romantic and dazzling. The other great thing about this recording is that it was done when technology allowed for better sonics; the original recordings are mostly from the thirties, and sound rather tinny, but here they come alive.

D)John Coltrane-Ballads; I learned about 'Trane listening to the last interview Duane Allman gave to KSAN where he talked about how he had absorbed all the guitarists he could and was searching for new sounds. He played "My Favorite Things" and I was hooked. Granted, a lot of later era Coltrane is NOT easy listening, but this recording from 1961 is perfect. Midtempo love songs performed with loving care by a maestro of the saxophone. Like Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue, people who don't even like jazz like this.

E)Brian Eno-Music For Airports; I walked into Cymbaline Records in Santa Cruz in 1979 and this was on, and it was the most calming thing I had ever heard. His first in a series of what he coined 'Ambient" recordings: music you could use for atmosphere in the background, but when you actively listened there was more going on. They still pipe this through the speakers in that big glass airport in France(the one on the cover of Alan Parsons' I Robot) to induce a sense of calm to airplane passengers. This, and the next entry, are, for me, what heaven probably sounds like.

F) Harold Budd/Brian Eno-The Plateaux Of Mirror; part two in the ambient series, and the one that still kills me to this day. I played this at my mothers' memorial service, and I want the first track, "First Light", played at mine. Haunting, minimalist piano musings drenched in reverb and echo. Melancholic and dreamlike.

G)Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays-As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls; I have loved Pat Metheny since his first ECM release Bright Size Life(w/Jaco Pastorius). His guitar playing is always inventive and his compositions invoke so many feelings in me. This album is less linear than most of his work, relying on keyboard textures and crystalline washes of sound to engage the listener. The title track is a journey of the spirit to me.

H)Yes-Close To The Edge; The definitive progressive rock album for me. I'd have to list Steve Howe in my top five guitarists of all time. The first time I heard this(on eight track no less) I could not believe what I was hearing. Angelic choirs of vocals swirling aroung majestic compositions with everybody playing their asses off. God, it's everything I would ever want to be able to play. Talk about a dream band..

I)The Blue Nile-Hats; This is the album for hopeless romantics in a melancholy mood, period. Every time I play this I'm right back in my tenderloin apartment in San Francisco, missing a girl. Some girl, any girl, y'know? When Paul Buchanan sings "It's over, I know it's over, but I love you still" it still sounds brand new.

J)Henryk Gorecki-Third Symphony; the first time I heard this piece on a classical station in Sacramento, I had to pull my car over. I thought about quitting music when it was over, feeling like every possible emotion had been wrung out of me. The piece is subtitled Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs, and yet Dawn Upshaws' soprano gives a feeling of optimism and hope.

Jeez, you'd think I'm a bit depressed when you look at my list, but I tell you if it wasn't for these recordings I wouldn't be!

What are you listening to today?

WILLIE: These days, I've found some amazing recordings that reinstate my faith in music, for sure. Ryan Adams' Rock And Roll is a solid piece of work. It's been getting a bit of flack for being all over the place stylistically, like he's wearing his influences on his sleeve. Well, who doesn't, really? I wish I'd written "Burning Photographs"! Then last week my drummer Jimmy Rehn talked me into heading down to Largo in West Hollywood (L.A., really) to catch Jon Brions' weekly Friday night stint there. Jon is the man behind the scenes, producing Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, and scoring films like Magnolia and Punch Drunk Love. Well, not unlike another hero of mine (Todd Rundgren), Jon is a veritable encyclopedia of pop music and a one man band. Literally. He performs with loops and samples and takes requests while laying down drums, bass, etc. It's like 'stump the band' meets 'name that tune'. Anyway, go to and you'll see what I mean. His solo cd is called Meaningless and it's anything but.

If you could pick an all-star band of players (dead or alive) to back you up, who would be in it?

WILLIE: My dream band? I probably wouldn't be in it, Ken! I'd have to have auditions just so I could meet all my heroes. Ok, I'll try. On bass, Paul McCartney (I almost went with Chris Squire). On guitar, Joe Walsh (and me too!). On drums, the late Jeff Porcaro, and I'd need a little texture so I'd ask Jon Brion if he wasn't too busy to help out on some keys. Yep. That'd do it.

If the second Jet Red release is well received, is it possible that Jet Red would fly again for a show or two?

WILLIE: Yeah, if there was a definite interest on the part of the public to see the band, I'd be happy to oblige. That's the great thing about that band-we're all still close friends, and will continue to be for the rest of our lives, I'm sure.

The first solo album is excellent. What is the status of the next Willie Hines Band (WHB) album?

WILLIE: Thank you for the kind words about "Yeahright". A quick plug here: the cd is now available at for a measley ten bucks, so buy two. Anyway, the follow-up is taking a bit longer that I expected due to two things: time and money. Still, it should see the light of day by the first of the year. In the meantime, people can check out the WHB by going to Yahoo groups and typing in williehinesband. There's some music files, some live photos and a message board, so have fun!

If you could tell the fans anything, what would it be?

WILLIE: The only thing I could say in closing is thank you. To anyone who ever loved a song, or fell in love to a song; to the dreamers who still believe in magic, and feel the power and joy that comes from a great tune...thank you. Stay young. Willie Hines III

Thanks to Willie Hines