The following is the second installment where Gabe sat down with Billy
Egle, the other guitarist and songwriter of the Helicopter:
I anxiously awaited Billy to meet me at a local pub. The music was
loud. A football game was on the TV above the bar, and some nondescript
fellas were playing Galaga in the corner. I felt perfectly at home,
and as it was Billy's suggestion to meet at that particular place, it
seemed to be an auspicious beginning...
When he finally arrived, it looked as though he was preoccupied with
something or at the very least had better things to do. A little history:
Billy has been on the local music scene for the better part of a decade,
and each band he has been in has been generally well-received by those
in the know. Despite the local notoriety, he is rather aloof. That is
not say, he is cold or even distant, just aloof and perhaps a bit gruff.
Most of us still love him.
GW: How's it going, Billy?
BE: Okay, Gabe. Actually... pretty good.
GW: Cool. Who would you say is the most annoying member of your
band... excluding yourself?
BE: Easily Junior. I mean, Jeff Richardson. He's always
clowning around saying something dumb. Lately, he's been saying "set
GW: What does that mean?
BE: I don't know. He explained it once, but I really
pay any attention. Maybe it has something to do with being perpetually
high, or maybe it's a Beat Street reference. I just wish he would stop
GW: Okay... well, aside from his annoying witticisms, is Jeff
fun to write songs with?
BE: He can be when he's not bothering me about everything.
GW: Like what?
BE: Um, like "what's that chord?", "do
you think I should stand like Pete Townsend for this part?", "are
you singing on key?" You know, the usual sorts of stuff.
GW: All right, forget Jeff. How are your relationships with the
rest of the band?
BE: I love Coop. He's my best friend... a good bass
player and quite handsome in that European way. Chris (Squires) is a
great guy...half man, half squirrel. Pretty easy on the eyes as well.
GW: That's interesting. Is there something we should know about?
What with your obsession about how good-looking the band is?
BE: I wouldn't call it an "obsession."
It's more like our shtick. We're very handsome all of us. Well, except
for Junior. If I had to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10. Coop is an
8... tall and athletic. Chris is about a 7, and if I were a girl, I'd
like taller gents. So... Jeff (Richardson) is about a 3. He isn't very
tall, and he looks a bit like Chris Farley if he had been thinner and
GW: Ruthless. Is there anything you like about Jeff?
BE: Not much, but we do like some of the same bands
which helps us work together on songs.
GW: What bands?
BE: Oh.. the BeeGees, Information Society and a couple
GW: Are there any bands you can't agree on?
BE: Plenty, believe you me. Mott the Hoople immediately
comes to mind. Jeff loves them, and I don't really care them one way
or the other. I'd say he likes them a bit too much. Besides, he won't
even admit that "All the Young Dudes" is their best song?
GW: Dudes? Are you sure there isn't anything we should know?
BE: Fuck you.
GW: I'm just joking. Geez.
BE: Well, you're very fucking funny. Keep it up,
and I give you free admission to the gun show.
(At this point, he flexes his biceps which bulge through his thin cardigan
sweater. I guess years of guitar playing, hoops and karate lessons will
do that to a guy.)
GW: No, I happen to think you're right about Mott. It's just
a little odd. What's your most embarrassing music secret? I mean, is
there anything you secretly love that you know you shouldn't?
BE: I'm not telling, but Coop likes the Damn Yankees.
Jeff (Richardson) owns a copy of Scott Baio's solo album, and Chris's
favorite video is "Run Runaway" by Slade.
GW: Are you kidding me?
BE: I swear to you that all of it is absolutely not true,
but it should be.
GW: You're a sick man, Billy Egle.
BE: Thanks, Gabe. (with approving smile.)
GW: Can you give us any serious answers on anything? What do
you write about usually?
BE: I've been completely serious the whole time, and usually
I write about my serious misadventures or my serious problem with your
GW: You're a fucking prick.
BE: Thanks, Gabe. Oh yeah, one more thing: your karate's
a joke. (approving smirk.)
With the interview over, Billy seemed to relax a bit more and we even
managed to pass the time amicably over a few pitchers and a best 2-out-of-3
arm wrestling competition. I lost every time, and, of course, Billy
went home with all the women. Mr. Miyagi didn't teach me shit; he must've
been set trippin'.