30 years ago this month Bill became the drummer for Lichen and the rest is HISTORY! It's hard to imagine Lichen as any other way except with Bill. WAY back when, from 1981 to 1988, the drummer was as John would put it "the hot seat."Lichen began with Pete Nizza (John's cousin), then Steve Tamulonis, then 2 drummers Steve and Roger Weeks, then just Roger and finally Bill. Bill came to Lichen through Shirley at Belisle's on Elm Street in Manchester (huge thanks to Shirley!). John gave lessons there and that's where he met up with Bill. I know people are probably tired of hearing the joke (maybe including Bill) that he's the "new guy", but that's why. In accordance with Thanksgiving, we can be thankful for Bill, the timekeeper and rock solid base of the band. Bill is subtle, not to a fault and not to say that he isn't at times in your face with powerful drumming, but he sneaks in more than you may realize in his ..........performance........humor...........and artistic flair.
Bill introduced us to one of John and mine's FAVORITE bands, NRBQ. As many shows as we may have seen of the Grateful Dead, he has seen of them. He got a chance to play Tom Ardolino's (NRBQ's drummer) set when Lichen was one of the opening acts along with Treat Her Right at Decadence on Elm Street in Manchester. When Bill asked if he could add a tom to the drumset, AJ (the head roadie for the band) said "all good drummers can drum with just the 4." Ouch!, but Bill used 5 anyway. One highlights of this night was NRBQ playing their version of Andy Griffith's Aunt Bee and Clara's My Hometown and inserting Manchester into it. They were such a fun and great band to see.
At that same venue, but it was called at this time the Escape 2 Club, Lichen participated in and won the "Bo Needs A Band" contest put on with Rock 101 and Lichen played with Bo Diddley at the Carousel in Salisbury Ma in 1992. There is an audio cut from that performance on the heading of this site. It was a tense night (I plan to do a blog on the whole experience), but suffice to say right now that it was not the most fun, freewheelin' night for me and I think Bill feels the same.
During those early years, Bill seemed to want to be anonymous. He used stage names, Chicky Manolo and Del Tater. Del Tater was the most used. Lichen did a show for Manchester Community Television and when Bill's aunt saw the credits they said "Del Tater" and she said..."That's not you!"
Bill is a friendly guy and he has many Lichen friends and all his friends know that when he plays.......his shoes come off!! He has the "subtle" touch that calls for more of a feel. Many times the crowd shouts ....."LET BILL SING!!" Well, it would be so great, but he does not choose to. He doesn't always request songs either, but when he does......they happen!
Bill is also a handsome guy, obviously, but I have a funny story to tell. One night before a performance at THUMS in Concord we all had finished eating a great meal thanks to our host Marty Mahon, and Bill and I were left sitting at the table together. A young "chick" came over to talk with us and said how much she loves the band and loves coming to see us because she wants to watch "she said you" up on the stage. Bill in his dry, funny way said "Yeah, I get that a lot" and the girl said "No, not you.....you" and she pointed to me. Well, we all laughed about that.
Bill finally met his soulmate a few years ago and married Cindee who easily fit in with all the friends from the shows and made Bill whole.
I love it when Bill says "Yeah Baby" and when he leaves us a message on our machine he says......"This is Bill, the drummer from the supergroup Lichen."
Happy 30th Anniversary Bill...............We love you!
Martin Mahon: Super writing Di. How can you not love a guy like Bill- Seinfeld, Dan Tanna PI, and Animal the Muppet drummer all rolled into one. How many weekend did we scan the sky because Bill said he was going to parachute in to the party.lol He plays Promised Land better than me on the drums too.
Frank Tillotson Jr: Still the new guy. Happy Anniversary Bill