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Bill Bentley

Bill Bentley

Bill Bentley began writing about music in Austin, Texas during the 1970s. He started as a typesetter at the Austin Sun in 1974, and soon became the music editor at the new alternative newspaper. As the city exploded with music he got to cover every style. In 1980 he became the music editor at the recently established L.A. Weekly: another city, and another vibrant music scene. He has continued writing after a twenty-year career as publicist for Warner Bros. Records, with regular contributions to the Austin Chronicle. His one assignment for the Los Angles Times on Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1983 was killed when Vaughan walked out as lead guitarist in David Bowie's band the day before the tour began. Bentley is now director of A&R for Vanguard Records and writes the weekly column "Bentley's Bandstand" for online site The Morton Report, and drummer in ex-Moby Grape Peter Lewis' band the Lucky Brothers.

Bill interviewed in Magnet (August 2011)

41 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by date

Velvet Underground: Up From The Underground: Sterling Morrison

Interview by Bill Bentley, Austin Sun, 19 October 1975

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND was often accused of being ahead of their time. Not true. The band was very much of their time. But it was ...

Etta James: L.A.'s Soul Queen

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 17 April 1980

A YEAR AGO, Etta James stopped time as surely as if she had point-blanked a Timex with a .357. ...

The Blues Brothers, Booker T & The MGs, Steve Cropper, The Mar-Keys: Steve Cropper: The Man Who Wrote The Book

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 1 May 1980

THE LATE sixties were a time for guitars, and five musicians — fifty fingers — appeared to naturally jump to the center of attention: Jimi ...

The Fabulous Thunderbirds: The Good Word

Profile and Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 20 June 1980

THANK GOD, I guess, for reality. ...

Roy Brown: Still Rockin' Good

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 25 July 1980

THEY'RE EVERYWHERE, and it is beginning to feel a little bit like old home week as they get together to show they're still around. Ruth ...

T Bone Burnett: Born Again, But Still Looking

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 8 August 1980

IT HAPPENS nearly every year, and usually when you least expect it. From left field, you find a new record and end up with a ...

Phast Phreddie & Thee Precisions: Phast Phreddie Finds His Calling

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 27 February 1981

PHAST PHREDDIE, one of rock & roll's die-hard enthusiasts and actual true believers in the power of American jungle music to transform workaday stiffs to ...

Canned Heat: Missing Bob Hite

Obituary by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 16 April 1981

DEATH HAS no mercy. It's a blues line that applies to everyone, naturally, just as it did to Bob Hite, 38, leader and "Bear" extraordinaire ...

Chuck E. Weiss: Chuck E.'s On Wax

Profile and Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 26 November 1981

NOT SURPRISINGLY, Tom Waits provides the best introduction to his erstwhile running partner, Chuck E. Weiss, giving him a snappy street-smart hello in song. It's ...

George Thorogood & The Destroyers: Visitors: George Thorogood

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 14 October 1982

IF GEORGE Thorogood didn't exist, a true-blue rock & roll fan would be tempted to invent him. The guy obviously believes Chuck Berry created the ...

The Neville Brothers: Shaking Off Limbo

Profile and Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 4 November 1982

MAY 1981: ART Neville and I stand outside his home in uptown New Orleans. The annual Jazz & Heritage festival is just now over, and ...

Captain Beefheart Kids Himself Gracefully

Profile and Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 2 December 1982

  SEARCHING FOR the sense of Captain Beefheart is a lot like taking a ride on Mobius strip. Once you get used to the fact that ...

Charles Brown: Brown Christmas

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 30 December 1982

  THERE ARE a lot of ways to tell when it's time for Santa's sleigh to make its annual orbit. In black nightclubs across the country, ...

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Double Your Trouble, Double Your Fun

Profile by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 25 August 1983

AS THE irascible rhythm & blues guru of New Orleans, Ernie K-Doe, is wont to say when seized by a philosophical spirit, "It's not understanding ...

Roy Milton: R&B Life-saver

Profile by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 8 September 1983

IF MUSICAL pioneer Roy Milton had never put soul to sound, we might all have had to become insurance salesmen. And though that may be ...

Elvis Costello: Every Day A Different Book

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 22 September 1983

THE SCENE: Austin, Texas. The overbearing Texan had buttonholed Elvis Costello's flamboyant manager, Jake Riviera, at a party in Los Angeles a couple of years ...

James Booker, 1939-1983 — "Piano Prince" of New Orleans

Obituary by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 1 December 1983

JAMES BOOKER cut a broad swath. As a piano-playing fool, he had no equal in New Orleans — which is somewhat like saying there wasn't ...

B.B. King: A True Blues Christmas

Memoir by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 29 December 1983

HOW MANY memories can one man have? My own mind often feels like an overworked runway at LAX, with a million details buzz-bombing the brain, ...

The Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson: Give The Drummer Some: Dennis Wilson, 1944-1983

Obituary by Bill Bentley, Danny (Shredder) Weizmann, LA Weekly, 5 January 1984

FOR A LEFT-handed drummer who played a right-handed set, Dennis Wilson didn't do too bad at all. He caught hold of the American dream while ...

Ruth Brown: Miss (Ruth) Brown To You

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 28 June 1984

IT HURTS the heart to have to drive by the remains of the Parisian Room, festering in the summer sun like some fenced-off sore on ...

Little Richard, Earl Palmer, Bruce Springsteen: Earl Palmer: Palmer Days

Profile by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 1 November 1984

WAY BACK when rock & roll radio was first coming into its own, stuffing listener's ears with the likes of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Fats ...

Dwight Yoakam: Local Yoakam

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 22 November 1984

EVEN WITH the so called cow-punk semi-stampede started in '82 by Rank & File, country music hasn't made any significant inroads into the life of ...

Sandy Nelson: The Beat Goes On

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 11 April 1985

QUICK. HOW many rock & roll drummers had two Top-Ten hits? If you guessed none, you wouldn't he far wrong, because only one has ever ...

The Velvet Underground: Sterling Behavior

Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 18 April 1985

An Interview With the Most Hermetic Velvet, Sterling Morrison ...

Jerry Lynn Williams: Jerry Williams, Forever Man

Profile and Interview by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 5 September 1985

WHEN ERSTWHILE English guitar hero Eric Clapton came out for his first encore number on opening night in L.A. a few weeks ago, he dedicated ...

Jesse Ed Davis (1945-1988)

Obituary by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 21 July 1988

JESSE ED Davis was the only person I ever saw who smiled while he sang. Some shut their eyes. Others grimace or maybe grin. But ...

O.V. Wright: The Soul of O.V. Wright

Sleeve and programme notes by Bill Bentley, MCA Records, 1992

OVERTON VERTIS Wright sang straight to the soul. As a child, Wright called the church choir home, and turned his voice to God. As he ...

The Velvet Underground: Sterling Morrison, 1942-1995

Obituary by Bill Bentley, Musician, December 1995

STERLING MORRISON was one of the prime architects of modern rock 'n' roll, and very few people know it. As guitarist — with Lou Reed ...

Joe "King" Carrasco: The Ballad of Joe "King" Carrasco and El Molino

Retrospective by Bill Bentley, Austin Chronicle, 11 October 2002

IN TEXAS, it's damn near impossible to start a band so unscrewed that even hardcore fans shake their heads in wonder at the absurdity of ...

Red Krayola: The Other Sixties Garage Gods: Red Krayola

Retrospective by Bill Bentley, Austin Chronicle, 27 December 2002

GARAGE ROCK is a hard elephant to describe, in the light or in the dark. In some ways, almost everything qualifies. In others, nothing quite ...

Joe "King" Carrasco, Ernie Durawa, Delbert McClinton, Doug Sahm: Designated Drummer: The Guru of Groove, Ernie Durawa

Retrospective and Interview by Bill Bentley, Austin Chronicle, 23 May 2003

DESIGNATED DRUMMER. IF YOU'RE GOING to hang a tag on the able shoulders of Ernesto "Ernie" Durawa, that would be the one. For almost 50 ...

New Orleans: The Heart of the Matter

Retrospective by Bill Bentley, LA Weekly, 8 September 2005

"I'm not sure, but I'm almost positive, that all music came from New Orleans."–Ernie K-Doe, 1979 * ...

Boz Scaggs, John Andrews, Mother Earth, Tracy Nelson: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride: Tales from Austin's Big Bang

Retrospective and Interview by Bill Bentley, Austin Chronicle, 28 October 2005

TIME IS A CONTINUUM that's sometimes hard to trace. Look too far back and things get hazy. Try gazing into the future and it's all ...

Jim Dickinson: Fishing with Charlie & Other Selected Readings

Sleeve and programme notes by Bill Bentley, Birdman Records, 2006

THERE AREN'T MANY shamans still in our world. Most have been ground down to dust, and those left are laying low, hoping to dodge the ...

Jerry Lynn Williams: The Lone Ranger: Jerry Lynn Williams

Retrospective by Bill Bentley, Austin Chronicle, 27 January 2006

You say you want it and you want it bad And that you'd sacrifice all you ever had And that you'd be happy instead of ...

This Be an Empty World Without the Blues – So Clifford Antone filled it

Retrospective by Bill Bentley, Austin Chronicle, 26 May 2006

THE FIRST TIME I met Clifford Antone, he sold me a sandwich. He had opened a shop on Guadalupe, right around the corner from the ...

Powell St. John, 13th Floor Elevators: The Kingdom of Heaven: It's time you knew Powell St. John

Retrospective and Interview by Bill Bentley, Austin Chronicle, 22 December 2006

THE BAND'S been playing at least an hour, but it feels like five minutes. Besides 'You Really Got Me', 'Roll Over Beethoven' and Bob Dylan's ...

Dennis Wilson: The Mayor of Washington Boulevard: Dennis Wilson's California Dream

Retrospective by Bill Bentley, Austin Chronicle, 1 August 2008

The first Beach Boys solo album, Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue, washes back ashore after more than three decades. ...

The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jimmie Vaughan: Beacon Blues: Jimmie Vaughan's Lifelong Song

Retrospective and Interview by Bill Bentley, Austin Chronicle, 16 July 2010

THE ONE KNITE was an oasis of soul. The room was a little box, sitting at the corner of Red River and Eighth Street. Cut ...

O.V. Wright: The Wright Stuff: O.V. Wright

Retrospective by Bill Bentley, Oxford American, December 2013

NOTE: This is the original, previously unpublished version of Bill's article.  ...

Paul Butterfield Blues Band: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Essay by Bill Bentley, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, December 2014

THE PAUL BUTTERFIELD Blues Band rocketed the blues straight into the stratosphere. One of the first integrated blues bands with mass appeal, the Paul Butterfield ...

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