Billy Z Duke

Bandleader of The Wrong Windows

The Wrong Windows officially formed in Los Angeles in 2013 from elements that had been hard at work performing for quite some time. Singer-songwriter/guitarist/bandleader Billy Z Duke has been active in arts and music scenes for over 20 years, fronting bands in London (NAKED) and New York City (The Çhicàgø Máñüal ôf ST¥LE) during the 90's while also continuing to perform solo acoustic sets of his original, highly poetic material. The current WW lineup includes drummer David Avery (who has been playing with Billy for close to a decade, and has also toured nationally with Ursa Minor, as well as providing rhythm for SoCal indie rock outfits Mojo Rib, Lions & Poets, & OSO My Brain), bassist Jones De Freeuw, and lead guitarist Andrew Thacker. For many years Billy considered music a side project, but after a de facto spiritual awakening in 2013, music moved front and center. The next 18 months were spent recording and producing a debut album, Days of Yore (featuring an earlier line-up including a different bassist & guitarist, as well as 3 female backing singers), reaching for an epic rock sound. Released online in April 2015, it contains 5 originals and 3 cover tunes. A long-gestating deluxe vinyl edition followed in October 2018. Including unique-to-each-album artwork handmade by Billy, in collaboration with Pirates Press and several other visual artists, signed & numbered copies of this one-of-a-kind package are available online and in numerous brick-and-mortar LA record stores.







What is music to you? What does it give you?

Music is an awful lot of things to me. Most consistently throughout my life, it's the one thing that has never disappeared. Both listening to and playing music has often comforted me in a way that nothing else can, when life has thrown unexpected curves my way. And more recently, music has introduced me to a new circle of talented friends in Los Angeles, a situation I've been seeking since before I even realized I was seeking it.

What is your music dream?

I would love to be able to support myself via my musical endeavors, be it as a touring band or otherwise.

If you could change the world - what would you start with?

The focus on profit above all else (particularly above human and environmental welfare) has started to seem like a disease to me, one with which the entire world is unfortunately infected, America especially. It feels to me like society cannot truly advance while the worship of imaginary numbers remains our primary preoccupation.

Which is the most memorable song from your childhood?

Songs from Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and The Eagles were among the first I ever heard as a child, so these remain close to my heart.

Who are your favorite musical artists or bands?

I am a huge fan of many, many female vocalists. Seriously, when I made a list in an attempt to compile all the chick singers that I dig, it was over 400 names long. I tend to gravitate first toward those who sing while playing noisy, distorted guitars, but less distortion, acoustics, pianos, and other instruments are also welcome. Four all-time faves: Chelsea Wolfe, Gemma Hayes, Sarah Slean, and Fiona Apple.

What inspires you to make music?

Strong emotion! Usually when something over which I have little or no control has pissed me off.

What is the message you want to send with your music?

Well, with Days of Yore, the title track from my band's debut album, I was specifically hoping to draw people's attention to undue worship of any given point in the past as some kind of panacea or heaven. We should be looking forward, while paying much closer attention to the present moment.

How do you feel when you perform in front of an audience?

Years ago, I occasionally suffered from crippling stage fright, which was always odd, because it was not something that happened at first and I got over, but rather something that would occasionally flare up when my general confidence levels were low... These days I perform so often that this is no longer a problem, and I generally feel pretty great while performing, as long as the sound person has done their job and the monitoring is decent ;)

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

It's as rough a road as it's ever been. The internet has become the new music "industry," this site included. I just paid a few bucks to have someone else listen to and review my song. Not to bag on Drooble specifically, because it's pretty much like that everywhere. All the sites that have sprouted up purporting to help musicians gain exposure tend to take every possible opportunity to milk them for money.

What do you think of Drooble?

Seems like it could be cool, but so far it kind of seems like another version of ReverbNation (which I must admit is one of my least favorite takes on the online music community, I much prefer the SoundCloud and BandCamp models). I definitely don't understand why I can't create a band page, and thus have to list my band's music as solely my own effort... But, to be fair, I just joined around an hour ago, so I'll update this answer with more detail later on.

What frustrates you most as a musician?

Well, I live in Los Angeles, and I do enjoy seeing live music about as much as I do performing it myself, and I'd have to say my pet peeve is people who talk loudly throughout a show, either to someone else in attendance or to someone on their phone. I mean, YOU (most likely) PAID for a ticket to see this specific band, what the hell are you doing ignoring the music?

Do you support your local scene as a fan? How?

Definitely! I see more than 100 shows per year in general, and most of those are at smaller, local venues seeing unknown or unsigned acts.

What qualities should a musician nowadays have in order to get their music heard by a larger audience?

If I could answer that question, I probably wouldn't have bothered signing up with Drooble in the first place ;)

Share some awesome artists that we’ve never heard of.