Wednesday, May 16, 2018
The last time I saw Billy Hancock, he was sitting in the window at Hank Dietle's quietly playing a solo gig, just Billy and his guitar in a dark corner. My friends and I had stopped in for a drink and had no idea he would be there. Next thing I knew Mark Noone (of the Slickee Boys) got up and sang a couple of chestnuts with Billy. It was a surreal experience, and now that he is gone, it feels a bit like a dream as do a lot of memories from my DC musical past.
I took a lot for granted growing up here. Didn't every town have radio stations like WHFS and WGTB? Plus a bunch of little bars where you could see players like Roy Buchanan, Tex Rabinowitz, Joe Stanley and Danny Gatton? Billy Hancock, while a rocking phenomenon in his own right, did projects with all of the above and more.
This Sunday's five hour tribute show at Pearl Street Warehouse will reflect that legacy and bring out names we haven't heard from in a while as well as others who have kept at it. Look for Tex Rubinowitz and the Bad Boys, The Nighthawks, the Tennessee Rockets and Switchblade as well as an army of local talent including Martha Hull, Eddie Angel and Ratso. And more. Way more. It's going to be a humongous hometown reunion for both players and fans from a lucky era when there were real "guitar heroes," and before the little clubs were eaten by developers.