Exclusive Interview with Billy Burke Fans
Year: 2023 (3.11.2023)
On Saturday, March 11, Billy Burke Fans attended Youth Theatre Northwest’s 2023 Masquerade Gala in Seattle, Washington, where Billy Burke was the keynote speaker.
After delivering his speech to a fully charmed crowd, Mr. Burke graciously sat down with our friend Jess, who represented us at the event, for an exclusive one-on-one interview—a first for the fan page. Against the slightly chaotic sounds of a live auction happening in the adjacent room (in case you’re wondering what all the noise is in the video!), we discussed some of his acting roles, his music, and we got to ask him some fan-inspired questions.
Please find below the transcription of the interview. Head to our blog for Jess’s write-up on the event and Billy’s speech.
Thank you to everyone who submitted a question, and of course a huge thank you to Billy for his time.
Jess: Say hello to the Billy Burke Fans Network.
Billy: Hi, everybody! Hi.
Jess: Um, so these are all fan submitted questions.
Jess: First of all, congratulations on Fire Country. I have been watching every week and I love it.
Billy: Thank you.
Jess: Love that character. It’s kind of different from… I feel like… so I was a huge Revolution fan personally.
Jess: Miles was my guy. Loved him.
Billy: Yeah. Miles was the guy who didn’t want to be there. Yeah. [Laughs]
Jess: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Um, and I then I watched Zoo, so you know Mitch as well… I feel like both of them are pretty like snarky and kind of — just say whatever they want. And it’s been interesting to watch you play Vince, who’s a lot more… sort of heart on his sleeve. Yeah. Shares his emotions. How is that transition?
Billy: He, he feels way too much responsibility. What he is. [True.] Just saddled with that… his entire life. Yeah. When we first meet him and then, you know, up until now, the episodes that we’re still doing now, I mean, he’s, he’s just inundated with drama after drama. [Yes. Yeah.] Yeah. Be it the family drama or the emergency emergencies that are going on.
Billy: Um, yeah, it’s, uh, it’s a lot. Yeah. He never gets a break.
Jess: Um, how has it been to play a character who’s a little bit more sort of emotionally expressive? I feel like he says I love you to people a lot more than Miles or Mitch did. How has that been for you as an actor?
Billy: Um, it’s been great. I just, I sometimes wonder… [chuckles] sometimes wonder whether or not, uh, he’s almost… I mean, there are times where I feel like he’s spilling so much of his guts that, uh, that he’s not protecting anything of himself. [Sure.] He’s just always, you know, he’s very… for a guy who’s supposed to be a tough guy all the time, he’s just very vulnerable. [Yeah.] And it’s, you know, it’s kind of freeing.
Billy: It’s kind of good.
Jess: Yeah. Do you enjoy that? You feel like?
Billy: I do.
Jess: Which is your favorite? Do you prefer the more snarky, kind of guarded characters like Miles? Or is this more preferable?
Billy: I prefer a combination of both.
Billy: Whenever we can get some levity into this show, and into this character. And whenever we can, you know, put the tongue in the cheek of some of this stuff, we take the opportunity to do that. Yeah. Um, but uh, but yeah, a nice mix of all that is is the sweet spot.
Jess: Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. Um, so I have to ask you about songwriting cause I’m a songwriter myself and, um, actually I have a confession to make. I wrote a song about Revolution. And I don’t know if you’ve heard it, it’s been making rounds on Twitter.
Billy: You wrote a song about… Revolution? About the show?
Jess: About the show based on your character kind of — well, it’s Charlie Matheson’s story told from Miles’s perspective.
Billy: Well, now you gotta send it to me.
Jess: I will send it to you. I would love to hear your opinion on it. And it kind of got me thinking about your song Burn that you just put out. Congratulations. Love it.
Jess: I’ve been listening to it kind of nonstop.
Billy: Yeah. I can’t, I can’t believe they actually put it on the show. [Yeah.] You know. [Yeah.] They showed me the episode a few, uh, weeks before we started shooting the episode. They, uh… they said, so we’re thinking about having, uh, you know, Vince do a little song in the, in the bar there, and here’s the storyline and stuff.
Yeah. Um, we don’t know what the song was gonna be yet, but they presented me with the, what was gonna happen in the show, the storyline. I said, oh, I got that song. Already wrote it.
Jess: Okay, so that was gonna be a question is did you already have it written? And then did you repurpose it at all?
Billy: When we were shooting? When we were shooting the pilot. Um, I got, I started thinking about, cuz when I was, when I was a kid, all TV shows had like a theme song.
Billy: Like a memorable theme song.
Billy: Um, and I was like, what happened to those days?
Jess: That’s kinda died out.
Billy: Yeah. Whatever happened to them? Yeah. And so I just started riffing on something that, you know, was inspired by the show, uh, you know, just sort of across the board. And that’s the song that kinda came out. I wrote that song in 20 minutes.
Jess: Okay. Um, I’m jealous. I can’t write something that fast.
Billy: Yeah. I find that the ones that come out quickly usually tend to be the ones that, uh, that sort of speak best. Yeah. You know? Um, so yeah, it came out, came pouring out of me and, uh, so yeah, when they approached me with that, I, I said I got a song.
Billy: Um, I submitted it to them. To my surprise, everybody immediately took to it. They said, yeah, awesome. We love it. I thought they were basically gonna say like, okay, that’s a cute song, but we’re gonna buy a Spring Springsteen song and then, you know, and do that. Um, so it was, you know, I was very grateful to, to everybody to… that that all worked out. And, uh, and I was, yeah, I was, you know, I don’t get overly happy with much stuff that I do, but I was, I was proud of that song.
Jess: You should be. It’s a great song.
Billy: Thank you.
Jess: Yeah, I’ve been, uh, learning it on the guitar myself…
Billy: Oh, really?
Jess: I’m trying to!
Billy: Use the trick. I don’t play it in, how are you hearing it.
Jess: With the capo!
Billy: I play… Yeah. I put the capo on the second fret.
Jess: So I heard the song before and I was like sitting there trying to figure out the barre chord to it, and I’m like more of a piano player than a guitar player. Yeah. And I was like, ah, I can’t do it. And then I watched the episode and I was like, wait a minute, he’s got a capo on.
Billy: That’s the trick.
Jess: There you go. I love that. That’s great. Um, that’s really cool that you kind of already had the song and did you have to rework it at all? Or was it just totally…
Billy: No, they didn’t ask me to change a thing. That’s cool. Which was really — I, I thought for sure they were gonna Okay. But maybe in, just in this one part, can you just, you know, say something personal about Sharon or something like that. Um, but they didn’t do that at all. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, it just kind of worked as it was so… [Cool!] Yeah. It’s fun.
Jess: That’s really cool. So the fans want to know now that you’re kind of doing more music stuff, is there any possibility of a live show anytime soon where you would play a gig?
Billy: I would love to think that there is a possibility of that. I don’t… First of all, I don’t have a band that I play with regularly. Uh, I don’t… you know, sitting on stage, uh, with an acoustic guitar and doing that whole thing, that’s something that I like to watch people who really do that well.
Billy: I’m not that guy. Um, I need a backup band. Um, it’s hard enough for me to concentrate on playing singing at the same time as I’m sure you find. So, I mean, it’s not impossible, it’s just, uh, I just don’t know when we would find the time to do it, but I would certainly love to. Yeah, yeah,
Jess: Yeah. Well, you should come back here and play in your home state.
Billy: I would love to. This is what —
Jess: I will open for you.
Billy: This is what I grew up…
Jess: Just kidding!
Billy: I would… that would be cool too. Gotta hear this song.
Jess: You gotta hear this song first. Then you can be the judge.
Billy: Yeah. This, you know, this I, this is, you know, from, uh, from age, uh, 17 to 25. This is what I was doing. I was playing in all the, all the local bars here.
Jess: Yeah. Do you have a favorite? Do you remember a venue from back of the day?
Billy: Yeah. Um, the Off-Ramp was great. Um, it’s not around anymore. [Okay.] Um, Central Tavern was always good. Um, there was a place called Rock Candy that doesn’t exist anymore either. I think all these places have long place down. Okay. Crocodile’s is still there. We played, we played there quite. Um, but, uh,
Jess: That’s a great stage. I like, I like it a lot.
Billy: So good. Um, yeah. And obviously, I mean, this was late eighties, early nineties, so that was, I mean, the live music scene around here was full. [Yeah.] with stuff that I wasn’t doing. We were playing kind of, you know, art rock at the time and then, you know, and then the, the whole Seattle scene started to swell up and I realized like, that’s… I’m going to, I’m going to get a little lost in that. So I, I better… that’s when I moved to LA and started doing TV shows.
Jess: Yeah. (So, yeah.) Did you try music when you were in LA at all?
Billy: So what happened with my original band: I, I got, um, I got a solo deal with Warner Brothers. Um, it was a demo deal. So that’s basically they bring you down to LA. They hook you up with a producer, you cut a few tracks and that gets presented to the label and they, you know, go from there. Um, it did not, it did not turn out well. Okay. Um, at that time, my songwriting skills were, uh, not what I believe them to be now. Um, but yeah, while I was down in LA I just, uh, cause I had done a couple in movies at that time and while I was in LA I just started, uh, reading for everything that, uh, they would send me out on. And I just started working as an actor kind of constantly. Um, and then didn’t have time to keep a band together anymore and kinda let music become the secondary.
Jess: Yeah. Yeah. Makes sense. Um…
Billy: She’s doing really good, guys. Jess. Yeah.
Jess: Thank you. Thank you so much. Um, so what music are you listening to these days that’s inspiring you as a songwriter?
Billy: Uh, I love this question and I hate it because, well… Because. Uh, there is a lot of, there’s a lot of new stuff that I do, uh, enjoy. It’s just kind of hit and miss, you know, I create, as everybody does now, I create Spotify, you know, playlists and Apple Music playlists.
Billy: Um, from a song that I like and, you know, create radio for that. Um, so. It’s just kind of, it’s really arbitrary. Um, but I can tell you that, uh, driving down here from Vancouver, uh, yesterday, um, I was listening to a band called, uh, Peach Pit.
Jess: Okay. Haven’t heard of ’em.
Billy: Yeah, I had never heard of, I’d never heard of ’em either. Um, but somebody turned me onto him, uh, up in Vancouver and I started listening to them. Really cool stuff. Yeah. Really. Um, like my kind of songwriting, it’s got, you know, good content. It’s not, it’s not overly simplistic. Yeah. Um, but it’s still got good melody and things like that. That’s kind of where I live. I live like, gimme a good melody and some good words. And I’m good.
Jess: Yeah. Um, okay. So you’ve had a very prolific career so far as far as your work as an actor goes and then doing music stuff as well. Is there a role, or even just a job title within the creative sector or something in your music that you haven’t tried yet that you would like to?
Billy: Um, not anything that I’ve been really wanting to. [Okay.] No. Usually if there’s something that I really want to try, I will take a stab at it. [Yeah.] Um, I try to stretch my musical preferences as much as I can, but, but you know, I, I have limited abilities. I mean, I don’t consider myself, um, as much a, a singer or a definitely not a guitarist or a pianist, although I do play both, but just enough to get by on.
Jess: I’m kind of the same way.
Billy: Yeah. You know, you play enough to sort of learn to accompany yourself and that’s it. Right. Um, but. Yeah, I, I consider my, my strengths, uh, to be just in a songwriting itself. Um, beyond that, in terms of, you’re talking about in terms of other sort of artistic pursuits?
Billy: Yeah. Um, No. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like if I, if I did think that I had any ability in any other arena, I would probably give it a shot, but yeah, not so much. Okay.
Alright, I’ll ask you one more and then it’ll go on your way. Is there, um, anything you’d like to say to the fan base since this is kind of a direct line to the fan base?
Um, yeah, definitely. Um, the, I know that my presence, uh, on social media and stuff like that, I mean, I’m, I’m rarely there. Uh, I rarely look at it and I rarely participate in it, but I gotta say that the, that the fan page, um, has been unbelievably kind and supportive. Um, so yes, thank you, all of you. Um, and… and, and thanks for giving a shit.
Jess: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you’re awesome. So it’s our honor to do that.
Billy: Thank you. That’s very sweet. Thanks for coming here.
Jess: Absolutely! I mean, this is a treat for me. I never thought I’d be sitting here talking to you.
Billy: I’m so glad you came.
Jess: Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you.
– Footage and interview by Jess Pillay