By Mollie Eisler | February 17, 2023
With only three released singles, Billy Tibbals is charting his path in the rock ‘n’ roll scene. Originally hailing from London, Billy moved to Hollywood in 2014, a place that shaped his perspective and sound. Since graduating from high school during the pandemic, Billy refined his craft, composing music in his parents’ garage and combining his love of rock and melodic pop. Weaving in influences of classic British rock with a California twang, Billy’s songs resonate with his audience and embody a youthful nostalgic joy. He’s now embarking on tour for the first time–a national, 35-show tour with Detroit legends, Mac Saturn. Joining him on stage are Tristan Dean on guitar, Reza Matin on drums, and a rotating cast of bass players. When the tour finishes, his debut EP, Stay Teenage, on Silver Arrow Records drops in April. Until then, we’ve got “Hollywood Baby,” his latest song (produced by Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes), playing on repeat.
We caught up with Billy Tibbals after at the airport before boarding his flight out of New York, where he answered a few questions for the groovement:
So you just finished show nine of your first tour with Mac Saturn. How’s the tour been so far?
Yeah, it’s been a blast. It’s my first ever tour, so, to be honest, going into it, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from touring, and it’s been very positive. It’s been a lot of fun. The crowds are really excited and it’s been amazing.
While you’ve been hitting some pretty cool venues on this tour, do you have a dream venue you want to perform at?
I think my favorite venue has gotta be the Palladium, the Hollywood Palladium. That’s a big one for me.
What was the first show you ever performed?
The first show with the band that I have now was at this bar called Harvard and Stone in Los Angeles about two years ago. It was a pretty cool first show. I’ve been writing and recording for a long time, but I’ve only just started making my music live.
Tell us more about your history making music.
I guess I’ve always been doing different sorts of creative things. When I was a young kid, I used to do magic shows at children’s birthday parties. And puppet shows. Then got really into, um, filmmaking for a while. And I guess it was probably around the 10th grade of high school that I started really getting into writing songs and recording especially. I think that seems to be the best way for me to express myself, making music and writing songs.
And how would you describe your music?
Well, it’s rock and roll music. I like melodic pop songs too, so, yeah melodic, pop, rock and roll.
Love it. So who or what do you draw inspiration from when you’re making music?
A lot of my inspiration comes from a bunch of the bands that I grew up listening to, like The Beatles, The Clash…a lot of classic rock. I’m inspired by lots of things. I try to read a lot, watch a lot of movies, and all that stuff that I consume definitely comes into play when I’m writing music.
Is there anything that you want others to take away from your music?
I want people to feel excited and perhaps even feel the urge to maybe start a rock and roll band themselves. I’d love to see more rock and roll bands.
Us too. We know you’ve just started touring, but are there any kind of pre-show routines that you’ve been doing?
I just like to have a beer or something. I’ve been going to find the Irish pubs in every town that we go to. I usually get a Guinness and then drink some water. And I tend to do vocal warmups for about 15 minutes.
Next time you are in New York, we’ll have to take you to McSorley’s. So what was the first concert you ever went to?
I think it was the Beach Boys. I went with my grandma and was probably 12 years old. I think it was right around when I moved to the States.
And how has living in Los Angeles shaped your music?
I love living in Los Angeles. It really feels like home to me and it’s a very inspiring place to me. And the weather, the weather is lovely.
Oh yeah, the weather helps.
Yeah, yeah, it does.
So, the last question, coming off the heels of releasing “Hollywood Baby” last month and embarking on your first tour, what’s next for you?
My upcoming EP Stay Teenage is coming out in April. There’ll be more singles coming out over the course of the next couple months as well. We’ve got a lyric video coming pretty soon for a new single. And then, I’m just gonna keep writing songs and record another record when we get back from tour.
Connect with Billy Tibbals on Instagram, Spotify, and TikTok.
📸: shot by Owen Labate