Spooner likes one paragraph bios and three page
long album reviews...however when told this bio
was meant to reach millions of people, he consented
to answer a few questions and fill in some background
information. And some of it I just made up (kidding...
sort of).Bill was born and raised in Arizona with
a few years spent in Lubbock, Texas to toughen him
up. Like many Texas youths of considerable size
(he gained his full growth by 8th grade) Bill played
football. Football is the sport of choice (whether
the child wants to play or not) in Texas. There
are Alumni organizations for junior high school
teams. It was very intense, to the point that 12
years olds were bussed for hours to play in blizzard
conditions. This prepared Bill for the endless touring
that was to come.Eventually Pete and Vi Spooner
packed up their family and headed back to land of
Bill's birth, much to the joy of Bill and his sisters.
And fortunately for Tubes fans, as Phoenix was the
nursery for his budding musical talents. After returning
to Arizona Bill gave up contact sports for the good
of his knees and dedicated himself to playing guitar.
He had already acquired several trophies for his
playing as youngster, but as a teen with a Gibson
Melody Maker and spankin' new Fender amp Bill entered
a whole new world...
Battle of the Bands and Babes (sorry I had
to keep the "B" theme going). Bill's first
real band was the XL's. They got their name from
Bill's mother Vi. She would only allow them to practice
in her living room if she could name the band. Seemed
fair enough.The XL's they became.As primarily a
Beatles cover band they played all over Phoenix.
Week after week they won the battle of bands at
Christown Mall. It wasn't just musical prowess that
won those battles, some credit goes to clever marketing.
The bands bass player Mike Cross worked days as
a car washer for Avis Rent a Car. The Avis motto
was"We Try Harder". It seems that several
boxes of "We Try Harder" buttons found
their way in the hands of the band. The guys painstakingly
silkscreened XL's on each button. Upon arriving
at the Mall they'd pass out the buttons to the crowd.
When it came time to vote for the best band, "well
it must have been the XL's cause I'm wearin' their
button." Now you're seeing the clever marketing
He always dreamed of California.
The band he started in Phoenix, the Beans, moved
to San Francisco in 1970. Shortly after arriving
the Beans merged with another group, the Red, White
and Blues Band, to become the Tubes. He was guitarist/vocalist
and principle songwriter in a group known for wacky,
unpredictable music and an even stranger (some say
bizarre) stage show. "I was writing songs to
illustrate outrageous characters concocted by Michael
Cotten, Prairie Prince and myself. I was (am) really
surprised some people consider these songs (White
Punks On Dope, Mondo Bondage, What Do You Want From
Life?) classics. I'm not complaining...just mystified..."
After years on the road and a
dozen or so albums, Spooner was physically and mentally
burned out. He left the Tubes in 1989 in search
of mental health. One of the hardest things about
leaving the Tubes, the band he'd spent 19 years
with, was giving up his share of the 24 track automated
recording studio he had talked his "partners"
into purchasing. "It would have been awkward,
to say the least, to continue working there, while
the rest of the band slogging through W.P.O.D. or
She's A Beauty at a funky bar or some Onion Festival...it
had to be a clean break", Spooner said. After
recuperating for several years, Bill experimented
with several bands, the Sponge Mummies an anti-environmental
satire group and SNAFU (paramilitary rock). Neither
were very successful, although he began writing
again during this period. Some of the songs appeared
on the 1996 release "Mall to Mars" originally
released on Visible Records than on RDK Records.
The record has a space theme as the title suggests,
and definitely has some great rock moments.In 1998
Spooner teamed up with Alex Guinness to form the
acoustic rock-folk group the Folk-Ups.
After trying on many bass players they finally found
the perfect fit with upright bassist Mark Skowronek.
They have been performing successfully at Bay Area
clubs such as Slim's, Noe Valley Ministry, Cafe
Amsterdam, the Sweetwater just to name a few. The
Folk-Ups have opened for Dave Davies of the Kinks,
Freedy Johnston and local faves Liar and Storm &
Her Dirty Mouth.
Currently Bill is working on a solo album with his
son Boone serving as producer/engineer/chief conspirator.
After a successful gig opening for Bill's former
bandmates the Tubes, Bill and Boone will most likely
embark on an acoustic duo act... Should time allow.