An interview with Bill Kingman

(Lake Tahoe DJ)


BK. Who were some of your influences and who do you listen to when you’re at home?


RD. I like a wide variety of music. Currently I’m a big fan of Norah Jones, Michael Buble, Martina McBride, Train, Jewel, Ingrid Michaelson, Dolly Parton, Chris Isaak, and Miranda Lambert.

Thanks to my mom’s collection when I was a young I was exposed to Elvis, Glen Campbell, Herb Alpert, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Paul McCartney, The Eagles, John Fogerty, Dean Martin, Neil Diamond, Rick Nelson, Roy Orbison, and The Everly Brothers.


I became best of friends with studio guitarist James Burton, who had played with most of the above mentioned. Also Carl Jackson, who is now a producer in Nashville. I met him when he played for Glen Campbell. They have both taught me a great deal about the music business in general. Hands down Glen Campbell was my biggest influence for becoming an entertainer. It’s funny  that all three of these guys are so closely intertwined and they have become a huge part of my life!


BK. How many songs have you written?


RD. Close to 600. I’ve co- written several with James Burton, and a friend from high school Tom Brault. Tom is very intelligent and practical, he became a dentist. LOL!


BK. Can a singer make it today, without writing their own material.  Let’s say like a Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, or Patty Page?


RD. Great question! Norah Jones writes some of her songs. Whitney Houston didn’t. Dolly Parton does, then you have people like Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Jewel, and Sting, they pretty much do their own thing. Those singers you mentioned were great stylist, and they had access to some of the best writers, producers, and studio musicians of their time. Not everyone is that fortunate today. Talent is talent, it will eventually rise to the top. It’s harder today to get played on main stream radio. On the other hand, you have someone like Diane Warren who has had hits covered by all of the great artists and groups of today. Burt Bacharach had a great thing going. He wrote for everyone and anyone, for the longest time. He and Hal David teamed up with Dion Warwick for a huge string of hits. Much like Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell did. If you have your own style like Lennon and McCartney, Henley and Frye of the Eagles, Neil Diamond, Elton John, or a Paul Simon, that’s the ideal way to go. They are pretty much self – contained artists. They sing, write, and produced themselves. One more scenario is a superior talent like Glen Campbell. One of the best studio guitarist and singers of any generation. He backed up any one you could think of from his day. He made his way to the top on the strength of his musicianship alone. No fads or gimmicks there. He’s become a very dear and special friend, whom I dearly love. He’s always gone out of his way to make time for me, and make me feel so special over the years.


BK. How do you relax?


RD. I walk around in a daze at the local mall and then I go see a movie. No, just kidding. I picked up golf in 1997, and love to fish. I play a little tennis, shoot baskets, walk, run on the beach, swim, and take pictures during my travels.   For the past six years, I go ride my horse Daisy. She’s been living on a friends ranch in Julian, CA.  It’s a historic gold mining town east of San Diego though it’s more famous for its apple pies now. I help my friend Billy Brooking with his cows on his ranch, and we ride in the local mountains quite a bit. I’m working Daisy into a musical act, as well as getting her ready for some barrel racing, and roping. She’s out of Frenchmans Guy, so she’s got some great bloodlines in her. My great grandparents and grandparents were all ranchers so this explains my love for horses and the outdoor lifestyle. I’m most at home and can be myself when I’m in this type of environment. Tahoe, and the surrounding areas are where my heart is. Just finished a new song Tahoe City Days, we just recorded it. It will be released next year and we plan to shoot a video .

I most enjoy performing for people, but by nature I’m a very shy and quite person. I would much rather observe, than be observed. You might find this hard to believe, but I’m somewhat of a Lone Ranger.


BK. Did you ever think of any other career outside of music?

RD. I originally was going to play baseball. I was an excellent pitcher, and a very good hitter. I never saw half of my potential. Sadly, I got burned out by the politics, and B.S. that follow the sport, and my passion began to fade from the game. I majored in drama for a while in college.

I’ve worked on some movies, and TV shows in the past. I will appear in The Play Ground, a film by a very talented film maker Edreace Permal, it comes out this year.


I have two original screen plays Dreams of Gold and The Long Adventure Home that I have a distribution agreement for with Lee Thornburg of LoneStar Pictures out of Dallas, TX. He has become a trusted friend and ally the past 8 years. He’s one of the most positive, and honest people I know. I will be in both of these, and do the soundtrack as well. James and Carl are on board.


Some of my friends like Buck Brannaman “The Horse Whisperer” are involved in these projects. Daisy will appear in both films. Talk about a spoiled horse, she thinks she’s the boss. My friend from Marana, AZ Joe Parsons wanted me to rodeo with him. He’s one of the best calf ropers in professional rodeo he’s been to the national finals 5 times. The entire family rodeo’s his brothers Clay, and Cutter, his kids Joseph, Emily, and Erin. These people are awesome, and they were the inspiration for The Long Adventure Home. I think this sums up what kind of role they play in my life.


This is the adventure I have been on. With the hope  to  someday have a horse ranch of my own. I’ve had some minor success early on, but the road has been long and hard for the most part. I’m sure that the discipline, and perseverance, I developed while I was involved in athletics. My perseverance is a gift from God!


BK. Who picks your material for you, the record label, a producer?


I own my own independent label, and publishing company, Tahoe City Music, and High Sierra Records, I produce myself. A wonderful and talented young man by the name of Jon Hasz, has been co- producing with me of late. We just finished a Christmas CD, My Memories of Christmas, which will come out. A little later this year A Song For All Seasons will be released. We had some awesome players and singers on both of these. I’ve recorded over 30 songs for both projects.


I’m very proud of these sessions, and the wonderful people that have shared their talents with me. One of the singers on the session Samantha Moroney, Jon and I are producing. No kidding here, she flat out sings like and angel, and has written some excellent songs! I’ve just recorded two duets with her, and will feature Sam in my show. It’s a lot of fun to work with someone, who has such a passion for what they do. I was blessed to have met such lovely people in the music and movie industry who shared their knowledge and talent with me, when I was starting out. I have finally learned to enjoy the journey. No easy feat here!


Bk. Where, were you when you heard a song of yours for the first time on the radio?

Right here in Lake Tahoe. It was the winter of ‘93, I was in the car in Tahoe City, you were on the air when I heard My Christmas Wish For You. I thought I was going to dance in the snow I was so happy!


BK. What’s your favorite type of venue to perform in, concerts film, television, theatre?


RD. I’ve experienced them all, at one time or another. I would give the nod to a live concert with a huge band behind me. This enables me to play any style of music I like.


BK. What instruments do you play?


RD. Guitar is my main instrument. I do know my way around the piano, and banjo some. I play a lot of the percussion on my recordings.


BK. Finally do you sing in other languages?


I’m fluent in Spanish. I know a little French, Italian, and some Native American dialect. I sing a duet with Danielle Tucker on Feliz Navidad. I don’t have the same command of these languages, as I do English. It would be very hard for me to do a song lyric justice. An example here, ABBA one of my favorite groups. They sing in many languages, someone else translates the lyrics for them. We’ll see what the future holds here.

BK. Any final words for the general public?


I want to thank all those that have supported me on my journey. It’s a gift that God has blessed me with. The road has not been an easy one, and many times I was so exhausted, and disappointed, that I wanted to just quit and walk away!


I know my mom, Chris, and Aunt Millie are guiding me from heaven. Along with my grandpa Gilbert Barrios, who taught me to ride a horse, and bought me my first guitar. The late Tony O’ Gorman who took care of me and my horses, and gave me my first rope. Juan Montano, who taught me how to use it. The late Fr. Frank Maguire, for years of friendship, and the many hours we spent together riding horses and sharing our deepest thoughts. You helped me find the real Rick. My pal Bob Matchinske, who performed with me on so many projects. He passed away last year. He would have been part of these projects.


I’ve met some lovely people along the way, like my late Mgr. Bob McClure who opened the door for me.James Burton, Carl Jackson, Richard Farnsworth, Burt Kennedy, Jack Thompson, Glen Campbell, Bob Shelton,

Bobby Hoy, and Henry Darrow, and Don Collier who believed in Dreams of Gold.  Hal Spencer, of Manna Music for his guidance and friendship.  The late Brian Farnon who ran the orchestra at Harrah’s Tahoe and Parmer Fuller a great arranger and conductor.Have both taught me so much about orchestras, arranging, and life in general! And finally, Phil Everly for that impromptu class on songwriting. You have all become part of my journey. This alone has been a dream come true! So, I say to all of you never, never, give up on life, and keep your dreams close to your heart. I wish everyone good health, happiness, and all of God’s blessings.


Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.


RD. Thank you my dear friend, it’s been my pleasure!