DAMON KRUKOWSKI | DAMON & NAOMI, GALAXIE 500: Three memories of Billy: in the otherwise hushed Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Room room at Harvard, shouting at the top of his lungs as he worked to book shows using the old rotary phone kept there. Barging into our apartment at 888 Mass Ave, where he went from the door straight to the fridge, taking quick stock of its contents: "Ah -- cornichons!" On his scooter at night in Central Square (back when he was still allowed to drive), zooming off to yet another show . . .
A footnote to that last image: one time, waiting in line at the License Commission in Cambridge, I caught a glimpse of Billy's picture -- taped up on the glass facing the clerk.
I think touring bands sometimes mistook him for simply a maniac. But if he played the fool at times, it was the wise fool, King Lear's fool -- always with all his heart, and not without risk to his own well-being. Who on our scene didn't benefit from Billy's wild embrace of everything around him?
OEDIPUS | WBCN: Dapperly dressed in his trademark suit, Billy’s enthusiasm was wildly infectious whether he was madly twirling around the dance floor or screaming above the din about his latest musical discovery. He possessed depth of knowledge of all types of music and avidly absorbed it. As a listener of my annual radio Christmas Eve Show, he long ago gave me his treasured copy of Al Green’s White Christmas album, on white vinyl no less. I always think of him when I play it and this year I will play it for him. Billy passionately loved that dirty water, our home.
Oedipus’s annual Christmas show will air this year December 25 on 101.7 WFNX FM
ALIZA SHAPIRO | TRUTH SERUM: I started producing shows and calling my efforts Truth Serum Productions around 1994. I had been working at an indie record label called Pop Narcotic and that lead me to wanting to book bands, shows, events. Two people (both now dead) were instrumental in egging me on, supporting me, and sharing info with me: Billy Ruane and Mikey Dee. Mikey Dee gave me one of the first nights for me to book a show, a Halloween gig at the Kendall Cafe.
Billy Ruane started coming to my shows and then started paying videographers and recording folks to come to my shows to record. He said he lost all of the tapes a long time ago, but I have my copies. I would never have had documentation of the Le Tigre show at the Milky Way if it hadn't been for him. Or the Laurie Weeks/Elieen Myles/Thalia Zedek show at the Lizard Lounge. There are many shows he helped with. He'd email me and ask for help getting the word out about his shows and benefits. I was happy to help. Parsing his press releases was something no editor would ever dare tackle. Whoa. I'd reformat and send them out.