Years ago when I was having a hard time finding a roommate while taking care of other responsibilities, he paid my rent. It was nothing to him. It was huge for me to have to ask and he didn't think twice about it. He apologized that he couldn't do more and never mentioned it again. Though, he did occasionally call and offer to set me up with "a friend" of his who needed a place to stay. "I met this great guy, down on his luck, needs a place . . . I'll pay his way.” It was pure Billy. I always knew I was lucky to have him and I knew that guy was feeling lucky too. I always hoped he wasn't being taken advantage of.
In February he offered to help with Utero-A-Gogo, a benefit in February 2010 to help fund my recovery after surgery. He suggested he pay the bands – he loved to pay the bands. He would have paid the bands more than we would have made. He was always investing in that way. He'd rather put it into artists’ pockets, like me and Truth Serum, than let them go empty handed. But he had it, and I don't. The bands and performers said they'd donate their performances, I paid their way, and Billy paid for the room so the rest could be profit.
Billy showed up at so many of the shows I went to – especially if there was an amazing woman in the band. He had a thing for the tough ladies. I'm not sure if he cared if they were straight or queer, though I kind of think he liked them more when they were queer. It wasn't just that they were hot/sexy/tough. Billy had great ears! It was the great music that got him there first.
He'd show up with food! So much food sometime. He showed up this summer to the Girls Rock Camp Boston Showcase at TT's with rosewater lemonade from Baraka Cafe. He championed food! He just wanted to turn us on to good stuff. He was always championing bands to me, to everyone. He proselytized about music. He'd call, "Are you coming out to -- YOU HAVE TO!" he'd implore. He'd buy blocks of tickets to concerts and offer them to friends. I did when I could...and now I'm sad I didn't go every time.
He'd go to concerts and buy multiples of the bands' CDs and then turn around and hand them to people who weren't in line at the merch table. Or he'd hand deliver them another time. I remember, multiple times, explaining to bands I was hosting or friends in bands from out of town..."Oh! That's Billy! That's what he does." Hoping they would feel the moment of love and not judge the sloppy delivery.
He'd call and ask if he was going to see me that night. "I've got something for you! Come!" He gave me two Joan Didion books (Democracy and Run River) and a DVD, Vampiros Lesbos, for my birthday one year. I just looked to see if the books were inscribed – hoping for something I missed.