Billy stories tend to break down into genres. There are stories about his generosity. Or of his enthusiasm at shows. There are lots of genres. But there's also this genre of story from people who booked shows with him, or who witnessed those epic blowouts with people around those shows. There's a kid, Roger Nicholson, who saved some of Billy's answering machine messages because he swears that Billy's greatest poetry was in cursing people out.
It could be quite amazingly effective yet dark stuff. I called it "dark poetry," when he would get really into it, those rages. I think Billy needed that anger. He looked for it. But what Billy would do with the booking that drove people completely insane, was that there would be a level of detail, so insignificant to the actual event, that Billy would pay such vast attention to. And he did this in nearly every aspect of his life. There were these subatomic details. It's my understanding that, in quantum mechanics, a different set of rules apply. Billy had a mind that could go so small and tiny that I think he was just trying to change the rules, in general. There would be a level of detail that was completely unnecessary. And if people didn't adhere to it, he would go berserk. And you just couldn't do it for very long. I'm a musician, and I've not played any of Billy's last several birthday parties, because I wouldn't subject the guys to that. I've sat in with other bands, but I can't [on my own]. It's abusive and horrible. That's probably what you would have heard from the smaller group.
He was an obsessive documentarian, not just of his shows, but of other peoples' shows: he hired videographers for years and years. I've heard conflicting stories about whether he actually kept all that stuff, or whether he just wanted to know it existed somewhere.
Or maybe he just wanted to keep spending money. I remember last year going out to dinner with him and his aunt and Wayne [Viens] Valdez, and his aunt insisted on paying for dinner. And Billy was spazzing out, because he had more money than he was expecting, and he just started tipping everybody. And people said, "Look, we're eating here. You don't have to tip us. [Laughs] We're your fellow diners." And he would be like, "No, No. Nonsense." He had to get rid of that money. That was part his – bipolar people, they do spend a lot of their money. He conjured up a new way, when he was having people video all these shows, to make his trust payment insufficient. He got that out of it. Then he could say, "These expenses are killing me." Then, I'd say, "Don't do it. You haven't looked at one. You haven't even collected one." But that's the way Billy always was. I remember he would have to run home to videotape something, when video players came out, and he never watched one. It was like some hunter-gatherer instinct. It wasn't anything he ever watched, but it was vitally important that he go home and tape something.
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