R O B Y N S P A N G L E R
S m a l l t a l k
Bill A. Jones is best known as the recurring character, 'Rod Remington' on Fox TV’s Glee, but he also sings the Great American Songbook in the tradition of Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, & others. As a singer, Bill has opened for Tony Bennett, Steve Tyrell, and others; and toured with The Glenn Miller Orchestra. He appears regularly throughout Southern California, more often than not with the backing of a Big Band. In addition to Glee, he has made appearances on CSI: New York, The King Of Queens, Everybody Hates Chris, Las Vegas, Criminal Minds and other shows. And, my personal favorite, Bill is recognized as the “Don’t Count That” golfer in the popular FedEx commercial (with Two and a Half Men's pizza boy, JD Walsh, as his caddy) currently running.
Be sure to catch Bill’s upcoming show, “Frank, Bobby & Me! A Salute to The Great Gentlemen of Song,” at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood on October 29th at 8:30 pm. For more info and tickets click here.
ROBYN: How long have you been in "The Biz"?
BILL A. JONES: When I was a sophomore in High School, a friend suggested the two of us might be a great team on Radio. That was the same year I took my first Speech class, and ended up competing in a Forensics Tournament that had ‘Radio Reading’ as one of the categories. As it turns out, my friend and I never did team up on radio, and I didn’t make it past the semi finals in that tournament – but it did kindle my interest in ‘the biz’. The teacher who taught that speech class happened to be the director of the school plays, and I guess she saw something in me. I started playing leads in my high school’s plays the following year, and two years later, I ended up winning the speech tournament. I got my first actual job in ‘the biz’ at the age of 16, when I passed the exam for my FCC license and became a teen-aged screaming Top 40 Disc-Jockey, at a local radio station. I called myself, “Brother B.J.” I was much more innocent in those days…
R: Who Were Your Greatest Inspirations?
BAJ: Vocally? I’d be lying if I didn’t say Frank Sinatra; although initially, by virtue of my parent’s Christmas album, it was Bing Crosby – or as my Dad called him, ‘the old groaner.’
R: Now I know why you have "Bing-a-long's" at your parties... Worst Audition Experience?
BAJ: Not too long after landing in Los Angeles, I went on an audition for an industrial film, and they recorded me on videotape – which was still relatively new in those days. (Boy, I sound like a relic!) I noticed the casting director had a huge smile, standing beside the camera, as I read for the role. So I went back to my car, sure I had scored, big time. Then I glanced up at the rear view mirror and spotted this little THING hanging down from my nose! I was so beyond mortified, I cannot tell you! To this day, before going in to read for anything, I check myself out in a mirror to make sure there’s nothing hanging out that shouldn’t be!
R: What Song Is Your "Guilty Pleasure"?
BAJ: “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” by George Jones.
R: What is Your Anthem Song?
BAJ: I don’t know that I have one, but if I had to choose one, I’d say “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
R: "Must Haves" Backstage:
BAJ: Un-chilled water. And lots of it. Cold water constricts the vocal chords. I will occasionally have chilled water after I sing.
R: What One Sentence of Advice Can You Give to Industry Beginners?
BAJ: Don’t do it! Seriously! If you can, pick another career that can give you financial security and enough freedom to practice your art as an avocation. But, if you’re one of the insane ones like me who can’t abide the thought of doing anything else – then go for it. And God Bless you.
R: What Has Been Your Favorite Moment on Stage?
BAJ: That’s a tough one to answer. Years ago, I had a good experience when I did El Gallo in “The Fantasticks,” back in Nashville. About a year ago I played Sun City Lincoln Hills, outside of Sacramento – and we pretty much killed. Couple of standing O’s. That was pretty cool. But to be honest, some of my favorite moments have been off stage, when I have an opportunity to reflect and be grateful. Like looking at the Paramount Studios water tower in moonlight, after writing my name on the sign out form next to Carol Burnett’s, following a day of shooting Glee.
R: For more informaiton go to: http://www.BillAJones.com
Read my previous interviews with: