Billy Hector

About Billy Hector

Emotions encountered in everyday life play a big role in the music of Billy Hector. In 2001, at age 45, he remained a hard-working musician, hitting the road 252 nights a year from his home in Walls, NJ, where he lived with his wife Suzan Lastovica, to perform at blues and rock clubs across New Jersey. On his 2001 CD, Duct Tape Life, he confronted his own personal anger at life's misfortunes and found resolve in the musical experiences that have taken him on a journey through changing musical trends over the past 30 years. Hector's song "Stop Doggin' Me Round" concerned his frustration over life's daily hardships. He took things to a political level on "Dealin' With the Devil," a song about his protests over the power of contractors in New Jersey. "Twisted" revisited his early interest in the Rolling Stones. Hector, who grew up in Orange, NJ, got his first taste of the blues from the Rolling Stones, whose blues-inflected rock led him back to bluesmen Muddy Waters and T-Bone Walker. From there, he discovered the more experimental rock edge of guitarists Roy Buchanan and Jimi Hendrix. After playing with several rock bands in high school and studying for two years at William Patterson College in New Jersey in the mid-'70s, he moved to Asbury Park, NJ, to become part of the burgeoning music scene there. Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes had already gained national attention at the Stone Pony club in Asbury Park, and in the wake of their success, Hector began playing guitar with the horn-driven Shots, which had replaced the Jukes as the house band at the Stone Pony. Hector felt too much in the background in the Shots, so he decided to move on. He joined the band Hot Romance, which became the house band at Mrs. Jay's, a biker bar next to the Stone Pony, in Asbury Park. By the mid-'80s, he formed the Fairlanes, a blues-rock group (featuring his wife as its lead singer) that broke before the popularity of Stevie Ray Vaughan. They recorded Hit the Road in 1987 and All the Way Live in 1989 for his label Blue Jersey. Discovering that other bands in the U.S. shared the same band name, Hector decided to drop it and started calling his group the Billy Hector Band. In 2000, Hector took hold of two golden opportunities. He performed with Sonny Landreth at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in tribute to Delta bluesman Robert Johnson for footage in the film documentary Hellhounds on My Trail. He also shared the stage there with Bonnie Raitt in a "Tribute to Muddy Waters." That same year, he also recorded an acoustic set live at Jason's in South Belmar, NJ, for a CD to be released in the summer of 2001. Things changed in his personal life. Hector and his wife were uprooted from their 20-year residence in Spring Lake Heights, NJ, in 1998 when the house's owner decided to sell it. Hector then learned in 2000 that his wife had multiple sclerosis, which in 2001 continued to disrupt the couple's life with early-morning physical therapy. Despite the upheaval, Hector remained philosophic about life and he and his wife continued to write songs together and Hector continued to be a road warrior. ~ Robert Hicks

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