Artist Q&A

@JamminJavaMei's Q&A With Willie Nile


Willie Nile brings a straightforward, unadulterated rock and roll energy to his shows. Fans of Springsteen, John Eddie, Jesse Malin, etc will dig it! In fact, check out the video below of Willie and Bruce Springsteen playing together! Mei did this fun Q&A with Willie. He's here Saturday! Get tickets here!

Where and when was your first show? 

When I was a kid, somewhere around 10 years old, my father took some of us kids to see Olatunji,the great Nigerian drummer, and his Drums Of Passion band at a small theater in Buffalo, NY. There were a dozen Watusi dancers complete with white wig headdresses on. It was amazing.

What band/artist would you consider to be your main influence?

I would say The Beatles. They brought great songs and a spirit of fun and joy to the world and as a young kid it changed my life. The way they evolved as songwriters in such a short time kept raising the bar for everyone. It was a great ride. Years later I got to open shows for Ringo and his All Starr Band and on the last night of the tour he came over to me on the side of the stage before his encores and thanked me for doing a great job and invited me up to sing on "I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends." It was amazing.

What is one of your most memorable or off-the-wall touring experiences?

There are so many it's hard to pick one. When I put my first album out, never having played live with a full band before, we were doing a club tour and were 3 weeks in to it when The Who's manager came to see me play in LA. He liked what he saw and offered me the opening spot on the tour they were doing across the whole U.S. Going from playing to a couple hundred people a night to playing to 20-25 thousand a night and seeing The Who play from the side of the stage every night was unbelievable. They were great to us and are friends to this day. Another incredible experience was joining Bruce Springsteen on stage at Giant Stadium in front of some 70,000 raving Bruce fans. Bruce is a great guy and is very supportive of the artists he likes and I've been lucky enough to play with him a number of times. It's always a total blast. I was to join him for 2 songs but it ended up being 3 songs and close to a half hour on stage. Being in the center of that volcano with Bruce and the band with the whole stadium going crazy was amazing. (I've attached a photo of that night. Photo by Michael Zorn/Backstreets) I'm a lucky guy and certainly don't take any of this stuff for granted. It's been a great ride and it's still going.

Favorite Food: Sushi

Favorite Drink: Red wine

If you were to have a film/movie based on your career, which actors or band would you select to portray yourself? The Marx Brothers

What two words would best describe your music? A Marx Brothers movie you can dance to.