Wil Van Winkle & the Sixpins - 10 Questions Interview
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I don't know if he inspired me to write but my grandfather certainly inspired me to play. When I was about 3 or 4 he'd sit out on the porch playing guitar and I'd hold his violin like a guitar and "play" along. I think writing came from frustration when I finally got my first guitar and, not having lessons, couldn't figure out how to play other people's material, so I began writing my own.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I could say playing a clothing optional resort, or almost being the first American musician to play Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks; BTW that was cancelled due to an outbreak of bombing, I don't know really, I started playing live at 16 and am 47 now so a 31 year career has lots of memorable moments. I've played several gigs where the power went out & we ended up doing an acoustic jam and even had a drug deal gone bad going on outside the window by the stage...shots were fired.
What has been the high point of your music path?
I think this can only really be answered if you've reached the end. I'm still writing, we're writing as a band, so there's more to come. I'd say playing a 3000 seat venue in Berlin, Germany was pretty high though, we're working on getting Wil Van Winkle & the Sixpins on that event for 2022.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Every song is different, sometimes I wake up and they're there. Sometimes I'm doing something completely different and the song comes out. We're starting to write as a group for our third EP, I know the second isn't even finished but you have to look ahead, but I'm still interested to see how the process will go with Allen, Jon, and Butch, all of whom haven't really written songs before.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Money! Where to get it, how to be sure you're spending it with legitimate sources, how to effectively manage it. What I'd ask the industry to do is fair pay for song use across the board, some streaming services pay like 1/16th of a penny per play so it's getting really difficult for independent artists to market their material.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Oh so many! I'd love to share the stage with Jason Isbell and the 400 unit, the entire band seem like really great people and they're super tight musicians. Plus having seen him live before it seems sometimes he'll come out and play a song with he opening act, that'd be fun.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Rehearse? Yeah we should do that. Honestly I send demos to everyone, we work on them at home, then we play a couple of very casual gigs every month at Twin Kegs 2 and Bellshire Pizza where, depending on the size of the crowd, we tend to put them together. We start at 7 at both places and usually it's pretty empty that early so we work on the new material for a bit then play when people start filing in.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
It's a solo song called Never Take it All in Stride. We had a tornado in Nashville on 03/03/2020 no major issues for me but my friend lost her business where I had an office & I was out several hundred dollars in damages/lost income, then a couple of weeks later COVID hit & my work shut down. I lost my apartment and had to move in with my girlfriend, and my daughter, just short of 20, moved in with her boyfriend's family. I planned of her living with me another 3 years & it all happened so fast I just couldn't take it. That song was the result.
What's coming up in the future?
2021 will bring a new EP, The Diedrich Knockerbocker Diaries, volume I, MANY live shows. 2022 has potential for the Country Music Meeting in Berlin, Germany and Louisiana State Fair and of course a new EP
Tell us where fans can access your music?
About Wil Van Winkle & the Sixpins
The realm of Americana music is a large and messy place. Nestled comfortably deep within the schizophrenia sits Wil Van Winkle & the Sixpins. From coffee houses to clothing-optional resorts, Wil has played them all. Having lived and played on 3 continents, this adopted Texan’s musical styles have taken on different influences over the years and, with the addition of the Sixpins, those influences have become more widespread and apparent.
The band's style ranges from Rock to Country with noticeable Blues influences, which is even more obvious when delving into their set lists consisting of original material from Wil's solo days, time with the Hardcore Troubadours from Germany, and time with Raindance from Uzbekistan, as well as new material from the band's debut EP, 'The Perpetual Club of Sages, Philosophers, and Other Idle Personages', which takes its name from the Washington Irving folk story Rip Van Winkle.
The band consists of Wil Van Winkle: Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin Jon Baughman: Guitars Allen Atkinson: Bass Butch Bellah: Drums They can currently be seen on tour in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, with deals in the works to expand into Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, and even Germany.
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