Tuesday, December 04, 2007


An album's format most definitely informs the listening experience. I enjoy LPs because they're really huge, for example. I like big artwork and big discs I hold in my hands.

On the flipside, a cassette tape suggests a wide variety of styles (a la mix tapes) and a certain degree of intimacy. Albums are taken as a whole, and after many listens, contradictictory styles blend and begin to make sense.

They are also the ideal music format for a car, as they can be tossed on the ground and in piles with no scratching or quality loss. In the van, we only have a cassette player and somehow it feels just right. Tapes allow leeway for the messiness of the road.

I chose to put out my latest release, "Pink Clouds," on cassette for those reasons.

This cassette is one in a series of steps towards a larger goal. But like my Dad used to say on road trips, "half the fun is getting there late."

The album will be released by Autobus.

Monday, November 26, 2007


A re-worked song of mine is going to be featured in an upcoming movie entitled, "Trinidad." You can read about the movie and its director, PJ Raval, here. The movie's working title was "Best Kept Secret."

From the website:

" Located on the Santa Fe Trail, where the Rockies fade into the Great Plains, the one-time mafia-run, coal mining town of Trinidad, Colorado, is an unlikely destination for the 6,500 transsexuals who have gone there to align their bodies with their minds. Trinidad examines the complexities of identity through the eyes of three transgender women who have recently moved to town, and the locals, who for thirty-eight years have called the "sex change capital of the world" home. "

I did a feature interview for the Austin edition of The Onion. You cannot read it online, but I scanned it and you can view that by clicking on the scan below. I like the part where they call the music "acid-fried." Have you ever tried frying anything in LSD? I have, and it's fantastic. I like the brown-acid sweet potato fries. Instead of ketchup, you dip 'em in pig blood.







I was recently shown something amazing by my bro-in-law Cameron Campbell:


It's basically an Ipod that makes music of the sounds happening around you in real life. Instead of isloating its user, the user engages with the world in previously unimagined ways.

I think this could be the future of music. It's a little disturbing to me from the standpoint of one who's read "1984," "Brave New World," or "Harrison Bergeron," imagining all reality filtered through a machine or computer.

But as a musician, it's a whole new way of composing, and the most exciting thing I've seen in years.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007


One of my photos was included in something called a SCHMAP. It's an interactive online map. You can view it here. Mine is the blurred photo of the Burnside Bridge in Portland, OR.



Wednesday, October 10, 2007


The mighty "Cabin Essence," off the aborted 1966 Beach Boys masterpiece, "Smile." This is a bootleg version. Many exist. This has no vocals... the music is really amazing. Unbelievably ahead of its time.

Beach Boys - "Cabin Essence"

Monday, October 01, 2007






Sunday, September 30, 2007





Saturday, September 29, 2007


I've decided to upload tracks I consider "all time faves" and give them away until I'm contacted by somebody's lawyer.

The first in the series is called "Kometenmelodie 2" from Kraftwerk's seminal "Autobahn" album. This track has been a touchstone of sorts for me. something I keep returning back to as a reminder for the beauty and possibility of recorded music.

Kraftwerk - Kometenmelodie2

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Photos courtesy of GvsB.

James Murphy gave me 50 dollars, a new pair of fashionably oversized glasses he'd been wearing all day, and a bottle of champagne in exchange for the three dollar plastic shades I bought outside a UT football game. By coincidence, GvsB caught Polaroids of us both wearing the same shades.
In other news, I am giving away my handmade c.d.s "Silence!" and "{{{ SUNSET }}}" as well as my DVD. You only need to pay for postage. For more info, email me here for more info to email for more info which will be supplied by email.

Friday, September 07, 2007

R.I.P. Sound Team

Hello friends,

By now you might have heard that Sound Team is disbanding, so to speak.

The reasons are numerous and boring, so I will spare details. They are the typical band problems: stress of the road, diverging tastes, personal tensions, and monetary difficulties. Nothing too dramatic. Just time to move on, that's all.

As to the future

Jordan will of course continue drumming. The man is a machine. I have no idea who he will play for, but that band will be lucky indeed.

Gabe has written some great songs on piano and I hope to help him hone / record some of these.

Will has been playing and recording as Sleep Good, and will continue doing so. He has started a band with Michael Bain. Preliminary results indicate great things to come.

Matt has written a fantastic set of songs, his best yet, and will likely record and release them.

Bill (me) will continue recording and releasing music under the {{{ SUNSET }}} moniker ( I have actually changed the name to Silent Sunset). I'm hoping to release an album that far surpasses anything I've previously released. Brighter colors, sharper contrasts, better lyrics. "Raising the bar," it's been called. That is my hope.

Sam, part of the original "rock" lineup of ST, left the band in December to pursue his art and painting. His work is prodigious and impressive, and can be found here.

Michael, who also left the band last December, has returned to school.

Big Orange will change, no doubt, but the dream will remain alive as long as there's breath in my body. I will try to operate the studio more as a commercial venture, engineering bands and producing when asked. If anybody wants help with their music, my rates are quite competitive.

Sound Team's Catalog will be available on our website, completely free, and in high quality digital format. Unreleased material will also be available, including live recordings, radio session, b-sides, and outtakes.

Having founded the band with Matt, I feel emotional about all this. I invested years into the group, dreamt crazy dreams, laughed, toured, made great friends. I regret nothing. The band, in my mind, achieved great success and made fantastic music. I set out with this band to restore a sense of joy and exuberance to musical performance. At our best, we achieved that goal.

As my official "farewell," I leave you with a video I made for the song "BEDROOM WALLS." Within the video are much of what I hold dear about this band; I worked quite hard on it. I hope you enjoy.

BTW, the conversion was not properly sized; our faces look a bit puffy! I will fix this shortly. Until then, here's the poorly sized "BEDROOM WALLS."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I fixed the broken links!

I just finished a podcast interview with the show "Before the Break." You can download / stream here:

Before the Break Podcast


In other news, I will be performing a new musical piece, "20 Note Spiral" this Saturday at Sam Sanford and Marguerite Phillips' opening, "Long Distance Relationship." The opening will be 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Bolm Gallery: 5305 Bolm Rd. #12, Austin, Texas.

The paintings will be fantastic. An explanation of the exhibition from the website:

This exhibition began as a photographic dialogue, via the Internet, between painters Marguerite Phillips and Sam Sanford. We wandered around our cities - Los Angeles and Austin - taking pictures of anything we liked, sending our pictures to one another, choosing our favorites, then going out to take more pictures. The central theme that emerged from this dialogue was the profound solitude characterizing our relationships to the architectural spaces of our cities. The images we chose to paint express a range of feelings arising from this solitude: quiet wonder, warm affection, lonely alienation, blank numbness.
Each of us painted each photo on identical canvases, Marguerite in Los Angeles and Sam in Austin. Our ways of painting are in many ways antithetical: Marguerite paints in an open-ended process, gradually refining the image in accumulating opaque layers until it captures the mood and feeling evoked by the image. Sam uses a rigidly defined system, digitally separating the image into three or four primary colors (CMY or CMYK) then reconstructing it one single-color transparent layer at a time. The two paintings of each photo will be exhibited side by side.

Throughout this process we have communicated almost entirely via the Internet, and portions of the exhibition take place online. We have kept a blog of our conversations and progress updates; this blog will be made available as part of the exhibition. All of our source photos are available on flickr. In addition to the physical exhibition, all the paintings will be made availale in a comprehensive online exhibtion, opening Monday September 10.

Sam contacted me to write a new musical piece for the show. I joyfully agreed, and composed a piece in keeping with the show's approach: different takes on a single piece of source material. As different interpretations accumulate, the different approaches to the source material evolve in relation to one another.

I decided to attempt a piece of "process music." In Wikipedia's words,
Process music or systems music is music which arises from a process, and more specifically, music which makes that process audible.

My process: play the same 20 note score on guitar, piano, and synthesizer, each being fed through its own accumulative looping station. A more specific description of the process:

I will play the 20 note score first on guitar and capture it as a loop (using an ElectroHarmonix looping station); I will repeat this process on both piano and synthesizer, using the same 20-note score. Each instrument is being played through its own amplifier, with a background bass pulse.

I will repeat this entire process, replaying the 20-note score into each looping station to create a stacking effect, for exactly one hour.

The soundscape will evolve as polyrhythms arise, eventually overtaken by overtones and ultimately engulfing the room in a pleasantly blurred mass of notes.

Two processes will be at work: patterns on a single instrument interacting with previous patterns looped from the same instrument; and the relationship between each instruments / looping stations will also be evolving. The interaction between the different

Since the variables are strictly defined (3 instruments, a single 20-note score, one hour length), the architecure of the piece will be laid bare.

The result will hopefully be as engaging as the listener wants it to be. Listeners aren't forced to engage with music if they don't wish; this is, after all, an art opening. The music will hopefully provide movement to the room and soundtrack for the paintings.

In keeping with the "20 Note Spiral" title, I will be giving away copies of the score on spiral notebook paper. I also hope to release a recorded version soon.

In other news, me and my group, known as "SUNSET" and "SILENT SUNSET," (you choose), have plenty of fun shows coming up. Hope to see you at one of them!

honest and true,

BTW, I will do a performance of "20 Note Spiral" in your living room in exchange for a mystic mango kombucha tea.

Monday, August 27, 2007


This is our road trip to Denton.


Youtube has been revolutionary for American home entertainment, but the quality is awful. (Even worse than mp3 technology for music). Alternatives have been emerging slowly, but since Youtube created the game, they own the game, in a way.

For my part, I've been uploading videos to several different services. So far, my favorite is called VIRB. The quality is just completely next level compared to YouTube (they allow files three times the size of youtube). They allow you to choose your thumbnail image. Plus they have a cool feature on their page where you can black out everything but the video.

I worked insane hours on my "Zombies" video. So when I put posted it to YouTube and it looked like a fuzzy mess, I was upset. Here is the YouTube version:

And here is the VIRB version:

VIRB seems to stretch out the frame... but overall the insanely better quality makes up for it. I am also investigating a website called DIVX. Anytbody know anything about that?

Anyhow, one thing is certain:


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

VIDEO - "It's Already Here"

Public domain footage + a whole day spent with a paper bag on my head = this video. Bag head walking filmed by Sam Sanford.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Made in collaboration with Peter Simonite. His ace editing skills are on full-display here. We started by filming an actual TV grid ( 6 X 6 screens); the grid's wood frame was built by Adam Bork, aka Earthpig. Peter later expanded the grid enormously, with the aid of AfterEffects. But the original, the core, is all real-time filming.

Each screen in the grid is connected to an individual DVD player; each DVD player is loaded with a short film I made called "Surfing" -- a super8 creation shot off the jumbotron screens in Times Square. The TV's were all started at the same time and left to run for several hours. Since each DVD was individually burned and slightly longer or shorter than the others, letting them run for several hours made the grid jump in random patterns of frenzied activity and cooled off colors.

The video / audio begins and ends in the same place. The video is intended to be run infinitely, in a gallery setting. Hence the name "Moebius."

This was an incredibly satisying collaboration. Check out Peter's other work here.

The musicians:

BB: electric guitar, upright piano, electric piano, synthesizer, tape delay, conducting

Joey Koehl : left-hand only distorted guitar

Nathan Stein : French horn echoes

Peter Simonite : eyes closed piano

Matt Oliver : Moog pulse

Michael Baird : twinkled piano

Gabe Pearlman : vox organ

Sam Sanford : drone guitar

Jordan R Johns : drum

Thursday, August 09, 2007




I recorded a live session at KVRX with my band.

The entire session can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007




Someday this period of my life will make sense.

Til then, I will gladly settle for music.

I have a feeling, though, that what's best in us emerges in our creations. Which is why people look to their children with such hope; they want to pass on what's best of themselves (honesty, honor, maybe hair color).

My music is often the "best Bill" I can put forth... in person, I'm the story of imperfection. My music can exceed my person.

Like many authors who have written odes that make the spirit soar, and in person they seem petty, ordinary or imperfect... poets of gorgeous delicacy who, in normal life, are misogynistic drunk bastards. Not to say I'm a misogynistic drunk bastard, or a poet even, just making an example.

Making "art" = reaching for the highest point of perfection I can achieve and taking a snapshot there to share with the world. Like leaving breadcrumbs (or raisins, or aspirins) for other travelers through life ---> "This way, dudes." Trying to sum up all I know of this world, everything I've learned.

Someday maybe my life will merge with my "art." My life itself will be the creation. Maybe it already is. Somerset Maugham kind of addressed that in "Of Human Bondage," talking of life itself as the final great masterwork, a bright weave of imperfection, beauty, life experience.

Makes me wonder if I should move to a far-off land and help starving children.

Time for another cup of coffee, maybe.




I like his drumming. I like the Melvins, too. Thanks to Jordan for introducing me.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Big Orange is a studio space I started with the dudes in Sound Team. It was a dream many years in the making. This is the first part of the story.
Listen to this while reading:
Early Dreams
I worked on a Tascam 4track for most of my high school life, copying songs by Roy Orbison, the Beatles, the Butthole Surfers, Stealer's Wheel, etc, as well as writing a number of my own. Songs included: "Cross Dressing Cheerleader," "Testes," "Prometheus' Lament," "Shake that Ass," and others.

While others played sports, met girls, got drunk, lived "normal" lives being led around by their hormones, I slaved away on my 4track, learning through trial and error and composing many many silly, badly recorded songs.

This continued into college. I released a number of tapes to friends, slaving over 4track operas nobody would ever hear. Not even my friends to whom I had given the tapes. It felt martyr-ish, in a way, but I didn't want to be an "art martyr" -- I wanted to be heard, to be understood, to be enjoyed. And key to that vision, for me was a real studio, a place to experiment and refine the experiments and create masterworks. To ditch the silliness, just a little bit.

Sound Team rented a room at Musiclab for about two years, I think. The place smelled terrible, probably still does. I remember taking my dog in there one time and he took a shit in the middle of the hallway and I just left it there, just to see how long it would stay. I think it was there over 24 hours. What I'm saying: Musiclab = not the place to make your grand artistic statement.

Home wasn't an much an option anymore; I had tired of living-room recording. Sessions would start enthusiastically but after a short time, my roommate Maverick and I would be slumped in the couch, listening to Nick Drake and wondering what had become of our lives.

I needed a place where ideas could germinate. A real studio.


Sunday, July 15, 2007


"Andy loves women," Rene said. She paused for a moment. "He realllly loves, them you know? Hey, speak of the devil."

Andy walks in the room.

"Rene says you love women, Andy," I said.

Andy straightened the wrinkles in his shirt.

"I have the utmost respect for women. I mean, there's this story of this bull, he gets real excited and tells his friend, 'Hey, let
s go run and fuck a cow. And I said, let's go walk and fuck them all. I love females of every kind."

I had to think about that for a second, and it still didn't make much sense. Andy continued with his monologue.

"First time I got married, the bitch took everything. I mean, everything. Left me without a bank account, sleeping on a friend's floor. But the bitch fucked up the divorce settlement. She wanted 10% of the business but she got 10% of the gross adjusted income. So I pay her $3000 a year instead of $25000. Not bad, eh?"

Andy leaned over the counter. He was wearing 3 large gold chain bracelets and a several gold medallions around his neck.

"My second marriage lasted for 5 months. She really helped me through a hard time, with the divorce and stuff."

Andy squinted and looked in the distance.

"But this time, I got wise. Wrote a prenup. Her lawyer said 'Don't sign that, you ain't gonna get shit.' I had to re-write that prenup 3 fucking times. She finally signed. So when it all broke up 5 months later, she didn't get shit. She walked out of that coutroom bawling but I said, 'I don't give a shit.' "

"So did she get anything from the marriage?" Rene asked.

"Well, she got a $15,000 rock, a real nice ring, you know. Plus while we was married we went out to eat every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We went to lots of great restaurants, you know?"

Andy stood up straight, tapped the flab under his chin 3 times, ran his hands over his slicked back hair.

" Now I run around with about 15 women at a time. Variety is the spice of life, right?"

He looked at me. I shrugged and nodded simultaneously.

"It's like the old days, with harems and shit. I mean, I don't give a shit about bitches anymore."

Rene shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

"I love me some females," Andy said slowly and softly, shaking his head side to side.

Friday, July 13, 2007


David Brown will be spinning my song "Sandy Says, 'Zombies'" on his program Texas Music Matters. Tune in on 90.5 KUT if you're in Austin, or on KUT's website if you're elsewhere.
I am playing a show tonight at The Mohawk. I promise to give my best possible performance.
Here is a journal entry from my last tour through the UK:

i woke up after edinburg with the bus parked in some bizarre parking lot out in the english countryside. green fields, horses bucking about, and elizabeth, our video pal, feeding them some carrots. I stepped off the bus and soaked the sunshine. fed the horses. the dominant horse, a big black stallion, had dreads in his hair. when i stoppped feeding him, he nibbled on my shirt. Given the smell of my shirt, he must of been quite desperate. Or perhaps these horsies like pungent odors.

Speaking of odors, I decided to bathe. Our bus had parked in front of a rather large warehouse, which emitted screeching and banging sounds every second or so. A car repair warehouse.

I marched to the restroom and found a small shower: soapdish fileld with brown grime, assorted glittery "bath gels" discarded on the floor, a large plastic bag of clean ( ? ) towels... I hopped in and scrubbed. Hadn't showered in days and felt quite recharged, not only by the shower, but by the bizarre refugee-like conditions.

Pulled into Leeds several hours later. The Cockpit, the club was called. A stank quonset hut right underneath a railroad overpass. Sticky floors, sticky couches with all sorts of disconcerting cartoons drawn on them. I did a short interview with a British music writer lady, fed her several beers and spoke ecstacially about British dairy products. Played the show, fairly well killed it, I think.

Spent the evening downing more beers. Beer, mmmm.

Woke today in a fairly bleak parking lot, somewhere near the city center of Nottingham.

Spent hours wandering about several of the city's malls. Not surpirsingly, they're much the same as American malls, only with "Jacket Potato" stands thrown here and there. Still haven't tried a jacket potato.

I bought several beautiful tambourines in the mall that I will smash shortly. I've been rather enjoying the whole "desctruction" aspect of my percussion playing. Certainly cheaper than Pete Townshend's habit.

The Nottingham venue was called "Rescue Rooms" and seemed a half finished club. The whole upstairs area was under construction; we sat up there with construction workers disdainful of our laptops.

Next day we had off: headed over to some ridiculous castle. The most ridiculous castle I've ever had the misfortune to visit. I asked for, and received, a refund from the ticket agent. Then went on one of my patented "walk-abouts" --- headed about 4 hours walking time in a southern direction, filming the graveyards. Amazing thing to me: the graveyards seem the best places for peace and quiet in the dense, congested British towns. I visited several graveyards, hopped a mossy stone wall, walked along a vagrant campsite area.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Just uploaded another copy of this video, a little better resolution on this one, I think.

I spent many hours making this video.


A few weeks back, the kind folks at Daytrotter posted an extensive interview I gave.

You can find it here.

There are also some solo acoustic songs for download.


Traditional interpretation of the man dictated that Clemens had such a large personality that he needed a separate persona in which to carry it. That premise seemed… fundamentally false. Anyone who has ever performed, whether on the stage or at a dinner party, knows that maintaining a false persona places a huge strain on one’s ego. The larger the ego, in fact, the more difficult it becomes to sustain the invention. To live as someone else, to fully inhabit an invented self, the root self must have nearly no ego, or at least one so handicapped by insecurities that it might as well not exist. It became clear… that Sam Clemens could play Mark Twain to such success for so long only because his fundamental self was so unstable and uncertain. This hollowness at Clemens’ core resulted from the odd configuration of his childhood.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Show up each morning at 9am, lube the chains and wheels, set the hydraulic brake system, rev engine until air pressure reaches 120, check / add engine oil and transmission fluid, check emergency brakes and brake pads, check pins under cars, sweep the train, dislodge rocks from switches, lube switches with goopy red grease, dig out railroad crossings, start selling tickets at 10am for 10:15am train, take tickets from smiling happy kids and sunglassed parents, give a short speech abot dos and donts of train travel (Do scream and yell, DONT stand, litter, smoke, etc), drive train and follow certain speeds depending on whether I am rounding a bend, moving in our out of a switch, driving through a tunnel, or passing by groups of screaming unattended children. The track is several miles long and 25 minutes round-trip drive.

On the job, my full attire: untucked train depot shirt, striped conductor cap, no socks, cut-off shorts, hidden smile. During the day, between drives, I read newspapers, philosophy and short stories, listen to NPR and classical music radio, solve crosswords, stare at people and wonder if their children will end up just like their parents; sometimes it's hard to see similarities; sometimes I want the children to turn out better than their folks.

Feelings on the job range between bliss and boredom.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


At the urging of my friend Paul, I'm compiling some old Sound Team tracks from 2002-4 that I sang on for a sort-of "greatest hits" compilation, although I would hesitate to call it a "greatest hits" since we never had a hit. I will likely put it out on cd-r in the next month or so.

Some of these tracks kind of made me choke up with emotion, thinking of all that's passed. These tracks are completely obscure and were never properly released, though we did try. Enough time has now passed that I can pass a few tracks out to the public.

Glad Tidings
Cover of a Van Morrison song. I think this is probably the peak of early Sound Team.

Beef Captain
Written very quickly... I wrote and recorded the basic tracks in 10 minutes before picking Matt up from work. The words were a scrap of paper I'd found on our living room floor... one of Matt's poems. We wrote the 2nd verse together.

Paint It, Orange !
This track's melody was adapted from the Byrds' "Change is Now." The words are kind of pretty and simplistic. You can actually hear Matt, Sam and I harmonizing on the track. I really like the ending of the track. Over my many objections, this track was never released. Sam is playing bass, I am playing 12string, Matt on guitar, Michael Baird on moog, and Willis Deviney on drums.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Due to weather concerns, the show tomorrow night has been moved from Johnson City back into Austin.

The address is 3222 John Campbell's Trail. It's in southwest Austin, near Westgate Blvd.

Here's the schedule:

5:00 Shrew
5:45 New Science Projects
6:30 John Rose
7:15 Cedarwell
8:00 Ghost Night
8:45 A Drum And An Open Window
9:30 David Israel
10:00 Dustin and the Furniture
10:45 {{{Sunset}}}
11:30 Ryan Anderson


I have renamed my musical project yet again. This time will hopefully be the last. Can't make any promises, though.

Here is a complete "bio," copied from my MySpace page.


Bill Baird = vocals, guitar, lapsteel, electric piano.
John Kolar = drums.
John Musil = acoustic guitar, bells, and vox.
Sam Sanford = bass and vox.
Sam Miller = acoustic guitar and vox.
Willis McClung = pedal steel and vox.
Cliff Brown, Jr. = keys, acoustic guitar, and vox.
Occasionally: Tim, Dave Longoria, Jim Fredley, Martin Crane, Will Patterson, Jordan Johns, Joey Koehl, Eric Katerman, Jason McNeely, and Zane Ruttenburg.

DISCLOSURE: Hi, this is Bill. I am just going to go ahead and refer to myself in the 3rd person for the duration of this "bio." I put the word in quotes because I have a little disdain for hyperbolic music-industry boilerplates; I've often called "bios" the "obituaries for those ain't dead." Anyhow, I will heretofore refer to myself as "Bill," in 3rd person form. I realize that, if somebody were doing that whilst you were talking with them in person, it would be incredibly strange and even creepy. Hence my full disclosure.

Bill has been writing and playing songs for a while. The early songs were "lo-fi" and contained numerous recording experiments. Lots of backwards flange pedal. These tapes were given to friends and sold to foes. "Sounds great, Bill," they would smile out the words through gritted teeth.

Besides engaging in 4track experiments, he also began "jamming" with his dad, who passed along a love of old blues (Robert Johnson, Hound Dog Taylor, Mance Lipscomb, Leadbelly, etc) folk (Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez), and 60's pop ( Beatles, Beatles, Beatles). Some of their jams even made it onto Bill's tapes, notably a cover of Elvis' classic "Little Sister."

Bill played out a number of shows of a "performance art" style, meaning he and his "bandmates" would find any way possible to make the audience feel uncomfortable and unsure of why they'd attended his show. "What is art?" they might ask themselves after a particularly riveting Bill Baird performance. Or not. Most people said, "Why is that guy screaming a Madonna song and banging a coat hanger on his lapsteel guitar?" Bill was banned from a number of clubs in the Austin area during this early "performance art" phase.

He had already put out several tapes and cd-rs when he met Matt Oliver and they started SOUND TEAM together. For the next few years, Bill concentrated mostly on ST material. As time progressed and his vocal duties diminished in ST, Bill started writing and recording on his own again.

So Bill compiled some song-y, folk-y, strum-y, pop-y songs and called the album {{{ SUNSET }}}. He simultaneously compiled a whole bunch of instrumental ambient soundscapes and called that album SILENCE !

Bill also made a DVD, "Candlelit Television Eyes," the 1st in a genre he calls the "DIY DVD" --- take the same DIY spirit of self-released tapes, cd-rs and zines and apply that to our new, YouTubed, media-overloaded age. It's like a zine, except you can watch it. Same basic idea.

Anyhow, back to our "bio." After releasing {{{ SUNSET }}} and SILENCE !, Bill toured the country, playing to small crowds all over this great land. He played taquerias, open mike nights, parking lots, Taco Cabana, sheet metal factories, historic statue plazas, you name it.

Upon returning to Austin, Bill assembled a group called {{{ SUNSET }}}. Bill originally intended on naming his stage act after his latest release. Like if Michael Jackson had called his band "THRILLER." You get the picture.

But this proved an unsatisfying approach, and a search was undertaken for a new name. In the end, Bill decided to conflate the names of his two recent releases and keep his own name at the top. This conflation represented his hope for the group : a combination of the ambience, experimentation and "New music" of SILENCE with the spontaneity and folk songwriting of {{{ SUNSET }}}. This delicate synthesis is still a work in progress, but their shows have been interesting and even occasionally engaging. Sometimes they march through the streets like a parade. Sometimes random crowd members join the show. They played a show outside the Clear Channel World Headquarters, which was pretty strange.

BILL BAIRD AND SILENT SUNSET are currently working on a full length album which, in my personal opinion, is going to be just great. They are also playing lots of shows in your area, if your area happens to be Central Texas. If not, they will probably hit the road sometime in the next few months. Keep your eyes / ears peeled.

{{{ SUNSET }}}, Bill Bard, Bill Bird, Will Weird, Bill Baird and Family, Buck Stephens, Stitch, Strum Strum Here We Come, Acoustic Alchemy, Base Elements and Acoustic Alchemy, Cabeza de Vaca, the Uncollected Hand, etc.

It is a project still very much in its formative stages, and will probably remain that way for the duration of the project. Beginnings of things tend to be the most exciting times. We strive to keep that excitement always!


A week or so ago, I played a show that differed from a typical "BB/SS" show. Normally, the sounds veer towards a country-ambient hybrid, with multiple guitars creating a uniquely humming listen. This time, I decided to explore drone music.

I first started with my own creation, the "drone guitar." The guitar is a double necked Epiphone, one neck a 12string, one neck a 6. I tuned the 6string to an open E, flicked the selector so that only the 6string would be audible, and strummed an E on the 12string, varying the voicings every 30 - 40 seconds. The open tuned 6string resonated with what I was strumming on the 12string, and creating wave on wave of strange floating tones. No attack, just hovering swells of golden notes. The effect was achieved without use of any effect. Wait, that's kind of a crazy sentence. The effect was achieved without use of an effect pedal, I mean.

To underpin the drone, I spread two synthesizers around the 4 corners of the room. Each synthesizer ran into a single amp, which was then daisy chained to the next amp. The effect was a sort-of "surround sound," although to me it seemed like the walls were humming. In addition, the modulation of each keyboards bounced off the amp to which it was daisy-chained--- creating a sort-of ping-pong of microtones, bouncing all above the blaring "E" note that had been taped down on each keyboard.

The show started with just me and "drone guitar" for several minutes. Then Sam Sanford turned on the keyboards and amplifiers spread through the room. After letting the drone settle deeper, a 5-piece band joined me on stage:

Jordan Johns on drums
Sam Sanford on bass
Willis McClung on pedal steel
Joey Koehl on lead guitar
Paul Sisler on dobro

We droned further and played a 4 song medley : two songs of my own ("The End of the World" and "Bright Blue Dream") and the last two songs on the Beatles "Revolver" ("Got to Get You Into My Life" and "Tomorrow Never Knows"). Sam contributed harmony vocals on all tracks.

Overall, the set felt strange, new, and decently satisfying. I think we can certainly do better, and will, but I ws especially happy to try a number of bizarre ideas and have them even marginally succeed. A new template has been set, and we now have an experience to build on if we wish to further pursue these more "experimental" type shows.

Here are some links to write-ups of the event:

Gorilla VS Bear
My man Dave

Links to artists involved:

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Here are some mp3s from a Local Live Session I did with my band, Bill Baird and Silent Sunset. Yes, that's a new name. I think I like it better than just {{{ SUNSET }}}. Any thoughts? Comments are appreciated.

Civil War

End of the World // Got to Get You Into My Life // Tomorrow Never Knows // On the Road Again (medley)

New York Love

The World is Awaiting

I will post the rest of the tracks soon. Meanwhile, here are some photos from our show in Marfa, courtesy of Ben Sklar:

Saturday, June 23, 2007




Saturday, June 16, 2007

KVRX Local Live -- SUNDAY !


I am performing on KVRX Local Live this Sunday with my group called Sunset. In the group, we have John Kolar, Sam Sanford, Cliff Brown Jr., John Musil, Sam Miller, Willis McClung, possibly Dave Longoria, possibly Sarah on backup vocals, and maybe Mark Armstrong making some drone noises.

We will be playing live on the air tomorrow night -- 91.7 FM here in Austin.

Elsewhere, you can stream the show on the website, KVRX.org


download the podcast here.

Check out the Local Live site here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

west coast tour, part 2 - LA continued

So after finishing updating my blog, Mavis, Will, Jordan and I rolled to a house being watched over by Faye's brother's girlfriend. Mavis carefully balanced a glass of cotch in his lap while we hit speeds upwards of double the speed limit, meaning, well, probably 80 or so on smaller residential streets. To his credit, he never spilled the drink and even took a few long slugs, draining the glass long before our arrival to our destination. And what a destination: huge metal gates led to immense green sculpted plants, paved courtyard guarded by naked faux-Greek statues, through large wooden doors into the house and the real prizes: piles of cheese, fresh mixed drinks, white and red wine, a whole huge spread laid out before us, spliff rolling, standing around a pool lined with spitting fountains. The places we find ourselves in... man... being plied with beer, liquor, homemade food and marijuana joints. We had truly arrived; tour showed yet again capable of complete surprise.

Will and I wandered about the house, looking at the ancient books on the shelves, probably unread. Who would want to read a book that was on the verge of falling apart? Perhaps such a physical challenge would actually contribute to the reading, perhaps providing a sense of danger. I guess I'd rather read a plain old paperback worth several dollars or less.

Will and I wandered past the library and into the front hallway, perusing rows upon rows of smiling family photos resting on tables, shelves, hanging on walls, and --whoa-- the showstopper----->>>>> what appeared to be a normal picture frame instead housed a video screen that scrolled through a whole pile of digital family photos. Beach photos fading into smiling little league shots. Felt like a scene from Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles." We drifted back to the main party, smoked more spliff, Will spilled a drink on the oh-so-nice piano bench and we played our newer tunes for each other. Will Patterson, that kid is a shaggy high school wizard who will change this world, you mark my words!

We cleaned our plates and hit the road again across the great wide expanse of L.A., flying past empty streets and parking lots, scuttled back up to Mavis' warehouse paradise and dreamt of art, creation, big city expanses, open horizons, reclamation of dead urban space for creative sun and fresh air from creative brains.

Next morning, Will, Jordan and I explored the neighborhood, lost ourselves in a sea of taquerias, downed some bean and cheese tacos and gulped down some coffee. Jared stopped by Mavis' pad to pick up his organ. Ah yes, we'd stopped in Vegas and picked up Jared's ebay purchase organ from inside an insane cookie cutter neighborhood. Drove through miles and miles of enclosed neighborhood, bright green lawns, mini-malls, some very suspect seafood restaurants with names like "Island Paradise." It's all part of that city-- so completely unnatural, a complete fabrication, a reproduction of other parts of the world. But really what would most people celebrate in Vegas? The brush, the cactus? These things excite me and stir thoughts of Jesus wandering the Israeli desert, or maybe the Pueblo Indians finding waters amidst cliffs and cracks of rock. But most people flock downtown to the casinos and we were heading through a mess of yawning suburban sprawl to pickup an organ.

So, back to L.A. -- Jared came by with Mitch and Stevie, picked up the organ, marveled at Mavis' art space, we hung for a few moments and they headed onwards. Jordan Will and I headed West on I-10 to the magic sands of Santa Monica, leaving the van parked high in a garage, jammed down the pier, laughing at the games and music and general obvious tourist-trap-ness of the place, so obvious that it almost seemed alright. Will and I hopped in the waves, Jordan dipped a toe, Will body surfed while I napped and dug all the California people, the skater folks, the East L.A. baggy pants crew, the tourists snapping photos of themselves in front of the lifeguard stand, locals all staying clear of this place, probably. Red flags rose and lifeguards urged caution. I guess he was urging this to Will only, cuz he was the only one still swimming. Will headed up, we fetche dthe car, headed back to Hollywood, double-parked in front of the El Rey Theatre, met tourmates Au Revoir Simone, 3 ultra-babes with cool hair and reckless keyboard pad action, stumbled inside in my bathing suit and slippers, received props from Ramesh on my beach suit, pulled all our gear from the van, parked along a side street and found a pile of "giveaway" materials -- a fax machine, mop, books and books galore. I grabbed "Chant and Be Happy," a Hare Krishna guide to happiness featuring extended interviews with George Harrison and John Lennon; also, "Fast Food Nation" and a spare fax machine I planned to smash onstage that evening. And, of course, Christmas lights! Those came in handy on this tour, the poor man's light show.

Then back to Mavis' for a quick can of chili, a few mellow moments, some Scotch whisky, then back to the club. I hauled a portable turntable up to our dressing room and we all danced and hollered to Fela Kuti's "Roforoto Fight." Au Revoir Simone played and slayed the crowd ultra-babe-ness.

Monday, May 28, 2007

tour thus far

Well well well,

what an insane time. I will start from the top.

With an insane amount of errands chores and other miscellany, I moved my way through Austin, beating down doors, returning dishes to their cabinetry, matching screws in hardware stores, duplicating discs, ignoring talk radio shows. A high-speed navigation of city life, done in fast-motion. And why with such velocity? I'd received 4 free tickets to teh Animal Collective show that evening in Marfa, home of Minimalist cowboys and caffeinated revelations by dozens of art tourists.

So I rushed about town, dealt with issues, concerns, and to-do lists, and hit the road West. Speeding on caffeine and freeway rushing by, I move from Hill Country to West Texas desert. Chihuahuan desert, more specifically. On the way, made dozens fo calls and messages to all friends fom home, and turned off the phone. The journey had begun.

Two or so hours from Marfa, insane lightning storm lit the desert-scape, five bolts landing together, rain and hail pelting the van. I drove on.

Arrived to the show, watched Animal Collective do their insane looped yelps, awash with harmony, reverb, and the occasional thumping drum. The Liberty Theatre turned into more of a rave scene than I'd envisioned, and on more than one occasion somebody mentioned "wishing they'd taken ecstasy." I wished the same at moments, but felt glad to have my wits and senses competely intact. I gulped beer instead and moved about the room, my bright orange pants practically lighting the way for me and eliciting comments from the locals. The girls dug them pants, boys scoffed.

After the show, ended up in a converted bus station, ate some fancy cheese and olives some nice strangers offered me, and warmed my hands next to a roaring fire. I slept in the van outside the "station."

Woke early the next morning, started ingesting insane gallons of coffee, washing down my egg burrito, reading a newly purchased profile of the great lyricists of the 20's and 30's -- Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc. Met the Marfa radio station operator, gave him music for spinning, picked up Will and Jordan and crew, and headed onward to Balmoreah, where we swam with the fishes and dove through bright blue waters. Continued North into New Mexico, ending at Jemez Springs, on the Jemez Indian Reservation, about 40 miles Northwest of Albuquerque, stopping only for the purchase of a pint of Kentucky's finest bourbon. Arriving at the springs, Will and I hopped out and passed the hiskey between us while Jordan slept.

A shiny SUV pulled up and out hopped a man clearly outfitted for an intense excursion through the mountains -- every inch of his body garbed with high priced Patagonia expedition gear. Edgar, his name. He claimed to know the path up to the hot springs, and would lead Will and I. He introduced two older ladies and fat man with a camcorder. I forget their names. We ascended to the springs.

Our intrepid guide led us immediately off the trail and we scaled a very steep dirt and rock surface. The ladies turned back, we continued. Hopped in the water, started more on the whiskey. The ladies arrived, shed their clothing and started talking about sensuality. It was very nauseating.

"Movement is sex, sex is movement. Everything is one. Everything is where is needs to be. Everything is perfect."

Hmm. Some cosmic slop. The fat man started asking us questions about the meaning of life. I told him I thoguht everybody was already dead, in that we're all dying and being reborn every second of our lives. He liked this and handed me a business card with some obscure references on it. Apparently we were to be part of his film.

And then: got drunk, then drunker, sloshing around the pool for nearly 6 hours, fended advances off from naked, older women with 4 children, yelled "Fuck You" at them repeatedly, stumbled back to our van, felt my head spinning, walked around the parking lot and accidentally kicked a dirty diaper.

Will had his talked off by our intrepid guide about his former life as a pill addict, going into severe detail about a month-long stint in his apartment which culminated in staring at a clock for a full day, watching the seconds tick away. Sounds vaguely depressing.

Woke the next morning, stretched my bones and led Jordan back to the spring. This time, several meth-heads had comandeered the hottest part of the pool. They all had missing teeth and severe cases of "meth mouth," a condition in which the teeth rot away to the consistency of silly putty, and eventually just fall out in your soup. Twas one man and tow women in the pool, and as we entered, one of the women asked if the man would "clean up the condoms." Cringe.

The man stood and revealed a rash running right up his ass. Mmmm. The girls seemed like the normal sad meth heads I'd seen in rural areas on a number of occasions, with skin pulled back across the face like thin paper over a skeleton, veins and tendons revealed in a neck that seems perpetually stretching.

A pile of beer cans and wine coolers lay scattered about the pool. Good times had been had, apparently. I never did see the condoms of which the women spoke. Perhaps floating in the water? We didn't stick around to see. I stood and hawked a loogie, and accidentally spit it on their towel. A large yellow loogie. Well, hopefully they were enjoying themselves so much that they would just shrug it off when they saw. Luckily they didn't see me do it, and I didn't draw it to their attention.

And then I realized they probably wouldn't see it, even though it was very large and stood out against the dark towel. Oh well.

We continued down the road, back through the mountains, past pines and creeks, stopped at some tourist trap cafe that kindly heated my canned chili in the microwave, sipped a gallon of watery coffee and continued towards Las Vegas, where Will and I were to play a show that evening in a record shop. Sped through NM, through Arizona, past the large red rocks and wide open sands, down through the cool canyons. Stopped at a welding shop on the AZ / NM border. The welding shop doubled as a hamburger stand; the proprietor, whose name I never caught, was an elderly Native American, a smiling Indian, sizzling ground beef in buns for hungry workers from all around. He finished his cooking and tried welding a latch to our van's back door; didn't work so well, though... he set the door in flames and melted the latch. I ended up using a metal plate spinning very fast to help fashion a new latch. Oh, and the door handle mechanism and lock inside the door were completely melted in a black goopy mess that stunk up the van for the remainder of our drive.

Crossed Hoover Dam in a 3 mile-long line, gazed at the monster of human progress and water control that has consumed some of America's best places, sped over the hills, and Las Vegas spilled out in front of us with millions of blinking blazing dots. What a strange city, with everything being a replica of some other part of the world -- replcias of Manhattan, the great Pyramids, Rio de Janeiro, a circus.

We headed over to the record shop, two hours late for our own show, and the massive Zia Records was completely empty, save for a few employees killing off the hours til closing. Will and I played a song-swap set, taking turns, one song at a time, while Jordan dubbed out the vocals with the hosue p.a.'s built-in effects. Bryan, a record shop employee, took us back to his apartment for some homemade chili and a free floor to crash. I had now eaten chili 5 straight meals.

Woke, drank coffee, sped onwards towards the great oasis, Los Angeles. Mavis had agreed we could crash on his floor, plenty of space, so we sped on with high hopes of spliff, sun, and beach. Battling insane Memorial Day traffic, we arrived to a particularly desolated strip of downtown L.A., the only person a sight a visibly tweaking / trembling man stumbling down the middle of the street. Will and I rolled a massive tire along the sidewalk until the tweaker approached. We ran inside to Mavis' den of art and industrial space. We visited the adjoining pornography studio and saw evidence of many successful shoots -- vibrators, dildos, video editing stations, a deconstructed mechanical sex doll. The head lady, who we met and was quite friendly, apparently has a PHD from Yale in philosophy. Hmmm.

Mavis himself has quite the pad. Huge industrial space with a dozen projects in mid-finish. High-priced scotch and wine flowing into cups as we made our way inside, cigarettes dangling from lips, flapping mouths discussing all matters and everything. Which brings me here.

Monday, April 23, 2007


I'm pleased to announce an awesome show at Big Orange, this Thursday evening.

The line-up will be as follows:

Real Live Tigers


Jeffrey Lewis

For those unfamiliar, Jeff crafts fantastic comic books and "anti-folk" music. According to Wikipedia,

Anti-folk combines the raw, abrasive, and frequently politically charged attitudes of the punk scene with the sounds of American folk tradition.

Jeffrey has his own website, which provides a glimpse into the world of this awesome dude. His prolific creativity inspires me, to a total extreme of big-wash hair.

Beautiful song by Jeff

Global Warming

Communism in China

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I've long been interested in manipulation of sound. Recently, I've become interested in manipulation of sound through use of a space / room / environment, rather than simply plugging in to an effects pedal. The results are far more interesting and the process by which they are achieved is plain as day to see. Example :

My ongoing project, which I have called Acoustic Alchemy, Bill Baird and Acoustic Alchemy, BB / AA (the best name so far, I think), and Cabeza de Vaca, has done mild experimenting on a number of fronts, and to good effect, I think. The project was conceived after I'd played a number of shows as a solo songwriter, and found that the energy and drive which was intended in the songs simply was not translating. A new approach was needed, one that challenged the old ideas of songwriters, performers, and such. We're not talking revolution here, just an interesting way to perform introspective folky-type songs in a club atmosphere that demands visual spectacle, a certain base level of implied violence, just a tad bit of novelty, and just enough audience uncertainty.

How am I approaching this problem?

Through the use of repetition of parts / instruments; inspired by Glenn Branca, only not at all abrasive. Confrontational, but confronting folks with something (hopefully) quite beautiful and sparkling.

We have have as many as seven or eight people playing the same strummy strummy part on guitar. This has been successful for us for a number of reasons ::::

First, just the pure visual of it. Seven people holding acoustic guitars looks cool and also strange, like some boys escaped from vacation bible school. The repetition of the image is crucial.

Second, the sound of seven (more or less) guitars all strumming the same general pattern, with each players different rhythmic flourishes and quirks thrown in, makes for a beautiful wash of lush stringed noise. No amps, no electronics ! Just vibrating strings; so much more pleasing to the ear.

Third, emphasis on individual playing has been mostly obliterated and members are encouraged to really play as a group. This is a problem I've found quite typical of loud rock ensembles. Even in a nice club with good monitoring, you only end up playing to maybe half the band. There is not really any sense of the totality of it all. This line-up hopefully allows people the awareness of everything that's happening on stage.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, having so many players not tied to amplifiers allows incredible flexibility in adapting to changing circumstances in a room. We can spread out all across the stage, move through a room, walk outside... using space as part of the music, we've achieved something that feels magical when you're part of it. The players may spread out through the room, all along the perimeter, so the audience is literally surrounded by sound, enveloped by it. This leads to what I would call pleasant uncertainty, which I find quite amazing as an audience member. Feeling enraptured and being strung along by a performer, wondering what will happen next... this sense of mystery is missing from most "rock" shows that I've seen. People arrive, start drinking, talking, a band plays, and very few people really pay attention or step into the moment they're actually inhabiting. Our show tries to shake them and wake them up! And if they don't want to come along for the ride, so be it. We will still enjoy ourselves.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I've decided to release a series of DVDs entitled Candlelit Television Eyes. There is no unifying concept for the videos that will make it onto these editions. They range from installation video to music video to absurdist humor to abstract colors.

This post details some of the vids from Vol. 1 and a few destined for Vol. 2.

A year-and-a-half ago, I was scurrying across that great mess of light known as Times Square. My scummy-modernist hotel sat a block off this whole mess, and traveling anywhere in the city required a walk through this humming, bright-pink/yellow/neon cityscape. Perhaps feeling overly caffeinated, I decided to confront the square with rushing through, to sit and observe. I had shortly begun surveying the scene through my super8 camera; the viewfinder would limit my range of vision to only what I wanted to see.

Something struck me about the normally vile, absurd jumbotron screens flashing all around me. If I simply zoomed in a little, the revolting becomes, well, quite quite interesting. Even quite beautiful. The grid of bulbs, pulsing. The mechanics and construction of the images flashing all around us, all the time.

The title is a sly reference to the images of the man surfing and the admonition for one to "Log On" to the internet. In a way, I think surfing (water-based) best sums up the necessary approach to this absurdly riotous, violent, fast-paced world in which we live (not that I'm particularly adept at surfing). Namely, don't look forward, don't look back, step into the wave, step into the moment, etc. All that West Coast Buddhist slop. Which is all true !

Or, as my friend Sam says "I'm just gonna get on my surfboard and ride......." To be included on Volume 2.

On a side note, stills from this image were the artwork for SOUND TEAM's "Movie Monster."


The music is all my own voice. The image came from a boot store.


Vaguely absurd comment on people walking around with literal and metaphorical bags-on-their-heads. Which ties into the lyrics, I suppose, but the lyrics aren't quite as playful, or don't seem that way to me. To be included on Volume 2 of Candlelit Television Eyes.


The world moves fast, far too fast. This was all shot on super8 film. The locations range from Hampstead Heath in North London to the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland.

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This is about the most vulnerable I can get. The video shows New York from high above and then down on the ground, amidst the largest single-day snowfall in New York's recorded history. Again, all super8 film. The poor resolution does no justice to the video, but, alas, this will have to do for now.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Unseen Worlds Records

I recently attended a listening party for a soon-to-be-released album from Lubomyr Melnyk, the self-proclaimed "fastest pianist ever." Just looking at his scores drops my jaw.

The record is coming out on a cool re-issue label called "Unseen Worlds," run by my friend Tommy.

Their first release was a fantastic record called "Out of the Blue" by "Blue" Gene Tyranny. Tyranny has performed with John Cage, Laurie Anderson, David Behrman and others. This album is a sort of late-70's pop-funk thing, with some wild experimental parts. Tyranny's website can be found here.

You can listen here or here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Beatles promos / videos

The masters of the promo film. The inventors, really. These range from silly to awesome.


This is the first promo film for the Beatles. Stoned-out bliss. Ringo's drumming is insane.

Penny Lane

This is my favorite. So random. So awesome.

Hey Bulldog

Love this song. Man. And John's look here is just fucking amazing. Notice how bored George Harrison seems.


Ringo's wife kind of cracks me up in this one. She's the really spaced out looking blonde chick. Well, the one that's wearing weird leather gear.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Amazing animation. Taken from "Yellow Submarine."

I Am the Walrus

Technically, this is not a promo, but what the hey. A really poor attempt to play along with the recording. I like the outfits, though.


I like the song's lyrics. The microphones they're using... awesome. It appears they're singing live along with a pre-recorded backing track... the single version of "Revolution." Kind of a cheap trick, if you ask me. I liked it better for "All You Need is Love."