FAVOURITE GUITARISTS – BILL PITCOCK IV | GUITAR LESSONS LONDON
Part three of Guitar Lessons London series of favourite guitarists bought to us by London Guitar Academy friend & co-songwriter the immaculate Paul Wood.
FAVOURITE GUITARISTS – BILL PITCOCK IV
One of the most underrated guitarists of his generation, Tulsa guitarist Bill Pitcock IV is a name that is only likely to reverberate amongst power pop aficionados or the curious people that have looked at the musician’s credits on albums by Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour.
Bill began performing professionally in 1964 as the guitarist with his parent’s dance band, Billy Pitcock and his Orchestra.
Completely self taught, Bill rose to fame as the lead guitarist in the 1970s for the Dwight Twilley Band – effectively a vehicle for Tulsa friends Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour. The band originally rehearsed and recorded in the room above his dad’s electric shop (the Pitcock Electric Company) in Tulsa.
Pitcock continued to work with Twilley and Seymour on their subsequent solo albums and live performances.
Bill is the lead guitarist on such classic power pop songs as “I’m On Fire,” (Dwight Twilley Band), “Girls, (Dwight Twilley), and “Precious To Me” (Phil Seymour).
Dwight Twilley is quoted as saying:
“In the early days of the Dwight Twilley Band, sometimes a manager would come backstage to tell us a major act was in the audience. We’d say ‘To see us?’ And he’d say, ‘Well, no – they’re here to see Bill Pitcock.’
“As a musician he was simply a genius, a super extraordinary talent who was an integral part of my sound. He influenced guitarists everywhere.”
His principal forte was the super fast but short lead break – as best featured on the debut single (and U.S.) hit for the Dwight Twilley Band – “I’m On Fire”. Catch the break from Bill just over one minute into the song
An unlikely guitar hero – bespectacled, bearded and keen to stay out of the limelight behind the double front man appeal of Twilley and Seymour, here are a couple of U.S. TV clips of the Dwight Twilley Band with Bill on guitar and Shelter label mate Tom Petty as a guest on bass:
Lookin’ For The Magic:
and “Twilley Don’t Mind”
Spruced up for the 80s, Bill’s powerpop/rockabilly style guitar featured on solo hits for both Twilley and Seymour:
Dwight Twilley: Girls
Phil Seymour: Precious To Me
Pitcock’s debut solo album(“Play What You Mean”) was released in 2009 and he was featured on the well-received Dwight Twilley “comeback” album “Green Blimp” in 2010
Bill Pitcock IV was 58 when he died as a result of cancer on April 8, 2011.
Guitar parts recorded before his death appear on the 2011 Dwight Twilley album “Soundtrack” – which is dedicated to Pitcock. He is fondly remembered by Twilley on the “secret” final track “My Friend Billy” which appears after the credited album closer “The Last Time Around”:
“My friend Billy can kick your ass on guitar, in a stadium, a studio or even in your local bar”
To close, here’s a live clip from 82/83 of Bill with Dwight Twilley (and Susan Cowsill on backing vocals) burning through a live version of “I’m On Fire”
Dwight Twilley Band: Sincerely
Dwight Twilley Band: Twilley Don’t Mind
Phil Seymour: Phil Seymour
Dwight Twilley: Soundtrack