Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Television Drummer Billy Ficca Issuing Second Album With Heroes of Toolik

by VVN Music

Billy Ficca is best known as the drummer for the seminal New York band Television but, today, is part of the avant-garde group Heroes of Toolik.

Along with Television, he's played with Nona Hendryx, Gary Lucas, Washington Squares, New York Blues Project, The Waitresses, The Neon Boys, Uncle Bob NYC to name but a few. It is difficult to overstate Billy's influence on underground art rock. Billy is an original member of the foundational CB's band Television and still appears regularly with them. Less known is his work with the pre-cursor to that band, the Neon Boys, famous among other things for having rejected Dee Dee Ramone's audition as second guitarist.

His wide ranging musical interests and prodigious chops have led him to play on many recordings and with a broad range of musicians and styles. Modern Drummer describes his playing as "unique--a solid yet spacious style equally informed by jazz greats like Elvin Jones and rock icons like John Bonham . . ."

Heroes of Toolik are now releasing its second, full-length album Like Night in August. The new album was produced by the legendary Wharton Tiers (Helmet, Sonic Youth, New York Dolls, etc.), recorded at Seaside Lounge and The Silent Barn in Brooklyn. I'm hoping you might consider covering them via feature or album review.

Heroes of Toolik first banded together 2012, a coteries of old friends with storied musical pasts. Guitarist Arad Evans (Glenn Branca Ensemble) and bass player Ernie Brooks (Modern Lovers), met while touring in Rhys Chatham's Donnergotter band in the 1980's. Robert Poss (Rhys Chatham, Band of Susans) contributed guitar as a guest to the new album and then joined as a regular member. On trombone is the Latin session player John Speck and the painter and art-critic, Jennifer Coates, plays violin and sings.

The sound is "deceptively catchy, hypnotically growling, post-Velvets grooves", inviting comparison to Beefheart, to The Grateful Dead, to REM, to Television. "What comes together among the group of them is a brand of well-informed rock n' roll that draws on these influences without over-complicating itself." (NY Taper) The new album will be released digitally and on CD.

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