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Backstage Pass: Billy Squier

Persistence and patience won out for Billy Squier when, after a series of commercial disappointments in the 1970s, the singer-guitarist hit it big as a solo artist with hits such as “The Stroke,” “My Kinda Lover” and “Everybody Wants You.” So what is he up to these days?

Persistence and patience won out for Billy Squier when, after a series of commercial disappointments in the ’70s, the singer-guitarist hit it big as a solo artist, as MTV helped spin his melodic brand of blue-collar hard rock into gold.

A stream of hits from his sophomore album, Don’t Say No, flooded the FM airwaves in the early ’80s. Zeppelin-style rockers such as “The Stroke” and “My Kinda Lover” offered an alternative to the slick New Wave that was coming into vogue.

Then came the monster hit “Everybody Wants You” from 1982’s Emotions In Motion. Writer Martin Popof recently contacted Squier for a chat.

Capping off a long talk about Piper’s Can’t Wait album for Popoff’s upcoming fourth edition of the “Ye Olde Metal” series (“Ye Olde Metal: 1977”), Squier had this to say about reviving his career at a relaxed, controlled pace.

“I would say that career-wise, I’m not career-oriented at all,” says Squier. “My career now kind of evolves around people coming to me with ideas, and I’ll do it if it’s something that sounds interesting to me.

“If I can enjoy it without being sucked back into the vortex of the music business, then I’m happy to do it. The most recent thing like that was playing with Ringo (Starr) a couple of years ago, in the All-Starr Band, which, I’m looking forward to doing this year too. Rumor has it (laughs), that we’re going to go again. So, if you say that, you have to say rumor has it, because it’s not official yet. A lot of us would like to see that happen again, including Ringo. But, that’s a fantastic gig, because you play with these great musicians and you do each other’s songs, and you end up having a great band.

“We did that two years ago, and it was one of the best things I ever did; I really enjoyed that. But I’ve done some odd bits and pieces here and there. I did something for a blues history, a Delta blues history, which is going to come out any time now, which is just me playing acoustic guitar and singing, just like the guys back on the porch. But, I really like that style and that kind of music. And I write the odd song once in a while. It’s usually just because I hear it, and I want to do it. I’d really have to say that I’m hopelessly inactive in terms of promoting my own career (laughs).

There is also some reissue news, is there not?

Billy Squier: Yes, [there ’s] a new label called American Beat, and they’ve re-released Emotions In Motion and Signs Of Life, which is a start. Tale Of The Tape was re-released a couple years ago in England, on a label called Rock Candy, and that is a spectacular re-release. And it sounds amazing; John Astley remastered it and did an incredible job.

I did the book along with those guys, and it’s one of the best pieces of Billy Squier that you can ever get. So, I highly recommend that.

Also, after years of having nothing to do with my Web site, I’ve got much more involved with my Web site. There are some great people who run it, but I came up with an idea to get more of my catalog out. We’re getting more of my catalog up, and right now, we’re in the process of putting up everything I’ve ever done. We do it release by release, one at a time.”

Do you mean to sell via iTunes?

BS: Yes, you can buy any of the songs individually, or you could buy them as a package and get discounts, the usual stuff. But it’s not as much of a money