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Billy the Kid strikes a pose to muse on the places she'll go.
Jesse Fortier/the Gauntlet

Music Interview: Billy the Kid saddles up

Pixie punk rocker packs her guitar and rides out of town to keep fighting the good fight

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Starbucks is probably not the safest place for a vegan to indulge. Dependent on milk products and processed ingredients, the corporate bistro is a virtual minefield for the veggie inclined. Billy takes the safe route, ordering a regular cup of coffee. Flashing a big smile, she sits down in the only corner not occupied by haggard mothers and their screaming spawn.

Despite the overwhelming infant-induced white noise, she cheerfully converses about her band and solo career. Admitting to regretting the move, she stares off into the snowy abyss that is Calgary. Another mother and her children wander into the coffee shop, most likely to join the troupe and cause Billy to speak beyond her normal "inside" voice. She is Billy the Kid, the petite punk rock front woman of Billy and the Lost Boys and the lady at the helm of Lost Records.

"December 27th a year ago, was our [Lost Records] official start date," reminisces Billy. With the help of Casey Lewis from the Lost Boys and local band The Failure, Lost Records has accomplished quite a bit in the last year. Artists on the label include Billy and the Lost Boys, Billy's solo outfit, and the song writing team of Billy and Casey under the guise of the BC Music Factory. But for now, the focus is on her own trek across western Canada.

"Billy and the Lost Boys have a bunch of new songs, but we are in need of a new record. So while that's getting worked out [I'm going solo]," Billy explains. She will be touring with Malcolm Bauld of Montreal's The Frenetics for the next month. Dates are posted from Winnipeg to Vancouver, and Billy can't wait to play her own unique style of unplugged punk.

"It was like, OK, I'm not writing songs for my punk band anymore. I can do anything I want." That sentiment is most definitely reflected in her music. The Lost Boys are without doubt a punk rock band. Fast four- chord wonders and lots of energy--all the staple characteristics of a punk ensemble. Billy's solo endeavour isn't quite as easy to pin down. A more mellow, indy rock sound, Billy's self-proclaimed "wussy" music blends punk with bits of folk, soft pop and even a little classic rock--a beautiful melodic voice on top of crisp, emotional acoustic measures.

The busy girl that Billy is, once this solo tour is over there is a distinct possibility of her and the Lost Boys hitting the road again in the near future. Last year, they spent about half the year taming the Canadian scene with their music prowess and this year will only be slightly different.

"The goal last year was to conquer Canada. This year it's the U.S.," exclaims Billy. With a hopefully larger distribution spreading south of the border and more tour dates imminent, Billy and her boys are on their way to fame and fortune. But that doesn't seem to matter to the black-haired bombshell.

"I just like to play every night," she says modestly. With her popularity spreading and in no sign of waning, her many musical endeavours are beginning to pay off and no one deserves it more. After a chat with this winsome pixie, it would be difficult to dislike her.

Sitting and sipping her coffee, she discusses the local scene, other bands she's interested in and again the horrible weather that we have been cursed with. In the future, she may not need to just settle for Starbucks in the dead of winter.

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