Texas native Bill Bowerman was born in Houston and raised in Goose Creek, an oil field town east of there. His mother was a swing band fan, so music was a part of Bill’s life from early on. His first drumming experience was the utilization of wooden spoons on pots and pans while listening to the records of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, and by 1957, he was listening to jazz albums by Dave Brubeck, and Andre Previn. Having taken tap dancing lessons at an early age, his dance teacher, Bruce Roush, (who was also a drummer) taught him the basics of the swing beat, which enabled him to play along with his favorite records. While a sophomore in high school, Bill coerced his mother into acquiring a 3 piece Slingerland drum set - having little or no formal music training, he taught himself how to play different time signatures by playing along with Dave Brubeck's great quartet. By this time, Bill had become a fan of jazz of all types. By the time he was a junior in high school, he had performed with the high school stage band (though not officially “in” the band) and got my first professional job when he was only 16, working 6 nights a week with Clarence and Luman Perry in a cover band called the PerryMates. That collaboration led to many others. Unfortunately, the only thing in the way was that he hadn't graduated from high school yet, and therefore was not of lawful age to be in most of the places he performed! The PerryMates moved on to playing clubs in Pasadena and Houston with another (older) drummer Bob McGrew. The PerryMates were playing 5 nights a week at the Sugar Shack in Pasadena. Bill played with the band every Monday night at a place called the Nesadel Club because the other drummer didn't want to work 6 nights. Micky Gilley worked there Tuesday through Saturday. The summer of his junior year, Micky's drummer had to take off for Air Force reserve training. Bill was asked to fill in while he was gone, which resulted in many great opportunities to meet so many great players as a result. Micky's cousin Jerry Lee Lewis, appeared at the club for a week during that time as well.
A few months later, Buddy Wright, who had played bass with Mickey Gilley, needed a drummer to start a new group supporting singer Buddy Williams. Of course, Bill was delighted to accept. As is true for most bands of the era, they played a wide range of music. The guitarist was Cliff Faldowski and the pianist was a man named Burt Fannette, whose past boasted of time spent playing for the great Louisiana blues band, the Boogie Kings, and with Edgar Winter in Houston before Edgar became a rock star.
In 1964, when Bill graduated from high school, his first job was with Johnny Williams' group. They played 5 nights a week at the Swingin' Shepherd Club. The next year, Bill accepted a position as drummer for Herb Remington's band. Herb and Melba Remington had become like second parents to Bill, and they all traveled to18 states, mostly in the South and Southeastern US playing one-nighters on a country club tour. That summer, Bill had to leave the band
because he was going to be drafted into the Army unless he went to college. Thus began his college career at The Ohio State University. He quit playing during his first 3 quarters of school making sure that he kept at least a C average so he would not get drafted into the US Army. He was then able to resume working with Herb Remington again during the summer of 1966. After returning to college in late August, 1966, he began to work with a soul/jazz band, the Ray Jones
Quintet, which was comprised of other OSU students. They attended classes at the OSU main campus in Columbus, Ohio, and played fraternity parties on weekends. In the summer of 1967, they worked 6 nights a week as the house band for The Bistro in Columbus. Show groups appearing there included Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, John Denver, and comics Pat Paulson and Patchet & Tarsus (who later wrote for the Bob Newhart Show.) They continued
to work the fraternity circuit until late 1968, when Bill accepted a job with a jazz trio featuring pianist Ray Vaske. He worked with Ray until the late spring of 1969, when his student draft deferment ran out.
At that time his music career came to an end. He enlisted in the US Air Force, was trained in telecommunications technology, and spent the next 35 years in the telecom industry, 7 years in the Air Force, 28 years in private industry. He has worked on and off playing weekends with various bands, and still stays in touch with Herb Remington (who was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1979). As of this posting, Herb is still going strong at 80 and he and his wife still live in the house they lived in back in 1965 just off the Gulf Freeway. Bill has had the honor of performing with the Country Ham Band now for the past 25 years. The Country Ham Band is made up of Exxon Mobil employees (some of them now retired). Historically, they have played primarily for charitable fund raising functions like the United Way, March of Dimes,
and Special Olympic functions. They have recently become more active musically. Bill has even filled in on drums with fellow MyTexasMusic member David Brake and That Damn Band for the past couple of years. Bill is still a proud member off the Houston Professional Musicians Association Local 65-699. “It becomes a habit after awhile,” remarked Bill. “You never know when that next road gig is going to come up!” MyTexasMusic is proud to call this talented musical veteran family!!
About this artist
Bill Bowerman is a Gold Member Artist • To apply for membership click
All material and images used with permission
Send suggestions to webmaster • ©2007 Payline Productions • Our privacy