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Local Music Mondays is a weekly segment produced by WUKY's DeBraun Thomas. Check here for archived episodes, extended interviews, and extras.

Local Music Monday: Guitarist, Vocalist Billy Quinn

Shawn Deakins

This week on Local Music Monday DeBraun talks with Billy Quinn who does double duty with Rebel Without A Cause and 10 Foot Pole.

Billy Quinn is a native of Lexington who is a long time veteran of the local music scene. While his parents weren’t musicians, he says they were always supportive and music has always been part of his life.

“Dad was always like ‘woah, you know, I’m not gonna you a guitar, but I’ll allow you to buy one with your own money’ and that was good in retrospect, but he was also the guy would say ‘hey, I saw this flyer and I pulled this tab and there’s this band looking for a guitar player,’ you know and so, it was usually some country band or something, I just wanted to be in a band, I didn’t care and before you know it, I went from this country band and then this friend from high school who also was secretly playing in a country band was like, ‘hey, do you like rock n roll’ and I was like ‘of course [laughs]’ and then before you know it the two guys that quit the country band had formed a rock band.”

Quinn spent time in and out of different bands and was a staple in hailed era of local music in the 90’s. One of his favorite groups in town was Rebel Without A Cause, a band he later joined and still plays with. That led to him meeting bassist Brian Arnett and the two eventually started the band 10 Foot Pole. The band features John Turner on trumpet and Dave Farris on drums. Quinn says he is at his best when surrounded by others who push and inspire him.

“I’ve never been a dude who could play solo, I can’t, hand me a guitar and entertain people, like I can’t do that, I gotta be with other people, I gotta have vibes and I’ve have, I gotta be inspired and I gotta have my butt kicked a little bit, it’s just not exciting for me to even think about playing by myself and so there’s plenty of that, Dave [Farris] counts for like 10 people worth of inspiration”

Quinn has now stepped into a different role in helping to mature and inspire the musical careers of his three sons. He says his musical and paternal worlds collided and gave him a moment of pride and reflection when 10 Foot Pole played a show with his oldest son’s band.

“Two things hit me, number one, I forgot that Wils has never seen me play, you know, Rebel he’s seen, he kinda grew up with those guys living in his basement and that’s been fine, but he’d never seen 10 Foot Pole and that was a band that was a whole different game, and then the other thing and I joke about this because it’s not totally true, but the reason I stopped going hard at music is because I was having a family you know, for it to come full circle like that, I never thought about it before, I was like ‘oh, well here we are, hey we’re playing again, shew, it took 18 years, but alright let’s got hit the stage’ that felt really cool.”

Billy Quinn performs with Rebel Without A Cause and 10 Foot Pole. More information about both bands can be found on Facebook.

DeBraun Thomas fell in love with radio at a young age but only had interest in working in radio after learning Funk musician Sly Stone got his start in radio. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Thomas moved to Lexington in 2009 to attend the University of Kentucky and pursue a career in radio. Thomas joined WRFL in 2009 and through the UK school of Journalism, Thomas had 2 features air on WUKY. In October of 2012, Thomas began interning at WUKY and produced the Unghosting of Medgar Evers. In August of 2013 Thomas became a staff member at WUKY and since that time, Thomas regularly produces the weekly segment Local Music Mondays which highlights local musicians in Lexington. Thomas hosts the Crunkadelic Funk Show which airs Saturday nights at 9pm and also produced a documentary on the 50th anniversary of the March on Frankfort. In addition to producing and hosting a radio show, Thomas also explores his other passion as a musician in Lexington.
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