BILL LAYMON is a well renowned & respected musician/ bassist/songwriter/producer & educator based in Santa Cruz, California.
Perhaps best known for his many years as bassist with the New Riders of the Purple Sage, as well as the critically-acclaimed David Nelson Band, BILL LAYMONs credentials also include numerous tours of duty with the world-renowned Jefferson Starship, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Kingfish, Al Jardine & hosts of other high-profile & successful acts.
BILL LAYMON loved the rock 'n roll of the 50's & 60's, has played in rock 'n roll bands since age 13 & in the intervening years has played in well over 100 bands. He studied film production & music at the University of Illinois/Springfield & for several years performed with the SSU Jazz Ensemble. Upon graduating from college in 1981, he moved to Santa Cruz, CA, where he immediately began playing steadily, most notably with the musically adventurous Continental Drifters. It was Bill's great fortune to become acquainted with one of his musical heroes, legendary LA studio bassist Carol Kaye, with whom BILL took private bass instruction, furthering the expertise of his already notable training & experience. From there, things moved fast for BILL LAYMON, becoming a high in-demand recording & live session player, typically working over 300 days a year. The result of all the great music, hard work, enthusiasm for musical adventure & fun was getting called to play bass with seminal psychedelic country rockers The New Riders of the Purple Sage in the mid-80's, raising BILL's profile as an outstanding bassist & singer to the national level.
New Riders of the Purple Sage Meanwhile, BILL LAYMON continued his work as an in-demand session musician around the San Francisco Bay Area, including many appearances with the Sam Andrew Band, Moby Grape's Jerry Miller, legendary drummer John Craviatto, Gregg Allman, Pete Sears, Lacy J Dalton, Gene Parsons, Vince Welnik, Prairie Prince, T Lavitz, Henry Kaiser, Peter Tork, Harvey Mandell, Peter Rowan, Lorin Rowan, bluegrass legends Frank Wakefield & Vassar Clements, Snookie Flowers, Roy Bloomenfeld, Doobie Brother Dale Ockerman, Melvin Seals, Larry Hosford, Peter Grant, country-diva Ginny Mitchell, Joe Weed, Zero's Steve Kimock, Greg Anton, Martin Fierro & Chip Roland, acclaimed songwriters Bradley Ditto, David Beaudry, Jim Lewin, Steve Kritzer, Joe Richie & Steve Bennett, as well as touring with other nationally famous acts such as Big Brother & the Holding Company & Kingfish.
John "Marmaduke" Dawson performing "Panama Red"
at the 2002 High Times Doobie Awards at B.B. King's in New York City.
In 1993, at the invitation of the Grateful Dead's Tom Constanten, BILL signed on for several national tours with DEAD RINGERS, a "pedigreed" Grateful Dead cover band, which featured Constanten, David Nelson, Mathew Kelly & future DNB members guitar great Barry Sless & drummer Arthur Steinhorn.
In 1994, the David Nelson Band emerged as a new entity, featuring David Nelson, BILL LAYMON, Barry Sless, Arthur Steinhorn & keyboardist Mookie Siegel, showcasing innovative new, original tunes & extended jazzy improvisations. To date, the DNB remains a tireless touring & recording act, releasing 4 CD's, 1 live concert video ("High Adventure in Japan"), & 1 "rockumentary" ("Wires, Hearts & Magic/The Making of Visions Under the Moon"). Each DNB concert is completely unique in structure, incorporating elements of rock, blues, jazz, bluegrass & swing into a very musically adventurous mix that continues to thrill audiences & pack venues all across the US & Japan.
In 1996, BILL got the call to play with the world renowned Jefferson Starship (with Paul Kantner and Marty Balin), whose historic bassist Jack Casady was encountering scheduling problems with his other touring band, Hot Tuna. BILL played with Jefferson Starship on their summer tour across the US. More concert dates followed & BILL still plays with JS whenever mutual scheduling allows.
In the spring of 2001, BILL was honored to record with Beach Boy Al Jardine at the Beach Boys beautiful Red Barn Studios in Big Sur, California. The result of these sessions was Jardines original track "California Energy Blues", which was released as a bonus track on "Al Jardine & Friends/Live in Las Vegas" CD, to wide critical acclaim.
Much of BILL's schedule today is taken up with fairly relentless touring with the David Nelson Band. Recent highlights include a Texas tour (co-billed with Peter Rowan) & an appearance at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver, Colorado, co-billed with the Grateful Deads own Robert Hunter.
In September 2002, BILL LAYMON was called upon once again to saddle up with the reunited New Riders of the Purple Sage to receive a "Lifetime Achievement (Doobie) Award" from High Times Magazine, at BB Kings Nightclub in New York City. The event was a smoking success! Peter Rowan joined NRPS onstage & great fun was had by all. Rehearsals were held at Jimi Hendrixs Electric Ladyland Studios in NYC.
BILL LAYMON is emerging as a promising & talented songwriter, as well. His original compositions have always been staples of Bill's own GYPSY COWBOY BAND and are now regularly featured in the DNB's concert repertoire. Bill's self-penned song "Kerouac" was included on the DNB's CD release "Visions Under the Moon" & achieved rotation status at radio stations throughout the US. Bill is currently preparing a CD recording project of his own. Scheduled for release: 2003. Working title: "The Great American Novel and Other Road Stories "
In the final analysis, the sky is the limit for this talented & respected musical veteran, whose abilities & grace are reflected by the many musical roads traveled...
"Still got a long way to go..."
BILL LAYMON endorses: Modulus-Graphite Basses, SWR Bass Amps, A Brown Soun "Fat Ass"- Hemp Bass Speakers>
PO Box 422