|Also known as||Ant-Bee|
November 11, 1960 |
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
|Genres||Rock, jazz, experimental|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, writer, publicist|
|Instruments||drums, percussion, vocals|
|Associated acts||Frank Zappa, The Mothers of Invention|
Billy James - better known by his stage name Ant-Bee - is an American experimental musician and writer. In his musical work, he is a noted psychedelic era revivalist, working with members of The Mothers of Invention, the Alice Cooper Group and Captain Beefheart's Magic Band. Ant-Bee has recorded several albums of material that bring together the styles of several branches of late-60s experimental rock music.
Billy James was born on November 11, 1960 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Moving to Los Angeles, he began his Ant-Bee project in 1987 in order to showcase his musical affinity to the psychedelic and experimental music of the late 1960s. Signing to Voxx/Bomp! Records in 1988, Ant-Bee released Pure Electric Honey, which featured guest appearances by former members of The Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart. Sounding like a cross between the Smile-era of The Beach Boys, early Pink Floyd, and late-period Beatles, the record became well known in the underground scene in Europe.
Assembling a live band, Ant-Bee performed in the Los Angeles area in 1990 to much success. While the band recorded a couple of videos, the next recorded material Ant-bee would release was a German EP, 1992's With My Favorite "Mothers" and other Bizarre Muzik. Reassembling the original Mothers of Invention for the first time in over 20 years, James and company performed material that was both humorous and spaced-out. James recorded with The Mothers of Invention once again on the second Ant-Bee record With My Favorite "Vegetables" & Other Bizarre Muzik (1994), which received strong press and sold quite well.
Three years in the making, Lunar Muzik (1997), explored both the pop and experimental side of the psychedelic spectrum and was bolstered by strong production and appearances from Daevid Allen of Soft Machine and Gong and Harvey Bainbridge of Hawkwind and the original Alice Cooper Group. After almost fifteen years of silence, Ant-Bee's fourth studio album was released and titled Electronic Church Muzik.
James' rock biographies, such as the book Lunar Notes - Zoot Horn Rollo's Captain Beefheart Experience written with Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo) have been reprinted after being out of print for years by GONZO MultiMedia UK.
Interviews with Billy are featured in the DVD documentaries From Straight To Bizarre - Zappa, Beefheart, Alice Cooper and LA's Lunatic Fringe and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention - In The 1960s.
- Pure Electric Honey (1990)
- With My Favorite "Vegetables" & Other Bizarre Muzik (1994)
- Lunar Muzik (1997)
- Electronic Church Muzik (2011)
- "2 June 2013 interview with Billy James". Outsight Radio Hours. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- "GONZO press release". GONZO. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
- "27 October 2013 Interview on Outsight Radio Hours". Outsight Radio Hours. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "4 March 2012 interview with Billy James". Outsight Radio Hours. Retrieved 18 March 2012.