Reverend Billy C. Wirtz

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Reverend Billy C. Wirtz
Rev. Billy Wirtz.jpg
Rev. Billy Wirtz entertains fellow James Madison University students in 1978. Harrisonburg, Virginia. Photo by Lawrence K. Emerson
Background information
Born 1954 (age 62–63)
Origin Aiken, South Carolina, United States
Genres Rock, blues, country
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, comedian
Years active 1980s-present
Website reverendbilly.com

Reverend Billy C. Wirtz (born William McLean Wirths[1] in 1954, Aiken, South Carolina, United States) is an American blues musician, comedian[2] and writer. His material consists of comedy routines set to music.

Biography[edit]

His father worked for the United States Atomic Energy Commission, his mother was a writer and sociologist who worked to reform the police department.[3] His family moved to Washington, D.C. when he was eight years old.

The comedy album boom of the early 1960s was a significant influence, particularly Allan Sherman's My Son, The Folksinger. He started playing guitar at ten, and played in covers bands in his early teens. Working at the Waxie Maxie's Record Store helped broaden his taste, discovering the blues, as well as jazz and gospel.[3] Wirtz developed a friendship with blues piano legend Sunnyland Slim who invited him to Chicago in June, 1979. He began his career as a solo artist in 1981. In 1982, he recorded his first album, Salvation Through Polyester, on No Big Deal Records. His song "Teenie Weenie Meanie", described as "a tasteful vignette about a midget lady wrestler"[4] led to a six-month-long contract as a "Manager" with Professional Wrestling From Florida (PWF). While there he worked with Dennis "Median" Knight, The Nasty Boys, Gigolo Jimmy Backlund, and Dallas Page. Twelve years later, he returned to Professional Wrestling with a three month stint on WTBS Monday Nitro.

The Nashville Network, USA Network and NBC have showcased Wirtz's talents, along with nationwide morning radio shows. Similarly, "Waffle House Fire" has been featured on XM Radio's Channel 151, Laugh USA. Wirtz performs concerts and teaches workshops on blues and gospel music.

He created a humorous church known as The First House Of Polyester Worship and Horizontal Throbbing Teenage Desire, and Our Lady Of The White Go-Go Boot, Lord Of The 40-Watt Undulating Bubbling Lava Lamp Apocalyptic, No Pizza Take-Out After Twelve, Shrine Of The Rick Flair ‘WOOOO’, Rasslin' Jeezus.

In 2008, Circumstantial Productions published Wirtz's first book, Sermons & Songs, edited by Richard Connolly. In September 2012, Wirtz published his second book, Red Headed Geek with Holy Macro Books.

He is divorced and lives in Florida. As of 2014, he hosts a radio program on WMNF, Tampa.[5]

Music[edit]

In 1990, his album Backslider's Tractor Pull won an award for Comedy Album of the Year by the National Association of Independent Record Distributors. Found on that album is perhaps his parody of the all-American icon, Waffle House.

On his album Unchained Maladies, he covered Tom Lehrer's "I Hold Your Hand In Mine".

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Stairway to Freebird/On the Rag Again" - No Big Deal Records (1984)
  • "Rib Ticklin" - Memphis in May International Festival Inc (2000)
  • "The Best of the Wirtz" (5 track Radio promo) - HighTone Records (2001)

Albums[edit]

  • Salvation Through Polyester - No Big Deal Records (1983)
  • Deep Fried and Sanctified - King Snake Records (1988), re-released 1989 on HighTone Records
  • Backslider's Tractor Pull - HighTone Records (1990)
  • A Turn For the Wirtz: Confessions of a Hillbilly Love God - HighTone Records (1992)
  • Pianist Envy - HighTone Records (1994)
  • Songs of Faith and Inflammation - HighTone Records (1996)
  • Unchained Maladies - HighTone Records (1998)
  • The Best of the Wirtz - HighTone Records (2001)
  • Rev Elation - Rest Stop Records (2004)
  • Sermon from Bethlehem - Blind Pig Records (2006)
  • Pianist Envy - Group Therapy. (with Victor Wainwright, as Pianist Envy) - (2008, later reissued as Roll Models Piana vs Piano)[6]
  • Full Circle - EllerSoul Records (2016)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Belcher, Walt. "Rev. Billy Wirtz brings humor to faithful fans". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Ben Steelman (July 14, 1989). "'Deep fried and sanctified': Offbeat fun is the gospel of Rev. Billy". Wilmington Morning Star. p. 22. 
  3. ^ a b "Reverend Billy C. Wirtz". Answers.com. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Kauffman, Bill (2010). Bye bye, Miss American Empire : neighborhood patriots, backcountry rebels, and their underdog crusades to redraw America's political map. White River Junction, Vt.: Chelsea Green Pub. Co. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-933392-80-6. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "It's the Music! (Friday) - Rev. Billy's Rhythm Revival". Wmnf.org. Retrieved 2014-09-02. 
  6. ^ "Yahoo! Groups". Groups.yahoo.com. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 

External links[edit]