Bill McKay is staying busy | SteamboatToday.com

Bill McKay is staying busy

Former Leftover Salmon keyboardist brings band to 'Boat

Margaret Hair

With a four-piece rock band, two keyboard-guitar duos, a Latin-rock outfit, a solo career and a spot in a legendary Colorado jam band on his roster, it would be hard to say that Bill McKay has slowed down.

But the former Leftover Salmon and Derek Trucks Band keyboard player said he’s just been trying to keep busy since his four-piece Bill McKay Band played in Steamboat at the beginning of the summer.

Embracing his own songwriting – with a lean toward rock guitars and funky keys – McKay returns to Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill on Saturday as part of a weekend-long regional tour between the occasional show with a reunited Leftover Salmon and an active schedule of solo performances.

McKay talked with 4 Points about his songwriting style, trying his hand at recording ballads and taking some time away from touring to be with his family.

4 POINTS: What kinds of material will you record for the album you have coming up?

BILL MCKAY: It’s stuff of mine that goes back to anywhere over the last couple of years until back when I played with Band du Jour in the early ’90s. So it’s rocking type stuff I’ve been playing over the years but I’ve never been able to get solidly on record.

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It’s anything from sort of funky rock ‘n’ roll, and then I have some ballad-type tunes that I’ve never been able to get down, so that the album itself will have some depth.

4 POINTS: Have you done many ballads before?

BM: It’s not something that I concentrate on in a band format, but when I go around and do solo-type gigs, then I might focus a little bit more on those, where it’s a more listening situation rather than being in a bar where people are dancing.

4 POINTS: Who is included in the band you’ll be bringing to Steamboat this weekend?

BM: This little trip this weekend, it’s just a four-piece band. It’s me, Adam Stern on guitar, Stefan Ferraro on bass and Chris Carland on drums. : That way we can all get into the one van and save a little money.

4 POINTS: Did you have trouble getting out on tour over the summer, with gas prices being so high?

BM: It got a little brutal; it definitely cut into the amount of money we were making.

4 POINTS: How did the Leftover Salmon shows during the summer go?

BM: I think between the last time we were up there (in Steamboat Springs) we did a couple of shows, and this last time on Halloween (at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver) we had some crazy decorations and costumes.

4 POINTS: What was your costume?

BM: I was a vampire.

4 POINTS: Nice. How has it been playing some shows with Leftover Salmon again?

BM: We didn’t play for a few years at all, and then we started kind of getting back together. I think it’s going to stay at a few big shows and a handful of festivals a year, that way the energy seems to stay there, as opposed to climbing on the bus and going (all the time).

4 POINTS: And you all do solo projects in the meantime?

BM: I have a million other things going on, as well, but by not being constantly on the road with them I can be home more with my family. I don’t want to be the road nearly as much as I was for all those years with them.


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