Prior to Hot August Music Festival Little Feat’s Bill Payne Reflects on Music, Memories, and Carnival Ghosts
Words by Dan Rozman, Photos by Mark Raker
As the Hot August Music Festival 2023 in Cockeysville, Maryland, approaches, fans are eagerly anticipating the performance of legendary rock band Little Feat. Ahead of the festival, we had the privilege of interviewing Bill Payne, a founding member and keyboardist of Little Feat.
During the conversation, Bill shared insights into the band’s history, his experiences with other renowned artists, and the inspiration behind their iconic music. Additionally, he revealed exciting news about his upcoming autobiographical book, “Carnival Ghosts,” which promises to be a fascinating look into the life of a musician whose contributions have shaped rock and roll.
The Early Days and Formation of Little Feat:
Bill Payne took us back to the band’s inception in 1969, a time when he was in touch with Bizarre Records, Frank Zappa’s label. It was through this connection that he met Lowell George, the man who became his partner in starting Little Feat. Although there were conflicting stories about their initial meeting, Bill clarified that he had already made the decision to form a band with Lowell George before he met Frank Zappa. The group eventually evolved into the iconic Little Feat we know today, and the search for a bass player led them to the formation of the band’s lineup.
“Carnival Ghosts” – An Autobiographical Journey:
Bill Payne revealed that he is currently writing a book called “Carnival Ghosts,” an autobiographical work that delves into the numerous experiences and stories from his long and illustrious career. Writing about his life’s journey has been both enjoyable and daunting, as he aims to capture the essence of who he is and his significant role in Little Feat. The book, still a work in progress, is expected to be released in late 2024, promising to be an insightful and captivating read for music enthusiasts and fans alike.
Watch the official music video for “Let It Roll” by Little Feat on YouTube:
Little Feat’s Connection to the Washington DC – Maryland Area:
The Washington DC – Maryland area holds special significance for Little Feat. Bill Payne highlighted that the region played a vital role in the band’s early days, serving as a launching pad for their success. The band still cherishes their connections and friendships with people in the area, making their performance at the Hot August Music Festival all the more meaningful.
Evolution of Little Feat’s Music and Inspirations:
Throughout the interview, Bill Payne emphasized Little Feat’s commitment to creating music that stands the test of time. He mentioned that the band’s focus has always been on composing influential and unique music, rather than being defined solely by the lineup. Over the years, they have collaborated with various renowned artists, and these experiences have enriched their music and songwriting. Payne highlighted the importance of storytelling in songwriting, a process that allows them to connect with their audience on a personal level.
Adapting to Changing Music Consumption:
As technology has revolutionized the music industry, Bill Payne acknowledged the shift in how people consume music. While playlists and short clips have become more prevalent, he emphasized the importance of maintaining Little Feat’s authentic and eclectic style. The band continues to create music that resonates with both old and new fans, infusing each song with their signature sound and storytelling.
Bill Payne’s interview provided a fascinating glimpse into the world of Little Feat, a band that has defied time and trends to stay true to their music and artistic integrity. As they prepare to perform at the Hot August Music Festival 2023, fans can expect an unforgettable experience that celebrates the band’s history, the power of storytelling, and the enduring impact of Little Feat’s music on rock and roll. Moreover, the upcoming release of Bill Payne’s autobiographical book, “Carnival Ghosts,” promises to be a captivating journey through the life and experiences of one of rock music’s most talented musicians.
Here are some photos of the 2021 and 2022 Hot August Music Festivals, including some photos of headliners Little Feat! All photos copyright and courtesy of Mark Raker.