Billy Dechand
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Billy Dechand


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Splendid E-Zine"


With such lighthearted lyrical subject matter as nuclear proliferation, school violence and electoral reform, one might expect the Billy Dechand Band to be serious political types. Alas, nothing could be further from the truth. Filtered through Billy's wonderfully absurd songwriting style, which calls to mind the LSD-fueled surrealism of the Zappa/Beefheart days, even those heavy topics come off as goofy and chuckle-inducing. How can I laugh at nuclear proliferation, you scoff? Well, the song is called "Fu Fu Bunny" and it features the lyric, "It's Fu Fu Bunny for the floppy titty momma." See, I told you so. Funny. Most of the rest of the lyrics aren't quite as over-the-top; they're mostly smart, amusing and surprising. The opening lines to "Multiply" are a good example. Billy sings in a jocular tone, "Are you feeling alienated by consumer-driven drivel? / We've got just the car for you. It's badly made, so you can relate." When the listener is continually surprised by lyrical twists and turns, it's usually a sign of fresh songwriting. Dechand likes to surprise, and he is good at it.

The music to which these good-acid-trip lyrics are set also recalls Frank Zappa's work, in that it is somewhat hard to categorize. The band sometimes sounds like Phish, as might be expected from neo-hippies, but they also throw in some truly unexpected twists and turns. "Hard Moon Crash" features a beautiful, sad Scottish violin part, "Fu Fu Bunny" is a dirty blues romp and "Flip the Switch" (the school violence song) opens with a Dick Dale-style middle eastern/surf boom. The guys aren't virtuosos by any stretch, but they play with obvious joy and seem willing to try anything. Numerous guest musicians provide accompaniment on instruments as diverse as accordion, sax, violin and clarinet. The unconventional instrumentation really stretches the Band's sound beyond the borders of any recognizable genre.

The album is hindered somewhat by its lack of richness. It doesn't sound poorly recorded, per se, nor intentionally lo-fi -- just some what amateurish. Perhaps in the future, when this band's brilliantly wacked-out lyrics and full-blown musical expansiveness earn them a cult following, all will be forgiven. They had me at "floppy titty momma".

-- J. Berk - J. Berk

"All About Jazz"


The Billy Dechand Band provides an alternative to Alternative Rock. This guitar, bass, and drums trio also excels as a multitasking unit. Guitarists Billy Dechand and Vito di Bona share vocal duties, while the former also handles keys and bass. Drummer/percussionist Mike Yanoski operates the rhythms amid these concisely organized pieces with sociopolitical musings. The band augments its sound with accordionist Jay Cartwright, clarinetist Nancy Fiator, and others. The entire production clocks in at thirty-four and one-half minutes.

The group melds an element of folksiness via a verse/chorus stratagem atop simple crunch chords and a few unexpected time changes as they occasionally skirt the fringes of progressive rock. On the piece "The Emperor Has No Votes," the band enlists three folks who chant, "hip, hip, hooray!" subsequent to the vocalists' bubbly and altogether lighthearted choruses. Besides the straight-ahead rockers and psychedelic riffs, they also toss in a few countrified, Southern Rock motifs here and there. Yet, some of these pieces fail to impart a lasting impression, although the group's approach is miles ahead of a large portion of the rubbish on present-day rock radio. - Glenn Astarita

"Hocus Pocus"

Billy Dechand composes mellifluous, intelligent pop. While he hails from indie-soaked Chapel Hill, he doesn't seem to fit in all that well with that region's indiot jet set. Dechand's songs have a mature feel that distinguishes them from most of his co-regionalists. Maybe this is the kind of music that indie folks will make when they start to get a little older, grayer and less self-conscious.

Dechand's instrumentation consists of the standard guitar, drums and bass setup, but also includes strings, analogue keys and occasional violins. The recording style always borders on minimalism. When the violin, guitar and drums are dancing around each other it still feels sparse, reminding one of that roomy quality of recording that Pedro the Lion was able to achieve on their previous full-length.

The songs on Hocus Pocus are reminiscent of The Loud Family or Zumpano; they're also remarkably similar to the work of Nick Lowe and, in a more syndicalist direction, early Talking Heads. But Dechand is not an easy musician to categorize. He brings together a variety of influences that merge pop with more sophisticated jazz and folk arrangements. Some of the songs, like "Don't Worry", are a case in point. This tune has the rudimentary structure of a pop song, but leads you through some pleasingly eccentric turns. Occasionally Dechand's "freedom of the spirit" melodies take some getting used to (as do some of Dechand's fatuous, non-sequitur lyrics). The more novelty-styled songs, notably "Sassafras, Arugula and Mint," are fairly embarrassing. Dechand is at his best when he combines quirkiness with engaging melodies. For example, on "2:00" Dechand channels the talking singer, Jonathan Richman, with a dash of melancholy and a sprinkling of desperation. "Under the Tree" is also particularly absorbing, with the bucolic-prog feel of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci or Syd Barrett (although it doesn't obtain that level of enchantment that the latter artists reached). In the end, regardless of the shortcomings on Hocus Pocus, Dechand's songwriting skills easily compensate for any deficiencies. - Randall Stephens

"Hold On CD Review"

Billy Dechand • Hold On • Muss My Hair Records •
This is one of those wonderful discs which simply defy classification. On the mellow side, the songs are complex, well written, and well performed. Gentle melodies glide you through this disc, weaving seamlessly from song to song. This is a really great disc. -


Hold On (2003)
World Famous in Chapel Hill (2001)
Hocus Pocus (2000)
Pop Another Cork (1998)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Billy went to studied Music Composition at Bard College. He played with a lot of musicians there, many of whom are now on Muss My Hair Records. He composed some chamber music, which, combined with his taste for Brit Pop, helped gell his unique style of intelligent, elegant, accessible songwriting. In the mid-90s he fronted the rock trio Trike in NYC. He moved to Chapel Hill in 1998 and released several CDs with The Billy Dechand Band. As the world spins about, his music has been getting more political, but also more personal.
He has been travelling between NYC and Chapel Hill, playing with the most creative musicians in both towns.
Look for his new CD in the summer of 2003, called HOLD ON.