The Billy Bats
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The Billy Bats

Band Alternative Blues


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"ST L speaks"

“It was one of our out of town gigs and someone said ‘Yeah, they have the Kansas City sound,”says slide guitarist and singer Jason Vivone.

The truth is no one sounds like The Billy Bats. You may have heard two pieces before – slide guitar and drums- but not with this kind of groove, not with songs like this.

Recently voted Artists on the Verge by Ink Magazine, The Billy Bats will perform two shows in St. Louis Friday February 27 and Saturday the 28th.



Blues Matters review
“The Billy Bats are a two-piece from Kansas, consisting of Jason Vivone on guitar and vocals, and Zach McCall on drums and vocals. As such, comparisons to the White Stripes seem inevitable. Indeed, a song like ‘Tangled’ could in fact be the Stripes. However, what stops them becoming mere copyists is that their Blues influences appear genuine. There’s an Elmore James feel to ‘Crash and Burn’, a Wolf vocal married to a Hooker boogie on ‘Subtle Nuance’, and a Robert Plant lustiness to ‘Kung Pow Chicken’. It’s fat, bassy music with plenty of space in it. They’ve retained the rhythm of the Blues form but dispensed with the histrionic guitar parts. What the Billy Bats have in their arsenal that gives them their own identity is a deadpan sense of humor, such as the ‘MSG is good for you’ chant in ‘Kung Pow Chicken’; the furtive development of a fledgling relationship in ‘Bed or Sofa’; or in the kookiness of love song ‘Sweet Pea’. It’s too adult and knowing to capture the teenage market the Stripes have, but for those with a taste for irony and off kilter Blues then you should find something to sink your teeth into here.”
Duncan Jamieson

"A YEAR IN MUSIC: Our Favorites from 2008"

Local Artists on the Verge

"on the album"

"When that hungover morning-after feeling spills over into the afternoon, the Billy Bats are what you need to make the transition. No bass, but then again, it's not missed." --- - James Porter, Chicago writer/musician/deejay, October 2008.

"live show"

"Vivone makes love to his guitar like it's a woman..." - Dawn McClain Morning Host, Power 96.5, KSPW Springfield, MO

"Ink:album review: The Billy Bats"

A blues-based rock duo. Just a drummer and guitarist. Does Kansas City have its own version of The White Stripes?

Not quite, but with their self-titled debut, The Billy Bats show promise.
Upon listening to The Billy Bats, you’ll notice the talent of drummer Zach McCall and guitarist Jason Vivone. These skilled musicians can change direction while keeping the sound loose and catchy.

Some tunes build from a near whisper to a deep growl that could shake pictures off a wall.

The tracks are fast, powerful and intense.

Easily the best song on the album is “The Big Finish,” which combines a healthy mix of restraint and energy. The Billy Bats are able to create a much richer sound, which lets them shine on both ends of the songwriting spectrum.

— travis fox { special to ink }
- Ink (Kansas City, MO)

""It's all about the blues, baby""

The Billybats will light up the stage with their low, low down, blues-infused rock. Expect everything from hazy bar room jams to raucous delta ballads. It’s all about the blues baby.


"If Robert Wilson staged James Brown"

The music of the Billy Bats is inspired by Chicago Blues, funk, and Kurt Weil. The live show is akin to "if Robert Wilson staged James Brown."


"Two Man Blues Boogies"

The Daily News Thursday August 13, 2009
Kansas City’s “The Billy Bats” will make their first appearance at the City Hall Gym in Richmond for the Community Concert in the Park Series Friday Aug. 14.
The band has played their two man blues boogies from Minneapolis to Chicago to New Orleans. “…but small towns are the best,” says singer/slide guitarist Jason Vivone. “I’m from a small town in Southeast Missouri and we used to go see live music at the band shell growing up. It’s important this continues.”
Audiences enjoy the sing-a-longs and get-up and dance feel of “The Billy Bats.” They will also be bringing their secret weapon, a cigar box guitar made by Greg Watkins of Memphis.

"Vivone is extraordinary"

Jason Vivone is an extraordinary musician who sings and plays slide guitar. He is someone to watch and learn from as he plays. - RAY COUNTY JOURNAL


Tunes and video available at

New Studio CD available.

We have a bunch of live self-produced bootleg cuts. The most downloaded are our originals TANGLED and DANNA LEE.



Jason Vivone received backstage guitar lessons from blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis. After a career playing in Chicago Blues Festivals to backing Elvis impersonators in Branson, it was time to record some self-penned material.

Zach McCall had run in similar paths- Chicago blues and bluegrass. Now he was looking for something fresh. Something where he could display his hip hop and jazz influences.

"The old guys could say more in one note than I could with a hundred," Vivone says. "In that way that makes being a 2 piece easier. We have space to create a pocket. Every lick we play should be simple and honest."