The night I met Billy Blazes. Joe Torrillo. A story about 9/11.

billy blazes

I met this guy on 9/11/2015. I happened upon him at The Gopher Hole that is directly next door to Tuscany Hills Retreat/Resort . . . or whatever it’s called just off the 15 freeway at the Castle Creek Country Club. His friend (another retired fireman from NY) tells me to get my recorder ready. In less than 2 minutes I was in front of this guy, and all I can think of is to use my video, so I shoot. The video is completely dark, but listen to Joe’s story. Much of the story is about why Joe was there that day when the towers fell.

If you make it down this far, you probably wonder . . . ok why was I there at my local watering hole, The Gopher Hole?

The Gopher Hole has been hosting several Americana musical artists from around the globe. Americana music (genre) is about living life, with a country, blues, folk and rock influence. It’s a genre that has meant so much to me lately as my stories unfold . . . about my recent trip to Oklahoma, or nights like this.

This evening I met Bex Chilcott (Ruby Boots) and her guitarist Lee Jones. These amazing artists were visiting from Perth, Australia and played a show in Los Angeles the night before (9/10), and the next evening at The Hole (9/11). Kinda ironic, that these Americana artists are not from America. Bex and Lee were on their way to Nashville, TN to play shows at the Americana Music Awards. Cattle Call Events  intercepted them and brought them here to North San Diego County; and my jaw was open in awe as this 9/11 evening progressed. Once we (Bex, Lee, Jimmie of Cattle Call and I) had realized the significance of who was amongst us on this 9/11, none of us could keep our mouths closed.

It all started with meeting Bex. She’s a feisty gal from Perth Australia. Hey, I have been there. So we immediately hit off our conversation. I told her I was an American Sailor and there began the multitude of things she and I discussed. Perhaps those stories at another time.

Bex is a very warm-hearted interesting gal that has found herself on a brink of success since sobriety. She admittedly says 3 months; and this new clarity has helped her realize that she’s a very talented individual and been given this great opportunity of success from Australia. She needs to think clearly to seize the moment. Not that she was a heavey drinker but she might have a couple before a show. She admittedly said that she realizes her performances have changed dramatically from her perception because she is more able to perform at stellar levels, like tonight. I think Bex is going to find that success here in America this trip.

And Bex can tell a story or two . . . she even finished next to her end of set with “Middle of No-where”. I later told Bex that song is her money song as it talks about dejection and should be sold for most any movie.

Lee is a remarkable guitarist (now on steel) that helped her flawlessly send a chill my way. I think the whole crowd, for that matter. The applause she received this evening was the most pleasant full-house whistling and coo’s that seemed to fuel her more and more with each song. Lee would yank strings once in a while to help set the off-beats of her very unique style of Americana. I spoke with Lee later about his obvious “Telecaster” and the Ernie-Ball strings; his quick and constant tuning (un-noticeable to most, then I caught him . . . he’s fast) perfections never missing his riff or cue as each song played through to the next. These guys were great, I mean awesome as evidenced by driving dancers to the floor. Lee had an obvious advantage of his snappy licks emitting clearly to blend their flair of sound. Then it even got better as Sumbucks joined in toward the end of the show. IMG_3444

As the Sumbucks were kicking off their additional set I happened upon Tom, a retired FDNY (I just learned) fireman that I never got his last name; and once he found out I was a writer, he immediately set me up in front of Joe Torrillo in literally 2 minutes. I had my video to record the event, but didn’t know how to just do voice, so I just started the completely dark (except for one or two moments) video above. At the end I bought them a drink and they were gone back to their  room at Tuscany Hills. Before they left I questioned as to why they were there at The Hole. Tom and Joe do shows across America with a message to bring pride back to this great nation by allowing Joe to tell his story. Another significant feather in this evening’s cap of significance.

Tom and Joe are from New York, Tom wore this medalion. and had the nice thick Bronx accents and attitude. I bet they could tell me where to eat in NY. Anyway, after hearing Joes story personally and thanking them both, I asked them, “how did you find The Gopher Hole?” Tom replied by explaining that they were next door at Tuscany Hills, as Tom held his flashlight up . . . meaning, he’ll find it. A couple of great firemen from New York that made me say . . . “the night I met a New York fireman”. Wow, what an evening. Give a listen, your life will never be the same. Just remember, I met him after Ruby Boots performed and I was dying to tell Bex and Lee. What a damn shame we missed his opportunity to really have set this 9/11 performance from Bex and help promote Joe’s quest as an American Warrior.IMG_3445

FDNY Rocks!


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