I met Billy Ruane in the Summer of 1998, when I started working at the Middle East Restaurant and Club in Cambridge MA, a renowned live music venue where I worked for 10 years. For 7 of those years, I played drums in a band called the Damn Personals, which Billy was a fan of.
As an employee of the Middle East, my music collection increased exponentially, as Billy would be at all the worthwhile shows and would spoil me with all the likewise worthwhile albums those bands would be selling. I was so backlogged with new music to listen to, that many CD's would sit shrink wrapped on my desk for months. As a member of a rock band, I, like so many others, considered having the trademark "Billy Ruane Dance" done at our live show a seal of approval... But of much more value than the piles of music and his support of my band , I treasured the friendship that began and would continue up to and through his oh-too-soon passing this past October.
After leaving the Middle East and becoming a filmmaker (directing music videos mostly), and after the dissolution of the Damn Personals, I saw a bit less of Billy, but one day I ran into him and he asked me what I'd been up to. When I told him, he hired me on the spot to be his personal videographer for local Boston shows; a trailblazer and trendsetter, he smartly wanted to document and archive up and coming bands that he appreciated. This would bring us closer, as we were spending a lot of time together. As my fascination with Billy as a character increased, the idea to make a movie about him began to gestate. With his passing, this whim has become an urge, as I don't just wish to profile, but to pay tribute to my dear friend.
Billy Ruane wasn't just one of the most memorable icons of the Boston music scene, he was one of the most colorful, generous, and passionate friends that I was lucky enough to have. As I was his close confidant and videographer, I have miles of footage of Billy being Billy; anyone that knew him knows what that means... But rather than making a one dimensional compilation of his antics, I intend to make the ultimate tribute documentary to the man. Oh, there will be antics, to be sure, but I also intend to delve much deeper into the man behind them. Billy was so beloved by so many musicians, I plan to intercut his story with interviews with a wide array of his friends and fans. I also plan to create re-enactments of certain famous "Billy moments" using his friends to portray him. Really, the only cost I foresee to make this project is towards tape stock for the reenactments and interviews, film to video transfers, and (mostly) to buy myself the time to edit this project together in a way that will do appropriate service to the legend himself. Billy's enthusiasm and appreciation of music was unparalleled by anyone. He truly was Boston's "Rock & Roll Ambassador." And he was so much more.
- (68 days)