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Beyond the Band

The Billy Nayer Show and so much more

By Michele Jenkins

Old movies and cartoon sometimes portray a wacky busker who's gigs involved playing half-a-dozen instruments at once. The clownish-looking man would have a drum on his back, a banjo in hand, a cymbal strapped to his foot and so on. Musician, writer, producer, publisher and singer Corey McAbee may be the modern reincarnation of these multi-talented multi-taskers--only he dresses a lot sharper.

McAbee, along with Bobby Lurie, ak.a. "Bachelor Bob Bachelor," make up the undefinable, but undeniably cool, musical experience, the Billy Nayer Show (BNS). Last month, the Billy Nayer Show played its first San Francisco show in almost a year to a overstuffed room at Bottom of the Hill.

The experience is more than a little difficult to describe. Try starting with Frank Zappa-ish lyrics ranging from full-blown stories to simple ditties. Now turn it into a hyper lounge act, and hand the lead singer an auto-harp. Then imagine something a lot cooler than this sounds.

But the Billy Nayer Show is just one instrument strapped to the one-man (actually two-man) symphony that is BNS Productions. McAbee and Lurie (who lives in New York) also handle ventures in the film, record, and publishing industries. Besides the band, there is BNS Film Division, Big Sam's Giant Records and Fickey Publishing.

"We were really working to get the band and the film together," explained Corey. "Now the trick is to separate out the different parts." Currently, BNS Productions is juggling a new feature-length film, a new album, and two books.

McAbee manges to find time to hand-paint all 650 post cards that make up the band's mailing list. All this craziness means the Billy Nayer Show performed in SF just once in the last year. But, McAbee promises, once the album, film and books are done, the band will be back to playing every few months.

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From the December 1997 issue of the Metropolitan.

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