William Seiji Marsh (better known to us as Bill) is our Vice President of the guitar. It’s not an easy job to be on standby to the towering talent of Pink Martini’s guitar virtuoso Dan Faehnle, but, with his secret agent good looks and brilliant guitar chops, Bill is a first-rate super-sub, traveling the world with us whenever Dan isn’t available. Now based in LA, Bill has toured and recorded in the past with the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and Halie Loren, and is currently also a member of the incomparable Edna Vazquez’s band. He’s also an accomplished guitar teacher (look him up if you want on-line lessons!) and has recently been developing a music mindset coaching practice (see more information on this below). When he’s not playing music, or coaching music, he’s building it… in his spare time he enjoys tinkering with and constructing effect pedals, tube amps and more. He’s our own personal Renaissance Man!
1. If you could have seen any musician in concert, dead or alive, who you never got to see live, who would it be?
Leonard Cohen, I think. Maybe Joni Mitchell, who is still with us but I understand she is no longer performing.
2. What is your favorite Pink Martini song to perform?
“Tempo Perdido” is a really fun groove! I also love the dancing, celebration and pageantry that always accompanies our performance of “Brazil.”
3. What Pink Martini song gets stuck in your head?
“Brazil.” It’s often the very last song we perform, and it stays stuck in my head until soundcheck the next day!
4. If you could have a side gig in any current band, which?
I would love to play with Radiohead! I also think it would be fun to play with Wilco, or Tom Waits. I love playing a wide variety of music, which is why the Pink Martini gig is so fun.
5. If you had a robot that could do one household chore for you… what would it be?
Clean the kitchen! I love cooking and eating, but cleaning is such a drag!
6. If you could instantly be fluent in any language, which?
Spanish. I’ve been learning very slowly for years, but it would be great to be able to express myself, it’s such a beautiful language.
7. Who is your favorite movie director?
I’ve been a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films since I was a child, and I still love his work as an adult. My favorite work of his is Spirited Away.
8. What was the first concert you ever saw?
The first “rock show” I ever saw was Tom Petty in Corvallis when I was in high school. The Wallflowers opened, and I loved both acts.
9. If you could have one dish from any restaurant appear instantly anytime, which?
Pupusas from Las Cazuelas in Highland Park, Los Angeles!
10. What music would you choose as a soundtrack to your most triumphant moment?
I think Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra would be appropriate.
11. What’s your favorite sweet/dessert?
I’m a stupid fool for cheesecake.
12. What illustrated animal or object would star in your children’s book?
My favorite book as a child was called Spiny the Hedgehog, so I think it would be a little hedgehog.
13. Who do you wish would play you in Pink Martini: The Movie?
I would settle for Johnny Depp, if they wouldn’t give me my own role.
14. Pride of Lions, Pod of Whales… what would you call a pack of squirrels?
A squeeze of squirrels.
15. Are you on the party bus or sleepy bus?
Party bus, until I get sleepy. Nice thing is I can sleep through just about anything.
16. If you could safely tour any ancient civilization, which?
17. Tell us a good knock knock joke?
I’m not sure there are any good knock knock jokes… but I will give it a shot?
Oh shoot I messed it up, let me try again.
18. What is your favorite non-musical hobby?
I like building instruments and effects. I’ve been doing it off and on for the last decade or so. I’ve built many guitar effects, amplifiers, guitars, and other noise-makers. And I’ve now realized that I have no non-musical hobbies.
19. If you were instantly skilled enough to have any one other occupation in the world besides musician, what would you choose?
I would love to be an engineer. I love building things, and to have the skills and knowledge to design and build whatever came to mind would be fantastic!
20. If you had complete creative control, what book would you like to turn into a movie?
Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami. Or really, any of his novels.
21. What is your favorite city in the world?
Tokyo, by a long shot. Portland also has a special place in my heart.
22. What’s the most fun thing about being in Pink Martini?
Performing for and connecting with audiences all over the globe! Despite any perceived differences, we are all bound together through our love of music.
23. How did you choose your musical instrument?
My mother played guitar and sang songs when I was a kid. She would play songs by the Beatles, Billy Joel, the Carpenters, Peter Paul and Mary and others. My thought was, “well this is something that some people do, so I want to try it!”
When I visit my mom we often sit and sing songs together. Our favorite is “Top of the World” by the Carpenters.
24. How are you keeping sane and calm during this crisis and these weeks of quarantine?
I’ve been building my coaching business, Musical Being. I support musicians of all levels in creating a life in music that they choose, not settling for the one that they think is available to them!
Shameless plug: join me for my upcoming Musician Mindset course, Unleashing Mastery, starting this Saturday, January 23rd! More info at www.musicalbeing.com/unleashingmastery