Bill Worrell is an internationally touring guitarist, composer, and songwriter. His recent tour credits include lead guitarist for the Grammy-winning band, “America”.
Born in Pasadena, CA, Bill grew up in the music industry. For much of the 80’s, his father, Jeff Worrell, played lead guitar for Natalie Cole. During the 90’s, Jeff went on to do Front-of-House mixing for artists such as Edgar Winter, Fleetwood Mac, and Pat Benatar. “These people were always around the house”, says Bill. “Mike Botts from Bread gave me my first drum lesson and Neil Giraldo showed me how to play my first barre chord, ‘G’ I think it was”.
Bill eventually went on to touring himself with the classic rock group, America, but not before getting a music education.
Bill won many awards in the high school jazz band, and several scholarships for classical guitar in college.
“When I graduated high school I had been playing a lot of jazz, but was really into rock and progressive rock. But most colleges didn’t offer rock classes, so I went to a more traditional university. First, Glendale Community College, then California State University of Northridge. GCC was very classical focused, and although it was different, I knew I wanted to do music, so that’s what I did”.
Bill studied Classical Guitar Performance under several instructors including Michael Kozubek, Steve Thachuk, Ron Borczon, and the late Ron Purcell.
Upon graduating, Bill took a job with “America” as guitar tech. Tuning guitars, and setting the stage, Bill absorbed the songs night after night. Eventually, he was asked to fill in for long-time lead guitarist, Michael Woods. Bill stepped in, and from then on was “Woodsy’s” sub. When Woods retired in late 2013, Bill was asked to take over the lead guitar position full-time.
During this time, Bill continued to write and record his own music, utilizing the contacts he made while out on the road. His first self-titled release, featured Three Dog Night drummer, Pat Bautz and bassist Jayme Lewis. This instrumental album, hearkening to such luminaries as Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, was released online only, though a small number of copies were printed later.
In early 2016, Bill recorded “The Nashville Sessions” with former America producer, Fred Mollin. This crowdfunded album featured many top session musicians. These included Shannon Forrest, Kerry Marx, Pat Coil, and Larry Paxton. Musically, it contained a mix of rock, pop, and blues.”This was my way of saying, ‘hey’ I do straight ahead songs too. I threw in the Introduction track as a symbolic segue from my previous instrumental music to this. In fact, I have a lot of hidden Easter eggs throughout”.
In early 2017, Bill completed another primarily-instrumental album called “Time to Change”. This featured a slightly more diverse set of material than on his first release.
“My instrumental music is some of the earliest material I started writing, because I couldn’t sing very well [laughs]. I’ve always loved intricate music too. As a lad, I wanted to absorb everything I possibly could about music. As soon as I learned a harmonic minor scale, I immediately started writing with it. As soon as I learned about 7/8 and other odd time signatures, I wrote compositions using those. It’s just the way I’m wired”.
“[America’s] young stallion Bill Worrell on guitar provided the juice for this show. Worrell’s high-powered guitar antics and blistering solos turned up the musical heat all night long” -Tony Violanti, Villages-News.com
AMERICA never disappoint. Well, except for that show at the Opera House a decade ago which they recorded live for a DVD. Of all the times I have seen them in concert, they had never looked so wooden. OK, I know there are heaps of fans who disagree with me.
When news came through that I would have the opportunity to get along to see the Grammy award winning America, consisting of original co-founders Gerry Beckley and Dewey Burnell, I was beyond excited.