10 Qs with a Host: Billy C. of Cosmic Debris
New RFB host Billy C. is taking listeners into the late night hours with his 2-hour music show, Cosmic Debris. The show airs Sunday nights at 11 pm and brings you a thoughtfully curated experience of all types of music. We talked with Billy to find out more about what brought him to RFB, why he wanted to do his show, and who he would have a concert with, dead or alive.
Q: What made you bring Cosmic Debris to the airwaves?
My dream, when I was a kid, was to be on the radio. I listened to the radio a lot and loved not only listening to various types of music, but I loved that the DJs were not only knowledgeable about what they were playing but also were very personable. A friend of mine, who is also a radio head suggested to me that I should check out RFB and it was everything that I loved about radio. Varied programming, different points of view and that local vibe.
Q: What was it like to do your first show?
I was terrified and excited at the same time. It’s that feeling you get when you finally get to do something that you always wanted to do. In my dream, I was relaxed but actually sitting down at the board and putting my hands on the controls, I was scared shitless. Good thing I had help but the second show. I was sitting in for another host and was flying solo. And it was scary.
Q; What keeps you busy outside of RFB.
I am an artist. I paint and make music. And I cat sit. I guess you could say that I am retired. Up until a few years ago, I was a bartender and DJ.
Q: Where are you from? Tell me about growing up?
I was born in Brooklyn, so I am a native. Moved to Queens where I spent what I like to call “The Wonder Years.” I grew up in what was then known as the middle class. I spent a lot of time on my own doing what I liked to do, which was basically listening to the radio, reading books, drawing and going to the movies. It was my little bubble and sustained me as I wasn’t a very social person. One day I wandered into Manhattan but never got any further than Times Square. This was when that area was very sleazy but it was exciting to me. One time I fell asleep on the train and ended up at West 4th Street. That changed everything. I felt as though I had found my tribe of freaks and lost personalities. I was home.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Bushwick?
Bushwick is becoming a different place than I remember it. But with all of the changes going on, good and bad, the thing that I love the most about it, is the same thing I love about San Francisco. You can see the sky. I always loved that. Hopefully, it will stay that way for a while. Hollis, Queens, where I grew up was like that too.
Q: What musicians are on your personal playlist?
My personal playlist is as varied as all get out. There are thousands of tracks from all genres and time periods. I credit that to the way radio was when I was growing up. There’s Top 40, not today’s Top 40, rock, hip-hop, jazz, world music, classical, R&B and even old-school country.
Q: If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
Wow, it’s hard to get it down to one thing but I guess if I had to pick one I would say I would like if it could be mandatory that everyone do more traveling and get to see the world up close instead of through the television.
Q: Tell me a story about your past that might surprise people?
People would be surprised to know that I actually made out with Marianne Faithfull in public. I know I was surprised!
Q: What is your favorite thing about RFB?
RFB is radio the way I always imagined radio to be. A lot of different personalities with varied viewpoints all co-existing in the same place that’s makes it hard for you to not keep listening.
Q: If you could have a concert with any two artists living or dead who would they be and why?
I would love to have concerts the way the old Fillmore East used to do it. Two different genres on one bill, so today, and I change my mind constantly on this, I’d love to see Bob Marley & The Wailers and Billie Holiday.