The music he's playing now is a long ways off from the punk rock bands he came up with in Tucson three decades ago.
But in those years, Billy Sedlmayr has amassed a lifetime of stories that he's putting into song. And he's captured the attention of a new generation, forging an unlikely collaboration with Gabriel Sullivan (Taraf de Tucson and lately Giant Giant Sand).
"Billy Sedlmayr represents everything about Tucson that I have come to love. The first time I heard him sing, I knew I had never heard anyone with such grit and conviction behind every word," says Sullivan, who's helping to produce Sedlmayr's first solo album and a documentary film about the project.
"His autobiographical songs are the stories that are never told in life, but carry more soul and passion than most can fathom. This record and film are just the beginning of tapping into a wildly talented man."
Sedlmayr and Sullivan began playing music together a couple years ago in the (late, lamented) Red Room, a cross-generational collaboration that proves the enduring strength of Sedlmayr's songs.
Sedlmayr has played with punk pioneers The Pedestrians as well as Giant Sandworms and he's been associated with musicians like Rainer Ptacek, Rich Hopkins, Van Christian and Dan Stuart.
To finish the album, Sedlmayr and Sullivan launched a Kickstarter project, seeking $10,000 to fund week-long recording and mixing sessions, additional filming of the recording process, editing of two years of already captured footage, hiring studio musicians and mastering and producing the record.
"For over 30 years now, Billy Sedlmayr has been deep in the fabric of Tucson music," says music writer Carl Hanni (a Tucson Weekly contributor), narrating the brief introductory video.
"To me Billy Sedlmayr is as Tucson as Sonoran dogs, saguaros and those monsoon sunsets that break your heart," Hanni says. "He's pretty much seen it all, from top to bottom, from dark to light. So, Billy's got some stories to tell and he's just looking for some help to get it done."
Check out the video for "Tucson Kills" below...
Filmed at La Cocina, "Tucson Kills" is the first in a series of videos that will document the collaboration between Sedlmayr and the Taraf de Tucson. The videos, produced by Bryce Myhre Media, will be filmed at a variety of iconic Tucson locations.