Billy Zoom

Although part of punk rock's attraction was that even beginners could pick up an instrument and start up a band, the genre included several musicians who were quite accomplished players with years of experience under their belts, such as X guitarist Billy Zoom. Born Ty Kindell (date unknown) and raised in Savannah, IL, Kindell was the son of a big band saxophonist/clarinetist, who inherited his father's love of music. At a young age, Kindell began playing a variety of instruments, including violin, accordion, piano, clarinet, tenor sax, banjo, and guitar; eventually becoming proficient at a staggering nine instruments. By the mid-'60s, Kindell had left his hometown in search of launching a music career, but instead of relocating to one of the country's musical hotbeds, eventually settled down in Davenport, IA. By the latter part of the decade however, Kindell was traveling the country playing in various soul/R&B outfits; including one group that backed such renowned artists as Etta James, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Bobby Day, and Johnny Taylor. Kindell eventually settled down for good in Los Angeles, where he landed a spot in rockabilly legend Gene Vincent's backing band, just prior to his passing in 1971. Disgusted with the stagnant music climate, Kindell decided to set himself apart from the pack with an image makeover. The guitarist assumed the rockabilly look of the '50s, complete with short bleach-blonde hair combed into a pompadour, silver motorcycle jacket, and matching Gretsch guitar. But perhaps most significant was his name change, as Kindell was now known as Billy Zoom.