Above is a photo of me as a youth. A youth from the perspective of today anyway. The group is Three Cheers for Dixie. Why would I cheer for Dixie? I wouldn't. But showbiz is showbiz.
The older guy is Lloyd, the younger is Dave. Father and son. We were buskers. Busking is a hard life in Los Angeles. For some reason people think that you are doing it for your own entertainment. Therefore, even though they are being entertained, they feel no need remunerate you. I also busked in New York City. Life is different there. They understand. They pay.
Here is a hint for you: follow the links on this page as they come up. Then hit the back link. The links are part of the narrative. Also, this is not a complete bio. Not intended to be. For that, take a detour.
I've played with a lot of people, doing a lot of different types of music. If you're a free-lance tubaist you almost have to. At least in the beginning, you take anything. Now I surprise even myself by saying no to things. The smart thing is to say that you're busy. Folks get offended if you tell them no. They take it personally. Don't want that in the freelance world. You hear things like, "Your name is mud." "You'll never work in this town again." "Bill who?" All because you don't want to play another Canzona with yet another almost good pick-up quintet. So I just say, "I've been booked for that day for weeks." This is what is known as strategy. Easy. Of course, like many people, I don't always follow my own advice. Recently, I said to a guy: "Maybe you should get someone else." I said this on two separate occassions. He still insisted that I do the gig. Go figure.
In the beginning I was a straight classical guy. (That's not what I meant. I'm still straight.) The glory of the orchestra kind of guy. That seemed to last forever. To be honest there are still traces of it. More than anything these days, I'm an off the page kind of guy. There are all types of strategies to get off the page. The most difficult, for some people, is not to have a page at all. This is my favorite. It's important to be free. I have two albums out that are completely free improvisation. THE LAMENT OF ABSALOM and a brand new one, DOUBLE YELLOW. You can get these CDs by e-mailing me. I think you should get these albums. But enough said.
As mentioned, there are different strategies. Some of the strategies I have participated in have been devised by Vinny Golia, Wadada Leo Smith, Horace Tapscott, Glen Horiuchi, Francis Wong.
The very first free improvisation group I played with was Fat and F**ked-Up. Still one of the more "out" groups. We were quite popular around the L.A. area in the mid-eighties. How can you lose with a name like that? Plus, most of time we were good. I say most of the time because it was free. When you're working only on what is going on at the moment you can't guarantee the quality. Only the effort.
My first album as a leader is finally out! JUNETEENTH.
A review of JUNETEENTH.
But you don't even have to take that link to read about it, you can just order it now from AMAZON.COM
Watch Roper's improvised performance on Ear Meal.
See the video of Fanfares and Arhoolies on youtube
William Roper's Land Ob Cotton - A Tragic Slapstick
William Roper is a Miraphone artist and plays Warburton mouthpieces.
- New CD - Mo' Betta Butta
- A film about the Leimert Park scene
- New CD - Chobraty
- New CD - If I Ran The Circus
- Poem For Emmett Till
- Roper's discography
- An interview of William Roper by Allen Huotari.
- An interview of Rope-A-Dope by Jeff Kaiser of pfMentum.
- A new composition for tuba and prerecorded sound.