Bill Curreri spent most of his career outside of the music industry. After 30 years in marketing and advertising, he released his debut album, Long Time Gone, at age 63.
The self-taught guitarist grew up in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, where he played in garage bands as a teenager and through college. After college, Curreri began his advertising career, and wrote songs with the acoustic folk-rock trio Stillwater. When Curreri was 27, they received an offer from a major label to produce an album of Curreri’s songs. But the uncertainty of leaving a promising career, and not wanting to exclude his bandmate’s music, led him to walk away from the deal. “I made a promise to myself that someday I would retire and go back into music,” Curreri says.
He continued to write music. After closing his international marketing and communications consulting firm, Curreri moved back to Greenwich Village to focus on music. But, before he could begin, he was offered an adjunct professorship at John Jay College to teach remedial reading. “I felt that I had a charmed life and that I had an obligation to give back. I started out thinking that I was only going to do it part-time, but I was totally wrong,” Curreri says.
“After 12 years of teaching, I said, ‘Enough is enough,’” he explains, needing to get on with the musical part of his life. “My objective was to simply validate myself as a writer; to see if there really was anything back then.”
He found music producer Roger Fife, who listened to Curreri’s demo and put him in touch with a co-producer. That’s when he began to work with renowned musicians on Long Time Gone.
The album is rock Americana, influenced by classic rock, country, pop, blues, and Curreri’s upbringing in Greenwich Village in the ’60s. “It was creative and challenging to draw from different influences,” he says.
The album has generated airplay on 47 radio stations in 25 states, and on several Internet radio stations. Curreri made his way back to his passion and encourages others to do the same.“Never give up. If you have a passion for something, this is the time in your life to do it,” he says.