After a year in Prague, Bill McCormick is back in North Carolina. Better known by his stage name of Billy Sugarfix, McCormick left last summer to teach English overseas and to experience Europe with partner and fellow Triangle musician, Wendy Spitzer. While there, the couple ate and drank well and attended Krampus runs in Austria. McCormick even developed a taste for opera.
“In my opinion, guys like me don’t go to operas because we grew up on tobacco farms,” the Kentucky native says with a laugh. “The best ones were Czech operas. We even saw a twelve-tone opera.”
Now that he’s back, McCormick seems to be picking up mostly where he left off. His holiday-loving band, Evil Wiener, is returning to its usual modus operandi with a 4th of July show at The Kraken (for once, not The Cave!) in Chapel Hill.
But he’s not done traveling or living internationally. Now that he sees he can pull it off, he wants to go to Vietnam and Mexico. Before any of those trips, though, he plans on visiting Spitzer, headed to England for another degree.
We caught up with McCormick to talk about the year in Prague and the years to come.
INDY: Opera seems right up your alley because there’s a whole lot of costumes and pomp.
Bill McCormick: Yeah, everybody had always told me that. Opera is really accessible in Prague, and I’d never been anywhere it was that accessible before. A friend of ours came over to visit, and she talked us into going to the opera. For some reason, I’d always thought of opera as being off-limits to me because I’m such a hick or whatever, but she convinced us to go. I got into it right away. The costumes and the people flying around was very much a part of my interest.
And now you’re back. Are you happy to be back?
I’m happy to be back, but I wasn’t happy to leave. It’s a win/win: I had a great year there, but I am very glad to be back. I am certainly seeing in my future other trips to Prague, and I’m even considering doing another live-abroad situation at some point. Wendy’s going back to Europe, and she’s going to be in graduate school in England, studying music.
You won’t see her for quite a while.
It’s going to be difficult, but another thing that this year taught me is that a year is just nothing. A year is just a drop in the bucket. I’m standing here on the same porch where we interviewed last year, and I’m looking at the same guy ride by on his motor scooter.
It seems like you picked up right where you left off as far as the Evil Wiener July 4th show.
Evil Wiener will continue where we get together and do our holiday shows. I put together a band to play some songs for a farewell show before I left, and that’s kind of where I’m picking up. I’m going to get together with those guys. We started some recordings, and we hope to have a five-song thing for people to hear early next year or maybe later this year. I’m also picking right up with Custom Serenade, my custom songwriting business. I’m trying to focus more on that and make that more of a full-time occupation. At times it has been.
As for this show, the year in Prague was great, but it wasn’t all great. One thing that happened was I got pretty sick. The end result is I am still having problems with my voice, and I am not going to be able to sing at the show. So we are going to have basically fans, friends and other musicians sing all the songs. I would not dare try this with any other band than Evil Wiener.
It’s the Evil Wiener karaoke hour!
That’s it. You got it.