WyldBil, is That You?

My Sundays mornings are pretty typical. I usually sleep until about 8am, get out of bed and head to the kitchen to start the coffee. I like to let Katie sleep in on Sundays so I’ll partake in some quiet activities like writing in the office or playing guitar (unplugged) in the studio. Recently, I started the coffee and decided to go practice a few songs on bass while it brewed.

I’ve been working on a project playing through Blink 182’s Enema of the State on bass in the same fashion I did with guitar and Green Day’s Dookie. Up until this point I’d mastered Dumpweed, Don’t Leave Me, Aliens Exist, Going Away to College, What’s My Age Again? and Dysentery Gary. On this particular week I had started Adam’s Song and All The Small Things. What I typically do is play along with the song on Songsterr twice, then play it without looking twice, then play the entire album in order through the week’s assigned songs. I sometimes do this with backing tracks when available.

I plowed through the first ⅔ of the album that morning and headed back upstairs to get some coffee and … the coffee was off. The pot was warm and there was about half a cup of coffee sitting in the bottom of the pot so what happened? Had the power gone off? The times on the microwave and oven were on and correct so that wasn’t it. I hit the ON button to restart the coffee maker and nothing happened. My parents had given me that coffee pot when I moved into my old, brown townhouse several years ago and it was clearly used and leaky but it served its purpose for a long time. I figured it had run its course and had finally kicked the bucket. No biggie, we needed a new one anyway.

But that’s when I realized the coffee pot was unplugged.

UNPLUGGED

The plug and outlet are very secure so I’m confident it didn’t just fall out, the coffee had started because the pot was hot and I remember seeing the green light indicator so it wasn’t always unplugged. Katie was still in bed so there could only really be one explanation: 

Wyldbil.

The townhouse where I used to live before moving into our Lenoir City paradise was humble and poop brown. I don’t like much of what I associate with my time living there but it was nice enough and served its purpose when I needed it the most. One thing worth noting, however, was it was right in the center of a dead zone. And I mean that in a couple of different ways. 

First of all, it was literally a dead zone in relation to cell phone reception. I couldn’t make or receive phone calls when I was home unless I was using wifi calling. Second, I couldn’t help but shake this weird feeling that someone had died there. It started when I realized just how cheap my rent was in comparison to my neighbors. Not all of the townhouses were rentals – in fact, about half were privately owned – but a quick search online for rental spaces indicated my townhouse’s rent was about $200 cheaper than others in the same cluster. Weird. 

Then there was the time we called the police to report that someone had broken into our cars and rummaged through our belongings. One cop showed up and started filling out the report, then a second pulled up behind him. They were both nice guys and we made a few jokes before the second cop pointed up to my balcony and said “Isn’t that where that pregnant lady jumped off and killed herself?” His colleague said he thought so but wasn’t entirely sure. Meanwhile I’m wondering what on earth possessed him to ever bring that up to the current resident? 

It wasn’t long after, I woke up at 2am. No big deal, just going to roll over and doze back off, but I was spooked by the sound of knocking on my wall. It was a townhouse so I had nearby neighbors, of course, but at that time, I didn’t have immediate neighbors. I had an end lot and the only wall I shared was with a space that was being renovated and had no one living in it. Despite this, I was certain it was a knocking – it wasn’t the wind, it wasn’t someone outside – it was rapping on my wall. Four distinct knocks.

Just to be safe, I toured the entire townhouse and even went outside to do a perimeter check and came up with nothing. So weird. Was it the pregnant lady? Who knows? 

Some time later, the landscaping crew came through and trimmed the shrubbery near my door. What had originally been a small flowerbed between my door and my neighbor’s door had turned into a disastrous clump of weeds and had been ever since I had moved in. I didn’t care. But when those guys came and cleaned the space up, it revealed a small, concrete stone that was cemented into the ground – a memorial stone that said “WYLDBIL.”

I thought maybe a dog had been buried there or something but since the spelling was so unique, I figured it was worth a quick Google search. 

Prepare to Rock with Wyldbil

What I found was a Knoxville band called Wyldbil, the musical brainchild of drummer Chad Walls and guitarist/vocalist William “Bil” Powell. They had a mutual love for the band that made them want to play music from the beginning – KISS. Their final show was played at the now-defunct music venue on Lovell Rd. in West Knoxville called Prince Sports Bar. The location had been known to host punk and metal concerts and Wyldbil was a rock band that played both metal and punk so they were a perfect fit for the venue. 

Bil was a Leo with an obsession with Hamer guitars, loved watching the Munsters and enjoyed eating a rare T-bone steak paired with a Diet Pepsi. Chad was a Scorpio who played pawn shop drums, says Anvil, NWA, Charlie Daniels and Wayne Newton are his favorite bands and for some reason thinks the show Masters of the Universe was called He-Man.

The most interesting thing I learned from the band’s website, however, is that Bil passed away on December 8, 2006. No details are given on the site but they do use the phrase “passed away suddenly.” Upon further investigation using Bil’s name and band name, I learned that he sought car repair advice on an old message board and, most importantly, was last known to live at 8 11 Estates Drive. 

Where I was living.

Maybe I’m wrong but I feel like if someone’s last known address is yours, you find out they died suddenly and there’s a memorial stone outside your front door, that tells you this person died in your house.

From that point on, I assumed Wyldbil was hanging out in my townhouse but had been leaving me alone because we have similar taste in music. I also figured the four-count knocking on my wall was Bil counting out the beat for a Ramones song he was covering from beyond the grave.

I was glad to leave that townhouse because I felt like it had negative energy dripping from the walls but I was upset that I would be leaving my house-ghost behind despite not actually believing in ghosts. I verbally invited him to go with me to my new house but I wasn’t so sure he heard me or wanted to take me up on my offer …

… until he unplugged my coffee pot. Maybe he’s just not a fan of modern pop-punk? Or maybe he was punishing me for playing with my guitar unplugged by unplugging my coffee? Oh well. KISS and the Ramones still rule but I guess we can’t agree on everything.

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