The Beginning of the End... or a New Beginning!
On Wednesday, August 5, 1992 Billy Hill and the Hillbillies were officially formed.
We were later moved to Frontierland and played outside the Golden Horseshoe; occasionally filling in when the Golden Horseshoe Jamboree Show was dark. [closed]
"Pigmania" ended in October, 1988, we were asked to perform for the opening day crowds in Critter Country which opened on Wednesday, November 23, 1988.
Splash Mountain was to have opened during this time, but due to technical difficulties it wasn't ready. So we worked longer than we expected [which was a good thing for us]. We continued to perform for the newly built attraction, Splash Mountain which finally opened 8 months later on Monday, July 17, 1989.
The original members of the band in those days were Kirk Wall on guitar, Dennis Fetchet on fiddle, John Marshall on bass and Mario Hildalgo on banjo. Kirk acted as our front man.
Our Hillbilly History
We began performing in Critter Country in the late 1980's in various different bands, but we got our real start during Disneyland's State Fair event in Spring of 1988. At the time, we performed as the "Barley Boys" in the Big Thunder Ranch area.
Our job was to help entertain the crowd and encourage the pigs to run their fastest. Each Barley Brother [Marley, Farley, Charley, etc] would take one of four sections of the audience and teach them a pig "call" to encourage that pig during the race.
As most stories go... Once Upon A Time!
Many years ago, we started out as brothers from the mountains of Santa Monica who enjoyed playing and singing together. Originally, we worked at a local theme park run by a famous mouse where we were called Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. When our show went to seven days a week, they hired more brothers and our team (the BLUE TEAM) changed the name to The Billys for our shows at other venues. After 26+ years working for the Mouse, our show was "retired" and we became Kirk Wall and the Hillbillies. Now we're at Knott's Berry Farm and have added the name to Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.
On Tuesday, June 18, 2012, we began performing at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree Arena which was where we had started many years ago in Pigmania.
Billy Hill and the Hillbillies could be found performing 7 days a week at either the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland or at the Thunder Ranch Jamboree behind Thunder Mountain.
On Monday, January 6, 2014, the show, "Billy Hill and the Hillbillies" was retired after 21+ years as a team at Disneyland and for some of us 26+ years working for the mouse.
The final show was attended by more than 1,000+ faithful fans and it touched our hearts to know that fans thought that much of our show.
After our time at Disneyland ended, we were hired less than a week later to perform on a weekly basis at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. We decided to change our band's official name to "Kirk Wall and the Hillbillies" and "Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies" in order to perform at outside venues without confusing our guests.
ANOTHER NEW BEGINNING!
On Saturday, January 11, 2014, we began playing at Knott's Berry Farm on a regular basis starting in the Wilderness Lodge and moving eventually into The Birdcage Theater in Ghost Town.
Along the way in 2017, we began playing seasonally in the Historic Knott's Wagon Camp and gained a drummer in the person of Brad Conyers, a Knott's sound tech with a great sense of rhythm.
In April of 2019, our long-time fiddler, Dennis Fetchet retired and was replaced by one time Ghost Town Miner member, Eric Brenton. Eric joins us on fiddle, mandolin, and electric guitar.
We hope to see you all in the near future as we continue to perform country, bluegrass, Broadway Show Tunes, The Beatles and comedy, our style!
Keep watching here or an Facebook for any upcoming events!
See our scheduleHERE, as we are currently performing
week-ends at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.
Kirk Wall and the Hillbillies can also be seen on our official Facebook
Our Fan Facebook Page is located @Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies
To return to the Krazy Kirk Main Page,CLICK HERE
There have been tons of other team combinations over the years using subs.
Helping over the years were many, many wonderful subs who filled in when needed including: Kevin Gregg [Billy Red] on guitar and lead, Cory Rouse [Billy Barney] on Guitar and lead, Denny Moynahan on guitar and lead, Denny Hardwick on guitar and lead, Barry Cogert on bass, Rick Dunham on bass, banjo and guitar, Jonny Ray Bartel on slap bass, Arshag Chookarian on guitar and washboard, Dave Eastly on bass and banjo, Phil Ward on guitar, Keith Rosier, on bass, Eric Brenton on fiddle, and Farley the Fiddler (of course, on fiddle).
THE GOLD TEAM
lead on guitar and fiddle,
on mandolin and fiddle,
Duane Michaels on Mandolin and fiddle
John Marshall on bass and fiddle.
This team performed on
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
THE BLUE TEAM
on bass and fiddle;
on fiddle and mandolin;
lead on guitar and fiddle
on banjo and guitar.
This team performed on Sundays and Mondays.
This is the team that eventually became known as Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.
THE GREEN TEAM
John David on guitar,
John Marshall on bass and fiddle,
Evan Marshall on mandolin and fiddle and lead man,
John Eaden on guitar and a really tiny fiddle.
This team played on
Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
With the departure of Evan Marshall, the Newer Green Team was created
John Marshall, John Eaden,
John David and Duane Michaels
or as we like to call them;
The Three Johns and Duane.
This team performed on
Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
These teams included:
On October 8, 2003, Disneyland decided to close the Golden Horseshoe Variety Show with Dana Daniels. Dana's show had played two days a week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) with Billy Hill and the Hillbillies playing the other five days. It was decided that the Billy Hill Show would go to seven days a week with 35 shows a week. In order to arrange this task and still allow the show's castmembers to have two days a week off, three teams were created.
In 2003, Evan Marshall left the band and was replaced by
Rick Storey on banjo and Dennis filling in on the mandolin [and fiddle].
We played to a packed house of fans, friends and 25+ dignitaries including our entertainment boss, Stan Freese and 40+ members of Da Billy Club, our fan club at the time.
Our team at that time included Kirk Wall, Dennis Fetchet, John Marshall and EvanMarshall.
Our 10,000th Show Plaque >
Thursday, February 6, 2003
Presented to us by Disney
after we finished
of our show.
Our 10,000th Show
On Thursday, February 6, 2003 at the 1:15 pm show, our original team [since 1994] performed our 10,000th show at the Golden Horseshoe and were given a plague and cake by Disney Management. This team stayed the original Billy Hill team for 11 years working five days a week, 5 thirty-five minute shows a day.
In February of 2002,
Anders Swanson became
a sub for the band playing
bass and added a fun
element to the show.
In 2001, we performed a series of Symphony Concerts around the United States in a series called"RED, WHITE & BLUEGRASS". We performed with the Tulsa Philharmonic in Oklahoma, The Houston Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony and San Antonio Symphony in Texas, the Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan and the Long Beach Symphony in California.
Billy and the Hillbillies
in Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 2001
Playing at "the ranch". On stage at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ during our stay at "the Ranch" ~ Circa 1999
By now, we had quite a following including a fan club called "Da Billy Club" (started by Kat Moser) that met weekly on Sunday mornings for the first show and Friday evenings for the last show. Da Billy Club followed over from the Golden Horseshoe Saloon to the ranch and many new members were added. (including our current web person who is still with us.)
Five years later, on Sunday, November 21, 1999 , we were temporarily moved out of the Golden Horseshoe Saloon for the opening of Woody's Round-up Show, but Woody didn't last and we returned to the Golden Horseshoe on Thursday, July 20, 2000 after an 8 month absence.
Left to right:
Evan Marshall, Dennis Fetchet, Kirk Wall and John Marshall
< THE ORIGINAL BILLY TEAM
We were asked to replace a show that was closing. The Golden Horseshoe Jamboree Show was closed.
On Sunday, December 18, 1994, we performed our first official "scripted" show in the Golden Horseshoe Saloon as the resident band. Sadly, Mario had left us and was replaced by John's brother, Evan Marshall on mandolin.
Evan brought classical mandolin experience that added a new dimension to our show.
[left to right: Kirk Wall,
Dennis Fetchet, John Marshall
and his brother, Evan Marshall]
Early Billy Hill
& the Hillbillies
as the Spit Band,
we won't go
Early Billy Hill and the Hillbillies near Splash Mountain. This photo to the left shows Tom Sauber on fiddle.
Pigmania with the Barley Boys.
Kirk is in the red shirt above.
Kirk Wall as a "Barley Boy"
at State Fair at Disneyland.
Here is an example of the Pig Race from YouTube.com, Click this....
The History of Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies
Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies
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