Bill Gilbert was born in Johnstown, PA on February 25,1956 and his family home was in Penn Hills, PA. Bill grew up within 5 miles of his future bandmates: Tony Monaco, Dave Fullerton, and Rob Owens where they all went to the same schools. Their musical paths did not cross until 1974 when the band originally known as Bad Company (Tony, Dave, Rob, and Al Opsitnick) had to change their name for obvious reasons. After Al left the band to pursue a corporate career, it was shortly after, that Rob met Bill in the high school chess club. It was then, they realized their common love for music. Bill had been playing with the high school band Stonehenge but decided to join Rob, Dave, and Tony. That was the birth of THRILLS!
While the band played covers to get the recognition needed on the circuit, it wasn’t long before they decided to collaborate on originals. Bill had his hand in some writing, but his main strength was arranging his bass parts that became integral in the early sound of the band. Among his musical influences were; The Beatles, The Eagles, and Chicago. Bill was a rocker at heart and it wasn’t long before his onstage antics matured, turning him into one hell of a showman. He was always fun to watch. Bill’s life became his band of brothers and the family that was built over the years. Like his bandmates, Bill was totally invested which made the eventual demise very hard.
After the break up, and being a very gifted carpenter, Bill established his own business but was never truly able to put it all in perspective. It was a major loss for all, as the time invested together, represented half of everyone’s life. While the band members stayed involved in music, Bill never really found that love again.
We lost Bill in April 2004, but his memory will live forever with us all. He is missed terribly and with this resurgence, his musical journey will live on. Like the bands first original written together, we are sure he is looking down and SMILING! Bill, like all of us, gave his all for all that he loved. All our imperfections were somehow blended into a perfect combination to create our sound, our band, the one and only…….THRILLS! May the music live forever!!!