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And if the Rev looks more like a pro wrestler than a clergyman, it's because he has a foot in that topsy-turvy world, too. "I was a manager with Florida Pro Wrestling out of Tampa. I was one of the on-air personalities and would come on and say, 'You little ignorant rednecks with your zit-faced hormonally overactive teeny-bopper girlfriends sittin' there in your double-wide munchin' on your Zagnut bars, lookin' to me goin' "I don't lahk heem:" That's too bad! 'Cause I'm here to stay and I'm gonna make champions, so you better get used to it! That's the truth, hallelujah!'" Now the man who once recorded a song called "Sleeper Hold on Satan" might be stepping back to the ring. He's currently editing a wrestling video in which he plays a role. In a similar cultural vein, the Rev has recorded a pilot for NPR radio and is awaiting word from the broadcast moguls.
Although he describes the Carolinas and the Virginias as his "bread and butter," Billy C. is currently playing gigs from Seattle to Miami, the latter being one of his favorite tour stops, where he can load up on cigars and cafe cubano. One of his goals is to sneak a peek into the El Credito factory, where they manufacture his favorite smokes, La Gloria Cubanas. "If they let me in to look around, I'll be in great spirits. I'll smoke a cigar, drink a couple of those coladas, or whatever those little rocket-fuel Cuban coffees are called...I like Florida this time of year."
One new tune is sure to endear the Rev to South Florida's harried songsters A "The Jimmy Buffett Song." "That's just about a guy and people ask him to play 'Margaritaville' just one too many times, and he kind of snaps. I always dedicate it to all the local musicians, especially the solo players. 'Cause you get those people from Michigan, heavily sunburned, 'This is my first time in Miami, and we're from Michigan! And we love Jimmy Buffett! And we've seen Jimmy Buffett A how many times have we seen Jimmy Buffett? Fifteen times! Pleeeease play Margaritaville!'" Yes, there is a hell, and it's swathed in polyester, and the Rev. has seen it close up, bringing his visions back to save us all from the mundane and stupid and hpocritical. Can he get an amen?
The Rev. Billy C. Wirtz performs at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) at Stephen Talkhouse, 616 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 531-7557. Admission costs $5.