Bill Maginnis was born November 15, 1938 in Yreka California to
William R. and Elma E. Maginnis. In 1943 the family moved to Glendale,
CA. during world war II, but returned to Yreka late in 1947 or 48. Bill's
father was in the electronics and broadcasting business. When Bill was
about 9 years old he made singing commercials for the local radio station,
KSYC, and regional spots for West Coast Shows.
Bill's mother taught him to play the Ukulele, and he transfered some of
this knowledge to the Guitar. By the age of 12 he had started playing
drums in the Junior High band. In high school he joind the "Dance Band"
in addition to the concert and marching bands. In 1954 he played his
first professional music job at a Valentines Day dance. In 1955 he was
granted special permission from the California ABC/Attorney General's
Office (because he was under-age) to play in a local nightclub,
The Yreka Inn, AKA "The Snake Pit".
Bill attended Chico State College from 1957-1959, transfering to
San Francisco State in 1959 to study composition and percussion.
He studied composition with Roger Nixon and Alex Post (now Minister
Emeritus of the First Unitarian Church of San Francisco) and Percussion
with Roland Kohloff. Bill also studied privately with "Cuz" Cousineau and later with
In 1963 Bill married Ruth May. He and Ruth met at SF State in 1959.
They are still married and live in San Francisco, and have one daughter,
Sarah, who is now a flight attendant with United Airlines. Ruth is a
librarian with SF Public Library.
Bill has a wide and varied musical background, ranging from
classical music with the Oakland Symphony, where he played with such
artists as Jan Peirce and Jack Benny, and with members of the SF Symphony
where Bill played the tape recorder. He worked at the San Francisco Tape
Music Center with Ramon Sender, Mort Subotnick, Pauline Oliveros, John
Cage, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and others. At this same time he was
playing Jazz with several different groups including Bill Napier's Trio
at Pier 23 in SF. Later he played with such jazz greats as Bert Bales,
Wingy Manone, Joe Darensberg, Phil Harris, Pops Foster, Barbara Dane, Pat Yankee, Peanuts Hucko,
Wild Bill Davidson, Bob Helm, Norma Teagarden, Mal Sharp and many others.
He was involved in other so called "legit" musical productions such as
"Brigadoon", "Carousel", "Leave It To Jane" (Jerome Kern 1910), "South Pacific",
"Oklahoma", and revues such as "The Macaroni Show".
At the present time Bill is playing with several other bands as
well as the Golden Gate Rhythm Machine, and continues his
involvement with modern experimental music as well as Jazz. He works
with Zakros Productions: Zakros Interarts/New Music Theater, where he is Technical
"director and vice president in charge of seeing that everything is
properly plugged in." In addition to playing drums Bill is a singer.
However, according to Bill, "so are a lot of forklift drivers and
they're much better."