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Dublin High Class of ’80 Alumni Bill Fulton in Running for a Grammy

November 14, 2010

Dublin High School Class of 1980 alumni Bill Fulton was recently notified of a prestigious honor.  His name was included on the ballot for a Grammy in Category 9 – Best Pop Instrumental Performance.  Previous winners in this category include The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and B. B. King.  You can listen to Bill’s nominated composition and performance, “Shizzle Dizzle“, here.  The performance also includes renowned musician Eric Marienthal on alto sax (Eric has performed with Chick Corea and many other great artists).  Thirty years ago Bill won another prestigious award – the “John Philip Sousa Band Award” – at Dublin High School for his musical accomplishments as a student. recently spoke with Mr. Fulton about his career in music and time in Dublin.  Bill entered Dublin High School in his sophomore year after his family moved to Dublin from Alameda.  The move to Dublin proved a pivotal point for Bill’s future in music because it was after arriving in Dublin that Bill’s family purchased their first piano (made possible by having a house for the first time).

Bill Fulton - DHS Yearbook (1980)

Bill Fulton: When [my parents] got a piano all of a sudden it seemed like this ability opened up.  It was very natural to me – it was all I wanted to do.  I started writing for the concert band at school and I suddenly had this interest in pursuing music.  It was kind of late, I was already 15 – 16 years old, whereas a lot of people start to learn the piano when they are 5 or 6 years old.  My folks were incredibly supportive – whatever I was passionate about they were behind it. 

My Dublin High band teachers Harry Sweet and Jim Zuniga were inspirational in their own ways.  Jim Zuniga not only conducted the band but also wrote and arranged the music, and he was very supportive of my efforts.  We even collaborated on some arrangements for the band.  They were both positive influences.

After Dublin High School I went to Cal State Hayward [now Cal State East Bay] as a Music Composition Major.  At that time I was getting a lot of calls to perform in gigs on keyboard, and started to focus on performing more.  Later on I got into film and TV composing and was able to make a pretty good living in addition to being a musician. [Bill composed the theme for “The New Dragnet” and was nominated for a Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Award for his work on the animated series “Cow and Chicken”.  [IMDb listing available here…]

My advice to high school students is to figure out what your passion is and try to live it; if you don’t – you’ll regret it.  And if you do love music, and can develop other interests, I’d consider that too, because music can be a very difficult career.  Music can work for a while, but you can reach a point in your life where it just isn’t working.  So it’s good to have something else you can rely on while you enjoy music as a hobby.

Bill’s next step is waiting for the results of the Grammy balloting process.  About 100 musicians are on the ballot in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category, and 5 will make it to the next stage (consideration at the Grammy Awards Ceremony).  Congratulations Bill and good luck from all of Dublin!

Bill Fulton with Eric Marienthal

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