The Michael Williams Band
An interview with Blues Guitarist Michael Williams
by Tina Hall
Guitarist Michael Williams
photo by Kevin Estrada
Michael Williams has been labeled “the one to watch” by guitar enthusiasts and critics alike.His smooth styling that appeals to both blues and rock n roll fans alike, has made him one of the best new blues artists of our time. The Michael Williams Band is consisted of Williams(guitar and vocals), Gerald Tugboat Turner II(bass), Darin Watkins(drums),and Ryan Shea Smith(keyboard). Most recently they have opened for such legendary acts as George Thorogood,Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Eric Johnson, and Jonny Lang. Their latest release Fire Red was produced by Eddie Kramer(Jimi Hendrix,The Rolling Stones, KISS, Buddy Guy, and Led Zepplin).
Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about what you where like as a child? What is your fondest memory from that time?
Michael Williams: I was an out-going kid who always found himself getting into trouble! My fondest memory as a kid would be sitting on the old railroad ties and singing Whitney Houston’s “I believe the children are our future” with my sister Camille.
MI: Your musical roots run deep, what was it like being surrounded by music at such an early age? Do you think you would be a musician today if not for the early influence?
MW: Music was bred into me at a young age I recall watching Stevie Ray from side stage as a kid night after night. My father would bring me on stage and let me play “manishboy” (Muddy Water’s) at age ten! I don’t know what path I would have taken if not for the great influences of my childhood (smiles). I owe it to my father for leading me in the right direction at an early age.
MI: When did you first know you wanted to be a musician?
MW: When I heard my first note! I knew that i would be a player if I stayed with it, but most of all I try to stay true to my root’s in music, the blues was my first love and then I discovered adrenalin (i.e. Led Zepplin Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan)
MI: Why do you think your music appeals to both fans of the blues and rock?
MW: I’ve always tried to keep a high level of energy in anything that I do I think that translates to the rock fans because of all the funny faces I make and all the distortion I use with the guitar. Just joking. I think what appeals to both the rock and blues musicians and listeners would have to be the passion and pain that can be heard in the music because that’s what I try to convey.
MI: How do you feel about being labeled the Next Great Blues Musician?
MW: Well when you know as many great players as I do, that classification doesn’t have as much appeal to me. I just love what I’m doing when I play and cant help but to loose myself in the music! But its pretty damn cool, I would have to say!
MI: What was it like to open for George Thorogood,Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Eric Johnson, and Jonny Lang? Did you ever imagine you’d be doing that? What did you learn from those experiences?
MW: I loved it and I’m still learning , but what I have gained from those artists would have to be give it all you got every night, never be unprepared ,one night could be great and the other could be a train wreck as long as you keep focused you can prevail. I’m sure there is more to come, this business is full of surprises.
MI: Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?
MW: I like to surf ,skate ,and I have a passion for old cars. I went to school in Hawaii, Texas and the school of hard knocks where I graduated in Seattle Washington. I’m also a father of two beautiful kids.
MI: How do you like to pass the time on the road between shows?
MW: I watch a lot of movies and play guitar thru headphones when I can. I am pretty private and try to keep my head in the music. It’s like a transformation that takes place in me when I get on the road, I have to give the music the respect it deserves.
MI: Do you ever get stage fright? If so how do you deal with it?
MW: Nope, never. I am what I do so there are no doubt’s about that. I am more comfortable on stage than in my everyday life, so I would have to say that stage fright does not come into play due to my uncontrollable desire to play live music.
MI: You worked with Eddie Kramer on the last album what was that like?
MW: It was the coolest thing I’ve done ever! He helped me come out of my shell and I really owe him a lot of gratitude! He is a true legend.
MI: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Who was it?
MW: Believe you will be and you will become. That has given me the ability to imagine myself doing things that I thought weren’t possible. A close family member told me that a long time ago .
MI: What do you think it takes to put on a truly great show? What do you love most about live shows?
MW:To put on a great show for me it takes focus and calm cool collected team around me. I love the suspense and the uncertainty of playing the new places night after night, it helps me strive to perfect my craft.
MI: What projects are you currently working on?
MW: I play and I practice daily, I am working on writing music solo daily. I am also promoting my Fire Red Album full time and touring the country with Buddy Guy and Johnny Lang , and George Thorogood.
MI: Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?
MW: If you are an artist with a dream don’t stop dreaming. Your success could tap you on the shoulder at any time! I am still in the dream state as we speak! I imagine huge concert’s with thousands there to see me. But, I also know if that never happens I love what I do and it will always bring me joy and happiness.
Michael Williams Band
CD: Fire Red Record Label: True Blue Productions, LLC
• Purchase Fire Red on Amazon
• Download Fire Red on Amazon