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 James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2

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Garageman
Monger
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mc
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saichan




Number of posts : 69
Location : Melbourne, Australia
Registration date : 2009-01-13

James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeMon Jul 06, 2009 6:54 am

...interview continues from here...

I've actually got two versions of the Raw Power album: one's English and the other's continental, and the sound is different, much better on the continental release.

Yeah, l have one of those too; the difference in that is the guy that's mastering the album: they can really change the sound quality of it just by how they equalise the mastering.

The English album really doesn't sound too good...

(Laughs) At the same time there were a lot of different mixes going down: we tried to mix it ourselves but I didn't know about it at that time and Jim didn't either really - and so we ended up with just a big bunch of crap, y'know. Finally, we had a deadline on the album and we gave it over to Bowie and I don't think he did justice to it either, but it was too late. There's a lot of things I don't like about that album. David - I don't know: he goes off into these things, and he loses sight of the basic thing you're trying to get across. That's what's true about that album - these things coming out of nowhere and stuff, But what can you do? It's over now.

You played one gig only over here, didn't you, at the King's Cross cinema?

What that was all about was - when we first started out with Mainman, which wasn't called that then; DeFries was a partner of that organisation. Bowie's career was just starting again at the same time, so he had the two of us. . . he didn't know really what the hell to do with us - y'know we weren't really out of control - and he was trying to be proper. I mean Bowie, at first especially, was very formal and proper, very much in control what he was doing. Well, here's us and we're maniacs - it was decided then that we were gonna start making the album: we started cutting some of that stuff at little studios to try and get the material up.

Meanwhile Bowie's playing shows around town and so forth, so eventually it comes up that why don't we try playing? OK - we couldn't get anybody to give us a hall because of our reputation; so DeFries ended up by renting that hall himself and putting us in there. Uh, everyone was completely afraid of us and stuff and we didn't even do anything that heavy really (laughs). But that was the end of that: he couldn't swing it again, and it took a long time before that became accepted as a show of sorts.

Was the CBS contract for one album only?

It was a real weird situation. They had us under contract for two albums: what happened was that the whole thing with DeFries got so queered and everything that we got away from him and just went out on our own. We were basically without management - only had an agent. By the time we hit New York they were hot and cold on us, going one way and then the other on this extra album. We were touring mostly just to stay alive so they were gonna do a live album: we tried to record one in New York one time and it was just a really bad performance, so that didn't happen. So they just kind of shelved us, that's what it amounted to.

A friend of mine said he saw you in New York in 1973 with Blue Oyster Cult or somebody.

That must have been the time they were trying to record us. I think that show we were pretty out of control: a lot of things had gone wrong and we literally had to do it all ourselves, which was pretty much beyond us at that point.

Do you have any recollection of any particular incidents?

Umm, I'll tell you the funniest thing I've ever seen in my entire life. That's when we played the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC; we stayed at the Watergate Hotel, and Jim and one of the other band members, Ron Asheton, had some chicks down from New York to stay, see the show and stuff. He'd been really bad for a couple of gigs and things weren't going too well - these chicks came in with this goddam crystal THC (synthesised marijuana), y'know, and they have it laid out in these lines on the table . . . Crystal THC you don't fuck around with: a little bit goes a long way. So he sticks his nose down there and does about six lines; he was so out of his mind he was seeing Green Martians, couldn't walk, couldn't do anything. We had to go on stage in like half-an-hour and it was really serious: he was so bad he should have gone to hospital but we had a gig to do, and every gig on that tour was important because if we didn't get paid we didn't go any further. We needed him.

We go on like half-an-hour late, playing this big prestigious gig with Mott the Hoople, for one of the biggest promoters on the East Coast: the motherfucker was so pissed at us, he took off his gold watch, which must have cost about $500, and smashed it against the wall; he was so mad at us. So we went out and actually started playing: we had two roadies actually carry him and throw him on stage. He couldn't sing - he didn't know where he was coming in or out - but somehow he pulled it off; everybody in the audience thought it was his act. He's, like, every step he would miss his balance and fall down. It was hilarious: everybody was saying 'Fantastic concert' and here's this guy that can't even walk! I know, what can you say? He's the only guy that can get away with things like that. . .

There's been a whole slew of stuff re-released over the last year or so, especially during the last month: can we run through it...?

'Well - I'm Sick Of You, that EP was done actually before Raw Power, when we were feeling out material for the stage show and the album. I think we did it at a tiny studio at Wembley - I forget the name. I like that song...

Then there was 'I Gotta Right'.

That was also done at the same place, and Jim apparently is putting that out on his new album which is coming out, of live performances. . .

It's very trebly.

(Laughs). Yeah, well I was way into really cranking up the treble on that thing, but they mastered it pretty bad too. I wasn't involved in the mastering of any of those singles.

What happened to Metallic KO?

That's a long story. The guy approached me through some French friends I have in L.A. and said: 'Well I have some money if you'll give me some tapes. . .' Well I was trying to sell the Kill City tapes, and I wasn't interested in the kind of money he was talking about, but I gave him some tapes in return for a sum - to me it was like a joke. Those tapes are a joke. They're only interesting for me like to sit home and play them through with friends once for a laugh, y'know.

That was your last ever gig.

Yeah, one of the sides was. The ones with all the bottles breaking and shit. That was frightening man - you can't imagine what that gig was like. Anyway he released this and it's selling unbelievably, making all this money: what's frightening too is that I'm not seeing any of it.

What exactly happened there? The whole audience sounds as though it was trashing you.

We had just gotten in with these people in New York who were thinking about managing us and they started booking us a lot of dates close together. To make more money in Michigan they put us in this place called "The Rock 'n' Roll Farm" outside Detroit and the next day we had a gig at the Michigan Palace. So we get to 'Rock 'n' Roll Farm' and the fucking place is a biker's hangout! And here you got Iggy who jumps offstage and is going wild, and you have all these kids coming out from Detroit to see us and you also have a bunch of drunk bikers hanging around. So we started playing and Jim goes out to the audience: the first thing you know is that this biker comes up with all these brass knuckles on his hand - y'know, with all the studs - and he punches him out. Just floors him, cut his eye up and stuff. So that was the end of THAT gig.

Well the next night I guess the bikers didn't like us too much - they came to the Palace gig: they're whipping bottles at us, a whisky bottle broke on the piano, and a goddam camera went whizzing past my head - smashed on my amp. Real serious violence y'know - really, if any one of those things had hit somebody it would have been all over - we were lucky. We had to play the gig too, you see, so we really had to just stand out there and be targets! In a way it's a really deep experience for a person to be standing there just knowing at any minute a bottle could hit you in the face and shit. That was a culmination: I think it was going to be our last gig anyway, but that was just a perfect end.

So everything fell apart...

Yes. Ron (Asheton) and I were on the outs, because Ron had started out playing guitar and was on the first two albums. It goes back a long time, Jon, I used to know all those guys since I was a teenager, and we were close friends. I would never play with them because they weren't very good at first. Jim used to play drums in a blues band. I travelled around a bit, Boston, New York and stuff, and I came back and decided that I didn't have anything better to do. So I started playing with them, moving Ron over to bass and he never really got over that. By that time anyway l was tired of bands, period: I didn't want to be in a band anymore. So we just canned the whole thing.

Can I ask you what you think about Iggy's current activity?

I enjoyed his tour with David Bowie: for me that was very funny, because - I like David and respect him - but we're just polar opposites, right, and to see him playing my music. . .! Iggy was a lot different from that time (1973) but he's still Iggy - you gotta give him credit, he can perform! He is good. I wish his recording career was a little more directed: I think his last album was the better of the two, but I just have to say that I'm glad he did them but I don't think there's too much there that's lasting. It's just good product, I guess, but it didn't do very much for me. But I spoke to him last week and I'm really happy for him: that he likes Berlin and it seems to be a good base for him, because he doesn't get screwed around there. He's well, thinking coherently, and I'm glad he can do what he wants to because when he can't, he's in trouble.

Is there any more stuff from the 1972/5 period to be reissued?

"There is nothing else to reissue. Greg Shaw has a whole pile of it - everything I owned, that was all one package deal I did last summer. All I can say is that I hope he uses discretion with it - I'm not entirely happy with Jesus Loves The Stooges, as they stuck two different tapes of the same song on the same side. I can't even believe they did that! I don't like the Kill City album sleeve either but the one saving grace is at least you can see it from a hundred yards away. . . If he doesn't, I'll be pissed off at him: that's all I can do. It's out of my hands. When I moved out of L.A. I just got rid of everything I had y'know - I don't have anything now. I'm just starting anew. So I'm hoping to get some work with this album so I can put out some new stuff. Y'know: times goes on and I don't want to keep rehashing that whole period. .

Time moves fast in rock 'n' roll...

In the end, especially in rock 'n' roll, there's a fine line you have to walk and if you lose sight of what you're doing, you better get out of it fast because it's cold meaningless bullshit after that.

©️ Jon Savage, 1978
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mc

mc


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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeMon Jul 06, 2009 8:49 pm

great stuff.
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G, F#, E
Real O Mind
G, F#, E


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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeMon Jul 06, 2009 9:54 pm

Never read any old Williamson interveiws before, thanks Smile
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Monger

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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeTue Jul 07, 2009 5:57 am

excellent!
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Garageman

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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeTue Jul 07, 2009 1:11 pm

A great interview, thanks very much!

Two versions of Raw Power are mentioned, English and continental. My question is, does anybody here actually own the two versions and are they really that different?
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tubepigeonvictim




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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeWed Jul 08, 2009 1:30 am

Really interesting interview - thanks a lot!
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saichan




Number of posts : 69
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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 10, 2009 4:17 am

Garageman wrote:
A great interview, thanks very much!

Two versions of Raw Power are mentioned, English and continental. My question is, does anybody here actually own the two versions and are they really that different?

Wasn't there talk on here a while back about a Dutch version of Raw Power that was mixed differently? Perhaps that is the 'continental version'.
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mc

mc


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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 10, 2009 10:47 am

Surely Iggy-Fan must have all the Raw Power versions and more! Can you do a comparison for us?
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iggy-fan
I Got A Right
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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 10, 2009 7:48 pm

Of course that´s a project that I have had in mind for a long time.
I´ll go for it after my vacation. I started to listen to the US version at the beginning so that is my reference for the real mix.
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http://goto.glocalnet.net/iggy-fanpage/
mikel

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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeSat Jul 11, 2009 8:29 pm

Best interview bit for a long time, thanx for this!
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Gimme some skin




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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitimeSun Jul 12, 2009 7:40 am

Thanks!
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James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2   James Williamson: Real Time Musician From Kill City - part 2 Icon_minitime

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