“If you go fuck three girls in one week, you fuck all three of them good! You know what I mean? If you do a song, put you heart in it! Don’t come up with no bullshit lyric! Come up with the real lyric! If the word is “Take it out, let me see it”, then say it! Don’t say stuff like “Ooh, you look kinda mysterious to me.” That ain’t sayin’ the same damn thing!”

ANDRE WILLIAMS is a wonder. Not just because of his oeuvre, but also because he is not just alive, but active up to this date. He made many songs in various styles as rock and roll, blues, soul, funk, rap or garage rock, and not just for himself. In the first chapter of his career he worked together e.g. Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Ike and Tina Turner, George Clinton and more. In the second chapter which started in late 80s he worked with Jon Spencer, and members of such garage rock bands as The Oblivians, Dirtboms or Gories. Yestarday our black godfather turned into his 80th.

His career has started with a fraudulent enlistment in 1950. When he was 14 he joined the US Navy with his brother’s birth certificate, because the age limit was 17. But not long after this his brother got drafted.

I’m moving marines on the USS Compton Destroyer from shore to a hospital ship, under fire every fuckin’ night! Boom! Boom! I’m a trainee on the 40 mm. Fifteen motherfuckin’ years old, OK? These motherfuckers fly me back to Washington, give me a general Court Martial and send me to the penitentiary for a year! Fraudulent enlistment! On the Court Martial board, I’m sitting with five fuckin’ admirals. All stiff, bold, big motherfuckers, you know.

My lawyer said “Send this kid home, he’s a child!” Then they came back and said “One year in Fort Levenworth, and a dishonourable discharge” and I said [adopts slow dramatic tone] “Kiss-my-ass-mother-fuckers!” So they appealed the case and they sent me back from Fort Levenworth after 6 weeks for a retrial. I go back on the retrial, thinking they gonna cut me-a-loose. Them cocksuckers made the year stick and give me a bad conduct discharge. All they did change was the discharge. You get a red corduroy coat, a Ben Hogan cap, a pair of black pants, twenty five dollars and a train ticket with your choice of destination.

He didn’t go back to Chicago. He feared that would be send to a reformatory school, so he went to Detroit. It was a Tuesday when he arrived. There he found a theatre where on every Tuesday evening was a talent show. 25 USD was the first prize. Afternoon he wrote his first song and won. And next week won again, and then again and again, and finally got a contract from a little record label Fortune Records. His break trough hit was the “Bacon Fat” in 1956. He said about

When I came up with “Bacon Fat” I was travelling from Detroit to Memphis. That’s when I knew that I had to come up with a gimmick. So I stopped in Memphis and I got an egg and bacon sandwich – on toast! I’m driving and a lot of places where we used to travel, it was only a two lane highway so you’d see the cotton pickers on both sides and I’m driving and [starts tapping a beat on his thigh, starts humming] “Down in Tennessee… and the name of the dance is…” and I had the sandwich in my hand and there it came, “The Bacon Fat!”

andrewilliams1

He was there when Motown came alive, and also produced recordings for another little label Chess Records (Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf). Worked together with Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gay, The Contours, The Supremes, Ike and Tina Turner, Edwin Starr, Parliament, Funkadelic and many more. But in the 80s he slipped into poverty because of his alcohol and drug addictions, and even he lived as a homeless in Chicago too. His comeback album “Directly From The Streets” in 1990 refers to this tract. It was a funk rap album. Since then he made many fantastic albums with different bands and musicians, for example:

soul band The Diplomats of Solid Sound, jazz-funk-rock band Morning 40 Federation under pseudonym The New Orleans Hellhounds, Canadian country rock and roll band The Sadies, Chicago garage rock band The Goldstars, members of The Oblivians, Dirtboms, Dirty Three, Crime & City Solution, Cheater Slicks, Gories and same ones.

This is his greatest hit. Originally it was written for The Five Du-Tones in 1963.

His brand new album released this summer on Bloodshot Records

Quotes from this interview

 


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