Sunday, February 1, 2009

James Williamson 1966 and 1972

Found these lovely photos the Stooges' guitarist James "the Skull" Williamson. The top photo is the Chosen Few, that's James, bottom right with the Fender Jaguar, Scott Richardson is on the top left holding his nose. He would marry Robert Mitchum's daughter. Ronnie Asheton told me he got to go to Mitchum's ranch and hang out on several occasions. Mitchum cooked up a big pot of chili and shared his home grown herb with him. Ron Asheton played bass briefly in the Chosen Few (that's where he met Williamson). Scott Richardson went on to form the Scott Richardson Case aka SRC which eventually became Blue Sceptor. Richardson later worked as a screenwriter on Hearts Of Fire a film that starred Bob Dylan with a cameo by Ian Dury.
 The bottom pic is circa 1972, taken in a cemetery in London somewhere during the recording of Raw Power. I've never been one to argue Ron Asheton vs. James Williamson or Funhouse vs. Raw Power. I love them both, they're very different records. Just because you love champagne doesn't mean you have to stop drinking red wine. I agree with Lenny Kaye, the best possible scenario would have been if they recorded Raw Power a year earlier with both Ron Asheton and James Williamson playing guitars, too bad Elektra dropped them. Woulda, shoulda, coulda...as Jim Dickinson says, the best performances don't get recorded, the best recordings don't get released, and the best releases don't sell. Or something like that. As I've previously voiced, the best mix of Search & Destroy (and Penetration) is the 45, available from Sundazed. For a look at James Williamson today go here and scroll down. There's an excellent interview with his eminence in the new issue of The Fretboard Journal (#12, Winter 2008....yes, they misprinted the date on the cover, it just came out). Not new, but probably the best interview Williamson's ever given can be found here . And when you're done with that click around, the I-94 site has tons of incredible interviews with Bob Quine, Greg Shaw, Ron Asheton, and dozens of others. A small label in London is releasing a live Stooges disc recorded in '71 with the Williamson/Asheton double guitar line up this spring. More info as it appears. BTW, a reminder, if you missed the Funhouse Sessions box set you can get it here (scroll down).

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hot ass guitar player

plasticsun said...

Hey - that's not James Williamson!

Anonymous said...

Is it?

md said...

I'd even argue that Williamson remains the definitive lead guitar player bar none in terms of 'pure' RnR.

Real thanks for the cemetary pic - never seen that before, not that pics of JW are all that plentiful.
Curious as to where you found it, but I'll understand if you'd rather keep the source confidential.

The Hound said...

they're from Fretboard Journal, mentioned in the posting....the mag credits both photos as courtesy of James Williamson.

J.D. King said...

It'd be great if some hacker could drop that tombstone pic into James' IEEE profile.

The Hound said...

geee, jd, after all he's given us you want to screw with his day job? he's got two college age kids to support.

GMcFries said...

DON'T FORGET THE UNFORGETTABLE 'FLASHPOINT' TITLE SONG WRITTEN BY SCOTT RICHARDSON AND PERFORMED BY SCOTT RICHARDSON AND THE GEMS. UNDERRATED MOVIE STARRING KRIS KRISTOFFERSON AND TREAT WILLIAMS, RIP TORN.
GILLIAN (AKA HOUND'S WIFE)

The Hound said...

in twelve years that's the first time you ever shouted at me...try releasing the Cap Lock key xoxox

Anonymous said...

HOLY GOODNESS - they're probably gonna reunite. One of the most seminal bands of all time, that made one of the most badass records ever.

http://tinyurl.com/q9vd36

The Hound said...

"HOLY GOODNESS - they're probably gonna reunite."

Evidently this is true, Iggy sent out a press release last week announcing that Iggy & the Stooges Mach II (Iggy, Scott Asheton, Mike Watt and James Williamson) will begin rehearsing in July for gigs sometime this fall-- "the repetoire will be Raw Power" according to the Ig.

Rob J said...

Having been a Stooges fan since I heard first "Raw Power" on Friday December 8th 1975 at 3.20 pm.
(yes,it had that kind of impact!)
I waited nearly thirty years to see them perform live. By an incredible coincidence, their London date fell on my birthday. It was the best gift I have ever received. In the words of the late great Ron Asheton, it was unrepeatable. I have seen The Clash, Bowie, The Stones,Joy Division, but that one night was truly an Event. Anybody who saw that gig will tell you they witnessed the greatest live performance of all time. When Ron died, I thought it was the end of an era. I didn't see the reunion of Pop/Williamson coming but I have no doubt they will pull it off. I just hope my heart will be able to make it through the live version of "Shake Appeal" !
The photos of JW are very good, especially the eerie shot of him sitting on a grave.

Anonymous said...

James.. remember 27 South Berkshire.. and our Jeff. Still have pictures of you guys in the basement practicing and playing p pong, and Wolf, Roger & and Paul (Ester!) (hahha) Best.. Happy

Anonymous said...

James Williamson is a brilliant player, and the riffs and chord progressions he came up with for RAW POWER are some of the greatest ever written or played in Rock'n'roll and Rock.

Carry on, James.

-- Mikey

Marc said...

Hi - anyone know who took the gravestone shot?
Cheers
Marc

The Hound said...

"Hi - anyone know who took the gravestone shot?"

My guess is Mick Rock, or possibly Leee Childers, although I've asked them both and neither remember it or have the negative.

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