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Page 20... Trevor Williams Fan site Interview
Hi Trev hope you are keeping well, thanks for doing this when you can find time.
FS. 1) Firstly how is the finger that received the Fox bite a while back, did it affect you’re playing style / technique ?
TW " It's OK. Occupational hazard. It did rather affect me on a couple of spring gigs but I bluffed it out. Who knows? Perhaps the digit's slightly altered shape will make me a better bass player"?
FS. 2) Did you play music at school, what was the very 1st group you were in, were they good
and what type of music did you play ?
TW. "I attended the Bucks School of Music by evening learning recorder, and then accordion, the latter because my Mum thought Jimmy Shand was the world's greatest musician.
My first band was The Cyclones. We were rubbish! First gig, apart from accompanying the youth club carol singers a month earlier, was January 1961, Saturday morning pictures at High Wycombe Odeon cinema. The line-up was me on vocals, accordion and acoustic guitar, plus another acoustic guitarist and a drummer who owned a slack, untuneable snare drum and a cymbal that sounded like a biscuit tin. That was his entire kit - seven quid's worth!
We played "That'll be the Day", "Willie and the Hand Jive", "Buona Sera", a country and western dirge called "Six Feet of Earth" and my own composition, "Talking Schoolhouse Blues". We died such a death we had to change our name".
FS. 3) Who or what were you’re earliest influences ?
TW "Got a plastic penny whistle around my eighth Xmas and quickly learned Guy Mitchell's "Pretty Little Black Eyed Susie" by ear. It was my parents' first inkling of any musical talent and probably spoilt their Xmas entirely.
Important early influences would have been Elvis, Lonnie Donegan, Johnny Duncan, Eddie Cochran and Duane Eddy, although I loved - and still love - The Piltdown Men for their pounding eccentricity. From a song writing perspective, it's back to Cochran again. "Summertime Blues", "C'mon Everybody", "Somethin' Else" - all great rock 'n' roll anthems with witty lyrics that speak to every generation. Cochran's "Cut Across Shorty" is definitely an ancestor of "Nancy", "Belladonna Moonshine" and "Barracuda Dan". Also Leiber and Stoller, my favourite songwriters of all time. Again, witty, great little cameos and cartoons like "Little Egypt", "Poison" Ivy", "Yacketty Yak", "Love Potion No 9", "Jailhouse Rock" and literally hundreds more. Never mind about leaving your heart in San Francisco or Moon River being wider than a mile, Leiber and Stoller's literary gems are on a par with Shakespeare".
FS. 4) What made you take up the bass guitar, was it you’re 1st choice of instruments, do you sight read,
what other instrument's can you play, and what instrument would you like to learn or play ?
TW " I played accordion, organ, drums and Hawaiian guitar on-stage in my early years (none of them well), then graduated to lead guitar of a Duane Eddy, Ventures, Shadows persuasion. Although quite fast and nifty with the Bigsby tremelo arm, I knew I couldn't approach my real heroes - string stranglers like Micky Green from Johnny Kidd and The Pirates, Ricky Nelson's guitarist, James Burton or Booker T and the MGs' Steve Cropper, so I switched to rhythm, or second guitar. My first six months as a professional musician was spent in this role until, following a short discussion about musical differences at the Liverpool Cavern, the bass player left and I took over at short notice and found my niche.
I learned to sight read at the Bucks School of Music but had no need of it and never kept it up - and it's not like riding a bicycle.
Have no desire to learn another instrument now, but regret, when younger, not getting the chance to play tenor sax, which I regard as the most expressive and emotive of instruments.
FS. 5) After Audience folded in the 1970's what were you doing up to Audience's revival in 2004 ?
TW."Nashville Teens, Jonathan Kelly's Outside, Nashville Teens again and some session work 'til January 1975.
Then the lean years - custard beater, cork sorter, biscuit conveyor belt observer with instructions to take out and deactivate cracked cream crackers, bagger of iron filings. Finally, I hit rock-bottom and joined the civil service.
4 years later, worked as manager for hotel cleaning company, stole some of their contracts and set up own hotel cleaning/garden care company, sold 'em on and worked as film researcher.
The main film I was involved in was "The Animals Film", which launched Channel 4 amidst much controversy. Howard's song, "Ugly Water" from his first album, "King Brilliant", was featured in the film along with stuff by Talking Heads and Robert Wyatt.
Then I settled into animal charity fundraising in 1983 and, since 1991, I've been running The Fox Project, a wildlife charity and advice bureau.
My only musical adventure of note during this entire period was a year with The Cakes, a five piece pub blues/soul band".
FS. 6) How did you get into Animal welfare namely the fox project ?
TW "Always interested and concerned. Turned veggie in 1971 after reading a description by Norman Mailer of a Chicago slaughterhouse. Took umbrage at bloodsports around 1974 and became a hunt saboteur (If Brian Ferry wants to arm wrestle over this, I can take him!) and then found myself wildlife watching in my spare time. Found the most interesting wild animal was not the badger, as I'd expected, but the fox. Learned a great deal about it and am now, for reasons largely undeserved, considered one of the UK's leading fox experts".
FS. 7) Over the year's do you have a favourite bass guitar and amp sound, what is you’re current music set up inc amps ect ?
TW "I love the Fender Precision above all other bass guitars, and the older the better. I've had mine since 1963 and still use it for everything. As for sound, my first decent bass amp was a Fender Bassman. I'm not a Marshall man. I like a clean, hard sound, although I'm far from a clean player. I bend notes, I use buzzy fret sounds where other bass players would spend a lifetime eliminating them, I use chords and I often play three or four note rolling runs with only one finger strike. I'm a fluffy, grubby sort of player. Not tidy at all! My current set-up is a Laney 300w with 15" speaker and a 4 x 10" Trace Elliott extension cab".
FS. 8) Is there anyone you would like to jam with past or present ?
TW."Hendrix, Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Neville Brothers".
FS. 9) You love walking ,what is you’re favourite area for walking in the UK, where in the World would you like to visit for walking ?
TW." Favourite places are Cumbria, North York Moors and Western Isles. Very inspired by BBC's current "Coast" series. Wouldn't mind a go at the Appalachian Trail".
FS. 10) Did you enjoy travelling to gigs in the 70's, do you enjoy it nowadays ?
TW. "I hated the travelling, which was boring, uncomfortable and usually done on the cheap. I'd tend to blot it out by reading copiously. It's OK now, because we're not working flat out, my living doesn't depend on saving as many pennies as poss. and I think I can safely say we're built for comfort rather than speed today - so we do it comfortably!"
FS. 11) How prolific is you’re song writing, how did you write in the past, how do you write now, what comes 1st the words or music, what instrument do you use for song writing ?
TW. "When I get on a roll I can write lyric after lyric but I've got to have a reason or outlet. Getting the band back together has stimulated me into writing - or part-writing - around 15 songs over the past year.
I kind of like writing to a vague tune, riff or hook someone else has come up with. For instance, I've completed a song called "Roses" after Keith gave me a tape of some instrumental ideas he'd recorded. Hopefully, we'll get to work on this as a band before the year's out. For another instance, "Nancy", "Indian Summer", "Stand by the Door" and many more were written around little more than a chorus - sometimes with words, sometimes not, sometimes with grunts - that Howard threw at me.
I seldom write using an instrument, because I'm not that good at envisaging an initial tune, although I might figure out, on acoustic guitar or bass, ideas for a potential arrangement".
FS. 12) You were a singer in a past group, will you ever do lead vocals for Audience ?
TW. "No reason why I should. Him up the front is doing the job well enough. 'Course, when his voice breaks, like Aled Jones, he'll be reduced to doing "Songs of Praise" and then I'll get my big break. Fact is, I'm barely to semi-pro standard as a vocalist".
FS. 13) Who did you see playing live when you were young, what venues did you go to ?
TW. "First live rock show I ever saw was in 1958 - a package tour headed by Cliff Richard and The Shadows. I loved it. Cliff was snarling, hip swivelling and radical and Hank made me want to walk the walk and wear the glasses - and I subsequently did both.
I saw a lot of the Larry Parnes package tours featuring Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Marty Wilde, Adam Faith and Joe Brown - the first star I ever met.
I seldom missed a Tuesday night at High Wycombe Town Hall when the bill might include Sonny Boy Williamson, Ketty Lester, Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages, The Hollies, The Big Three and, sooner or later, just about everyone in the business. It was a great time to see live rock 'n' roll".
FS. 14) What current music do you listen to, is there any modern bands you would like to see live or buy there cd, is there any music you dislike ?
TW. "At risk of seeming like a BOF, I find most of the current rash of bands dull and unadventurous and you've only got to see a few minutes of Jools Holland or Live 8 to see the class divide when The Who or Robert Plant come on.
The most boring aspect of current 'pop' is the insistence by every member of the band to play interminable plodding crotchets, thus rendering most of their contributions redundant. They should have a listen to Free, a band that knew how to create excitement with simplicity and by underplaying. As James Jameson, Marvin Gaye's bass player once said "It's not the notes you play, it's the ones you leave out." Having said all that, the Kaiser Chiefs seem like fun and I love Basement Jaxx.
Lately, I tend towards a lot of African stuff like Youssou N'Dour, Malia and Mahmoud Ahmed, Asian influences such as Nitin Sawnhey and Asian Dub Foundation and there are a lot of impressive new female singers around today, in all fields from soul to traditional Irish and Scottish folk.
There's only one form of music I universally hate and that's opera. It makes me very, very angry!
FS. 15) Can we bribe you (a few pints) to play fan's favourite Indian Summer live on stage ?
TW. "No, but I'll consider it if you throw in your house and car".
Thanks Trev, peter.
..16th Feb 2007..Hi Pete,
Thought you should share in my embarassment at our looking like Kenny Rogers' Grandad and a small monkey. Pity you couldn't have been there. Went well. First airing for 37 years of Waverley Stagecoach and first for 35 years of Barracuda Dan. Also did I Had a Dream, Tom Waits' Temptation and Taj Mahal's Strut. If we'd have had another five minutes Belladonna Moonshine would have been in there as well. But NOT NOT NOT Indian Summer! If the world isn't careful we might do it again. Scrapbooks are out and waiting whenever we get together and there's a new 2006 Annual coming your way as soon as I can get it finished. Trev
Well I cannot believe I missed Trev's Solo Gig. I really feel a bit pi#£%d off with myself for not being there. Hopefully there will be another time, anyway Thanks for great picture Trev hope you had a great evening and all who turned up well done. Picture below of evening.
..Trevor Williams actual set list from Canada 2006