Word by: Martin Halo | Images by: Rod Snyder
Once, there was nothing more satisfying to me then the blues. I mean seriously, what could be better than a John Mayall record and a joint? Rod Stewart had his Faces, Mick Taylor immortalized the Rolling Stones, and Clapton became God. They were artists that dominated my soul. They were my bible, and I had comfortably numb tunnel vision with the headphones glued to my skull.
The jam scene wasn't even on my radar until about the age of 22. Now, I know what you are going to say, "How did you not know about the jam scene? What kind of man are you?" Well, the answer is simple: I'm from New York; we don't exactly have festivals in my neck of the woods. Our transcendence comes in the form of a dingy bar on Ludlow Street where nobody would think of adventuring into a solo for longer than thirty seconds.
Musicians, in a way, are kind of the same. Most don't have the eclectic tastes you might think. They travel the country incased in a bubble of nightly gigs and revolving barrooms. The last thing they are aware of is what is happening on the cusp of the scene. They listen to what they love and what inspires them. My own musical foundation was expanded by The Black Crowes. The Robinson Brothers turned me on to The Flying Burrito Brothers, Jimmie Rogers, Howlin' Wolf, David Crosby, The Jayhawks, Beachwood Sparks and a handful of others.
It took close to two years for all of the pieces of the American musical landscape to come into focus. The folkies of California, the hipsters of Brooklyn, the garage rock of the Pacific Northwest, the balladeers in the hills of Carolina, all fused to make up this country's voice. There were discoveries that were made within the process that stood out as unmistakably staggering. Keller Williams was one of them, a pure diamond in the ruff.
Although Keller made his mark as a one-man jam band with loops and tricks and treats galore, speaking to him now, it's his Weapons of Mass Destructions (featuring Keller, bassist Keith Moseley, guitarist Gibb Droll and drummer Jeff Sipe) that he's eager to discuss.
Williams & Moseley :: 02.21 :: NYC
"This project was all about timing," says Williams from his home in Fredericksburg, Virginia. "I have been doing the solo thing in the public eye for close to ten years now and I put myself in the shoes of the audience. I felt that it was time to set out and do something different."
The difference was assembling a supporting cast of musicians that Williams has been trying to organize for close to a decade.
"You have to understand, I was a fan of these guys," Williams offers. "Gibb Droll and Jeff Sipe came into my world around the same time. I was in my late teens. It was a very influential time in my playing career. I was much more of a sponge than I am now. Meaning, I was just absorbing everything!"
With a 60-song catalog rehearsed and in place, the WMD's hit the road in the fall of 2007 and again in early 2008 and left destruction in their wake.
"I believe in rhythm and the power of taking the listener out of the day-to-day thought process," says Keller. "I want to transfer them into something else that is not their routine stresses, because that is what happens to me. I get taken out of the long term and my entire thought process molds into what is happening when I am playing. It's all about the dance. It's all about the rhythm. It's all about the jazz and the disco."
JamBase | New York
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