Last Updated 12th October 1998
- PERSONAL EXPERIENCES
THE LOS ANGELES TRIBUTE CONCERT
(When you click on the red/green
below you will be taken to a page with more
detailed information. If click on the song titles mentioned, you will be
taken to a list of Paul Williams albums/singles/TV shows where that song
Last Updated 12th October 1998
On 18th August Sean Coleman, of the band Brand
New Sunshine Club, who appeared at the Tribute Concert, sent me this initial report.
"I'm dropping a brief note with a longer one upcoming. The tribute show on Saturday in LA was amazing. 20+ acts each playing a
song in a variety of styles from free jazz to surf instrumental to dixieland.
and then the finale of songs by Paul himself.
Here now is a detailed account of the Tribute Concert which Sean sent me.
Crowd: Chanting - "We want Swan, we want Swan"
David Ponak: You want Swan. Lets bring him out. Paul I think you're going to have to get up here.
PW: David Ponak thank you very much. This is....
Crowd: Loud cheering
PW: This has been the most amazing journey. You know - the reason I'm here - the reason I'm alive is because I'm sober. This March I'll celebrate 9 years of sobriety.
You'll have to understand that for me part of what I've gone through in sobriety is first of all waking up sober, waking up instead of coming to. Wow that's interesting - I didn't sleep until I was 49, you know. Well all of a sudden there you are sober and I just felt so disconnected from my life, and when I looked at what I'd done , what I felt was in fact so disconnected that I was embarrassed by it . These hallmark lyrics I had written and I just backed away from it and in the last couple of years I began to claim
it again. It's like all of a sudden I'm starting to feel proud of what I've done with my life and feel connected with my music.
Crowd: Loud applause
PW: What I desperately needed was to hear the things tonight that I heard all in a row like that, including songs that were never even recorded, songs that were on Demo albums. I don't know how the hell Ponak found them - you know he should be in the missing person's business - "lost lover, talk to David - he'll find them for you". But it's just been like Christmas for me and it's just...the only thing that's wrong this evening is that my kids, my 13 and my 17 year old can't be here, you know. They're both in Rehab......
PW: Will you say hello to Mr. Chris Casswell at the piano here. This is kind of - well these are songs I haven't sung in a long long time so...
PW: I wrote that with John Williams for 'Cinderella Liberty'.
PW: I'm just going to do 4 or 5 songs and ...
Crowd: "Rainbow Connection"
PW: I'm going to do that. This was written for the nicest guy in all of show business. It was written for my friend "Kermit The Frog". I wrote this with Kenny Ascher - Kenny and I wrote "You And Me Against The World" together, and most of the songs from "A Star Is Born". I wish he'd been here tonight - I wish he and Roger had been here tonight - it makes me cry that they're not.
Crowd: Louder Applause
PW: This was an excuse for me to do a couple of my favourites you may not know, although some of you may know this. This is a song I wrote with Kenny Ascher, it's called "Loneliness".
Song: 'Loneliness' (click here for the lyrics of this song)
PW: Chris Caswell on the piano. My mother used to talk to herself. The way this song got written is that my mother would walk round the room mumbling to herself...mumble, mumble, mumble.. with a drink in her hand and a cigarette. I'd say "What's the matter mum, what's wrong". She'd go "I feel old today" so...
Song: 'Rainy Days And Mondays' (click here for the lyrics of this song) - first verse
PW: Chris and I used to, when I was out performing, we'd do that as an intro to this next song and it was just...it was an excuse to remind everbody of a song I'd written. It was also an excuse to talk about the woman who sang it. Roger Nichols and I were the best kept secret in song writing. We were having album cuts, but.. and then Karen Carpenter and Richard came along and it was just like...they literally gave me a life. You know, I don't think I appreciated it at the time. I had hair down to my butt and round black glasses...and I was using serious drugs and writing these soppy love songs. There was no way in the world they were ever going to get played on the radio..and then Karen came along. When I sang it it was one thing, when I heard it it was like..wow. This song will always belong to her.
PW: When I think about her I can't sing.
Crowd: Loud Applause
PW: This is a song you know I'll be remembered for. Just a little of it.
Song: "Love Boat Theme" (brief extract)
PW: I'm not going to sing any more
Crowd: Singing the words "The Love Boat"
PW: That's enough. I don't sing "The Love Boat" since they took Jack Jones off it I'm sorry, I love Jack.
PW: Swan. Everything was done from "Phantom" tonight. The only thing from "Phantom" that I know we could do is "Old Souls" and it was done amazingly tonight.
Can I do.. I'm going to do a couple of more songs and get out of here because I think we need to. Can I do a song...You know how to play it?
Crowd: Louder Applause
PW: I'm going to do one more song and then we'll get everbody up here. I just want to say two things. First of all I want to say something about why we're here. My involvement with MAP (Musician's Assistance Program) has gone back since I was a year sober. I went to UCLA got my certificate as a Drug and Alcohol Counsellor, and started working with Buddy at MAP and I didn't think I'd write music again. I didn't know what I was going to do. All I knew was that I was alive and it was a gift and ever day is a gift and.... The money that you're raising tonight what it's going to do is help guys who can't afford it, cause I was lucky, the guys who can't afford it they're going to be able to go and get their lives back. You know what I've
got a relationship with my Kids again, and I'm writing again. About two years ago all of a sudden that nozzle got turned back on so...
PW: This evening has been an amazing part of my being able to reclaim what I've been doing. What I'd like to do is, I'd like to leave you with a song that is, actually it's on the charts right now. I heard it, it's amazing, as I turned into the club here. I used to live on Scott Avenue right over here so, that was like 1967. As I was turning into the club in the car I hear on the radio this song that I'm going to do. It's a song I wrote with Jon Vezner, it's a brand new song. There's an amazing country group, a real band called "Diamond Rio", and this is their new single. I wrote it with Jon Vezner and it's called 'You're Gone', and it's like the first new Paul Williams song I've heard on the radio in so many years.
Song: 'You're Gone' (click here for the lyrics of this song)
PW: This has been like Christmas. Thank you so much. Thank you.
David Ponak: Thank you Paul Williams. I'm not going to let you off the hook that easy.
PW: Can I thank one other person I didn't thank. When I was sitting on the couch there was a women named Kelly Newby who said you shouldn't be sitting on the couch, you shouldn't be working in rehab. You can do that, but you need to get back into the saddle and start doing what you do again. Her name's Kelly Newby, she's sitting at the back of the room there. I call her my CPR - Couch Potato Resuscitator - so I love you Kelly.
David Ponak: Can we get you to do one more song? Let's have the band on this one. Guys get up here. I've got a question for you Paul. When was the last time you sang this song?
PW: Gods, well it was back, you know we'd wind the car at the front and then it would start. I'd say realistically probably 20 years. It's amazing you have that album, even my mother didn't buy that album.
David Ponak: Let's get a little like possy up here, around this microphone.
PW: Come up anyway it's the spirit of the thing.
David Ponak: Here's Stu and Daryl, this is beautiful.
PW: It's the song that ended The Monkeys career
Crowd: Well done
David Ponak: Paul Williams. You want him to write more songs?
House manager: Lets hear it for David Ponak and Stu. Thanks a lot.
David Ponak: Lets here it for Paul Williams and his songs and all these performers
(Thanks Sean for providing us with this account of a truly wonderful evening. Sean has his own Web page for the Brand New Sunshine Club.)
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