Last Updated 13th October 1998

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Last Updated 12th September 1998


"I will briefly tell you about the night. Paul & Buddy Arnold (who founded M.A.P - 'Musician's Assistance Program'.) were on the radio on station KLSX 97.1 FM while I was in the parking lot of club! I didn't know about this or I would have arranged to tape it. They talked about M.A.P. and appearance. About 22 bands were lined up. (I think Dave Ponak can give you the exact line-up--I am not sure of spelling of some band names, etc.). I was the first paying person in the club (there were musicians setting up, etc.)

A few minutes later I heard Paul, but I waited until he was settled in and seated at his table. I briefly introduced myself to David Ponak, then Paul.

He was taken aback by that Demo LP I asked him to sign. ("Words And Music By Paul Williams). Paul had never seen it before. However, he exclaimed "The Hunter" was the first song I ever wrote! Then he proceeded to sing some of it. He underligned that song title and wrote "My first song!" and he signed it to me. He was very nice. Then I had him sign my other albums!


Some of the bands did traditional versions of songs, and some did let's say very different versions. At the end, Paul came on stage and basically he was very happy and he sang "We've Only Just Begun", "Loneliness", that new one he wrote for Diamond Rio "You're Gone". He got a bit tear-eyed on "We've Only Just Begun" and couldn't finish it. He said it will always be Karen's song.

Basically, it was a fun event, and I think it was another big boost for Paul to show how much people appreciate his music and I think that it will also very much encourage him to write more music! I mean you should have seen him. His face was all lit up and he was having a good time and so was the crowd. It was a very positive event.

Let's hope he will be encouraged to write more and possibly do a full performance on his own!"

(Thanks Brenda for providing us with this account so soon after the event.)


Last Updated 3rd October 1998

JJ & Paul

Hi kids!!!

I'm so excited about last night I can hardly stand it! Yesterday my husband and I drove to LA to attend a tribute concert for Paul Williams, that was held at a place called Spaceland. I don't really have the words to describe my feelings, but I'll try.

Paul Williams is one of the nicest, most humble people I have ever met. Before the program, he mingled freely with everyone in the coffee house. When I introduced myself and my husband to him, he remembered that I had done a tribute page on my web page, and he told me that he really loved it, and he thanked us again and again for coming all the way from Phoenix.

My husband took pictures of me and Paul, and later, of Paul as he autographed my The Holy Mackerel album. (Thank you Dana for that treasured album!!!).

I asked him what other song of his he always wished Karen (Carpenter) would have sung, and he said "You And Me Against The World". And then he said that some of the songs he is writing right now he imagines Karen singing them!!!

The concert was sort of like "If I Were a Carpenter"... it was really incredible. 22 bands, each performing one or two of Paul Williams' hits in their own style, "Evergreen", "Ordinary Fool", "You And Me Against The World", "Let Me Be The One", as well as innumerable songs from the movie Phantom Of Paradise, the Muppet Movie album, etc.

But of course, the real thrill was when Paul himself got up on the stage and talked and sang his heart out. It was amazing, he never sounded better, even on the albums I love so much. He talked about Karen and Richard!!! He said he was just a young songwriter, with no particular future, when Richard and Karen "gave me a life" (of course I was cheering at the top of my lungs!) . He sang "Rainy Days And Mondays" and then let it lead into "We've Only Just Begun". Then he talked about Karen. "This song will always belong to Karen". He sang it with so much feeling, and then I started to cry, and suddenly he stopped singing, and he had tears in his eyes, and he said "I think about her and I can't sing".. and he gestured towards the sky and said "It's all yours, lady!", and finished the song. He also sang his newest hit, sung by Diamond Rio, "You're Gone". WOW!!!

I wish I could express the way I felt last night. As we started to leave Paul came over to me and gave me a hug and thanked me again (!!!) for coming!!! Am I dreaming or what?????

He was so sweet at the concert, and so sincere, as he talked about the work of the MAP (Musicians' Assistance Program), and how much it meant to him to be able to help other Musicians come back from drug/alcohol addiction. He had invited a lady named Ruth, who counseled him, and suggested he return to his songwriting, and he acknowledged her to everyone and gave her so much credit for his return.. so amazing.

I have rarely met anyone in my life who is more loving, caring and sincere than Paul. I tried to tell him how wonderful his lyrics are, how much his songs have meant to me, but honestly, he wouldn't let me. He was talking about me, and my webpage, and us coming from Phoenix, I was just so amazed.. he is TOTALLY unselfish!!!! When I suggested a picture that Ron could take, he was so cute about it, put his arm around me, I can't wait to see it!! and Ron took a total of 7 pictures. People were so cute, some of them were wearing "Planet of the Apes" T-shirts, and lots of them were freaking out over his Phantom Of Paradise movie

I need to rent it now, cuz I want to understand stuff they were saying ... some of them were obviously children when it came out and they got really into the movie, like repeating lines and memorizing characters, etc...

Most of the groups did a lovely job with his songs. All of the bands were volunteers, you know, in fact, I remember that I had seen something from Spaceland a couple of months back actually asking for volunteer bands to sign up!! It was truly an amazing evening! Paul said that to him it was LIKE CHRISTMAS, hearing all of the songs sung, and some that were never even released as well, he was so tickled that the organizers went to so much work to "find" some of his songs. What really amazed me is that he was autographing for others outside afterwards, and I thought I already got to talk to him, so I walked past, and to the car and then we got in the Explorer and started to head out and I called his name, and he left the group of people and came to the car window and hugged me through the window and told me again how much he appreciated us coming!!! I went back to the hotel and could hardly sleep, I was soooooo overwhelmed and excited.

(Thanks JJ for providing us with such a personal account of your wonderful evening along with 3 great photos. JJs has her own "JJ's Mood Music Page" dedicated to the talents of Paul Williams, The Carpenters, Carol King and Bonnie Raitt.)



Last Updated 13th OCTOBER1998

The photos with this story are courtesy of Elaine Manning. Elaine said they "were taken in Canada and sent to me years ago by a friend." Thanks Elaine (If anyone recognises the concert I'd be interested to hear about it.)

Just some old fashioned love songs filled Spaceland Saturday night for the M.A.P - 'Musician's Assistance Program' benefit --a tribute to Paul Williams, the man behind such hits as "We've Only Just Begun", "You And Me Against The World" and of course, "The Love Boat" theme, along with the cult classic rock opera Phantom Of Paradise.

Williams--who put his songwriting career on hold almost a decade ago to work as a drug and alcohol counselor--had long been a favorite composer of concert organizer Dave Ponak of the MelloCads and the Negro Problem's Stew. The Negro Problem's manager Brian Bullen is on MAP's advisory committee; Paul Williams is on the board of directors of the non-profit MAP, which provides services and funding for musicians and music industry professionals in need of drug and alcohol rehab.

To date, MAP has successfully put over 200 individuals through programs to get them clean and keep them that way. Saturday's benefit went towards "rehab scholarships" for those who lack the insurance and/or funds to afford detox and rehab. With local faves like the Wondermints, Single Bullet Theory, Sissy Bar, and 20 others on the bill, the $10 tickets and no guest list didn't dissuade a soul.

The house was packed with bands and fans like Ann Magnuson, E from the Eels, Gwynne Kahn (who is busy working on her new project Nipper and the Sea Turtles), local LOCA authoress Gwynne Garfinkle, and boy-wonder film producer Jon Schwartz, who owns one of three 35mm prints of opera Phantom Of Paradise in existence.

Also on hand, of course, was the man himself, Paul Williams--who enthusiastically chatted with enthusiasts of his music (one of whom had driven from Arizona to attend the benefit! - see her report above ). Five songs from Phantom were featured on the second half of the evening's bill--The Jupiter Affect doing a rousing version "Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye"; WACO's brilliant rendition of the classically themed "Faust"; "Phantom's Theme (Beauty And The Beast)" performed by the Bell Starlings; Lisa Marie and Robbie Rist (who could double for the cuddly Williams) duetting on "Old Souls", and Simon Glickman of Spanish Kitchen belting out "The Hell Of It" with its oh-so-cutting lyrics "Good for nothing/Bad in bed/Nobody likes you/You're better off dead," backed by the 'Cads. The MelloCads opened the show with "The Drifter", which has been recorded by opposite ends of the musical spectrum from Harpers Bizarre to Steve Lawrence, while Sissy Bar covered two tunes from the The Muppet Movie.

Williams, who was in the audience, was thrilled by the variety of musicians performing his songs, especially by the Michael Whitmore Quartet's dissonant version of "Park Ave" and Double Naught Spy Car's surf-rock instrumental on "An Old Fashioned Love Song"

MAP founder, jazzman Buddy Arnold, joined the Negro Problem for "Out In The Country", adding a soulful sax as other band members climbed onstage to sing along. During the intermission, MAP's PSAs played over the video screen, with artists like KISS and No Doubt discussing the stupidity of drug and alcohol abuse.

After the last band, Cockeyed Ghost, finished "Do You Really Have A Heart" Ponak called Williams up to the stage and the singer/songwriter/TV guest-star/Hollywood Square movingly thanked Stew, Ponak, the audience, his wife, and MAP for the evening.

"It's like Christmas, I am so amazed, thank you, thank you! I can't believe the songs I'm hearing, that Dave found all of these, some of them are demos that were never released" (He must've been referring to Probyn Gregory's version of "When Love Is Near".) "I was embarrassed for a long time about the Hallmark sentiments of my songs, but tonight has just been wonderful, thank you!" And then the crowd shouted out requests, some of which were for songs previously performed.

"No," said the gracious Williams, "Those were already done so well."

But he did not completely disappoint, giving the audience a medley including the "Love Boat Theme," "We've Only Just Begun", "Rainy Days And Mondays", along with full versions of "Nice To Be Around", "Rainbow Connection", "Loneliness", his current chart hit "You're Gone", and the title track from his 1970 release "Someday Man" (from which many of the evening's songs had been played).

Along with raising cold hard cash and awareness (if you think you can use MAP's services, give them a call at 323-993-3197--it's confidential, and could save your life), the night proved that classic songs can be fitted to any genre and that Paul Williams is more than a Someday Man; he's an always cool cat....

© 1998 New Times, Inc. All rights reserved.

(Thanks to Sarah for telling me about this review)




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