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).
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