Mac native tapped for Music Hall of Fame
"He started playing immediately," said his mother, Gail, remembering that Christmas 40 years ago. And he never stopped playing.
After more three decades as a professional drummer and independent producer and engineer, he is being honored this month with induction into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
He is one of 10 performers being inducted because they have "significantly influenced the world of music." To be eligible, artists have be be Oregon natives who've worked professionally in the music industry for at least 20 years, or Oregon transplants who've worked professionally in the state for at least 20 years.
During the ceremony, set for Saturday, Oct. 5, in Portland, Williams will play drums with Quarterflash, a Portland group that went platinum with "Harden My Heart."
He frequently performs with and tours with Quarterflash. He's also played with Sheryl Crow, the Dandy Warhols, Nu Shooz, Blitzen Trapper, Emmylou Harris, Jerry Joseph and Pete Droge.
He has played most of the clubs in Portland, as well as venues seating 15,000 or more.
Williams is listed in the credits on more than 250 albums. On some, he played drums; on others, he served as a producer or engineer.
He owns Trench Studios in Portland, where he records both up-and-coming local musicians and established artists.
After starting with the drums in fourth grade, Williams played in bands in junior high and McMinnville High School. He also played and sang with the Twilighters at Mac High, where his musical influences included longtime vocal music director Doug Anderson.
Williams graduated from Mac High in 1981.
The next year, he moved to Portland to pursue a music career, said his mother, who still lives in McMinnville. "He did it all on his own, and look where he got!" she said.
She said she's not sure where her son got his talent.
She and her husband, the late Ken Williams, had no musical background. But they encouraged all four of their children to take piano lessons and pursue musical interests.
"Our whole family loved music, forever and ever," she said.
The event at which Williams will be honored will start at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Aladdin Theater in Portland. It is a benefit for school music programs.
Other inductees include trumpeter and composer Chris Botti; the alternative rock band Hazel; the band Poison Idea; jazz and blues bassist Kelly Joe Phelps; Americana act Richmond Fontane; pianist Janie Scroggins; former Portland Mayor Bud Clark, for his support of the musical arts; music journalist Marty Hughley; blues artist Curtis Salgado, who earned album of the year honors; and jazz vocalist Esperanza Spalding, named artist of the year for the second time.
Tickets are $30 at the door or $25 in advance. Tickets are available through www.ticketfly.com.