Interview with Michael Jackson Guitarist David Williams

by Bruce Edwin

David Williams and I met at an Edie Sedgwick film party at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California. He was a big, black tall brother with a deep voice, and some thin wire rim glasses on holding an iced glass of something and surrounded by the most important looking people in a packed crowd of hundreds of young hot looking hipsters from the SoHo crowd, and a bunch of older Factory Scene art people. The guys he was standing by I found out were his friend and collaborator Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music, and another music legend named Bruce Hornsby.

David exuded money, confidence, poise, and class. He spoke with a cheerful command, and told my client Moira Cue that he had played guitar for Michael Jackson, Madonna, Mariah Carey, and more. I initially thought he was full of it. After Moira urged me to call him and just check him out, I finally did. I ended up telling her that he was either one of the worlds best b.s.’ers, or, he was the real deal. Ended up, he was the real deal.

David visited my office that next week after speaking for about an hour on the phone, and he signed with me to a contract. For about the next two years, we’d spend hundreds of hours talking, laughing, and a few tears, but mostly laughs and mutual pep talks. I considered him one of my best friends. When we weren’t joking around cussing at each other, and him making me laugh, we’d get things done. We understood each other, and we both had the same ambition and drive.

I always knew that with David on our side, we would succeed. He had played with the best, because he was the best. David had not only some of the magic of all of the stars he played with, but he had his own. His call every morning used to always wake me up and be the start of my day, and it made each day bright, and huge with the knowledge that the greatest things could and would happen, because we were a team and we would never stop until we won. David won. My friend David Williams died four months ago, and I miss him dearly. When you hear Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller, Papa Don’t Preach, and on and on, it's him on guitar. David, I miss you my brother, you were the best. Below is a summary of one of the many, many talks I had with David. The following is about the man the world knew and loved. The man David Williams knew well- Michael Jackson. I am thankful that David had a great life, as did Michael. And I am thankful that I had the honor to know such a great man.

David Williams: Did I ever tell you Bruce about touring with Michael?

Bruce Edwin: No, David you didn’t, I’d love to hear some time.

David Williams: Yeah, it's some stories boy, some time I’ll tell ya.

Bruce Edwin: I’m listening.

David Williams: We traveled the world. Every civilized country, where ever there was electricity and T.V., we played. Places no body had ever toured before. Touring with Michael, for Thriller, man it was something. It was out of this world. We played in front of millions of people. We saw millions. I kid you not. All around the world. It was something.

Bruce Edwin: I bet.

David Williams: And we were treated like Kings. Michael was the king. He is the king, the king of pop, and you know, they called him that for a reason, because he was like royalty. We were treated like royalty. He was friends with Kings and Queens and Princes. We did it all.

Bruce Edwin: Wow, I believe it. Is it all lies that people say he is broke?

David Williams: Yes. It’s lies. When you have that much money, you don’t want people to know you have it! You want to hide it so they can’t get it. But when you don’t have money, you want every one to think you do. Michael ain’t broke. He still owns Neverland. He just shifted it to a company that he is the head of. He’s smart. He’s brilliant. He’s a brilliant businessman. Do you know he owns almost half of the Beatles catalog? And Elvis. Most people know about The Beatles, but did you know he owns Elvis songs too? Paul McCartney told him there was big money in owning catalogs, and that he should invest in music catalogs and get royalties, and the next thing Paul knows, he out bid him on his own music for The Beatles!. That’s how good Michael was in business. (…) And every time you hear a Beatles song, every time they play it on the radio or any where, he has to get paid. And you’re trying to tell me he’s broke?

Bruce Edwin: No, I’m not telling you, I don’t believe he is…

David Williams: No, I know. He ain’t broke. You don’t get that big by being stupid. Nobody is bigger than Michael Jackson. There isn’t to this day. There never will be. He’s Michael Jackson. He’s the biggest thing that ever was. Man, we used to pull into cities, and the police would come out and drive us in to where we was goin’. We’d stay in hotels, the fanciest hotels a city had. My rooms were nice, they were beautiful man. I was treated very, very well. Bruce, let me tell you man, I lived and ate like a king. I’d stay in the suites, chandeliers, fruit every place, all that s…, But Michael would get the penthouse. But not just the penthouse, he’d rent the whole top floor of a hotel.

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