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Interview: The Stooges' James Williamson On Being A Fan Of The Golden State Warriors & More

The legendary guitarist has a new album, "Behind The Shade". Here he talks about his love for NBA and his basketball career before music.

Exclusive 30 Apr 2018, 11:05 IST
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James Williamson & The Pink Hearts
James Williamson & The Pink Hearts

As a key member of The Stooges alongside "Godfather Of Punk" Iggy Pop, James Williamson is a legendary guitarist. His songwriting and guitar playing on the 1973 album Raw Power have proven influential, as Def Leppard, Guns N' Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are among the artists who have covered songs from the album.

Furthermore, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain had said that Raw Power was his favorite album of all time. Williamson's work with Pop continued after The Stooges disbanded in the 1970s, and Williamson was part of The Stooges' various reunions in the 2000s.

While Williamson also found success within the world of electronics, he opted to record his first solo album in recent years, 2014's Re-Licked; Re-Licked featured performances by The Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra, Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie, and The Dead Weather's Alison Mosshart. The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee recently debuted a new group, James Williamson & The Pink Hearts, which also includes The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs' Frank Meyer and That Dog's Petra Haden. Behind The Shade is the recording debut of James Williamson & The Pink Hearts and it will be released on June 22nd via Leopard Lady Records.

On behalf of Sportskeeda, I spoke with Williamson about his long-time appreciation of the NBA's Golden State Warriors. More on Williamson and his projects can be found online at www.straightjameswilliamson.com.

When people think of The Stooges, they probably think of the band based in Michigan. So how did you become a fan of the Golden State Warriors? When did you first get into the NBA? 

James Williamson: I think at this point, it's more like who isn't a Warriors fan? I moved from London to California right after the Stooges recorded Raw Power in 1972-73. During my first nine years in Southern California, I never developed an NBA affiliation. In 1982, I moved up the coastline to Northern California. 

At that point, I was still only casually following the NBA, and I preferred the wide variety of teams up there like the 49ers, the Giants, the A's. As time went on, all of those teams developed various aches and pains and I discovered the Warriors about four, five years ago and they quickly made a believer out of me.

Do you have a favorite player on the Warriors? 

James Williamson: Well, of course, I'm not alone with Steph Curry being #1. That guy is unequalled in basketball today. But now with the addition of Kevin Durant, Curry has a close second in the offensive department. At the same time, Draymond Green is a monster on defense and Klay Thompson is a strong backup on the offense. 

Whenever you've got this deep a bench, you have a winning recipe for success. Certainly, they've had a lot. But every year is a clean slate and a lot of teams are nipping at their heels. We'll have to see what happens in the playoffs. Curry's ankles and knees have been an ongoing issue, so that's what makes it all interesting and keeps us guessing.

How do you feel about the 2017-18 season of the Warriors?

James Williamson: It started out as epic, but in the home stretch, injuries have taken their toll. Let's see how it all plays out. I still like their chances.

When was the last time you went to a Warriors game?

James Williamson: I've never been to a Warriors game. I've always watched on TV. But if you've got a couple tickets, I'm your best friend. 

Do you have a lot of friends that are Warriors fans?

James Williamson: All of them. 

Were you yourself ever a basketball player?

James Williamson: Yes, played guard up until ninth grade. That's when I decided that I liked The Beatles and Rolling Stones more and started growing my hair long. The coaches didn't like that, and in any case, the other guys were getting too tall for me to compete with.

So are there any teams in other sports you feel passionate about like you do the Warriors?

James Williamson: As mentioned, I was a big 49ers fan up until the owners started making crazy moves like letting Jim Harbaugh go, etc. Blah, blah, blah. But they are showing signs of regenerating themselves. Maybe they'll get their act together again.

I'm also a big tennis fan. I love the game and continue to follow its main players. I do attend many professional tennis matches.

Sports aside, what are you currently working on?

James Williamson: I am currently promoting my new band's debut album, Behind The Shade. The band is James Williamson & The Pink Hearts. The album is released June 22 and we will be playing some live shows around it, beginning June 29 in Los Angeles and June 30 in San Francisco. 

That pair of dates will be followed by additional dates in the summer and fall. You can track our progress at www.straightjameswilliamson.com.

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