Once upon the late-'90s/early '00s, Devon Williams fronted Los Angeles punk band Osker. They signed to Epitaph. Showed up in movies. Got a reputation for being mean and angry and offensive. But in ten years after the band broke up, Williams has headed in a completely different direction. Pitchfork called his first solo record an album of "heavily orchestrated pop crooners cobwebbed with Harry Nilsson's wistful romanticism, the Everly Brothers' rhythmic urgency, and the mighty sonic wall of Phil Spector." We caught up with him as he hits the road to promote his second disc, bringing him to Toronto on November 30 to play the Garrison.
How do you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard you before?
Pop-Rock or Rock that is not heavy at all.
If you could open for one current band that you haven't played with before, who would it be?
Bands I'd like to play with that I haven't before? I love Violens. They are a really, really great band. I would also love to play with The Church. They are still such a great band.
If you could play one venue you've never played before, what would it be?
I would love to play at the Hollywood Bowl. It’s such a beautiful venue. I've never seen a show there where I thought the band was that great, but its always an experience.
What's the worst album you own?
To who? To most people? Some would argue that its Faith No More's "Introduce Yourself"... But I like that album. I don't hold on to things that I could deem "worst." But I did buy Jane Siberry's "No Borders Here" and I was unpleasantly surprised.
What would be your all-time, all-star supergroup?
Singer is a tie between Roy Harper and Jim Morrison, Justin Hawkins plays 1st guitar, Steamin' Steve Clark plays 2nd guitar, Stephen Morris plays drums, anyone can play bass, and Rupert Hine plays keyboards.
What was the craziest live show you've ever played?
I don't know. Maybe playing in front of all of Beirut's fans and watch them wonder why we were playing.
What's your favourite song to play live? Why?
I truly do not have a favorite song to play live. I don't really like to play live.
Who was your favourite band (or artist) when you were 12 years old? Do you still like them?
Poison was my favorite band when I was 12. No, I actually think that Bret Michaels is pretty much talentless, fame-leech. That said, they have maybe 5 good songs.
Say, for some strange reason, all the music in the world is going to be destroyed, but you can save all the songs from one decade. Which decade's records would you save?
70s. That's a no-brainer. Most musical genres that were at their peak here. Disco, Soft rock, Punk... good times.
If you could switch places with another musicians in some type of "Freaky Friday" type incident, who would you want it to be?
Freddie Mercury. He had the audience in his hands. He had an amazing voice. He was great at piano.
If you could have one musical superpower, what would you want it to be?
I want to be able to play guitar solos faster and more precise.
Photo: Devon Williams
Meet The Band is a regular feature where we introduce you to bands we like. You can find all of the rest of them here.