Davey4.jpg (23759 bytes)
Davey bowing metal rod on
Steinberger, PS122, NYC





Fried Egg


the improvisor


Davey Williams...
.music guitar of layer outer the only is playing guitar

On Improvising

"The art of improvising is about 3% playing, which comes only after  97% listening."

On Live Performance

"I can't properly describe myself as a true vaudevillian for three main reasons: I don't dance, I can't sing and play guitar at the same time and I can never remember any good jokes. On the other hand, a musician playing on a stage is an inherently boring sight much of the time…This is why I began to get increasingly interested in this 'vaudevillian' idea of using improvised performance as a vehicle for trying to be open to extra-musical ideas and activities. For the most part this consists mostly of what you might call messing around on stage, interrupting or delaying the musical seriousness (if there is any) with the idea that I'm actually doing - or trying to do - something else, except that I happen to be standing in front of an audience with a guitar around my neck.

"If in the old days someone would step in a bucket, I just put my guitar in a bucket, which according to some is where it belongs anyway… Mess around a bit, try to confuse myself musically, make mistakes…The idea of being a serious musician need not include taking one's self seriously. In any case I have an aversion to those humorless concerts marked from the audience only by polite applause at the end.

"Almost anything is better if it's funny as well."            

"Performance" has little to do with what the performer can show about him or herself; it has mostly to do with what the audience can get from it. Being a performer is to me like a type of service industry: challenge people, make people's lives a little better somehow, or funnier…to try to give something to people which they can't do (or didn't think of to do at least), in the same way that a roofer does something to fix your house that you can't do. The difference here is that the artist has license to fix a roof so that it's worse than it was before.

Important Question #258:
What is the most potent man-made threat to humanity?

                                     "The Pacific Ocean."

On Greatness

"Greatness is elusive, and usually decided by someone other than the great, and usually by the (so-called) non-great. But greatness is a trait of the supposedly non-great as well…greatness of humor or artistic ability is no different from the greatness of parents' love (or any other sort of love), or a cloud formation, or an automotive repair.

"Same with the concept of 'being the best'…who cares? 'Best' only means 'favorite' anyway."

On Composing

"Feigning compositional genius is a drag, and involves too much paperwork anyway."

Important Question #77:
What is the meaning of the phrase, Let's get out of here!?

"An important theological and lexicoligical report by Dr. Theodore Overend-Husky-Shank has revealed that this phrase has its origins in the folk customs of ancient Hollywood, where its quotation was thought to be a talisman for success of a movie, which is why the phrase appears in every Hollywood film ever made. Its meaning remains obscure however, though it is thought to refer to a brand of sausage. Some scholars reject this interpretation, following a second school which believe the phrase to be a more general reference to beef products."


On Childhood

"When I was six years old, I knew somehow that I would be seven next. It was my fate, and I knew it. I recall once a playmate who came from a family with a blue car. I never forgot this. Now and then it would rain. We used to go inside, or put on raincoats when that happened. Once I got slightly wet, but all in all it was a good year."

I'll never forget another neighbor, an older gentleman. He used to rake his leaves. He seldom spoke to me and I didn't know him very well. I think he moved away later."


On Philosophy

"They say you can't compare apples and oranges. You can compare oranges and butter, however. Butter is a different color, and they don't taste the same. This is the basis of my philosophy."


Important Question #309: What is the sound of one hand coughing?

"The sound of one hand coughing is easily confused with the sound of one hand passing gas, with one important exception: the cough is odorless."


On History

"History fascinates me because it happened in the past. Like when what's-his-name discovered America on the wrong continent. A flat world would have been ok by me.

And then there was General Custer; now he was a survivor!


On Success

Just yesterday a friend was telling me that he was on the way home when he spontaneously stopped off and bought a loaf of bread and some paper towels. I told my friend 'Man, we're really living now!

                 "Bowing Nice Man's Head"                                                   Photo by Johnny Williams

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And now for the world's shortest short story:



by Davey Williams