The Early Years
It all began in the chilly woods of Black Forest, Colorado somewhere in the early 70s. The nun had been coming down from the mountains for some time now to give aunt Cindy piano lessons, but Cindy continually opted instead to skip out and head off on her horse. That left my Daddy no choice but to sit in for Cindy's lesson. At this time Fred M. Williams Jr. was but 13 years old.
Eventually, my grandparents, Fred Sr., and Clair Ann, decided to end this futile and pointless attempt at forcing the piano down their daughter's throat, so they talked out loud about calling off the Nun. Much to the surprise of my grandparents, though, my Daddy stepped in and said, "hey wait, I'm kinda starting to like this piano stuff". Thus the launching of my Dad's musical endeavors.
Little did the nun, Sister Ann I believe was her name (at least that sounds like a name for a nun), realize she was producing a future Rock'n'Roller in my Daddy. She had worked with the oldest, uncle Tim, on the guitar, but Tim gave it up immediately after performing in a recital before a whole congregation of nuns. Apparently, uncle Tim forgot how to play "Home on the Range", standing dumb-founded and red-faced on a stage with probably over 20 music students and 100 nuns staring down on him. After about the longest minute of silence and sweat in uncle Tim's brief musical career, he finally recalled the notes to his "backup" song, the only other song he had learned. It was the classic "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". Amidst the ever burdening stage lights and that incessantly irritating background noise (some say it was the chuckling of his peers), uncle Tim completed the song, exited the stage, and has not been seen holding a guitar to this day!
Well, back to Daddy-O. He continued with piano lessons for another 2 years. Some claim that he would occasionally get angry while practicing and wad up the sheet music and throw it as far as he could. He denies this, despite the fact that he still has several copies of sheet music that are heavily taped and wrinkled, not the standard condition you would expect considering the age of the sheet music. Nevertheless, after the lessons ended Dad continued playing off and on, with really no aspirations to think of.
The Williams crew packed up and left the Black Forest in 1977, landing in the windy paradise of Casper, Wyoming. To the delight of every family member, the Williams packed it up again just two months later and left that cow town for another, Springfield, Missouri. It was about this time that Dad began hearing the familiar request "Play the Maple Leaf Rag", exhorted by my Granddad, Fred Sr. on a regular basis, especially around the holidays and while visiting relatives or anyone else who had a piano.
Dad started college at Southwest Missouri State University, where he got his first taste of live rock-n-roll. After Dad played Stairway to Heaven at a party, a goofy lead singer for a band called the Marly Brothers asked him if he would play with them sometime and sit in when they performed that particular epic by Led Zeppelin. Daddy really wanted to but realized he was just too young to be jumping into a rock'n'roll music career (oh, and he also didn't have a digital piano at the time, but he claims that didn't influence his decision).
It was during his later college years at the University of Missouri-Rolla that Dad truly began getting rock'n'roll aspirations. The passion was especially fueled after watching a rock band out of St. Louis perform at a street party in front of his fraternity. He began spending more of his spare time practicing the piano in the music hall on the Rolla campus. This is where he wrote his first original, Lighthouse Dawn, an instrumental in the vein of Mannheim Steamroller.
Chapter 2 - The First Band
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