Wednesday, January 6, 2010
ANDRE WILLIAMS & NICK TOSCHES:
SWEETS & OTHER STORIES
Join us as these twenty-first century titans appear together for the first time
in recorded history to celebrate and enunciate, as The Poetry Project at St
Mark's Church hosts the NYC launch of Williams' fiction debut, SWEETS AND OTHER
The countdown is on.... thirty days until blast-off!
PRESS RELEASE FROM KICKS BOOKS NOW AT POETRYPROJECT.ORG
Nick Tosches & Andre Williams
February 5, 2010
Nick Tosches was born in Newark, New Jersey and is the author of three novels,
eleven books of non-fiction,and three volumes of poetry. His books include:
Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story, Dino: Living High In The Dirty Business Of
Dreams, Where Dead Voices Gather, In The Hand Of Dante, and Chaldea. His latest,
Never Trust A Living God, is a collection of poetry illustrated by Gravieur. He
lives in New York City.
Andre Williams was born in Bessemer, Alabama in 1936, migrating with his family
to Chicago when he was a child. After the death of his mother in 1943, he was
sent South to the care of his grandparents. The North-South transition was
unbearable for young Andre, who was to return to live in the Windy City with his
father, a steel mill worker.
With little parental supervision, Andre traded into a penny ante career as a
juvenile delinquent, barely escaping Illinois State Reformatory by using his
older brother’s ID card to enlist in the US Navy. His career in the Armed Forces
came to a halt when it was discovered that he was underage.
As a civilian once again, he chose to avoid the pitfalls of Chicago and
relocated to Detroit, Michigan, where his musical legend began, on joining the
Five Dollars, and with writing and recording for the legendary Fortune Records
label. Bacon Fat, Greasy Chicken, and the extraordinary Jail Bait would be the
tip of the iceberg of Andre’s musical contributions. From his start at Fortune
in the 1950’s, he went on to work at Motown with Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells and
the Contours. He produced (and co-wrote) the Five Du-Tones’ 1963 hit Shake A
Tail Feather ( #28 on BILLBOARD R&B charts) and wrote Alvin Cash’s 1965 R&B
chart topper Twine Time. In the late sixties, he produced solo hits including
the standout Cadillac Jack for Chess Records. He has composed several hundred
recordings and continues to be one of the most widely collected and respected
of original soul and rhythm & blues artists.
Hard drugs eventually took a toll on Andre, leaving him homeless and destitute.
In 1995, his career was revived by George Paulus, who produced the acclaimed
comeback album GREASY for Norton Records. Andre continued to record for Norton,
as well as for In The Red, Bloodshot and Pravda, while touring internationally
to great acclaim. The 2007 film AGILE, MOBILE, HOSTILE documented a year in
With the return to constant touring and performing came a return to old vices.
He was in and out of short-term rehabilitation, but always, there was the return
to hard habits. Hitting the age of seventy without a permanent address and with
his health rapidly deteriorating, Andre checked into a six week program at a
Chicago substance abuse facility.
At a friend’s urging, he began trying to write fictional stories, in an attempt
to keep his mind and hands busy. Writing became his self-imposed rehabilitation,
and his hand scribbled no holds-barred tales evolved into a short set of
various-length entries which he immediately began referring to as “The Book”.
This debut volume from 73 year old Andre Williams is Sweets (And Other Stories).
The title story is a narrative novelette which takes you for a wild ride from
Chicago to Houston, New Orleans, and New York City, as a teenage girl finds
herself in a family way, without a family. Forced to fend for herself, she is
taken under the wing of a local pimp who entices her into prostitution. The
adventures that follow are a free for all foray through the fantastic world of
pimps and their women, funeral directors, gangs and drug running, with sidebar
anecdotes that are guaranteed to appall, alarm and astonish.
Extreme entries remain unedited, and none of Williams’ raw drawl storytelling
style has been tampered with in this standout fiction debut.
Sweets is the first hip-pocket paperback from New York publisher Kicks Books.
FULL-ON BALLYHOO IN THE WORKS!
• RADIO FEB 4! Dave The Spazz hosts Williams and Tosches on his Feb. 4 WFMU
radio show! (Music To Spazz By with Dave the Spazz, WFMU 91.1 FM online and
archived at wfmu.org Thursday February 4th 8-11pm)
• WILLIAMS/TOSCHES TITLE MATCH FEB 5! Reading at The Poetry Project at St. Marks
Church, 131 East 10th Street, NYC poetryproject.org
• TWIN SPIN AFTERSHOCK FEB 5! Late nite Smashed Blocked pop-in after reading
event! Join SB kingpin Josh Styles as he hosts this velvet rope stop-in pop-in!
(Andre rumored to spin seven of his sevens! Smashed Blocked at The Beauty Bar
231 East 14 Street, NYC smashedblocked.com)
• FAN FETE FEB 6! Girdle Up top secret Greasy Chicken farewell fan fete fracas
Paige Turner at Kicks Books