David Malachowski Remembers Ernie Wiliams

Ernie Williams

Ernie Williams

Story and photograph by David Malachowski

Ernie Williams was my friend.

We came from drastically different worlds, but that was not important, and though we talked a lot, we spoke more by playing music together over the last decade or so.

His love of music, playing and people was infectious, and I learned a lot by being around him. More than just a singer, Ernie was an entertainer, and people loved him wherever we went. I was always extremely flattered that Ernie -­ who had his pick of regional guitarists -­ always made me his first call guitarist, and I played with him anytime and any place, whenever I was available. And we had some fine adventures.

Save for longtime drummer Rocky Petrocelli and saxophonist Charlie Vatalaro, band members came and went, but it didn¹t really matter, because it was all about Ernie. In more recent years, we had been doing acoustic trio shows with Ernie on bass and Charlie Vatalaro on saxes, and I enjoyed those the most.

Though Ernie was much older, he still had more energy than all of us put together, and somehow you never even thought that it could be possible that he would ever be gone.

We played last Sunday in Northville, and it was just a joy. As I left, I said, “That was fun, see you in May.” He said, “Yes, you will. Thanks, Dave!”

I’ll really miss him.

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3 Responses to “David Malachowski Remembers Ernie Wiliams”

  1. Beth Jochum says:

    David, you are so right. It was ALL about Ernie. And I’m sure each of us who had the good fortune to play with him, to know him–from his roots to his present life– will not only remember but treasure that. Our hearts are with Kathy.

  2. Well said David,

    I was lucky enough to be introduced to Ernie by John Stage of Dino BBQ fame who insisted I book him for the Troy opening week-end. In fact this is where I met David M, his lovely wife Kathy and his terrific band-mates. He was a good guy as well as a fabulous entertainer! I was lucky to work with him on several more occasions, he will be missed.

  3. Ricky Mullen says:

    It is hard to believe that someone who brought such joy and happiness to my life can cause such pain in his passing. The love and the music are real, and I will always carry Ernie with me, just as I always have, though seperated by distance. Playing with him was a highlight of my life, and I will make sure his songs live on.

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