Mike Kelley Remembers Ernie Williams

March 22nd, 2012, 11:00 am by Greg

Ernie Williams (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Ernie Williams (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

By Mike Kelley

The last time I played with Ernie was his 87th birthday show at The Linda. There was nothing about him that would suggest that he was turning 87. He came bounding onto the stage and gave that audience everything he had, just like he did every time he performed. From my vantage point I got to see row after row of adoring faces staring up at him. He emitted this great joy that had the whole crowd dancing and grinning from ear to ear.

I’ve had the privilege to play with Ernie for the last 17 years and performed all over with a lot of excellent musicians. I am grateful for the friends I made. But mostly I am glad that I got to know Ernie Williams. And even though I only played with the band sporadically over the last couple years, when I did, Ernie would always greet me with his giant hand shake saying, “I really missed you, kid.”

Well, I will really miss him.

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