18 Montrose Voice / June 4,1982
Tommy Williams and keyboard charisma
By Billie Duncan
He is listed as Tom Williams in entertainment schedules and in the Keyboard ads,
but everyone who knows him, knows him
And Tommy he should be, because he is
the sort of person that no matter how old
he gets he will probably be described as
But that "boy" can play piano.
He comes from a musical family, with
Mom and Dad both playing several instruments. So there was always music around
"They always let us kids play along
whether we knew what we were doing or
not," said Tommy. Sometimes Tommy
would strum on a little ukulele, which was
probably not much in tune, and certainly
not chorded properly if at all. But joining
in was the important part, and everyone in
the family joined in.
When he was five, he started figuring
out chords on the piano as his dad played
When he was 11, he started taking piano
lessons, but they only lasted for two years.
"My Piano teacher got pissed off at me
'cause he'd play the music and then I'd
play it by ear."
But he picked up enough to be able to
figure out sheet music and charts. Still, his
strongest point is his ear. Tommy can
listen to a person singing a song he has
never heard before and start playing it
before the person has finished. He can also
transpose most songs instantaneously.
However, it was a long trip from the
family piano in Rockford, Illinois to the
smokey reaches of the Keyboard on the
edge of Montrose.
One of the biggest chunks of time
between was spent in the Air Force to
which Tommy gave four years. He got in
on the tag end of the Viet Nam War and
saw combat at Camrah Bay where he was
a security guard.
The first eight months he was stationed
there, no enemy fire was received, but the
last two months the base was shelled several times.
Strangely enough. Tommy was never
frightened during those attacks. "I was
concerned and aware of what could
happen, but I've always been a brave little
There are different kinds of fear,
though, and Tommy, like many other fine
performers, suffers from stage fright.
Catch that, the man faced death from
rocket fire in Viet Nam without blinking,
but he gets nervous when getting up in
front of people to play the piano—
something he has done for years.
In particular, he gets jitters when he has
to sing solo, but he is doing more and more
solo singing at the Keyboard at the insistence of an appreciative audience.
"I'm getting more nervey about doing it.
I'm more relaxed."
One thing with which any piano player
in a piano bar has to cope with is the person who gets up to sing—and can't. Usually these people do not even realize how
awful they are.
But the piano player catches on pretty
quickly. Tommy does his best to follow
anyone, sometimes even changing keys
several times per song in order to keep up
with the wandering warblings of some
"At times I'm amused by it," Tommy
admitted, "depends on if I've had a drink
When it is really bad Tommy feels that
"it's kinda an insult to the people in the
audience for someone to get up like that."
Then he added, "But that's part of what
this bar is about—giving people a
And the chances usually pay off, with
some very talented people coming into the
bar on a regular basis to take advantage of
being able to work out new material, pro
mote themselves in other endeavors
(mostly theater and opera), or just to keep
the old golden vocals from getting rusty
from lack of use.
Tommy's abilities as an accompanist
are appreciated by many singers who
come in at least once a week in order to
take advantage of his talents by joining in
with his music. They include (yours truly)
Tommy Williams, playing, with the Keyboard's Bill
Yon looking over
This Week In Montrose
(Friday, June 4. through Thursday. June 10)
Lota Yvonne 9pm nightly (except Sunday and Monday) at Rascals. 2702 Kirby. 524-6272.
Jim Cater 8:30pm Friday; Bill Hudson 8:30pm Saturday; Greg Davis 5pm Saturday and 830pm Sunday:
Tom Williams 5pm Sunday and 8:30pm Monday,
Wednesday and Thursday: and Virgil Dixon 5pm
weekdays at Keyboard. 3012 Milam. 528-6988
Richard Asfcln and Dana Rogers 10pm nightly
(except Monday and Tuesday) at the Copa (piano
bar), 2631 Richmond, 528-2259
Ruth Hastings 9pm nightly (except Sunday and Monday); Llonshara 9pm Sunday and Monday at Baja's.
402 Lovett, 527-9866
Lte LeForge 8:30pm nightly (except Sunday) with
Vlkke Ford Friday and Alexandra Haas Wednesday at
Arno's, 4002 Montrose, 528-2993.
Teresa Mauney 9pm nightly (except Sunday and
Monday) and Austin Mann noon Sunday at Bacchus,
523 Lovett. 523-3396
Ktokl Kona 5pm Friday and Saturday, 3pm Sunday
and 5pm Wednesday and Thursday at the Hole. 109
■ COUNTRY ft COUNTRY/ROCK
Bob Williams and tha Trail Rldars 9pm Friday, Satur
day and Thursday at Happy Trails, 715 Fairview. 521-
2792, and 9pm Wednesday at E/J's. 1213 Westheimer.
Ab I tha Rebel Outlaws 930pm Friday and Saturday
and 8:30pm Thursday at the Exile. 1011 Bell, 659-
0453; and 8:30pm Sunday at Brazos River Bottom,
2400 Brazos. 526-9192.
Flying Blind Band nightly (except Monday and Tuesday) at Miss Charlotte's. 911 Drew, 528-8840.
Mustang Band 9:30pm Friday, Saturday, Wednesday
and Thursday at Brazos River Bottom, 2400 Brazos,
528-9192; and with the Montrose Cloggara 9pm
Tuedsday at Numbers 2, 300 Westheimer, 526-6551
"L" 9pm Friday and Irish Folk 9pm Wednesday at the
Parlour, 2402 Mandell. 529-8069.
Susan Christian 5pm Friday: Lyra/Kal Graham ft
Linda Aum Rhyme 5pm Monday, Wednesday and
Thursday; and Rawslyn Ruttfn 5pm Tuesday at
Kindred Spirits. 5245 Buffalo Speedway, 665-9756
■ SHOW GROUPS
Dixie Kings 4pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday at Happy
Trails, 715 Fairview, 521-2792.
Dynasty 9pm Friday and Saturday and 6pm Sunday
at Just Marion & Lynn's, 817 Fairview, 528-9110
Mate Harl 9pm Friday and Saturday at Lampost. 2417
Times Blvd., 528-8921.
John Day ft Co. Bpm Sunday at E/J's. 1213 Richmond. 527-9071.
Robert Ceballos Group 9pm Sunday and with Jimmy
Ford 9pm Friday. Saturday, Wednesday and Thursday at Las Brlsas. 614 W. Gray, 528-9959.
Paul English 4pm daily (except weekends) at Arno's,
4002 Montrose. 528-2993.
Kirk Whalum nightly (except Sunday) at Cody's, 3400
Rumors 9:30pm nightly (except Sunday and Monday); and Mickey Mosley Band 9:30pm Sunday and
Monday at Birdwatchers. 907 Westheimer. 527-0595.
■ NU WAVE
Rlc Tangle and the Ones 10:30pm Friday; the Assassins and the Broadcasters 10 30pm Saturday; Really
Red and other bands 4pm Sunday; and the Explosives 10:30pm Thursday at Omni. 1540 Westheimer,
The Rockets and the Teddy Boys 10pm Thursday at
Numbers 2, 300 Westheimer, 526-6556
Tiffany Jones. Donna Day, Naomi Sims & Hot Chocolate Sunday evening at the Copa, 2631 Richmond,
Little Bobby, Jerry Harper, Tracey and guest Sunday
evening at Exile, 1011 Bell, 659-0453.
"Playgirl Follies" with Laura Lee Love, Lana Kane.
Eydle Mae and guest 10:30pm Saturday at Pink Elephant. 1218 Leeland, 659-0040
Talent shows Tuesday evening at the Copa, 2631
Richmond. 528-2259; Wednesday evening at Midnite
Sun, 534 Westheimer. 526-7519; and Thursday evening at Twins, 535 Westheimer. 520-0244,