James Robert Williamson (born 29 October 1949 in Castroville, Texas) is an American guitarist, songwriter and record producer best known for his contribution to the protopunk rock band Iggy & The Stooges.
Williamson's family moved to Detroit, Michigan when he was in the 8th grade. He formed his first rock 'n' roll band, "The Chosen Few", with Scott Richardson in the 9th grade. They performed cover versions of Rolling Stones songs and others. Williamson also spent some time in a juvenile home. In one of the bands later line-ups, in 11th grade, Ron Asheton was the bassist. Asheton, as guitarist, went on to form The Stooges with his brother Scott and Iggy Pop.
After graduating from High School, Williamson travelled to New York City in 1969 where he met up with The Stooges, who were recording their debut album.
Later, in 1971, Williamson joined The Stooges, who were struggling with line-up changes, drugs and lack of success. David Bowie offered Iggy a chance to record in London, and eventually the Asheton brothers re-joined, with Ron on bass. Williamson co-wrote all the songs (with Iggy) and played all the guitar parts for The Stooges 1973 album Raw Power. He played louder and raunchier than almost anybody at the time, with a jagged high-energy approach. For this, along with his creative song writing, many people consider him one of punk's pioneers.
Many of the demo recordings made prior to Raw Power were belatedly issued, including the hard rock tracks "I Got A Right" and "Gimme Some Skin". After collaborating with Iggy on the 1975 sessions for their duo album Kill City, Williamson left the music business to become an electronic engineer and work in the computer industry. Recently he retired from the electroncis industry as Vice President of Technology Standards with Sony Electronics, Inc, but is still doing some consulting work.
Kill City was issued in 1977 and in 1979 Williamson returned to produce, write and play on Iggy's third solo album New Values (with Scott Thurston emulating Williamson's guitar style), and do initial production on Iggy's next album Soldier.
After being out of the music business for 30 years, James Williamson is returning to the stage with Iggy & The Stooges in 2010 (rehearsals begin in 2009). In the meantime, he has hooked up with San Jose based roots rock band Careless Hearts who will be backing James on his first gig in 35 years at the Blank Club in San Jose, CA on September 5, 2009.
| Wikipedia August 2009|