City Of Angels: Nathan Williams

City Of Angels: Nathan Williams

FOR V100, HEDI SLIMANE PRESENTS THE VETERANS AND THE RISING STARS OF LOS ANGELES'S PUNK SCENE. HERE, NATHAN WILLIAMS OF WAVVES REFLECTS ON THE STORIED CITY, AND THE IMPORTANCE OF DESTRUCTION IN ROCK AND ROLL

FOR V100, HEDI SLIMANE PRESENTS THE VETERANS AND THE RISING STARS OF LOS ANGELES'S PUNK SCENE. HERE, NATHAN WILLIAMS OF WAVVES REFLECTS ON THE STORIED CITY, AND THE IMPORTANCE OF DESTRUCTION IN ROCK AND ROLL

Photography: Hedi Slimane

Text: Patrik Sandberg

Thank you for being part of this story.

Nathan Williams Of course.

When did you first want to get into music and who were your influences? 

NW I guess the earliest I remember wanting to be on stage and playing songs was when I was a kid, around eight or nine. I was obsessed with a hard days night VHS my mom had. I'd watch it over and over again the scenes of them running away from fans. But yeah my influences were that of my parents early on, and then as a teenager I thought my parents were lame, so I listened to whatever they didn't want me to hear.

What was your first band that you played in? 

NW It was called One Step Short [laughs]. Two kids I played soccer with in Virginia, we’d play local parties or whatever. I had a lot of fat wreck chords and anti fur stickers on my fender. I was probably 11 or 12 at that point.

What was the best show you've ever played?

NW We played a show at David Lynch's club. They kicked us out after we got too drunk and were kicking drinks off the tables of people watching the show.

[Laughs] Was that a Wavves show?

NW Yeah about three years ago in France, I think.

Why was that your favorite show?

NW It was a nightmare really, but looking back it was pretty funny. We kicked our drummer out of the band mid-set, and we grabbed a random friend who said he played drums and had him finish. Everything was fucked up and out of tune and off time. People were generally afraid. I just enjoyed the feeling of it all. It wasn't a normal show; it was a train wreck. There was another time in Germany when Stephen and I had too much to drink and we were jumping around backstage. I grabbed onto a pole from the ceiling like a monkey and ripped it down… It was their sewage pipe so all this shit comes flying out everywhere. We had already played, but it was so intense we grabbed our stuff and were freaking out trying to run away from this sea of German shit. The promoter smelled it and came back asking what happened. We jumped in the van like we robbed a bank. Definitely never got asked to come back.

Destruction and rock music have always gone hand in hand. Do you think rock music is missing a little bit of that anarchy? I ask this because whenever you guys get into trouble, or bands like Black Lips get into trouble, it becomes an online drama and the music press seems to have a real distaste for bad behavior, like it's shocking and unacceptable, but I feel like everyone I idolized growing up was that way.

NW Absolutely. You think Lemmy didn't have stories that would make you cringe? It’s strange to me because you can get lynched so easily via Twitter now for saying the wrong thing, but that's part of what people complain about being absent in rock music, and it's most of the reason why it's so dull. You either subscribe to what all the media tells you is on and off limits, or you face the wrath of a bunch of people saying that you're a bad person. Personally, I like my rockers as bad guys. I like bad guys in movies, and I like bad guys in music. That's just what is interesting to me: the people that refused to do what they’re told.

Same. Do you live in L.A.?

NW Yes.

Something I think that Hedi captures with this story is that so many bands are either from L.A. or end up there. What do you think about the rock and roll culture there? Why are punks drawn to L.A.?

NW I think everyone is drawn to L.A. because it's an amazing place. I was born in L.A., so coming back wasn't ever weird to me. It always felt like home. There are more people willing to not only be creative, but to support those people as well.

I love how so much of punk history seems to have happened just on these few streets in Hollywood, and I like that so many of those old characters are still around too. Do you find any of that history funny or inspiring?

NW I just think that people feed off each other here, and the energy. For me, I want to be mentioned next to those people. I want to eventually be a part of that history.

Credits: EXTRA CREDITS PRODUCTION KIM POLLOCK AND YANN RZEPKA DIGITAL TECHNICIAN ALEX THEMISTOCLEOUS (MILK STUDIOS)  PHOTO ASSISTANTS FRANK TERRY, MATT HARTZ, JAMES PERRY RETOUCHING DTOUCH  EQUIPMENT MILK STUDIOS  LOCATION QUIXOTE STUDIOS  CATERING FOOD LAB

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