The rock'n'roll people were shocked and saddened by the abrupt loss of our dear friend, a gentleman gangster of the old West, Shane "Flipside" Williams, the rock'nroll bank robber. I don't know the exact details of his death, but word at the bus-stop has it that he was hit by a speeding car. Like Stiv Bators, no one, who knew Shane, ever expected to ever lose him to a car, running a red light. Slow the fuck down, people. Geez. Shane was always upfront about his insatiable appetite for sex and drugs and rock'n'roll. He rolled his eyes at all the middle-class squares who forever felt obliged to tsk-tsk some of his lifestyle choices, when he felt it was so irrefutably obvious that, it's the very same ruling class, rogue elements of the shadow government, who profit from the senseless drug prohibitions, that also cash in on the big pharma, insurance, rehab, and prison industries. It was his view, that the intelligence agencies are the world's number one drug pusher, on one hand; who are simultaneously, locking up, and killing, poor people, for purchasing their profitable recreational pharmaceuticals, with the other. A thoughtful, intellectual, feel-good hedonist, Shane lived by his own code, and those who knew him, loved him. Unhappy social climbers always chastised him for failing to invest more of his life in temperance, servitude, conformity, and menial labor. Instead, he was an often enlightening, trail-blazing and poetic libertine, who always endeavored to celebrate the underdog, promote heart-felt music, and live life to it's fullest. Shane never got rich, like a Hunter S. Thompson, or Keith Richards, so he became an easy target for the law and order/anti-drug zealots. It's too easy to constantly pinch a rational minded, individualist/freedom seeker, once he's "in the system", they loved to keep one tied up forever in red tape and on probation, so they can profit from one's every petty "infraction". True punks and bohemians respected his intellect, originality, and passion for live bands. He was like L.A.'s real life Jack Sparrow. Way, way before she ever became the world's biggest movie star, he was trying to contact Angelina Jolie, about turning his adventuresome exploits into a screenplay. He had a special place in his heart for the Australian guitar bands some of you might read about at the http://i94bar.com/-bands
website-bands like New Christs, Beasts Of Bourbon, and Radio Birdman.
I remember reading about Shane's move from Michigan to California, and his being part of the original L.A. punk scene, in "FIZ" magazine, and wish all my shit wasn't in storage, because he discussed his son, Dalek (sp?) in it, and also, frequently, in the many, many, many letters he wrote to me, over the years, and I lament not being able to quote from it, here. He was always bringing his kid up, to me, worrying about his well-being. Johnny Depp stole his fashion sensibility from Shane: the oversized fedora, or bolero hat, the flannel, the jangle of accessories, that sometimes made him look like a gang member. Shane used to write, at length, about "crimecore" in his "Flipside" magazine column, "Shaneshit", all the time, waxing philosophical about rebellion, anarchy, and resisting the Draconian American drug laws, the corruption of Congress, and our financial institutions, and the injustice system, incessantly calling for legalization, like a modern day William S. Burroughs, or Herbert Huncke. With the relentless consolidation of the big-media monopolies, it became increasingly challenging for an authentic music lover like Shane to locate actual paying gigs as a writer, or rock critic, in the currently cut-throat climate where all the slick glossies' mast-heads are dominated by showbiz aristocracy, like Peaches Geldof for "Nylon", or the usual "Spin" magazine bratty techno-kids, and trendy NYU grads. His funny blog can still be read on-line.
Shane Williams had astonishingly cool taste in music, being the first to recognize many of our underground's premiere talents, such as: the Hard-On's, Candy Snatchers, Lazy Cowgirls, Spent Idols, Powder Monkeys, Humpers, Coma Tones, Texas Terri, the Darlings, the Neurotics, the Binges, Prima-Donna, and many, many others. He wrote about all my old bands, before any of them really even got off the ground. He ceaselessly praised my teenage fanzines and relentlessly lobbied for me to get my own column in "Flipside". He quoted my song lyrics regularly in his columns. He was my longtime mentor and correspondent, and he probably still had my first attempt at a novel he was to edit, stashed away somewhere. We often talked about being roommates, but one of us was always indisposed, when the other became more stabilized. He was "the rock 'n' roll bank robber" and I hope his boy thinks sweetly of him when he hears the Clash song:"Daddy was a bank robber/He never hurt noboooodyyyy..." People loved Shane because, in a world full of posers, he was the genuine article. Many have called him an outlaw, a junkie, a punk, and a genius, but I mostly knew him as a kind, sensitive, generous, insightful, ethical, introspective, and gentle person, with loads of compassion, good humor, and moral courage, who sincerely loved real punk 'n' roll music, with all his heart and soul. He was a perennial tastemaker, who was as responsible for the resurgence of the ballsy, Dollsy, Deadboys influenced, Hellacopter's punk scene of the mid-90's as anyone, including Sal Canzonieri, or Martin McMartin. He was so much more than a mere rock fan, or fanzine writer. He was a larger than life rock 'n' roll personality. It's a shame he never got to start his own record label, because he had such an ear for music-he could have easily established an indie brand as strong as Greg Shaw's Bomp!, or Long Gone John's Sympathy. When Shane championed a new band, we all instantly understood, they were gonna rock like fuck. His ace best pal, the Pope, is helping to organize a memorial concert in Shane's honor, which I hope to attend. I know Shane would have loved to have attended the other rock 'n' roll bank robber, Jeff Drake's wedding, last week. Man, this one hurts. Brother, wherever your spirit drifts, I hope you know how loved you are, and how much it's gonna suck, without you, here.
Jimmy James of the Rock City Angels, Coma-Tones, and Hangmen reflects: "What a morning. I'm truly saddened at the loss of a great friend. Shane Williams was the first one who 'got it' when my band, The Coma Tones, first started to play shows, way back when, it was his support which got us our first feature in 'Flipside', and a whole lotta shows. Yeah. He was a great writer and totally passionate about music. Especially if it rocked. A natural writer and reporter. We'd talk at most every show about the bands and shows around the L.A. scene. I'm pretty sure he'd be at whatever great show is going on tonight, cause thats the way he was. We've lost a great friend, this is a tough one to get over."
The enchanting and unforgettable California country-punk goddess, Texacala Jones says, "I sorta knew Shane a little bit, It's been more than a while. However, I think he did a wonderful job of ditching the reaper for a long time, and I hope his journey is real smooth to the other side."
Ginger Coyote said that she would run into Shane at shows after his release and he was always very friendly. He asked about Punk Globe and The White Trash Debutantes... She also mentioned contacting Nipper Seaturtle to express her sympathies to her. Nipper was his girlfriend at the time of his death.
Texas Terri said on the Flipside memorial page: "Shane was the first to believe in me when I moved to L.A. and to write about me in 'Flipside', even before i was in a band there...yep, the music scene lost a great example of what it is to love live shows and music in general....So long, Shane and thanks for the memories and your dedication."
Billy Burks from the Humpers: "I was lookin forward to gettin a call from him, any day now, about stayin at my house (as usual) the night of The Waldos, at Alex's."
"He'd listen to rock shows at KJHK in Lawrence, Kansas when he was in Leavenworth and call up to chat. The man was rock 'n' roll to the core. Rock in Peace, Shane."
"I didn't know him, but remember his writing fondly. My condolences to his family..."
"Shane was always someone I looked forward to seeing, talking, and hanging with....He was at every show I played when he wasn't locked up...and when he wasn't, it was because he was at another show that he couldn't miss....I loved his style...and ...always respected and pulled for him....He was so fucking smart ..He would constantly share stuff with me that was mind blowing...The last being something about a cult based on people whose whites of their eyes show on the top and bottom...I wish he woulda wrote his story...He told me a publisher said no one wants to read that stuff...I told him I disagree...Iceberg Slim...Edward Bunker, etc...Zander and I would kid around before shows and say, "Well, at least, Shane, Nubs, and Dirty Ed will be there.....r.i.p. my friend...glad i knew ya!"
"In my opinion, Shane was everything a music writer should be; smart, passionate, curious and committed. Actually, those qualities combined made him a pretty fucking great human being, as well."
(-Scott Deluxe Drake)
Nick Alexander: "He will be missed for sure - always so supportive of everything Pat and we ever did - more than a fixture, he was fucking omnipresent! R.I.P. Shane."
Tesco Vee: "He was a great contributor to Touch and Go..he got me investigated by the FBI..pretty cool! Last saw him in '09 He was a great writer and this bums me out to hear this."
The poet Iris Berry: "This is truly heartbreaking news... Shane, who was so truly talented and gifted, and who so generously helped so many bands and artists with his gift of prolific writing. He knew everything about everything, when it came to great music and ...great literature and anything about the underground subculture. He was as cool as he was too gentle of a soul for this world. I realize, that sounds like a contradiction considering he was known as the rock n' roll bank robber, but he truly was a gentle and kind soul. He was always so kind to me and I will truly miss him. And yes the world seems much less sweeter with Shane no longer here... I will miss my friend."
Sleazegrinder calls him, "The very essence of punk rock."
Another quote from, Billy Burke, the rock'n'roll barber: "R.I.P. Brother Shane. This is something I am not happy to report. Shane Williams (Shane Shit) has apparently passed away. I have no details yet, I had many good times in his company, over the past 20 Years. Anyone with more info., please pass it along. Nice shirt Shane, thanks for everything. You will be terribly missed on the Scene, things will not be the same without you."
Paige Darling recalls his unconventional proposals: "Damn. My favorite quote would be, 'Will you marry me so we can have conjugal visits?'..."
Iris Berry adds: "I didn't think I had this many tears in me. This news is utterly heart wrenching! I'm beside myself. He was the sweetest guy. And for a junkie bank robber. Far too gentle for this world. But one has to love his absolute defiance and willingness to live the life he did with such conviction and passion. And I have to say for Shane, god bless him. I do believe he had a true sense of honor about it all. Let's put it this way. No one can accuse Shane Williams of being a poseur! He was the real deal. He lived the life and I'm glad he didn't die of an overdose, another sad junkie ending. I just hope he didn't suffer. I'm heartbroken."