14 April 2010



Join us as these twenty-first century titans appear together for the first time in recorded history to celebrate and enunciate, as The Poetry Project at St Mark's Church hosts the NYC launch of Williams' fiction debut, SWEETS AND OTHER STORIES.

The countdown is on.... thirty days until blast-off!


Nick Tosches & Andre Williams
February 5, 2010
10:00 pm

Nick Tosches was born in Newark, New Jersey and is the author of three novels, eleven books of non-fiction,and three volumes of poetry. His books include: Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story, Dino: Living High In The Dirty Business Of Dreams, Where Dead Voices Gather, In The Hand Of Dante, and Chaldea. His latest, Never Trust A Living God, is a collection of poetry illustrated by Gravieur. He lives in New York City.

Andre Williams was born in Bessemer, Alabama in 1936, migrating with his family to Chicago when he was a child. After the death of his mother in 1943, he was sent South to the care of his grandparents. The North-South transition was unbearable for young Andre, who was to return to live in the Windy City with his father, a steel mill worker.

With little parental supervision, Andre traded into a penny ante career as a juvenile delinquent, barely escaping Illinois State Reformatory by using his older brother’s ID card to enlist in the US Navy. His career in the Armed Forces came to a halt when it was discovered that he was underage.

As a civilian once again, he chose to avoid the pitfalls of Chicago and relocated to Detroit, Michigan, where his musical legend began, on joining the Five Dollars, and with writing and recording for the legendary Fortune Records label. Bacon Fat, Greasy Chicken, and the extraordinary Jail Bait would be the tip of the iceberg of Andre’s musical contributions. From his start at Fortune in the 1950’s, he went on to work at Motown with Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells and the Contours. He produced (and co-wrote) the Five Du-Tones’ 1963 hit Shake A Tail Feather ( #28 on BILLBOARD R&B charts) and wrote Alvin Cash’s 1965 R&B chart topper  Twine Time.  In the late sixties, he produced solo hits including the standout Cadillac Jack for Chess Records. He has composed several hundred recordings and continues to be one of the most widely  collected and respected of original soul and rhythm & blues artists.
Hard drugs eventually took a toll on Andre, leaving him homeless and destitute. In 1995, his career was revived by George Paulus, who produced the acclaimed comeback album GREASY for Norton Records. Andre continued to record for Norton, as well as for In The Red, Bloodshot and Pravda, while touring internationally to great acclaim. The 2007 film AGILE, MOBILE, HOSTILE documented a year in Andre’s life.

With the return to constant touring and performing came a return to old vices. He was in and out of short-term rehabilitation, but always, there was the return to hard habits. Hitting the age of seventy without a permanent address and with his health rapidly deteriorating, Andre checked into a six week program at a Chicago substance abuse facility.

At a friend’s urging, he began trying to write fictional stories, in an attempt to keep his mind and hands busy. Writing became his self-imposed rehabilitation, and his hand scribbled no holds-barred tales evolved into a short set of various-length entries which he immediately began referring to as “The Book”.
This debut volume from 73 year old Andre Williams is Sweets (And Other Stories). The title story is a narrative novelette which takes you for a wild ride from Chicago to Houston, New Orleans, and New York City, as a teenage girl finds herself in a family way, without a family. Forced to fend for herself, she is taken under the wing of a local pimp who entices her into prostitution. The adventures that follow are a free for all foray through the fantastic world of pimps and their women, funeral directors, gangs and drug running, with sidebar anecdotes that are guaranteed to appall, alarm and astonish.

Extreme entries remain unedited, and none of Williams’ raw drawl storytelling style has been tampered with in this standout fiction debut. Sweets is the first hip-pocket paperback from New York publisher Kicks Books.

• RADIO FEB 4!  Dave The Spazz to host the duo on his Feb. 4 WFMU radio show! (Music To Spazz By with Dave the Spazz, WFMU 91.1 FM online and archived at wfmu.org Thursday February 4th 8-11pm)

• ANDRE WILLIAMS & NICK TOSCHES READING! Andre Williams debuts his first fiction book SWEETS with this historic tag team effort with Nick Tosches! 10 PM at The Poetry Project at St. Marks Church, 131 East 10th Street, NYC poetryproject.org

• TWIN SPIN AFTERSHOCK FEB 5!  Late nite Smashed Blocked pop-in after reading event! Join SB kingpin Josh Styles as he hosts this velvet rope stop-in pop-in! (Andre rumored to spin seven of his sevens! Smashed Blocked at The Beauty Bar 231 East 14 Street, NYC smashedblocked.com)

• FAN FETE FEB 6!  Top secret Greasy Chicken farewell fan fete fracas TBA! Stay tuned kicksbooks.blogspot.com

Press Contact:
Paige Turner at Kicks Books

And from the peanut gallery... Chicago cartoonist John Battles remarks...

Check out the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church NYC!