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REMINDED OF YOU: 
A Tribute to Fallen Front Man - and Friend - Dave Williams of DROWNING POOL

By Alicia Downs


    I'll never forget the first time I met Dave Williams.  I was scheduled to do an interview with Drowning Pool for Rough Edge (click here to read it) and they were late.  Actually, they were more than an hour late.  I was fuming and the only thing that kept me there was that I was so intent on seeing the live show of this band whom I had heard so much about from my Dallas friends. 

    So, an hour later, Dave came strolling in with bass player Stevie Benton.  Those two were quite the cards.  Dave was wearing those bug eye sunglasses you can see in Drowning Pool's first promotional pictures.  His first words were to me, "Where are we?"  I replied that he was in Philadelphia on a place called South Street kind of similar to Deep Ellum.  We started talking about Ellum and how I used to live in Dallas and he had that Texas twang and southern charm I had grown accustomed to after a few years of living there. After five minutes I could not dare be angry with these guys - they had already won me over. 

    Talking to him on that day I knew he was going to be a star.  Dave was the perfect lead singer, and already had the ego that he was going to need.  But despite the ego facade of rock star, he was also one of the most genuine people that I have met in this industry.  Dave always told me what was on his mind, whether we agreed or not,  he never had a problem saying what he thought.  So it is in a lot of ways that Dave gained my respect, turned me into a friend, and then managed to make me one of Drowning Pool’s biggest fans - a true accomplishment.

    That night I watched their set.  Drowning Pool was opening for a relatively small Wind-Up band called Finger Eleven.  They played that song that would soon be everywhere; "Bodies." As I took a few pictures, looking through that camera lens, you could just feel it, and everyone in the audience could as well.  This man, this band, was meant to go places. 

    Soon after, they were tearing things up on the Ozzfest 2001 tour.  They were the Cinderella tale - originally slated to open the third stage they ended the tour with a platinum selling album and playing support to second stage headliners Mudvayne.  And what made the entire experience better and the taste all the more sweet was that Dave Williams, Mike Luce, CJ Pierce, and Stevie Benton were the same boys that I met that day in Philadelphia.  They were the same southern sweethearts and self-described jackasses that they always were, who just happened to be following and succeeded in their dreams. 

    The Drowning Pool machine did not slow down either.  Despite being worn out, I looked on as they went on to tour with Sevendust, then Disturbed, then took on the world from Australia to Japan to Europe and back.  Instead of slowing down they came back to the States to headline the Jager tour this last spring before returning back to Europe for that stretch of Ozzfest 2002 dates.  They came back to the States not to rest, but to embark on another summer with the Ozzfest 2002 tour.  And I cannot express how proud I was to see them take the main stage this year to a sea of adoring fans.  I couldn’t help but think back to those fresh faced boys I had first met and cheer them on as they covered (and pulled off) Metallica’s "Creeping Death."

    For more than a year and a half I truly believed in Dave and the band so it was with a heavy heart that I heard the news on August 14, 2002 that Dave was gone.  To be honest I was in stunned disbelief.  From the pain I felt for this loss, I could only imagine the pain that was being experienced by his fans, friends, band mates, and the family he doted over.  

    Over the next couple of days, I sat back and watched while love was poured out from everywhere including the Ozzfest show the day after in Bristow, Virginia.  Dave Williams, a good ole boy from Texas, was now receiving the respect and love from musicians hew grew up admiring like Rex Brown, Philip Anselmo, Rob Zombie, Mike Bordin, and one of his many musical idols Ozzy Osbourne.  Fans from all over the world have come to Drowning Pool’s message board to send their condolences to the remaining members of the band, his friends, and his family.  All of the love and support has been a karma-like testament to what Dave put out with each and every performance. 

    Dave Williams truly earned his nickname, "The Stage." He worked to make a dream come true in his life, and from his efforts he was able to taste - if only for a moment - the fruits of his labor. As the stage, Dave's dream and Dave's genuine passion of music lives on in every chord, every riff, every performance, in every one of us that shares a passion for music - every true fan and every true musician.

    Dave will be missed by all for his contributions as a musician or a friend, in many cases both.   Dave has accomplished immortality, because his music and his hopes will not be forgotten by anyone who experienced him.   He was so good to his fans because Dave was more a fan than a rock star, he was all of us and so he lives on in us.

    To the remaining band members and my friends - Mike, CJ, and Stevie - you have all brought so much to so many people and earned everything you have ever achieved.  I can only hope that you will go on to find solace in your music, as you and I both know Dave would not have had it any other way.  I am proud of all that you have accomplished and all that I know you can go on to achieve.  Your hearts are made of gold and my heart is with you all.

    To Dave I say rock on, I will forever be reminded of you.

    Rest In Peace Dave Williams February 29, 1972 - August 14, 2002.

    www.drowningpool.com 


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