The early years in the U.S...
Growing up in the “Southside Chicago Flock”, singing gospel with his family, Doug’s early influences were gospel groups: The Staple Singers, The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, The Caravans, The Gospelaires and The Hutchison Sunbeams (who later became The Emotions with Earth Wind and Fire). Doug remembers the era when the “Flock” worked together, sang together and hung out together - all the influences later leading to Doug’s amazing showmanship and talent. It did not end here, Ray Charles taught Doug to play left handed swing bass and he played bass for Ray in recording sessions.
Doug’s professional career began, when he formed his first band, along with brother Emery Williams, Von Ryan’s Express. The overwhelming success of V R Express resulted in Motown Records taking the band to California where they recorded (produced by Eddie Singleton). The band enjoyed tours with such greats as Stevie Wonder, Ike and Tina Turner and Billy Eckstein, mainly in Vegas. Further support shows followed including legendary James Brown (Madison, Wisconsin) and many more. Returning to the studio with The Staples Singer, Purvis Staples as producer, Doug worked and recorded with Dyan Cannon. V R Express ended and new band was formed: Ironhorse and worldwide touring began covering Europe, Japan, Australia in 1974 (for the first time) and Canada.
During the European tours Ironhorse supported Solomon Bourke, the Stylistics just to name a few and went on to headline shows in their own right.
Australia, the first time… 1974
Doug was then lured back to Australia bringing with him a newly formed band for the Australian tour, The Younghearts, touring with bands like Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Shi-lites and many more. Settling in Melbourne in 1974 only to be lured back to the U.S. with the promise of joining Tower of Power, sadly the band broke up and Doug had to regroup and decided that Australia would be home, returning in 1975. An illustrious Australian career began working with our own Queen of Soul, Renee Geyer. Doug recorded a duet and single “It only happens when you look at me” with Renee and her live album “Ready to Deal”. The duet later used in soundtrack for the acclaimed movie Once Were Warriors. Doug also became “Dave” in famous Sam and Dave, following the death of Dave, touring the show and finally deciding to form his own bands and started another era in his career.
Australia, the return… 1979
Doug began touring Australia working the great venues, achieving sold out shows and long term residencies with most of the bands he formed, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. Doug’s own bands, Power, Half Moon and later Slick Street, The Black Mass and currently, The Mix. Following the birth of his first daughter, Alia, Doug settled in Sydney in 1979 and this has become his home, musically and personally. His career boasts longevity, credibility and has worked with music Icons, such as Marcia Hines, Daryl Braithwaite, Peter Andre, The Rockmelons, Elliott (Skunk Baxter) in band My Old School, Christine Anu, Kate Ceberano and many more.
Highlights and memorable moments include:
- Singing to President Clinton during his first Australian visit
- Making a movie with Russell Crowe
- Birth of his gorgeous 3 daughters, Alia, Xanthe and Tiaan.
- Recently the birth of his first grandchild, Jacob
He is diverse, writes his own songs, produces his own recordings, designs and arranges all his live shows, plays bass upside down and boasts a talent that is admired by his peers and enjoyed by audiences all over the world, he is Doug Williams.