New 12 months’s Eve was once New York steak for musicians.
It was a provided that the pay can be excessive, the lodging four-star, and the midnight toast far nearer to Dom Pérignon than André Spumante.
A yr and 79 million COVID-19 circumstances later, most musicians — like everybody else — are caught at dwelling hoping the federal authorities tosses a number of crumbs to assist hold High Ramen within the cabinets.
Happily for veteran crooner Lenny Williams, it’s not that unhealthy. Due to some smart investments — and an astute spouse — Williams isn’t scrambling for free change beneath a sofa at his Fairfield dwelling.
And, because it seems, Williams is performing New 12 months’s Eve — kind of.
“New 12 months’s Eve with Lenny Williams” is a re-broadcast of the “Trigger I Love You” live-streamed live performance Nov. 14 through ftpresents.com.
“It was such a fantastic live performance — many individuals have been asking if they’ll have a hyperlink to see it once more,” stated Kevin Frazier, co-founder of Frazier Trager Presents. “We have been going to attend for a bit, however given the demand and the shortcoming to exit and see dwell leisure this vacation season, we determined to re-broadcast the efficiency with some very particular additional bonuses.”
For the New 12 months’s Eve broadcast, Williams provides traditional vacation songs, new interview clips, and “Previous Lang Syne” at midnight.
Although Williams didn’t carry out New 12 months’s Eve two years in the past, he stated that he’s all the time made it a degree to do the well-paid gig, serving to himself and his band out.
“The trade commonplace had all the time been that they double the cash you receives a commission,” Williams stated by cellphone. “Although, within the final 5, six years, that hasn’t been the case due to the financial state of affairs on this nation. However often, I attempt to do this and assist the blokes out with a pleasant, massive paycheck. And it’s all the time enjoyable to play New 12 months’s Eve. After I don’t, I really feel like I didn’t finish the yr proper.”
The previous lead singer for “Tower of Energy” remembers one big-time New 12 months’s Eve gig — performing dwell on the late Dick Clark’s first New 12 months’s Eve Particular on the Queen Mary in Lengthy Seashore.
“That was thrilling,” Williams stated. “It was actual attention-grabbing, standing there, speaking to Dick Clark. I keep in mind telling him about my mother, how she would punish me by not letting me watch American Bandstand.”
Naturally, among the many New 12 months’s Eve gems, there’s the idiot’s gold.
“Oh, there have been some I’ve regretted taking,” Williams stated. “I believe there was one I didn’t receives a commission for thus I needed to give the blokes their paycheck out of my pocket.”
Williams stated there was nothing he can do with the gig 1,000 miles from dwelling “and the promoter in all probability understanding all of the native authorities.”
Williams stated getting stiffed by a promoter on a New 12 months’s gig places him within the firm of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr..
“I felt like, ‘OK, I’m a part of the crew,’” he stated laughing. “Something that may occur on the highway, I’ve skilled it.”
Williams stated one other memorable New 12 months’s Eve exhibits was final yr, the place he was in a position to return to his trumpet performing in Oakland with The Whispers together with his spouse and youngsters within the viewers.
“That was actually, actually particular,” Williams stated.
Although he’s not past a champagne toast, Williams stated he usually ends a New 12 months’s Eve gig as designated driver.
Final yr at midnight “I toasted with apple cider or one thing like that,” he stated.
On the subject of his personal band’s imbibing, “I attempt to have an unwritten rule: No drinks earlier than the present,” Williams stated. “And I don’t have alcohol within the dressing room. Often, the blokes are good with that, although once in a while, I’ll get a whiff of one thing. To date, no person’s stumbled round or fallen down on stage.”
Williams stated he’s removed from being a sober angel New 12 months’s, particularly throughout these wonderful youthful days.
“Oh, there was a time when it was all the time New 12 months’s Eve,” he stated laughing. “It was a celebration each night time.”
Due to these wild early days, Williams is stunned he’s made it to 75. He stated he all the time “puzzled if I’d dwell to get Social Safety. I’m fortunate. Or ‘blessed’ is the precise phrase. I used to be kinda younger and loopy at occasions. I beat the percentages and I’m seeking to stump the percentages and dwell to 100.”
If he can, Williams stated he needs to maintain singing to the tip — even at 100.
“I hope so. Even when it’s simply at ‘the house’ serenading the women,” he stated.
Uh, and the spouse?
“She’s going to both gained’t be there or wouldn’t care,” Williams stated.
That’s a quarter-century away. For now, the singer’s pleased with being “an previous mannequin with authentic components, besides my enamel.”
The voice, by all indications, continues to be a factor of magnificence. And Williams counts on his spouse to be the last word choose when it’s time to show the microphone off.
“Years in the past, my spouse and I have been at a membership in Los Angeles to see a Motown singer who had some hit information,” Williams stated.
The notes have been not there.
“It was so hurtful and embarrassing,” Williams stated. “I instructed my spouse, ‘If I ever sound like that, please inform me it’s time to stroll away.’ She is brutally trustworthy.”
Happily, he stated, “she hasn’t instructed me but. And my spouse would undoubtedly inform me.”
Williams is cognizant of his age, his expertise, and his profession. Take gigs on cruise ships. He’s cautious easing into something that might be even near COVID-19.
“I don’t assume I’ll ever take a cruise once more,” stated Williams, “until it’s my ashes.”
“New 12 months’s Eve with Lenny Williams” might be considered through ftpresents.com.