Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hey Willie!

In 1980, a band named Mink Deville released a record called Le Chat Bleu which many critics at the time acclaimed "The Best Rock Album Of All Time" except Capitol Records didn't know what to do with it. You see, they thought they had signed this New York Punk Band.....

Mink Deville was a band headed by a perfectly coiffed pencil thin singer who called himself Willy Deville. They played the same stages as the Ramones, Patti Smith, Talking Heads in the late 70's in Lower Manhattan. At a time when punk and new wave music was inventing itself, Mink Deville was reinventing tradition. Willy was the guy who in the words of the great Doc Pomus, "Got It!"

Willy had it alright, style, attitude, taste and talent. He was soul, he reinterpreted and reinvented the sounds of classic of American rock and soul music.

I knew Willy. We were neighbors in New York. Only recently, I learned that he wasn't Puerto Rican. I just always assumed he was this incredibly hip hispanic guy, I mean we lived in a Puerto Rican neighborhond, he spoke spanish to everyone...listen...Willy had the best record collection I have ever seen.
He lent me his Edith Piaf Records when I started to rave when he played them for me.
I've been trying to return them ever since.

Willy should have been a big star, but in America, he was destined to be an outsider.
Too unique, too uncompromising and in his own universe. Willy was a big star in Europe. as far as that went. He was authentique, he sold records here and could sell out theaters whenever he could get a tour together.

Willy's last record was Pistola, released last year. He was touring until last year when he discovered he had pancreatic cancer.
Willy died on August 6, 2009.
Willy Deville, August 27, 1950...August 6, 2009
Check out his bio, I love this guy too much to want to sell you any records...
I wish I could have given his Piaf albums back to him....

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