Amarah's Corner: Interview with Paul Williams, Part 2

Hi! My name is Amarah. Kids are important to me, and they’re important to Jesus, too.

I appreciate all kinds of music, especially music that touches my heart. Paul Williams is one such singer/songwriter whose songs and music wring my emotions and I quoted a couple of his songs included in the beloved Muppet version of Charles Dickens classic novella, A Christmas Carol, in my Christmas columns.

My Friend, Roscoe, President and Founder of The San Luis Valley Little Theatre Company in Alamosa recently sent me a note “Hi Amarah. it’s good that you are going strong helping others. Even using songs written by former addicts (Paul Williams) shows people can change with strong support like yours.” Wow. Thank You, Roscoe, for sharing this with me. I didn’t know Paul Williams was an addict. But, because of your note, I found the following interview by Nicki Gostin, (Fox News) with Paul Williams, July 9, 2012, and wanted to share it with you:

How the once ubiquitous entertainer Paul Williams disappeared into cocaine, booze addiction, Part 2:

PW: I think there’s stuff that shapes us and sometimes it’s painful. I tried to write hit songs, but when I tried to write hit songs nobody recorded them. When I sat down and wrote something that came out of the center of my chest people responded, and there’s a great lesson in that. There’s a connection to the world through authenticity. That’s what I heard in the music, that longing, that need to be loved.

FOX411: You have quite the relapse story in the film as well.

PW: I went to Jamaica when I was seven months sober. I was white knuckling it. I was writing a musical with a couple of guys and I stayed up all night chasing this song and melody that I thought was so wonderful, and I thought I had written a rock and roll classic. I got up after a little bit of sleep and I wandered down to the pool and I turned on the tape recorder and listened to it and I realized I had rewritten, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem.’

At that moment a waiter walked by in a little white jacket and these sparkling glasses and asked, ‘Perhaps you’d like something to drink, a rum and coke?’ And I went, ‘Yeah! I would love one!’ I’ve got an Oscar on my piano; I’ve got a star on Hollywood Boulevard. This is a big shot here. I can handle one rum and coke, which leads to two o’clock in the morning with me at Bob Marley’s grave explaining reggae to a lot of black people I didn’t know.

FOX411: How long did your relapse last?

PW: Over two years. (…) I came out of a blackout in the boy’s department at Sears trying on sweaters. In December 1989 I called a doctor during a blackout and said, ‘I need treatment,’ and he called me the next day. My first comment was, ‘Someone’s been using my body again,’ and he didn’t laugh, and I didn’t laugh, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m done. I need to get help. I’m dying here.’ And I haven’t had a drink since.

In March 1992 I took a Valium that belonged to a girlfriend and I said, ‘That qualifies as a slip,’ so I changed my date. It’s been 22 years. You can’t imagine my life today. I’ve been on the board of directors of ASCAP for about 12 years and the president for the last three. It’s a great opportunity to be of service. The two things I’m passionate about are recovery and music creator’s rights. My favorite thing about the film beyond the fact people are really entertained by it is that ultimately it gives me an opportunity to talk about those things.

FOX411: It seems drugs were so much a part of the Hollywood culture in the 70s and 80s.

PW: It is a part of where I came from, but the fact is I have to take responsibility for where I took it. A lot of other people quit. I don’t know when I crossed the line from use to abuse to addiction; probably in the early 80’s is when it got out of control. It is a disease, but I can’t use that as an excuse for my behavior. The path that I chose, the places that cocaine and vodka took me, my behavior along the way, I’m responsible for. Part of my recovery was to make amends for that. That’s a real gift. You spilled it, you clean it up Pauly.

FOX411: This could be the makings of a great autobiography.

PW: There’s been talk of it for a while, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to write it. I think under the right circumstances now it might make a very good idea.

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Until next time, remember, Jesus Loves You, and JESUS IS LORD!