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BLUES CRITIC'S

Southern Soul Blog

INTERVIEWS

Southern Soul, Rhythm & Blues News And Reviews

(C) 2018. All written material found on this website is the property of Blues Critic and may only be used with permission and full accreditation (either "Blues Critic" or "Dylann DeAnna of Blues Critic") and link to this website.

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Swamp Dogg

The Interview

BC = Blues Critic

SD = Swamp Dogg

BC = The cover of "Resurrection" naturally has the potential of being controversial for some. Why did you choose this particular cover?

SD = Because, basically what the cover is depicting that I'll fight and die for what I believe in. And in this case my music and the context of my music and lyrics and that's why I'm nailed to the cross. I do liken it to Christ because he died for what he believed in. I'm not saying I'm Christ or trying to be Christ. It's a symbol to make my point that's all. It's interesting. Nobody else has asked me about the cover. It's like they don't want to comment on it or talk about it.

BC = This album is a mixture of politics and love songs. The song "They Crowned An Idiot King"... I'll ask you point blank: Is that about George W. Bush?

SD = Of course (laughs). I should've got Alberto Gonzales to write me another verse. I'm sure he could've put a great one in there.

(editor's note: On the day we conducted this interview Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation as Attorney General amid allegations of perjury)

BC = How do you feel about our country's climate right now?

SD = Well it's about 102 out here right now (laughs). No, seriously it's scary. It's frightening. It makes you anxious to see what's happening with the house market. It's like all kinds of schemes have been hashed in order to spin John or Jane Q. Public into this web of financial ruin. Somebody's got to step in and keep everything from going down the toilet.

BC =  I reckon all this was the inspiration for "America Is Bleeding".

SD = Yeah. A few people have made comments about "America is Bleeding". They think I'm anti-abortion. Which I'm not. It's a misunderstanding. And there's another line in there. I had two lesbian women accost me and they thought I was against gays and I said, "No. I said these issues are being used as a smokescreen. They throw that up to take everyone's attention away from what's really going on with the country".

BC = Another song on the CD is "In A Time Of War Who Wins". Now it's obvious you're anti-war. Or atleast the current war. Now be honest: When all this first was going down did you support the invading of Iraq and later flip-flopped when the tide turned like so many have or have you always felt this way?

SD = Yeah Bob Jones co-wrote that with me. I'm not anti-war. Just this bulls--- war. I was against it from the beginning because I never believed what Bush was saying. Number one I couldn't understand why he let Bin Laden's family leave Massachusetts and fly out of the country. In my understanding they flew out on an air force plane! I also couldn't understand why he went after Hussein. Now I know Sadam Hussein was abusing and killing his people and that wasn't right. But Bush went after him all of sudden when he should've gotten Bin Laden. I'm not anti-war but I'm thinking of people like Roosevelt who would've gotten Bin Laden by now 'cuz he would've warned everybody in that area to get out and he would've sent bombers over there and when he finished Bin Laden would be somewhere in millions of pieces. There would be none of this sh--. All these dead soldiers. If you're gonna fight a war- fight a war! No inbetween.

BC = The centerpiece of the record is the epic title track, which deals with black history in America. You've always been bold and outspoken in exposing racism. How do you feel about the racial climate right now?

SD = Well at this time in life. I think black people are their own worst enemy. We are our own worst enemy. I don't think it's no longer the white man or any other color man. I think it's us and we have to get our sh-- together. We have enough going for us to make things happen and we don't utilize it. We'll go get on welfare and say the white man put us there. Man he didn't put us in a car and drive us down there and sign them f---ing papers (laughs). Blacks travel all over the world looking for the best welfare system. You know like New York. I think California is suppose to be great for people who want to freeload for the rest of their f----ing life and want to pass it on to the next generation. They throw their hands up and don't do sh-- but f--- and have babies and what have you. We're not being repressed. I refuse to buy into that we're being suppressed now because anything we want to do we are strong enough to get it done!

BC = But of course the song "Resurrection" also properly praises the perseverance of black Americans. Like the refrain, "Still we rise (we rise!)"

SD = Yeah. Even the slaves! A lot of them ran away before the emancipation. They didn't take the attitude, "Well. Can't go nowhere. Mr Charlie got us here now." No some of 'em said "F--- that! I'm outta here I'm gone!" But then another one would find out when a slave would run away and ran and told Mr. Charlie. "Now Mr. Charlie he done trying to run away" and told on him and Mr Charlie would give him a piece of fatback and whoop that other nig--- into a drunken stupor.

BC = I feel funny asking such a question but, based on what you said, what do you think black people need to do to not be their 'own worst enemy'?

SD = Have respect for themselves and have respect for others. Not only as people but eachother's property. For example. One black was moving into a house and he moves all his sh-- in and goes to work the next day some of the blacks who were standing around watching him went in and took all his sh--! I mean just preying on eachother. You cannot accomplish anything fighting amongst yourselves, hating eachother and doing things to hold eachother back.

BC = Now going back to your new CD. The other half of the songs are lovely, romantic soul songs.

SD = Yeah my wife got a chance to show off her writing. You know we're writing together. You know when I met her a few years ago she said she was a songwriter and you know I'm thinking, "Yeah riiiiight" (laughs). But you know right then you go along with anything you know. "Oh yeah, well let me look over your songs...and I want to see more than that too. Just take your bra off" (laughs). But she had some damn good stuff so we collaborated on songs and she's really a genius songwriter.

BC = Now looking back on your career. You started off as Little Jerry Williams and was more of a conventional musician. So what was the turning point? How did you come up with brilliant creation called 'Swamp Dogg"?

SD = Well I don't know how brilliant it is (laughs). It hasn't really made me a fortune. Um, it was just an idea of me wanting to do musically and present myself anyway I wanted to present myself. Mentally it was easier on me to not have to be one particular person all the time. As Swamp Dogg I could be whoever I was at that particular time. You know it's like, if I wanna sing a love song. if I wanna sing about f---ing. If I want to sing about politics. Whatever I wanted to sing about I could do it as a dog since you expect a dog to do just about anything... and you're forgiven afterwards (laughs). So it's really the concept of what you let your dog do. It really relieved my mind to become Swamp Dogg and I could not be pigeonholed.

BC = What or where do you think you would be today if you had just stayed as Jerry Williams, the mainstream singer?

SD= I would've most likely started drinking and become an alcoholic and had been running around singing one big hit whatever that would be and just bored with life myself singing that same piece of sh--...I'm glad I didn't make it back in the day. I was unhappy back then about it but I'm glad I didn't succeed as Little Jerry Williams. I really wasn't that unhappy 'cuz I didn't get into music for the money but because I love the music. You can see by the sh-- I put out I don't care too much for the brass ring.

BC = Your last CD, "If I Ever Kiss He Can Kiss It Goodbye" was aimed at and did quite well in the Southern Soul market.

SD = Right. I did that deliberately. And I'm still selling that real good. To me it was almost like a satire on what's happening down in the South

BC = You've never fit any particular format throughout your career. What about today? Where would you market your new stuff? Blues, Southern Soul...

SD = My only problem is...black people go to bed and wake up the next day and their address has been changed. Like we went to bed one night as Rhythm & Blues artists and we woke up and we were no longer. Then it's Soul then now it's R & B and that's someone like Usher. But it's not really Rhythm & Blues. We were Rock & Roll in the early 50s. You had white Rock & Rollers. Black Rock & Rollers. Like Chuck Berry. Little Richard. Then one day Rock & Roll became all white and our category keeps changing around. But in the meantime you get someone like Neil Young who, say doesn't cut a record in like ten years and he come back with a record just like the last one twenty years ago and Warner Brothers or whomever will take out nineteen pages in Billboard and say "the long awaited f---ing album".

  

BC = If you were to make a definitive Swamp Dogg sampler what songs would you put on there. The ones that say who Swamp Dogg is?

SD = "Total Destruction To Your Mind" for sure. "Mama's Baby, Daddy's Maybe", "God Bless America For What?", "Sam Stone", I dunno there's so many. But from the new album I'd have to got with "I Need Some Money" and "Resurrection".

BC = So what's next for the Dogg?

SD = So much going on. I'm going to be releasing "Swamp Dogg Volumes 3 & 4" (Editor's note: currently SDEG Records has Swamp Dogg's first four albums as 2 on 1 cds called "The Excellent Sides Of Swamp Dogg" Vol. 1 & 2 on the market.). I got this album on Irma Thomas called "In Between Tears". Ruth Brown. Then there's Doris Duke & Sandra Phillips on one album together. I'm putting out that "Beatle Barker" album. The one with dogs, cats and cattle doing Beatles songs. I can't tell you how often people ask me for that one. So I'm gonna put it out and see what happens. I'm also....

Swamp went on to list an eclectic and long lost array of re-issue CDs too numerous to recall by memory. Visit his site swampdogg.net to learn more . One thing's for sure Swamp Dogg still has a lot of bark along with his trademark bite. And who would want it any other way?

SWAMP DOGG DISCOGRAPHY HERE


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(C) 2018. All written material found on this website is the property of Blues Critic and may only be used with permission and full accreditation (either "Blues Critic" or "Dylann DeAnna of Blues Critic") and link to this website.

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