Check out news agency and media outlets reports on Alligator Jackson

Mr. Mike 304TV Interviews David "Alligator Jackson" Williams

 

WE HEART WEST VIRGINIA NEWS ARTICLE

http://weheartwv.com/2017/12/20/an-alligator-is-helping-drain-huntingtons-heroin-swamp/

And you can make a difference too.

Even against seemingly overwhelming odds.

Take it from someone who knows, David “Alligator Jackson” Williams.

His “Alligator Jackson Inside Huntington WV” Facebook page has thousands of likes and followers.

He’s also written two popular books, The Boiling Point and Money Town, which are fictional accounts focusing on the local impact of a drug culture.

Simply put: People read what he writes.

And his online posts spark discussion, lots of give and take.

Many praise his efforts to empower folks at the grassroots level.

Fans like his determination to attack the city’s opioid epidemic head on.

“We are at the point that many of us automatically wonder if there’s been an overdose when we hear sirens or see the police lights on. It just really is that bad here,” he said.

It’s personal for him on many levels.

Last week’s shooting of a neighbor in his apartment building isn’t the first time violence has taken place there.

Drug dealers aren’t hard to find in some nearby local alleys, and that availability compounds the problem, he said.

Just walking his dog can be an education, so he is sympathetic to others’ experiences and fears.

He’s willing to listen, and post graphic information about what’s happening on city streets.

Often in unforgettable detail.

Jarring pictures, chilling words and prophetic predictions served a purpose, he said.

Especially in the beginning, shock value was his tool in trade.

It was a way to “make people really see the lives being lost to heroin,” he said.

Envision addicts literally dropping in the streets and fast-food restaurant bathrooms, as well as nodding of behind the wheel while driving.

Last year there were overdoses in the same retail parking lot three days in a row, he said.

“It does happen all the time on the street because these people are addicts, and want to do the drug as soon as they get it. They can’t wait long enough to get home.

They are sitting there shaking, and need a fix. If they buy it around the corner, they will hit an alley or wherever they think they won’t get caught,” he said.

Huntington received national attention last August when 28 people overdosed over a five-hour period after using heroin sold by a single drug dealer.

In 2017 the Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy introduced a two-year plan for addressing the opioid crisis in Huntington, Cabell and Wayne counties.

City officials estimate that more than 10 percent of the population are opioid addicts.

A total of 1,476 overdose incidents were reported in Cabell County in 2016, a 443 percent increase since 2014.

 

The county’s youngest overdose victim in 2016 was just 11 years old.

Desperate times call for drastic measures, according to Williams.

He’s even posted the occasional photo of a body bag being removed from a downtown crime scene.

“People think I’m just being an ass for posting pictures or even names. But I have the same fears that I do about coming home and finding someone dead. It can happen to any family, and this is my idea of a wake-up call,” he said.

 

Not everyone approves, and he understands those concerns.

Especially the feelings of families devastated by addiction and overdose deaths.

He knows from personal experience how addiction can make life hell.

“I can’t get away from it. I go to work, and I work with it. I come home and I have to worry about a family member. Then there are also the people I try to help online.

Even though I personally have never done a drug, I live with it 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.

 

Trying to make a difference, whether personally or professionally, isn’t easy.

“I know how it feels to struggle, and not know what to do when someone is an addict. There is a fine line between helping someone and enabling them,” he said.

Denial helps no one in the end, and “might be the worst form of enabling,” he said.

“If you don’t acknowledge a problem, you are saying it doesn’t exist. You are allowing it to do whatever it wants. We have all seen that denial doesn’t work.

So I guess I am really searching for something that does work.

The ultimate solution is getting drugs off the streets, but first people have to know how bad it is out there. That’s when they demand action, and are even willing to help make a difference,” he said.

Other people aren’t the only ones learning an important lesson.

“I no longer post all of the overdose names from 911, and I don’t post those same kind of pictures anymore unless it will send a different message.

At first I thought people needed to see addicts passed out in the streets so they could realize what was happening.

Now people have seen that and maybe even accepted it, we have to move forward. Staying the same isn’t going to work, but the temptation is to look past the problem. Not dealing with this is my biggest fear,” he said.

Even though last week was especially violent, Williams is hopeful community members will continue to unite for a better future.

 

There were five shootings, three dead and three wounded, all within four days and walking distance apart, the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper reported.

So far there have been 19 confirmed homicides, with two also being investigated as homicides, in 2017, and the majority are drug related, city officials say.

Dozens of people attended last Friday’s rally organized by local religious leaders after the deadly week.

 

After walking to the Huntington Police Department, “church leaders and city officials shared in prayers for Huntington,” according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail Newspaper.

That’s a very positive sign, Williams said.

“I do believe our police department is doing the best they can, especially since they are short staffed. And there are lots of people who want to see things change. So I plan to continue doing whatever I can to help keep moving things in that direction.”

 

 

Flats on 4th in Huntington to be torn down

by RAVEN BROWN

Wednesday, September 19th 2018

watch video

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — An abandoned property in Huntington known for criminal activity is slated to be torn down after fencing was put up in hopes of keeping people out.

Many people in the city are calling the fencing effort around Flats on 4th a joke and are happy to see the building go.

"It doesn't even keep my dog out, it's not going to keep anybody out," said Huntington resident, David Williams.

Some people are not happy about the new orange plastic fencing placed around the abandoned building.

"I was hoping it would be a something a little stronger than what's up there because that lasted maybe one day," said Ted Kluemper, a businessman in Huntington.

The fencing was put up after the property fell into bankruptcy causing abandonment and housing broken glass, squatters making it a place for crime and drug activity.

Kluemper said he would be happy to see the building torn down.

"I'm more concerned about the parents and stuff who come to visit their children and they go to walk downtown and they have to walk by something like this," Kluemper said.

With pressure from city officials, the owner of the property, JP Morgan Chase Bank, plans to sell the building to a company in Indiana that intends to tear it down for future development.

"It's the safe thing to do," Williams said. "It's productive property. It's also one of the first places that people see when they come to a Marshall football game or they come down to it. It's a big representative of our city."

City officials said the bank will sell the building for $300,000 to the company but there will be a brief period where other interested parties can make a higher bid.

"It needs to go and something new and productive needs to take its place. Huntington is growing and it's looking better and we need to keep going forward with that," Williams said. "Right now, this is holding us back."

City officials say an order to approve the sale of the property is expected to be entered within 30 days.

 

 

Concerned citizens try to tackle prostitution in Huntington

 

By:

Posted: May 24, 2018 06:57 PM EDT

Updated: May 24, 2018 06:57 PM EDT

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HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) - Community members in Huntington are hitting the streets to combat prostitution in their own way. 

 

“It's just not right and people are fed up, so they want to do something about it," said David “Alligator Jackson” Williams, an active community member in Huntington.  

 

Williams is just one of many Huntington residents who are tired of seeing prostitution in their neighborhood streets. 

 

"The prostitution problem, like most of our crime, is directly related to the opiod issues,” said Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial. “Right now, we have the concentration of the prostitution problem in the west end of Huntington."

 

"[The police] have a tough job,” said Williams. “They've got other things to do. We've got drugs out there killing people. But people are fed up, because this is the big problem in their life. They don't want their kid to be outside with the prostitutes.”

 

That frustration has started a movement, of some residents taking the problem into their own hands. It's rooted in the streets and fueled by social media. Civilians catch men they believe are picking up prostitutes and post about it in Facebook groups.

 

"They're taking pictures and they're putting the pictures on Facebook sites like the “Johns of Huntington,” said Williams. “They're trying to shame people into not going into their neighborhoods."

 

The groups aim to focus less on the supply and more on the demand. 

 

"They're blanking out the girls’ faces, because the police always seem to target the girls, but the guys seem to go free." 

 

One of the reasons some people feel that way is because HPD arrested six women in their most recent prostitution sting on April 11. However, there wasn’t a single man, or “John,” caught that night. What most people don't know, though, is undercover officers planned to also catch multiple Johns that same night, but their operation was compromised when people started broadcasting it live.

 

"It was our intentions to do that that night,” said Chief Dial. “Folks were coming up and telling us, 'You guys have been exposed, your operation is going on on Facebook.’ That made it very difficult to make the arrests.”

 

The residents broadcasted that a sting operation was happening, with good intentions, but didn't realize criminals could be watching as well. 

 

"Some of them were celebrating what we were doing, they were happy about it, but when you post it live on Facebook, the criminals also know that,” said Chief Dial.

 

Not only can chasing criminals be detrimental to police efforts, it can also be dangerous. 

 

“What if somebody decides they don't want their picture taken and they want to get out and either shoot somebody or hit them, or something like that," said Williams.

 

"Engaging criminals is dangerous behavior,” said Chief Dial. “We're trained for it, we're equipped for it and we're bonded for it. It would be my suggestion that you not take vigilante actions and put yourself at that physical risk."

Somewhere between concerned citizens and vigilantes is a happy middle, where Huntington hopes to find the solution. 

 

"We've got a lot of people out there that want to help right now and that's how we're going to make Huntington better," said Williams.

 

The Huntington Police Department does want citizens to get involved, but safely.

 

“I understand people want to be a part of the solution and we encourage that,” said Chief Dial.

 

A few things you can do include calling 911 if you see prostitution, giving information to HPD’s anonymous tip line (304-696-4444) and attending your neighborhood organization meeting. 

 

 

Parody Banning WVU Signs in Huntington Sets off Angry Callers

  •  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 19:36 Updated 5 years ago by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter

 

A web posted article from “thedigger.com” apparently lampooning Huntington’s clean-up campaign and applying it to West Virginia University supporters has prompted a statement from Huntington Mayor Steve Williams.

 

Although not labeled “parody” or containing another type of disclaimer, the satire headlined “Huntington Mayor Outlaws WVU Colors and Flags”, then ”quoted” Steve Williams and two city “residents”, Dan Nehlen and Brad Pennington.

Immediately prior to the faux quotes, the article described an authentic ordinance passed by Huntington City Council that targeted furniture on porches, high weeds and high grass.

A second blog writer posted the story on a WVU oriented site presuming the “action” authentic. He later corrected the statement and apologized.

After the mayor’s office received many seriously irate phone calls, Williams utilized Facebook to underscore that he had NOT been interviewed, there was NO ban on WVU signs, and that the reported article was parody.

The Mayor’s Facebook statement reads:

An article written by a “reporter” named “Alligator Jackson” has been brought to my attention. I haven’t read the article. But I understand I am supposedly quoted that the colors of Blue and Gold are now forbidden in the City of Huntington as well as any and all West Virginia University paraphernalia.

How absurd.

The article is a spoof. I have never been interviewed by anyone named Alligator Jackson.

I did not make such a statement. I am a proud WVU graduate receiving a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. WVU is a world class university.

 

 

 

30,000 View Huntington Mayor's Response to "Alligator" WVU Football Parody

  •  

Friday, July 19, 2013 - 03:24 Updated 5 years ago by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter

 

Favorable fallout continues from the mistaken blue and gold WVU paraphernalia “ban” which surged viral over the internet.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams remained ecstatic telling the Thursday City Council work session that his Facebook response had gathered 33,000 views. Beaming that someone should toss an “illegal procedure” flag concerning the unlabeled satire, Williams said, “We must be doing something good” for that many people to be intrigued by the parody.

 

The story came in a blog posting by “Alligator Jackson”, who lampooned the city’s beautification campaign by adding the WVU support ban. Although not specifically labeled “spoof”, Mayor Williams proclaimed “Alligator” (a.k.a. David Williams, no relation) a “brilliant writer”.

Via flashback the Mayor reminded, “Four years ago in the midst of furloughs, layoffs, and reductions in force, how nice it would have been to have spent an afternoon responding to a spoof article. I had calls from Florida and California and my brother had colleagues from all over the country.”

He surmised from the amount of responses, “This is not a bad thing. It may be a leading indicator that things must be going fairly well in Huntington”. By analogy, he stated, “When you have a sick patient, and they complain about the food, you think, they must be feeling better.”

That’s not to disregard the seriously irate impact of initial calls after a WVU blog mistook the “spoof” for a “real” ban.

“The WVU and MU partisans on the site are still throwing shots at each other", the Mayor said.

Williams revealed that J.D. Johnson gave the best call response. Someone asked him, “Is it true?” Johnson answered, “Yes, and we have ocean front property available in Arizona.”

After the Mayor took to Facebook, the conversation harshness dropped in tone. 

“I root for WVU every single game, except when they play Marshall”, Williams stated, stressing, “and, most WVU partisans cheer for Marshall except when they play WVU. That’s the way it should be.”

"Alligator" Williams did write a "sorry" on Facebook for the misunderstanding. However, he noted, "the article was a parody of your recent ordinances that I feel restrict freedoms. I never in a million years figured that anyone would believe them. I am disappointed in some of your actions but you are a good man."

Several fans of The Digger blog --- which is known for "Saturday Night Live" styled "Weekend Report" satire --- noted that some people (really) did not know that the site has a predominantly satire reputation.

 

 

Readers bite on spoofs from news site

  • Zack Harold

(note: Alligator Jackson wrote the stories on Jesco White and The Drive Through Window both had over 250,000 hits)

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/readers-bite-on-spoofs-from-news-site/article_48339d05-a8ad-5093-905d-9c148bafbcb9.html

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The state Legislature is not banning drive-through windows; Johnny Depp is not going to star as Jesco White in an upcoming movie; and Bigfoot was not spotted at a Beckley urinal.But Todd Carpenter, creator of the fake news site The Diggerer, is more than happy if you believe those things are true.The website's popularity has skyrocketed in recent weeks as the rumor about Depp and drive-through windows swept across Facebook and Twitter.The Diggerer had just 409 visitors on April 5. One day later, the site had 21,000 hits."I thought I'd been hit by some web bot that was going to destroy my server," said Carpenter, 47, of Putnam County.Then a co-worker approached him, pointing to his smart phone. His wife had sent him the story about Depp playing White. Carpenter was flabbergasted."I'd not talked to anyone about this," he said.Later that evening, he went to Best Buy in South Ridge to look at an Apple computer. He logged onto the Diggerer with one of the store's display models."The salesman said, 'Oh yeah, I heard about that,' " Carpenter said.When he explained the story was fake, the salesman suggested he visit another salesman in the store's television department.Carpenter said that salesman swallowed the story about Depp hook, line and sinker.Not knowing he was speaking to the man responsible for the fake story, the man told Carpenter a friend had come into the store with a purchase order from Depp's production company.The friend, the salesman said, was working as a bodyguard for the star while he was in Boone County studying up on the role.Carpenter didn't burst the poor guy's bubble."I went back to my car and I laughed as hard as I've ever laughed," he said.Just a week after the Dancing Outlaw story, another Diggerer story about West Virginia legislators banning drive-through windows at restaurants started gaining traction online. The site's web hits jumped back to the 21,000 mark."If these people walk into the restaurant and order, it may be the only exercise they get all day. So I feel that forcing these people to walk to get their Big Macs may just be saving their lives," the fictional Sen. Buford Watson says in the story.Internet users, believing the Diggerer was a real news site, became incensed."All the things wrong with West Virginia and they fill (sic) it's more important to ban drive through windows. Last 1 to leave turn the lite out," Twitter user Chris Giampocaro wrote on Saturday.The Daily Mail's Vent Line received calls about the purported ban."This is not Europe. Real Americans cannot walk to work or ride a bike to work. And we have very short lunch breaks. Drive-throughs are an American idea. The Obamas need to stop trying to destroy the United States," one caller said.Some residents even called the state Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.Drew Ross, deputy director, said operators there fielded about a dozen calls about the ban. He said one caller was a business owner, worried she would have to close her drive-through."(After that) we had a stock response ready," he said.The Diggerer started last June as a post on Carpenter's other site, myWV.net.Huntington illustrator Kathy Ferrell drew a picture of Batboy, the fictional "Weekly World News" character purportedly discovered in the Lost World Caverns near Lewisburg, eating a corndog.Carpenter used the drawing in a June 10, 2011 post called "Batboy: West Virginia's most famous citizen." The picture didn't look right on the page, however."It seemed right to frame it in a tabloid," Carpenter said.He racked his brain for a name for the fake tabloid and eventually came up with "Diggerer.""Like the Enquirer, but in West Virginia we dig for things," he said.In October, Carpenter decided to bring the Diggerer to life. A longtime web designer, he rebuilt the site three times before he was happy with its look. He readied the final version of Diggerer earlier this year, working under a hard deadline. Carpenter wanted to launch the fake news site on April Fool's Day.The Diggerer now has 72 stories, with new content posted almost every day.Though Carpenter contributes some stories, David Williams and Brady Robinson write most of the site's content. They write under the pseudonyms "Alligator Jackson" and "Arnold 'Scratch' Kelly," respectively.Carpenter pitches stories to his writers through a private Facebook group he set up for Diggerer contributors. He throws out story ideas with a few suggested jokes, and Robinson or Williams takes up the assignment and brings it to life.Carpenter acknowledges Diggerer stories have a conservative slant - one piece details a Democrat-backed voter rights campaign, aimed at zombies - but said he wants the site's politics to remain understated."If there's someone to poke fun at, we'll poke fun at anybody," he said.He said he has no problem mocking West Virginia's laws and politics, but doesn't want to mock West Virginians.One of The Diggerer's writers recently turned in a story about a certain West Virginia Powerball winner."The story was salacious and I said 'Nope, don't want to go that direction.' I don't want to personally attack anybody," Carpenter said.He said he's not too worried about pulling the wool over readers' eyes, though. He's also not concerned the website's traffic will drop as people realize The Diggerer is a fake news site."As Barnum allegedly said, 'There's a sucker born every minute.' "He said someone will always be fooled into thinking the site is authentic, and readers already in on the joke still can enjoy the goofy articles."I'd like it to be something West Virginia can be proud of, that we can make fun of ourselves," he said. "This website is uniquely West Virginia. We like to tell tall tales.""Sometimes the best laugh is one that's delayed. In West Virginia storyteller fashion, I just sit back and smile. And hope that the light will kick on soon."Contact writer Zack Harold at 304-348-7939 or zack.harold@dailymailwv.com. 

Todd Carpenter launched The Diggerer on April 1. The site has gained popularity in recent weeks when readers believed its satirical news stories, including one about a statewide ban on drive-through windows, were true.

 

 

 

'Westlake and the Pig' gives local voice to the area's metal music scene

  • DAVE LAVENDER
    The Herald-Dispatch

Not unlike Mike Myers and his famous Wayne's World "Saturday Night Live" sketch, local metal heads Jeff Westlake and Brady Robinson, go into Westlake's home studio, crank up the tunes, start talking a little dirty like guys do and tape it all for "Westlake and the Pig," a weekly three-hour Internet radio show.

Westlake says his wife Julie already has a sarcastic name for it, "you boys playing radio."

But believe it or not all of that sophomoric Bob-and-Tom meets Wayne's World playing is paying off for the show that airs from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday on the New Mexico-based Internet rock music station, JFL Radio (via Nokia Mobile, Stream Finder, iTunes and other digital outlets).

On the air since the Saturday after Thanksgiving, "Westlake and The Pig" has landed a string of interviews with such internationally known metal artists such as Lita Ford, Powerman 5000, Dio guitarist Craig Goldy, and former Megadeth guitarist, Jeff Young, whose exclusive appearance on the show skyrocketed it onto the metal map.

Westlake, whose metal band Hydrogyn has been distributed internationally since 2005 after recording a CD with legendary metal producer Michael Wagener (Metallica, Megadeth, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne), said when he read that Megadeth's Dave Mustaine was blaming Young for a canceled Australian tour back in the day, he had to get Young, a friend, on the radio show, to fire back.

Westlake called Young, they did the interview for the Dec. 26 show, the fireworks ensued, and such pre-eminent metal Web sites such as Blabbermouth.net ended up streaming the Westlake and the Pig show at the top of the page while JFL's servers were also getting slammed with thousands of listeners.

Armed with the blogs and comedic writing of long-time friend David Williams, whose alter ego is the beer-swilling, redneck rocker, "Alligator Jackson," the show plays music but also pokes fun out on the edge with shots of raunchy humor.

"It's really a family show," Robinson said rolling his eyes and busting out laughing.

"Yeah, a Manson family show," Westlake added.

In the three-hour-long show, there's also lots of spins from indie rockers such as Cage, Joe Town, Lonestar Pornstar, Age of Evil, and, of course, lots of spins for Westlake's band Hydrogyn, as well as Robinson's band, Sheered Lepus.

Being serious for a second, Robinson and Westlake said they love finding and playing the indie metal acts out across the U.S., and have a place on the Web site (www.westlakeandthepig.com) for regional rock and metal indie bands to submit material to play.

While there's plenty of other metal shows out there (Twisted Sister's Dee Snider and Alice Cooper both host shows), Westlake said he thinks they're finding a niche that they are shopping for syndication.

In the meantime, it doesn't look like they'll run out of material to play, even if they just played their own CDs.

Hydrogyn just released "Phase 1," a best-of collection featuring live versions of their biggest hits, along with two never before released tracks.

In addition to live versions from their albums "Bombshell," "Deadly Passions," and "Best Served With Volume," Phase 1 includes "If These Walls Could Talk" and "Assault Attack," two previously unreleased tracks. "If These Walls Could Talk" was co-written by Hydrogyn's Jeff and Julie, along with Dio guitarist Craig Goldy in 2007. "Assault Attack" is an MSG classic from the Graham Bonnett-era recorded in October 2009.

And there's several new CDs on the way in 2010 from the Hydrogyn camp with solo CDs from Julie and Jeff as well as a new Hydrogyn band lineup announced this week featuring Young that will rendezvous in Ashland late this winter to write and cut its first CD together with a projected May release.

"It's going to be really cool because it takes all the hard work we've been doing the past five years and puts it out there in your face," Westlake said.

 

David “Alligator Jackson” Williams Releases New Book – “The Boiling Point”

  •  

Friday, November 4, 2016 - 04:33

http://www.huntingtonnews.net/143538

 

Local author David “Alligator Jackson” Williams has released his latest powerful fiction book “The Boiling Point.”  The Boiling uses fiction to tell the truth about the Huntington drug epidemic.  It examines the drug epidemic from all points of view. 

The novel is centered around fictional Huntington Police officer Dakota Cook and it follows him and his fellow officers on several adventures that examine the drug epidemic.  The characters encounter offbeat characters as they patrol the streets of Huntington.  The book follows them as they investigate drug-related murders and help save drug overdose victims.
A detective’s daughter is kidnapped by a gang of drug dealers from Detroit who seek to take over the drug business in Huntington.  A Huntington legend, The Old Centaurians, reunite to attempt to rescue their friend’s daughter.
The book is available at most online retailers including Amazon and locally at Empire Books and The Red Caboose.
The author will hold a book signing at Empire Books on Pullman Square on Saturday November 19,2016 from 11am to 2pm.
 David "Alligator Jackson" Williams has a Master's Degree in Training and Development from Marshall University.     Under the name Alligator Jackson, he has released 6 CDs worldwide.  His hits "Beer Truck" and "Liquid Courage" received airplay in several countries and are staples on internet southern rock radio stations.  
He was a writer and performed on many comedy skits as a member of the internet radio shows "Westlake and The Pig" and "The Fabulous Dancing Pig Show.  On that show, he helped interview members of Ratt, Triumph, Nashville Pussy, Rainbow, Kiss, and other rock icons.     Williams has written the books "Money Town", "The Streets of Moneyton", "The Legend of Alligator Jackson" as well as other fiction and non-fiction books.     Alligator Jackson wrote fake news article for The Diggerer including one which had over 250,000 reads.  He also wrote news articles for HuntingtonNews.net and his own website Inside Huntington.  .David is currently employed in the mental health industry.

 

 

Alligator Jackson’s David Williams

August 12, 2008

By Tamar Alexia Fleishman

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 http://www.grafwv.com/page/content.detail/id/500452/Alligator-Jackson-s-David-Williams.html?nav=5017        




Huntington’s David Williams is sometimes known more as his muse — a little stuffed alligator from Florida. Alligator Jackson is the mascot for his Southern rock band, his writing nom de plume and sometimes, Williams’ alter ego. Williams has also had a lifelong knack for finding (or being related to) people who’ve made it big-time.


In Williams’ own words: “I remember Jeff (Westlake) getting his first guitar. Jeff is now doing great as the lead guitarist of Hydrogyn. I remembering seeing my first concert —Molly Hatchet in Huntington — with Jeff on the Flirting With Disaster tour — AJ’s music is heavily influenced by Hatchet — and seein’ Dio in Charleston with Jeff in the early ’80s. Jeff has an ex-Dio guitarist Craig Goldy in his band now.”


“In the late ’80s, I worked on the night crew at Big Bear. Some of my co-workers and I would get off work on Saturday around midnight and head down to the old Ragtime Lounge, to see a local newcomer. A new guy from Flatwoods, named Billy Ray Cyrus, played there for years and I watched him in the late ’80s. He filled the bar with women. But I enjoyed his music. He loved Lynyrd Skynyd. He’d come up to my table and would always say, ‘Wanna hear some Skynyrd? I’ll play ya some Skynyrd.’He did a great version of Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell.’ Best I ever heard. You could tell he was gonna be big. I miss hearing the classics that he sang ever week but never recorded. There was the tri-state classic ‘It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over.’ I’d love to have that mp3 but doubt if it’s around. I miss hearing ‘Babysitter,’ ‘Remember,’ the original version of ‘Should I Stay or Go,’ and an alternate version of ‘Appalachian Lady.’ These songs are lost in time because he never released them. I remember being at the Paramount Theatre for the filming of the ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ video. It took over 20 takes. There is a brief glimpse of gator’s back as the video comes on!”


“I remember in the early ’90s bragging to my mom and dad ,about how great Billy Ray is and how big he was going to be and that he was signed to Mercury Records. They said that my cousin Scott was going to release a CD. I was like, ‘Really?’I wasn’t impressed. Scott was my second cousin, my Uncle’ Rip’s grandson. I met him only a couple of times when we visited his family in Chagrin Falls, near Cleveland, and stayed with them a few days. He was a Dennis the Menace type kid and I couldn’t imagine him being a singer. He was in California living and his band Mighty Joe Young was recording a CD. Lil’ cousin Scott? Due to the fact that an old blues singer had the name, Mighty Joe Young had been copywritten, so they changed their name to Stone Temple Pilots. Though my cousin Scott Weiland now sings with a band named Velvet Revolver with some big hat wearin’ guy named Slash.”


For more info, check out www.alligatorjackson.com.





Graffiti: Have you always been from West Virginia? Where do you live?


Williams: I was actually born in Cincinnati. I lived in Cumberland for a while but have been in the Huntington area for over 30 years. I graduated from Marshall with a master’s degree.





Graffiti: You write a lot of songs based on your home. Is that what influences you the most?


Williams: I think most writers write about what they know. I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful area that most people take for granted, so I like to share the beauty with people overseas and let them know about this great area.       





Graffiti: Why do you have an underground band and haven’t been taking it live?


Williams: We are in the process of getting the band above ground. My main singer lives in North Carolina, but a good friend Tracy Dement from my area is taking over. We are just a bass player away from playing live, I suppose. No one realizes how important a bass player is until you don’t have one. We are a little cutting edge. I mean, the music is definitely Skynyrd-style classic Southern rock but the lyrics aren’t always what radio wants to play.  





Graffiti: Your CD sells internationally. Tell me about that.


Williams: I’ve had reviews printed in French magazines in French, so I really don’t know if it’s a good review or not. Southern rock is very popular overseas and the CD has taken a life of its own. My Web site gets hits everyday from London, Paris, Rome, Iraq, Brazil and places I’ve never heard of. I give free downloads away on my site.