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New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Band R&B Funk


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The best kept secret in music


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I have blessed to record with: davell carford , henry buttler, the funkin horns, cornell williams ,kurt brunus , the harvey Spirituals , mystikal , and the band i am now touring with big sams funky nation



Real talent. True artistic talent is in you when you're born. Sure, you can be taught to be good. But you have to be born an artist.

So, when at the age of 4 years old, Desmond "Chocolate Milk" Williams simply sat down behind the drum kit at the Harvest Ripe Church of Christ Holiness and began to play without having ever had a lesson some might say given the circumstances it was a miracle. Others would simply say he was a born drummer.

Either way for the next 17 years "Milk, as he's known to his friends and fans, paid his dues playing in his uncle's church for the choir and during services. And in those years gained knowledge and was influenced by players as diverse as Buddy Rich and Billy Cobham to more current and rock-centric guys as Neil Peart of Rush and Stewart Copeland of The Police. From the time spent playing sacred and gospel he learned to appreciate the beauty and structure of a song. And in turn, also learned to play with the passion and love that comes from those same hymns.

Heading out into the world, he soon hooked up and began to play with Steve Walker & The Funkin' Horns which led to an introduction to renowned New Orleans musician Jon Cleary and his band, The Monster Gentlemen. Regulars on the NOLA music scene Cleary was a huge help in getting the young Williams heard and seen around the local clubs. He was soon a much requested and sought after player and was kept busy between playing and recording, as well as still returning to his love of religious music by playing for a number of different churches and gospel groups such as Craig Adams & The Voices of New Orleans. Things were going pretty smoothly and in an upwards direction.

Then August 28th, 2005 changed it all. Katrina changed it all. And like tens of thousands of other New Orleans residents "Milk" was forced to escape ahead of the storm as the waters breached the levy and began to flood the 9th Ward. But unlike so many who never returned: He did. He came back to the city that he loved. The city that he knew needed every pair of hands and every heart possible to repair her. So, he found himself on Bourbon Street. Playing every day. Because if people were still going to come to New Orleans, then there would be music for them to hear. But mostly he played for those who came back. And for those who stayed and braved the water. And most importantly, played for those who didn't make it through the storm.

Those years on Bourbon Street enabled him to, as he puts it, "find his pocket". "I found my groove. I found the place where when I'm playing, I'm hitting on all cylinders and everything is alright." And that "pocket" these days finds him playing all over the world. After substituting for Big Sam's Funky Nation drummer over the years, he one day got the call from Big Sam asking him if wanted the gig full time. Saying yes has since sent Williams to Japan, Greece and Paris to name just a few countries where the band is slavishly worshiped for their New Orleans blend of rock and danceable funk.

From a gospel set in front of thousands at last year's Bonnaroo to just completing both Jam Cruise and the Kid Rock Cruise, "Milk" Williams is joining the ranks of drummers on the scene these days such as Questlove of The Roots, Stanton Moore from Galactic and Joe Russo. These days also finds him as the music director for Grammy winning rapper, Mystikal and hanging and playing with such sought after artists as Terrence Higgins, Russell Batiste and Raymond Weber.