Nick Williams and The Anteaters
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Nick Williams and The Anteaters

Staten Island, New York, United States

Staten Island, New York, United States
Band Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"AWE Interveiw"

There are serious “artists” — and then there are true performers.

Nick Williams — stocky in build, husky in voice, and known to wear large sunglasses that may be a little “Jersey Shore”— is the latter.

“I’ll peform for the 19-year-olds and the 90-year-olds,” says Williams, 29, of Stapleton. “I’ll croon to a young beautiful lady, and a nice old woman — especially a nice rich old woman.”

What Williams is getting at, is that he’s a dude who doesn’t discriminate when it comes to honing his craft.

Known to wow both the cocktail crowds at Lorenzo’s Cabaret and the backroom beer sippers at Cargo Cafe, he straddles genres and Island audiences in a way that many of his musical peers don’t. Even Williams’s day job, singing for funerals, christenings and weddings at Our Lady Star of the Sea R.C. Church in Huguenot, is evidence that this guy isn’t concerned with being cool to a niche audience — he just loves to sing.

“You do over a thousand funerals,” says Williams, “and you realize, hey, whatever you do, you have to keep life fun. We’re not here long.”

Maybe that’s why he has a new project — Nick Willliams and the Anteaters — that seems devoted exclusively to fun. Boasting some of the local original music scene’s most technically able musicians, the band is quite possibly the only known rockabilly act on Staten Island, or at least the most active, with gigs at Manhattan’s Wicked Willy’s earlier this week, one April 9 at Cargo Cafe in St. George and another coming up later that month at Locale in Long Island City, Queens.

As the Anteaters, drummer Rory Merola (Captain Ahab & the Sea Crackens), guitarist Joe Pecora (Happy Anarchy, The Seconds), bass and guitar brothers Dan and Carl Gallagher (Heavy Weather) both recognize the form’s origins — like boogie-woogie and country music — and seem to tip their hat to Williams’s unabashed penchant for the old school.

“There’s sort of just a retro vibe to the whole thing,” says Dan Gallagher, 22, of Eltingville, who plays electric bass for the band. “We sort of have our own spin on it. The guitars are a little more distorted, it’s a little more punk rock.”

But not punk rock like you might think. As of right now, the band is known to roll out their own “psychobilly” versions of “Blue Bayou” and “Mean Woman Blues” by Roy Orbison, Elvis’s “Let’s Play House,” and the Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace,” all of which Williams could ostensibly put on a setlist for one of his black-tie cabaret gigs with singer-actress Ryan Kelly.

“You know, there are some people who aren’t happy unless they’re creating, and I guess Nick falls into that category,” says Kelly, who recently co-headlined a Christmas concert with Williams at Lorenzo’s in Bloomfield. “It doesn’t have to be one genre or kind of creativity, but that is his fuel. And he’s really funny, too.”

“I love doing the cabaret music,” says Williams. “The whole 1950s, ‘60s, Rat Pack era gets me excited. In plain english:. I’m definitely a throwback.”

If you needed more proof, you could easily find it in Williams’s greaser-like hair cut, or maybe his tattoos, done in the style of prominent tattoo artist Sailor Jerry (Norman Keith Collins). His favorite is a set of swallows, one red, one blue, on each shoulder, flying towards each other. They signify Williams’s parents, who died when he was younger.

In conversation, Williams seems to have that thing you need to either serenade by the piano or bellow at the broken bar mic. He’s quick to chuckle, seemingly quick on his feet and possessed by the need to entertain with some comedy.

Two of the band’s early originals (they’re currently writing more), “Where’s My Robot?” and “One-Legged Annie,” are good examples. The former — a searing bit of country-fried 12-bar blues — boasts simply a phrase that jokes about how actors pronounced the word “robot” in early science fiction movies. The latter tells the tale of finding a beautiful woman at a bar and taking her home, only to discover in your escapades her prosthetic leg.

Along with booking more gigs in the spring, the Anteaters hope to distinguish themselves with a larger stable of original songs, and plan on playing the Coney Island Rockabilly Festival on Labor Day weekend. If Williams has anything to say about it, really, they’ll play for anyone.

“It’s basically just a love of being in front of an audience,” says Williams. “Whether it be a funeral, a wedding, in a night club, or Martini Red, it’s passionate. Whatever crowd I’m showing it to, it’s what I live for.” - Staten Island Advance


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