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R.I.P. David Williams...
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Tony Shepperd
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#1
7th March 2009
Old 7th March 2009
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R.I.P. David Williams...

Yesterday a legendary sound was silenced in the pop world. Famed guitarist David Williams died.
A friend of mine called me in the afternoon to tell me about it, but the papers are confirming it this morning.
If you have ever heard Michael Jackson's Bille Jean, then you've heard David Williams.

MADGE GUITARIST'S GRIM DEATH- New York Post

THE unsung hero behind Madonna and Michael Jackson died yesterday morning, and the grieving family of David Williams is furious over the disrespect shown to him by the music community and by what they say was neglect by the hospital where he spent his last days.

Williams, who was 58, was the guitarist for the pop superstars and toured with both of them as well as Jessica Simpson, Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie and Van Halen for more than three decades, succumbed to complications from high blood pressure.

Williams collapsed and was taken to Sentara Hospital in Hampton, Va. where he slipped into a coma last week. While he lay dying in ICU, his family was urged to "pull the plug because he had no medical insurance," a family friend said. "The hospital was trying to force them to pull the plug. This man was a Vietnam veteran and gave his life to music and still had no benefits."

Jackson has announced a new tour and Madonna is still a top-grossing act. "But David, who supported them onstage all those years, has nothing," said the friend. "[His ex-wife] Deborah just wanted him to have some integrity, and instead the hospital was despicable at best over his lack of insurance."

On Thursday, the evening before Williams died, Deborah, who had four daughters with him, wrote us: "During this very difficult time where our focus should be on the nurturing and care of David, we are battling with hospital officials just to get and maintain the care he deserves, a hospital whose main interest lies in his ability to pay for his care." David, like many industry veterans, lived without adequate health insurance.

A music industry insider said, "What about NARAS [National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences]? What about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? They collect huge amounts of money every year to help musicians in David's situation - and they throw themselves parties instead. It's disgusting."

A rep for Sentara said she'd look into the situation but didn't return calls.
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8th March 2009
Old 8th March 2009
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Bless him. I know too many cats that have met the same end. I don't know the whole story but there's an issue here. I know quite a few players who've worked with major league stars and have ended up with virtually nothing. It's really too bad

It's a discussion for another day but the music business needs to address this.
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8th March 2009
Old 8th March 2009
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Arrow

.

my dad went through a similar end - but he DID have insurance, and a few close personal doctor friends at the hospital looking after him - which helped to quell the horror SOMEWHAT.

i feel for DW's family and friends.

musicians and other creative people, as well as so many working class and poor in this world,
have so much to struggle through in these times of desperate need.

the wealthier don't escape it altogther, either. life is death, after all,

i wish his family peace, and the best memories of him - after all this pain and shock is over.

.
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8th March 2009
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So sorry to hear of this. My sympathy to his family, friends, and colleagues. I didn't know the man but certainly enjoyed much of his work. But this story ... to end this way.
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Last edited by KingDaddyO; 9th March 2009 at 09:36 PM.. Reason: attempt to steer thread back OT ... encourage others to do likewise
#5
8th March 2009
Old 8th March 2009
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Knew David very well, as we worked on many projects together. This really caught me off guard and it's sad to hear the circumstances surrounding his death. I shared the news with Al McKay, who was stunned. Those are 2 of the funkiest rhythm guitarist ever.

RIP David.
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8th March 2009
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Shocking that someone with that talent and track record ends up in such a position
RIP David.
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8th March 2009
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So name and shame the Hospital here. Name the people who made the decissions to cause the grief to Davids family and count his life and care not worth the money here. Do it!

So this go getter hospital is customer focused and wants your dollars huh. Lets give them the advertising they deserve.

I'm glad that David Williams talent got to shine and be recognised. I hope Davids family can get over the distress caused and be allowed to grieve normally.

RIP David Williams.

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8th March 2009
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For anyone to have to go through this while a loved one is dying is disgusting. Shame on out health systems which are run by bullshit insurance companies (this alone will take America down along with all the thieving bastards out there right now).

Peace to David and his remaining family.
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8th March 2009
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While our National Health Service is by no means perfect, it does make me proud that we have free health care at the point of service in the is country. It is a tremendous strain when a family member is ill without having to deal with insurance companies.

All my respect goes to his family at this time.
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8th March 2009
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That's sad.. Maybe we can keep the thread going.. Just to pay little respect.
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8th March 2009
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hi,
David, RIP.

if this keeps up, there'll be more good, dead guitarists than live ones.

the ranks are thinning by the day.

DR9.
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8th March 2009
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wow, sad news, however I have heard him many times on projects not sure I have ever saw him, can someone post a pic?
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8th March 2009
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For all the socialists who would politicize a dying man's last moments, consider this. Doctors do basically two things: help us get better, help us die comfortably. They expect to get paid for both. It's not anonymous "companies" or "bastards". It's doctors. If you think doctors should work for free, go to a witch doctor.
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8th March 2009
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To all in this thread: I think there's a place and time to talk about the Health Care System in America.
But I started this thread to honor David with our words, thoughts and prayers.
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8th March 2009
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Quote:
Those whose life would be extended only by extraordinary effort... ..might be encouraged or, as unbelievable as it may seem, almost expected to have a 'duty to die' for the betterment of society.
I'm sorry to bring an edge of realism to this sorry affair, and I in no way associate this comment with the man in question in this thread, but in general terms, people have to die, to give this earth a fighting chance.

There is an outer limit for what the planet is capable fo sustaining.
All those who think it would be a 'good' thing for everyone to live until they are 100 is living in some ego fantasy fueled by a childish fear of death.

War. What is is good for?

Well, global population control for one.

I know this is not going to be a well-received view but keeping everyone alive for as long as possible is just a typically selfish human viewpoint.

We don't want to find a cure for cancer. We need as many things in the world as possible to remain, that contribute to human death.
This is the way of the world, of nature, if you haven't got used to it yet, it's about time to start.

But this:
Quote:
, and whom may not be in a position to contribute further to society (or live a fulfilling life)
is obviously disturbing because it implies that someone somewhere gets to play God and decide who and who is not 'worthy', and that is always an extremely dangerous position to be in.

As I said, this is not aimed at the man this thread is dedicated to, and I add my condolences to the family.
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8th March 2009
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The vast majority of an individual's health care expenses are accrued during the first and last 6 months of life. The fact that the system is so broken for so many deserves the utmost attention of everyone. Perhaps his family will find some comfort in the lasting performances and inspiration that his work did yield. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that Mr. Williams accomplishments and contributions were allowed to be overshadowed by the success of those who directly benefitted the most.
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8th March 2009
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by LARayGun View Post
For all the socialists who would politicize a dying man's last moments, consider this. Doctors do basically two things: help us get better, help us die comfortably. They expect to get paid for both. It's not anonymous "companies" or "bastards". It's doctors. If you think doctors should work for free, go to a witch doctor.
.

i think many of us would be better off with witch doctors, frankly...

that said, i don't believe anyone here is saying doctors should work for free.

it's just that the health care system is very troubling in MANY ways.
...there are many relevant threads in the political forum.

my father WAS a doctor - he was a CARING doctor who helped MANY people,
and the treatment HE received from MANY of the doctors when he was dying was atrocious.


meanwhile, do you have anything to say to david's family?


RIP, DW...you will be missed. and, again, peace to your family.

.
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8th March 2009
Old 8th March 2009
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that is both horrible news and a horrible situation. I am curious if he or his family had ever reached out to MusicCares for assistance - which was created specifically to assist musicians in this kind of circumstance.

GRAMMY-MusicCares.com

Mission
MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares' services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, and each case is treated with integrity and confidentiality. MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community.





Over the years, the music industry has evolved into an amazing worldwide network of individuals and multinational conglomerates grossing over $50 billion a year. Yet, disturbingly, the very people whose creativity and ingenuity fuel this massive cash machine have few places to turn in troubled times. The tragic health and financial hardships faced by too many members of our musical family prompted the Recording Academy's establishment of the MusiCares® Foundation in 1989.

It is the mission of MusiCares to ensure that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical or personal crisis. Its primary purpose is to focus the attention and resources of the music industry on human services issues that directly impact the health and welfare of music people.
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8th March 2009
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what a sad story...rest in peace DW.
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8th March 2009
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a true gentleman

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9th March 2009
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I remember him from when he used to come in to Westlake. A very nice guy.

Sorry that he's gone. Sorrier that so many others in ALL industries are in the same situation.
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9th March 2009
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The doctors in those pinko countries like the UK, France and Canada get paid too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LARayGun View Post
For all the socialists who would politicize a dying man's last moments, consider this. Doctors do basically two things: help us get better, help us die comfortably. They expect to get paid for both. It's not anonymous "companies" or "bastards". It's doctors. If you think doctors should work for free, go to a witch doctor.
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9th March 2009
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Wow! I had no idea tat DW was actually in my town!
So sad when these talented people are forgotten...

RIP and your legacy will live on through the music!
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9th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FeatheredSerpent View Post
War. What is is good for?

Well, global population control for one.

I know this is not going to be a well-received view but keeping everyone alive for as long as possible is just a typically selfish human viewpoint.

We don't want to find a cure for cancer. We need as many things in the world as possible to remain, that contribute to human death.
This is the way of the world, of nature, if you haven't got used to it yet, it's about time to start.
Are you glad the holocaust occurred? Cause you are kind of validating it and every other mass murder. Yeah, no cure for cancer, until its YOUR mother or Your life.
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9th March 2009
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This fu*king sucks!!!

Dave was an old friend of mine, though I hadn't spoken to him in years. I used to live on the Vineyard and he had a house there. He used to sit in with my band and we produced some songs in the studio together. We became good friends, he lent me that old Ibanez strat he used on Thriller for about six months, that was pretty cool.

He was so f'ing funky on the guitar. There are very very few amazing funky guitarists I have ever come across. Most are quite lame indeed. He was a master of it. For those who don't know him, listen to MJ, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin" or "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough", funky as hell.

I wish I had his old bio, the amount of hit records he played on was incredible. Rufus and Chaka, Paul McCartney, MJ, Madonna, George Benson, Bryan Ferry, Boz Scaggs, Whitney Houston, Rod Stewart, Aretha and on and on and on.

I don't feel he was appreciated for the incredible talent he had. Outside of the circles he played in I don't feel most musicians had any idea who he was. I'd be surprised if a high percentage of people right here on Gearslutz even knew who he was.

For anyone who knew him though please tell some stories if you got them.

He was the man. Sucks.
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9th March 2009
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It is a sad loss..

However, if he was a Vietnam veteran then he had access to free health care via the VA. ALL Vietnam vets are eligible and don't require having a war related disease or injury.

And VA health care is as good as it gets as far as I'm concerned. I wonder why he didn't take advantage of it?
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9th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
To all in this thread: I think there's a place and time to talk about the Health Care System in America.
But I started this thread to honor David with our words, thoughts and prayers.
True, But I don't think I went out of line by asking if anyone could post a pic of him.

Ok found it. David Williams - Guitarist - You Will Be Missed | NowPublic Photo Archives
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#28
9th March 2009
Old 9th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacalait View Post
Bless him. I know too many cats that have met the same end. I don't know the whole story but there's an issue here. I know quite a few players who've worked with major league stars and have ended up with virtually nothing. It's really too bad

It's a discussion for another day but the music business needs to address this.
Those Madonna and MJ shows were tight. I was not a fan of that music, but would go just to observe the band and tech side of things. They were freakin' tight! What a drag!

I don't think the music business (and who is that anyway?) needs to address anything. What can "they" do? This great player provided work for hire, playing music. Playing music is not exactly a secure, long-term big money maker. We all know that. You have to be diversified. We don't know how he managed his life and resources.

If this player had only played bars, not the big name artist's stages, would he be due any more or less treatment and "respect"? This is a sad day when rock star association should dictate higher quality healthcare and respect. Some of the most respectable people I know are ordinary Joes.

Behind every successful star, there are smarter, more talented, in-the-trenches unsung heros making it all possible. Think of all the engineers and studio owners who took a chance and helped launch a career (suspecting or unsuspecting) and have died unknown and poor. Some people want to do what they do in life and be content. Some people want to have their horn tooted. Maybe he should have done that if indeed he was worried about it.

I am sorry for the family's loss. I pray he is at peace with his maker, making Heaven a bit funkier.
#29
9th March 2009
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You need to be sure what the "pull the plug" statement means.

I have been in this situation and I will bet that they are referring to the hospital asking for them to sign a "Do Not Resuscitate" form.
This a form that most all hospitals ask the next of kin to sign.
It states that the next of kin (and hopefully the entire family) wants everything to done to help the patient, but once he starts to truly die (this is a well understood chain of events) the hospital does not try to "beat" life into him.
It is saying that when the patient is finally dying they are allowed to die with dignity and not kept alive by endless procedures that do nothing but prolong the inevitable.
There is a point of no return, yet there are ways to keep a patient "alive" without the prospect of the patient returning to a life sustaining state.

I know all of this stuff because my father died in a major hospital due to a major mistake.
I was his oldest son and he was not married, so I was his next of kin.
All documents and decisions were presented and decided by me (of course I was in mutual agreement with the rest of the family.)

It took my father three weeks to die from the day the procedure was carried out.
I did sign a "Do Not Resuscitate" form, but the hospital spent a TREMENDOUS amount of money keeping him "alive" because they knew a huge lawsuit was coming.

Since I was the eldest son I was also the family "point man" in a lawsuit that took eighteen months to settle.
I learned a lot about life, death and health care in that period of time.
Not only that, but my wife has been in healthcare for twenty years.

Interestingly enough, my daughter was born in that very same hospital while the lawsuit was being fought.
In the over-all scheme of things my father's death and my daughter's birth were two totally different events.

As you consider this story you have to remember this fact.

While families and individuals hopefully only experience death occasionally, hospitals and some doctors deal with it on a constant basis.
It is a often a confusing and sad experience to people not familiar with it.
Strange as it sounds.... it is almost always carried out with dignity in hospitals.

Having said this...
There is the legal arm of healthcare industry just like any other industry.
Once the legal process starts and the lawyers enter life TRULY has a dollar value.
We knew almost to the dollar what the lawsuit would settle for from the first meeting with our attorney within days of my father dying.

That part is an evil process, but I can say that I won my "revenge" on that institution.
I was able to look at a very prominent doctor and say, "You lied to me didn't you?"

LAST AND VERY IMPORTANTLY...
If you ever have a family member or you yourself in the hospital ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS.
They WILL NOT tell you everything that is happening.
There is the legal side of things for the hospital and the doctors have their own "code of conduct."
It isn't quite the Hippocratic Oath, but they do have mindset taught to them in medical school and on.
It is close to "don't ask... don't tell."
I have good friends who are doctors... they are not bad people.
#30
9th March 2009
Old 9th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestack View Post
Are you glad the holocaust occurred? Cause you are kind of validating it and every other mass murder. Yeah, no cure for cancer, until its YOUR mother or Your life.
I don't want to derail the thread but I'm not advocating genocide or any other atrocity.
I'm just taking a step back and looking at the state of play without letting myself get emotionally involved in the details.
This earth can only sustain so much, is all I'm saying, and death is a natural and vital part of the cycle of the universe, without it we'd all be ****ed.

My mother will die, sure, just like everyone else's mother. She's special to me but she is no more special to the universe than the plant that is dying in my living room.
I don't have absolute control over how and when she will die, and I don't want that control, it is not my place to have that control.
Things have to be allowed to run their natural course, yres we can provide comfort, and we can ease pain, and we can show dignity, but the obsession with prolonging everyone's life for as long as possible under unnatural circumstances is a purely human obsession and an unhealthy one, imo.

I accept death, we all should. Embracing death and seeing it as an 'ally' is an old teaching and one that actually frees you to live a fuller life, not vice-versa.
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