Bill Hodgson - Alvins - 'Sunday Nite Tunes' 1981
Photo by Ralph Rinaldi,
Bill - I remember him as a
talented artist and musician. I enjoyed his sense of humor, his
Perhaps others out there have words and memories
to ad to his eulogy.
"Seeing the picture of Bill brought back a lot of memories.
He was a great guy and a great friend. It's a damn shame he had to
go out the way he did, but, hey Bill you know, if anybody
understands, I do.
Bill and I were roomates in the house on Willis in 1981. Perry
Malette lived downstairs. Many a night we sat in the kitchen at the
back of the upstairs where we lived and polished off much beer,
vodka, etc. Especially in the summertime. We talked about all kinds
of things. Bill was a pretty amazing guy. One of the most incredible
painters and draftsmen I ever met. Ingres and Bougerreau had nothing
on him. One night we got smashed and watched Puccini's Tosca on this
9-inch Black & White TV. Another night we went to an organ
recital at Metropolitan Methodist Church! The two of us made quite a
pair at that venue!
Bill was a real friend. Years later, when I was a student at CCS
(he's the one that told me to go there, I was going to go to U-M)
and I was in a painting class, and an instructor told me what had
happened to him, I felt like I'd been hit in the face with a brick.
That was one of a few holes I've had made in my heart."
"Bill Hodgson was a hero to me, as were all the members
of Shadowfax, but Bill in particular. Tall and lanky, too shy for
his talent, he didn't stand out until he took the stage. A great
guitar player, sure without a doubt, but an extraordinary blues
singer to boot. I have a high quality tape of Shadowfax's in-studio
live performance on Fred Zelenka's "Gone But Not
Forgotten" Saturday night show on WDET-FM that remains an
astounding musical document. Bill could be smooth and Bill could
snarl and growl. I knew him only from saying hi at the bar, but I
would hear many stories about him (let's face it, the Corridor is
RIFE with heavy-duty gossip, it's the local sport!) and I was deeply
saddened by his death--he seemed the kind of guy I would have liked
to know better."
"I had the
pleasure of jamming with Bill a couple of times. One that I recall
was on "the wall", a little retaining wall on the
northeast corner of Hancock and Second, across the street from the
Renaud. One summer, Barney, Kathy Clifford, and I had fallen into
the habit of sitting there in the early evening for some reason, and
we attracted whatever friends might have been passing by. Bill came
by one evening, and we made beautiful music for a few hours.
The other time was at the old Retro practice space, one of the
storefronts between Cobb's and the Willis. For some reason, I had
fallen in with Bill and a few other people (we were merely
acquaintances, not close) and we went to Hart Plaza for some music,
after which, I offered to open the place up so that we could play.
We set up the drum kit, turned on the amps, and I played with the
finest musician I've ever known. Being a bass player, it was my job
to hold up the bottom end of the song and keep it moving, along with
the drummer. Sometimes, it's a lot of work. With Bill, it was
effortless, we just followed him for the ride.
It had always been my hope to ask Bill for some acoustic blues
lessons. Sadly, he left for New York and his eventual demise before
I had the chance.
I also remember his funeral. He is buried in the big cemetery that
you can see from I-75 north of Troy (White Chapel?). Some minister
was giving the eulogy and had the audacity to make a disparaging
comment on Bill's lifestyle and friends, many of whom were present.
It added a touch of bitterness to an already sad occasion. I'm
surprised no one took him to task. I guess it showed that we low-lifes
had a bit more character and respect than he did."