From Pioneering Punk Rock Guitarist to Silicon Valley Executive and Back with the Stooges, Williamson Personifies ‘Creative Convergence’ of Music and Technology
Breakthrough event celebrates digital innovation explosion as tech fans and music lovers converge on Downtown San Jose Sept. 26-29, 2013
SAN JOSE, CA (Aug. 16, 2013) – Iggy and The Stooges guitarist JAMES WILLIAMSON — whose intertwining careers personify the “Creative Convergence” of music and technology — will deliver the keynote music address at the C2SV TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE + MUSIC FESTIVAL in Silicon Valley on Saturday, Sept. 28 at noon. Later that evening, he performs with festival headliner Iggy and The Stooges at St. James Park in San Jose.
THE C2SV TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE + MUSIC FESTIVAL allows Silicon Valley innovators to converge on their home turf with leading innovators in music when it takes over Downtown San Jose to celebrate the digital culture revolution Thursday, Sept. 26 through Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.
Early-bird tickets for C2SV (Creative Convergence Silicon Valley), including multi-venue music wristbands and technology conference passes, are on sale NOW at c2sv.com/tickets.
Williamson’s keynote will be open to badge holders of the C2SV Technology Conference as well as VIP ticket holders for the Iggy and The Stooges concert later that day in St. James Park. The concert ticket is being sold in combination with a wristband that enables concertgoers to experience four days of music by more than 70 acts at 12 venues in Downtown San Jose.
The music keynote will take place in the newly-opened wing of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center on the last day of the C2SV tech conference. Williamson plans to talk about his journey from juvenile delinquent and rock pioneer to corporate executive, how one of rock’s great guitarists became embedded in a consumer electronics company.
Williamson has one of the more remarkable stories in rock history. As a member of Iggy and The Stooges in the 1970s, he created punk rock’s signature guitar sound, then settled into a quiet career as a Silicon Valley engineering manager. After 30 years, he took an early retirement buyout offer as Sony’s Vice President of Technology Standards and rejoined the band.
Completing a world tour that’s taken The Stooges from Australia to Europe, the legendary protopunk band arrives at C2SV to play the final show of its triumphant sweep on Williamson’s home turf in Silicon Valley. Williamson is an ideal icon for a conference and festival celebrating “Creative Convergence” — the fusion of information technology and the creative arts. In February, he will be inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame at California Polytechnic University. He may be the only Rock & Roll Hall of Fame recipient to hold the same honor in the engineering world.
Born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma and Detroit, Williamson first played music with Iggy Pop while in high school and joined The Stooges in 1970, but the band was a short-lived train wreck of drug-fueled excess and commercial failure.
In 1972, when David Bowie invited Pop to record in London, Williamson was on hand and co-wrote all of the songs with Iggy, and played all the guitar parts for The Stooges’ classic 1973 album, Raw Power. Kurt Cobain called it his favorite album of all time, and Cee Lo Green ranks it among his favorites as well.
Williamson’s jagged, loud, raunchy Detroit guitar sound inspired the punk rock movement that transformed rock and continues to influence guitarists to this day. “He has the technical ability of Jimmy Page without being as studious, and the swagger of Keith Richards without being sloppy,” says Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.
“The first time I heard him play,” Iggy Pop told Britain’s The Guardian in an interview, “which was in a basement in Ann Arbor, he did something that later became known as punk or speed metal — a great number of chords, almost all at once — but which at that time came from no known musical vocabulary.”
As the band disintegrated in the mid and late 1970s, Williamson left the music world to become an electronics engineer and earned an electrical engineering degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
He worked for silicon chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) from 1982 to 1997, then spent more than a decade as Sony’s Vice President of Technical Standards. He raised a family in Saratoga and didn’t talk to his colleagues and neighbors about his eye liner and platform shoe days.
When Williamson got his early retirement letter in 2009, he accepted Sony’s buyout and rejoined the Stooges after a three-decade break. Four years later, they continue to tour the world together. The San Jose appearance is the final stop on the world tour.
Williamson produced Iggy and The Stooges’ Ready To Die album, released this year, which reunites The Stooges’ original line-up (minus the late Ron Asheton, and with Mike Watt on bass).
The Creative Convergence Silicon Valley (C2SV) technology conference will feature three days of speakers, including many notable Silicon Valley CEOs, entrepreneurs, technologists, authors and academics.
Other speakers include Internet personality Robert Scoble (Rackspace, Scobleizer); author and entrepreneur Jeff Stibel (the bestseller “Breakpoint”); and Yahoo! chairman Maynard Webb.
Complete information about the conference can be found at www.c2sv.com.