The Funky Geezer – born Woody Williams – is a local musician recognized around NoDa for his custom-painted shirts, driver’s cap, and custom wood-paneled car… as well as his decorated walker and skills playing the keyboard. But Williams is so much more than that.
Williams has been part of NoDa before it was even known as NoDa! He showed adult films at the Astor Theater, which is now the Neighborhood Theater. He worked at the Highland Park Mill before being drafted into the Army. After he returned, he worked as a graphic artist, with clients that included NASCAR and a variety of magazines.
Throughout it all, Williams craved a creative outlet, and music was oftentimes that outlet. He played guitar during his time in Germany in the Army. He has a collection of songs he’s written, some over 40 years ago. And he shares his songs at Open Mic Night at The Evening Muse, as well as on his YouTube channel.
Lest you think this storied local legend ends there, you should know there’s more. For 12 years, he has been working with a camp of elderly homeless folks near his home. He takes them food, clothes, camping gear like sleeping bags and kerosene, and gives them haircuts.
Back to The Funky Geezer’s time on America’s Got Talent…
Just getting to the audition in New Jersey was the first time Williams had flown in over 40 years – since his time in the Army. And according to an article in the Charlotte Observer, he received a standing ovation from celebrity judge Howard Stern, “started a band” with AGT host Nick Cannon (called Nick Plus 1), and danced with the Newark mayor’s wife at a private party during his audition trip. His clip is set to air during the initial audition segments of Season 9.
My message to the Funky Geezer? We’ve got your back, and we’re rooting you on! Look forward to seeing you around NoDa, too!