Tha Real Mother****ing Doggfather

Jerry “Swamp Dogg” Williams is a cult hero with a painful history who’s responsible for some of the most unique rock-influenced R&B (and weirdest album covers) ever made. And he also happens to be a pioneering indie mini-mogul.

  1. Jerry Williams, Jr. would rather be writing a song than wasting his time trying to wrangle a dumb-love mistake. "That's the intention most motherfucking mornings," he says in a reedy southern accent as he stands in the doorway of his six-bedroom San Fernando Valley bungalow. "Then some shit happens." "Shit" is a car that he wants back. "Two-seater 370Z, I don't know — said she'd have it for me this morning." "She" is a mistake.

    Williams, 70, is 5-foot-5-inches tall, with a round belly and trim mustache. On this cloudy California day in early February, he's wearing a tan leather baseball cap, large eyeglasses, a gray button-down shirt, crisp cargo pants, and perfect white Nikes. "I don't know how to go about getting that motherfucking car," he says matter-of-factly, and then chuckles and strolls down the hall toward his office. Williams has a perpetually playful, expectant air about him, as if he's told the world a joke and isn't sure if anyone’s heard it. "You with the police?" he teases. "They the only ones ever looking for me."

    We pass a wall adorned with commemorative gold and platinum records: DMX's Grand Champ, Kid Rock's Devil Without a Cause, Swamp Dogg's Total Destruction to Your Mind. I linger on the latter: Released 1970, the placard reads, certified gold 1992. "Took its sweet motherfucking time," says Williams, whom everyone calls Swamp. The Los Angeles-based Alive Naturalsound label, which released the Black Keys' debut, is reissuing Total Destruction to Your Mi...

Originally published in Spin, March 2013