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Eric Nolan & Walter Williams of The O'Jays R&B/Soul Single,"Give Her Your Love" Will Blow You Away!

Updated: May 12

Canton, Ohio-based R&B group formed in 1958, the O'Jays originally consisted of Eddie Levert, Walter Lee Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey, and Bill Isles. A few of The O'Jays most notable songs include Back Stabbers, Love Train Put Your Hands Together, For the Love of Money I Love Music, Livin' For The Weekend, Use ta Be My Girl, and others.

Throughout the O'Jays career, they have accomplished at least ten gold albums, nine platinum singles, and ten #1 hits. In 1995, the talented Eric Nolan joined the group and has continued serving as the 3rd member of The O'Jays. Even though he's still an active member of the O'Jays, Eric Nolan is also building an impressive solo career as a technical vocalist, bringing fans that same sound and class of the days when R&B music made you feel something and lifted you.

During this interview, Eric discusses an exciting new project, including a duet with one of our generation's greatest voices, Walter Williams of The O'Jays. In addition to sharing their foundational stories, they told me about their new music. Here's what they said.

GS: Hey guys, how are you doing?

EN: I'm doing fine.

WW: Were fine

GS: Walter, who won the golf game?

WW: I did. (laughter)

GS: I know that's right!

WW: And I begged him to go out there and whip butt! As a matter of fact, I won $40. (laughter)

GS: There you go! Hey, that's lunch. (laughter)

WW: Absolutely!

GS: Eric, do you play golf?

EN: Oh no! He took me out there once, and I thought I could go out there and kill um, but it did not happen that way. Although Walter and Eddie bought me golf clubs for Christmas, they didn’t come in handy. (laughter)

GS: When you're playing a golf game on video, you feel you can play until you get out there on an actual golf course and realize you can't. Virtual golf is nothing like the real thing. (laughter)

WW: I agree.

EN: Yes. I thought to myself, “I have to hit this little ball?” Man! I hit that ball, and it landed right in front of my foot.

WW: (Laughter)

GS: That’s awesome!

EN: Gina, I rode in the cart the whole time I was there.

GS: One of the biggest reasons I couldn't play golf is that I am terrified of bees. That's enough to keep me off the golf course for life.

WW: Yeah, there's a lot of them out there, especially right now.

GS: Yikes! Well, Eric and I will leave golfing to you, Walter.

WW: Sounds good

GS: Well, gentlemen, thank you both for your time and willingness to speak with me today about your careers and your new project. So, let's dig in.

EN: Ok.

GS: Eric, what are your daily activities when you are not touring or performing?

EN: I try my best to get out of bed in the morning. Lately, I have been experiencing new pains in my body that have not been present before. Earlier today, I asked Walter if he felt this way when he was my age, and he said, "probably so." Getting out of bed can be difficult because of these newfound pains.

Since I host a radio show, I usually spend my time programming the show, then I make it over and spend time with my grandson. I am still trying to raise him because he needs a father figure. Papa is the father figure. I also enjoy watching sports.

Since I want to be the best I can be for Eddie and Walt, I give them my 120%. I allow The O’Jays music to consume me whenever I am in that space. Because they have been doing this for so long, I know what level this needs to be and stay at.

GS: And Walter, what about you?

WW: My day usually begins with a business call from my accountant. She knows I have "tee time" mostly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11:00 a.m.

Around 10:00 a.m. is when I start getting ready to play golf. Today I played the best golf I've played in two weeks. Not only did I have a good day, but I had a good time with the guys. They are all around my age. Some are a little younger, and some are older.

On August 25th, I turned 79 years old, and I experienced the pain that Eric is talking about. (laughs) I can't put a date with it, but the guy that used to teach us to dance told me that after 50, you could expect new pains when you move a certain way or when you lay down a certain way and try to get up. So, I've anticipated that and it's been happening, so I deal with it and keep it moving.

After I've played my golf and I'm back at the house, I'll probably turn on the TV and watch the news first, and then usually I'll go to the NFL channel and see what's happening in football, like, who has the best team, who's mediocre, and who's the worst team. I do this because this is how I plan my bets. I sometimes bet on football with Eric when I can catch him.

EN: (laughs) He only bets on the winning teams.

WW: I’ve learned that those are the teams you should bet with. (laughs)

Then, perhaps later this evening or tonight, I'll order "DoorDash" unless my daughter is cooking something. If not, I'll order enough for the dinner hour, and then I'll order enough for the late night because I stay up late. I usually go to sleep around three or 4:00 a.m. because I'm orientated to stand up late. I get at least 5-6 hours of sleep per night. Then, of course, back to the routine again the next day.

GS: Wow, that's awesome! While at home, it sounds as if you both stay busy. That's great because you're doing the things you love to do. What is your least favorite chore to do around the house? Let's start with you first, Eric.

EN: Washing the dishes. It's weird because as much as I hate washing dishes, I’ve only used my dishwasher maybe three times in nineteen years.

GS: What do you enjoy doing?

EN: My favorite chore is washing clothes. I love washing clothes. I wash clothes at least 3 to 4 times a week. But I hate washing dishes.

GS: Awesome! What about you, Walter?

WW: Well, my son lives with me, and basically, he does that. We also have a dishwasher, but we only mess, a couple of knives and forks, and maybe a couple of dishes, but that's only If he cooks, and he does now and then. He's good with the things he knows how to cook.

Whoever taught him how to clean up taught him to clean as he went along. That way, he would not have a large pile of pots and pans to clean up later. However, we tend to eat out a lot.

Like Eric, I love washing clothes, but I don't do dishes; my son does them. My least favorite chore is mopping the kitchen and bathroom floor. Floors have to be cleaned almost daily. Therefore, when I can't get him to do it, I have to do it. But I don't mind.

I love running the vacuum cleaner because you can see where the dirt is as you vacuum the floor. I can see it cleaning up stuff. Also, I like seeing the marks that it leaves on the carpet.

GS: In my childhood, I remember my sister vacuuming and pointing out the spots she missed as I looked at the floor from another angle. (Laughs) Awesome! Tell me, gentlemen, what was your favorite 1970s film? Eric, I'll start with you.

EN: Oh man, "The Mac” was mine. You can put that in capital letters! (laughs)

GS: My husband has a collection of original photos from many of the blaxploitation films of the 70s.

EN: Yeah, I know every scene and everything about "The Mac.” Ooh, wee! (laughs) Later on, I even got a chance to meet Max Julien when he was promoting Thomasina & Bushrod with Vonetta McGee. But, that was my favorite 70’s film.

GS: Walter, what about you?

WW: 70s, I'm not a big movie buff, so I don't know what movies came out in the 70s. I don't go to the movies very often. In fact, I was shocked and amazed when I did go to the movies around a year ago and noticed that they upgraded how to order drinks and get food. Back then, it was about popcorn; today, it’s about a chicken sandwich, rum, and Coke.

EN: And they bring it to you. (laughs)

GS: (Laughs)

WW: Yeah, and they bring it to you. (laughs)

EN: And they have recliner chairs.

GS: Yes, and people are even bringing seven pieces down comforter sets with matching euro pillows, bed skirts, hypoallergenic mattress protectors, the 1970’s fuzzy plush throw rug, and lava lamp to the movie theatres! Just kidding, but you get my point. (laughs)

EN: Yeah, and you can be out of $150.00 easily.

WW: Yeah, absolutely. But I'm a Spielberg guy. I'll try to get to the theater to see anything he does, past or present. I’ll catch it while it’s hot. That’s how I learned about how things have changed, what you could order, and how good it is now. (laughs)

GS: Ok, since we're going back down memory lane, let's camp out there for a bit longer. Eric, in your opinion, who wore the best Jheri curl the best?

EN: Back then, Howard Hewett. He had the perfect Jheri curl because it was low at the top and hung down just right.

GS: Walter, who had the best Afro?

WW: Probably Richard Pryor. He had a nice, neat Afro, but I thought Nick Ashford had the best Jheri Curl.

EN: Oh yeah! It’s a toss-up between Howard Hewett and Nick Ashford, but to piggyback off what Walt said, I thought Pam Grier had the best Afro ever!

GS: Oh yes! She had an amazing Afro! Loved it!

EN: Yeah, Pam and Angela Davis, their afros were the best!

WW: They were perfect!

GS: Definitely! In your youth, who were your celebrity crushes? Eric?

EN: It's still the same thing, Pam Grier. I also had a crush on Deborah Ann Morgan in “Monkey Hustle. She had a perfect afro.

GS: Walter?

WW: Jet magazine, every week. (Laughs) I couldn't wait to see the centerfold girls on the beauty page. Sean Levert and I would race to them to take them out and put them on the wall. (laughs)

GS: Oh yeah, I remember that! Hilarious! (laughs) Gentlemen, what was your favorite chick magnet outfit during your teenage years?

EN: I used to have a pair of grey double-knit bell bottoms. They had 3 or 4 buttons on the front and 3 or 4 on the sides. The complete the look, I wore a gray ruffled shirt, a pink bow tie, and gray shoes with pink shoestrings.

GS: Were they platforms?

EN: They were platforms, baby!

GS: (laughs)

EN: They had everything except for the fish in them. (laughs)

WW: I saw some with fish in them. (laughs)

EN: I know you did! (laughs)

GS: Walter, did you have the kind of platforms that had the fish in them?

WW: No, I didn't, but I had a friend who lived in Dallas. She had some. My favorite outfit was a walking suit with two pieces: pants and a jacket. They were easy, especially in the summer. You could wear a men's white sleeveless T-shirt and a jacket with an oversized floppy collar. That's the type of look that I felt looked good on me.

The pants were bell bottoms and didn’t have a belt loop. And, because the waistband was elastic, they fit perfectly. I still like bell bottoms.

GS: Trends and styles are known to resurface. Though bellbottoms were popular with men and women in the 1970s, most women embrace them today, not men. Why do you believe that is the case, Walter?

WW: I believe it's because they began exaggerating them too much. They started calling them elephant Bell bottoms. They became huge, and the pants started to look like "Zoot Suits," big suits!

GS: That's Hilarious! Both of you gentlemen have turned out to be amazing men. Taken from the words of many, " it takes a village to raise a child." Within that context, what is one of the most impactful words of wisdom you have received from a loved one?

EN: Just because they are your blood doesn't make them your family.

WW: My grandmother told me a couple of them, and I didn't understand them when she told me, but I do now. It’s about taking care of yourself and not depending on others. She said, “you got to learn to root hog or die a poor pig. (laughs)

EN: (laughter)

GS: (Laughter)

WW: As I got older and figured it out, I learned that hogs root for a living. They dig up plants with their snouts. They know which ones to dig up. There are a lot of plants, fruits, and veggies that grow underground, like potatoes and carrots. So, when she said, if you don't learn how to root (dig in and get your own), "you'll starve to death. That's what it means to "root hog or die a poor pig.

A second example she shared with me was regarding lending money to people and not receiving repayment. She said, “a cow needs her tail for more than one summer to keep the flies off her behind.” (laughs)

EN: (laughs)

GS: (laughs)

WW: That's a good one! In other words, if you loan money to people who don't pay it back, they will need you again.

GS: That's right.

EN: Walter always told me, "You don't have to chase them for your money because you bought them for cheap. Now they can't come back to you.

WW: That's right.

EN: That's what Walter told me.

WW: I learned all that from my grandmother. She was the smartest woman in the world.

EN: And Gina, I always felt like Walter was the most intelligent man I ever met. I tell him that all the time.

WW: (laughter)

EN: He laughs every time I tell him, just like he’s doing now.

WW: Yep. (laughs) Gina, when I was 16 years old, I was offered my first recording contract with King Records, but my dad would sign it. A guy by the name of Syd Nathan signed us on the spot.

My dad wouldn't sign it. He told me it was a dream because he was a frustrated singer himself. He wanted me to come to his job at Republic Steel, where he ran the crane, and he said his foreman would give me a job. When my grandmother found