Kevin Williams has performed in almost every state, and abroad.
He’s been on stage with Bad Company, Kansas, Crowded House, Kool & the Gang, Chubby Checker and The Backstreet Boys.
He was at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for four years. But the lead singer of the popular Coast band Qrisis is looking to slow things down a bit.
He owns Woody’s Roadside in Ocean Springs and the new location in Biloxi, and the restaurants with a burger-centric menu are keeping him happily busy. He’s still rocking with his band, but it’s possible he’ll hang up his microphone later this year.
“It’s been a great ride,” he said. “We opened the Beau Rivage, Treasure Bay. We used to play the Ship Island Blowout every year and people still talk about that.”
The band lineup might continue, he said, possibly with a new name.
Qrisis began in 1989 as Isis, forming in Orlando, Florida, Williams said.
“We came to the Coast at a good time,” he said. “We’re not your typical casino band. We would wear jeans and T-shirts and just want to play fun music. It was the right thing to do at the right time. We didn’t need fancy lights or smoke.
“I was born in Biloxi. We moved when I was 2, but I spent my summers here. I started the band in Orlando, then I moved here and revamped the band at that point. One guy came with me.”
The current lineup of Qrisis is Williams, lead vocals, keyboards and percussion; Tia Black, lead vocals, keyboards and trumpet; Charles Riley, drums and percussion; Andy Lee, guitar and lead and background vocals; Cedric Brooks, keyboards, trumpet, lead and background vocals; and David Gibson, bass guitar, lead and background vocals.
Past lineups have included musicians who have moved on to bigger things, including Jeff Coffey, now bass player and tenor lead vocalist for Chicago.
“I’ve never wanted to be famous or a star,” Williams said. “Those who are, it’s by blessing or luck.”
Isis started out with original music, he said, but trying to make a living with unknown songs is risky.
“Once I bought a house and had a son, I had to make a living,” he said with a laugh. “When I’m on the stage, it’s music. When I’m off the stage, it’s business.”
Williams and Qrisis don’t stick to one style of music, but rock, funk and R&B top the list.
“I love to sing old R&B. I’m actually kinda bored with the Journey stuff now,” he said.
And though the newer crop of artists out often can seem more show than talent to Williams, he appreciates artists such as Bruno Mars.
“He reminds me of an old-school guy,” he said. “There’s some Michael Jackson, some James Brown, Prince. And a lot of Jackie Wilson.”
Williams is looking forward to life in the not-as-fast lane with his restaurants.
“Look, I’m 51,” he said. “It’s a young man’s game (playing casinos and touring). This is the time of life to focus on something else, but I still love music.
“My cousin worked in a lot of restaurants in Vegas. With ownership of the old Castaways building, they gutted the building and put in a stage. Now the stage is upstairs.
“I named it the Cloud Lounge. It’s a great place to be, not just because it’s my place.”
Occasionally, Qrisis plays there, and Williams puts the word out on Facebook or through texts to friends.
The band is still pretty busy.
“We always know what Coast people want to hear,” he said. “In fact, we just did seven Mardi Gras balls.”
Williams might be looking to hang up his microphone soon, but it likely won’t be a permanent decision.
“Never say never,” he said. “If the band stays together, and it probably will, I’ll still play with them for some parties or at Woody’s.”