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Rich Williams, the original guitarist from the classic rock band Kansas, has done many interviews over his lifetime. But he and his wife, Debbie Williams, were intrigued when The Redskins Blog reached out to ask them not about music, but about football.
“It’s funny with all of the hype and anticipation of the Kansas documentary release this month, a request for my Redskins story is a surprise,” Debbie wrote before she and Williams spoke to us over the phone.
The couple lives in Atlanta, Ga., where the band has relocated over the years, but Debbie, a native of Cheverly, Md., unquestionably, has remained devoted to rooting for the Redskins.
“My father was an extreme Redskins fan, and not like the kind that went to games, he was poor, but [his] family was Redskins’ lovers and it just trickled down to the rest of us,” Debbie said.
“One of the earliest memories he has was listening to the Redskins on the radio,” she said. “[The team] was kind of something that he and I had, we bonded over that, and that’s why it means so much to me.”
Williams never had the same kind of football devotion, growing up in Topeka, Kan., but supports the Chiefs and has adopted the Falcons in his new city. However, living with his wife has made him root for the Redskins on game days.
“He does love the Redskins,” Debbie said of Williams. “He doesn’t have a choice because he knows if they lose I’m going to be in a bad mood.”
“I was in Dallas at the airport,” Williams said, “and I went into this Cowboys store and I took a couple of pictures with this Cowboys hat on. We had a serious talk about that.”
According to Debbie, football season is the best time to be around the band. Everyone has their own team they root for and it’s always a topic of discussion, especially when they’re on tour.
“We see the affection people have — there’s a need to have loyalty to your team or your group,” said Debbie, who has “Hail to the Redskins” on her iPod. “I see the same intensity to your home team as you [give] to the band and the music that you hold.”
Williams said he’s mesmerized by how his wife picks out fans while the band tours. Driving in their car, which boasts a few Redskins magnets, Debbie will wave to others with jerseys on and always finds new people to interact with over the country.
“If you’re not born into it, you don’t really understand it,” Williams said.
He, along with the original band members, are preparing for the release of their new documentary called “Miracles Out Of Nowhere.”
“It’s about the original band, telling our story coming out of Topeka, Kansas,” he said. “It talks about the first five albums, coming from obscurity and the unlikely miracle of us succeeding, climbing up the mountain.”
So, you can expect to hear “Carry On My Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind” among their other classics in the film. It just might take some nudging from Debbie for Kansas to try out a version of “Hail to the Redskins.”
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