Willie grew up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan listening to Symphony Sid a local radio DJ that played plenty of Salsa and Latin Soul.
Along came the late 60s when Willie first heard the unique blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms and hard blues/rock that defined the sound of Santana. Willie was blown away by the combination of the energy of the latin percussion and the soaring lead guitar work of Carlos Santana.
As much as everyone thinks of the guitar and the latin percussion as the Santana sound it was Mike Shrieve (Santanas first drummer) and his solo on Soul Sacrifice that inspired Willie to play. I liked the way Shrieve complimented the percussion section without doing too much, says Willie.
Willie went on to play with a variety of local latin-flavored bands around Washington Heights and rehearsed, and played, for over 2 years with an East Coast version of Malo.
Playing drums with a hot latin percussion section is not easy (especially when the conguero is your brother!) but Willie finds his space and lays down the groove for Taboo and does a damn good job on the Soul Sacrifice solo, too!