Swamp Dogg’s Valentine’s Day Advice On Love, Hate and Insanity

The soul legend fields relationship questions from our reader mailbag

Swamp Dogg Valentine (Art: Ron Hart)

This Valentine’s Day, Swamp Dogg will share some love and romance advice for Valentine’s Day from questions that were sent in to us.

We were also able to speak to Mr. Williams about a subject that he knows all too well, as heard in many of his hilarious songs of romance.  He covers all angles of love, jealousy, break-ups, cheating and all sorts of unusual situations.  As such, we thought he would be a great source of wisdom for anyone who had questions about romance as we approach Valentine’s Day.  We asked online for people to send in questions and got some pretty unusual responses though we knew that Williams would be up for it.

Williams is so naturally funny not only in song but in conversation, a lot of our interview was me laughing at some of his answers and then in turn, cracking him up also. Still, he took the questions very seriously, taking his time to think about the answers, even when they were very humorous, and often pausing and repeating the question to carefully consider it or asking for clarification.  At one point, he even stopped to say ‘I like this!’ and then asked ‘am I gonna win something?’ I said that he earned a lot of karma points.  ‘That’ll work,’ he responded with a laugh.

So now, let’s learn from a connoisseur of the carnal.  He covers everything from V-time gifts to dealing with open relationships, role playing, psychotic jealousy, cheating and beyond…


Before we get to the questions sent in, I’ll start with a few questions I came up with. Other than a bed, a couch or a car, what’s the most romantic place for a couple to be?

(pauses) I would go all the way back to that cliché of a  fireplace with the two people sitting in front of it and a bottle of Chablis or something and maybe with her laying into his arms. But they’re both in a sitting position.


What’s the best music you know to get your partner in a romantic mood?

Al Green! All night long! Anything by him. “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart.” “I’m So In Love With You.” Just about anything that Al Green sung in his first three, four albums would be apropos for romance. If you listen to his albums, he don’t jerk you around.  Take for instance, Swamp Dogg- he’ll jerk you around and take you to one place and then it’s like ‘damn, he’s off to another place!’ Whereas Al keeps it… even.  You don’t jump up, going ‘what the hell is that?’


He really does create a mood.

Yeah, and holds on to it!


What is the best gift you can give someone you’ve been with for a few years for Valentine’s Day?

If they’ve been true to be each other, I would go to the jewelers and not particularly to get a ring but just to get earrings for her.  Hell, you could even a small diamond earring for him. I think the jewelry store takes care of that.  Candy- that’s old hat and everybody’s trying to live at live at least 6 months longer. So the candy thing, that’s dead.  There’s so many varied ways that women dress today- trying to go in and buy some sort of clothing wouldn’t work. The jewelry doesn’t have to be really expensive- I’ve seen really nice jewelry in places like Target.  And I question them- ‘are those real diamonds?’- because I just don’t imagine buying a real diamond ring for your lady from Target. But hey, it’s for real.

Swamp Dogg on the cover of Love, Loss and Auto-Tune (Photo: Amazon)

OK, let’s get into the questions we were sent. From Jason NeSmith: Is there a way to get close to your loved one when you’re both wearing masks?

JW: Well I guess you would have to have some sort of agreement with your loved one as to what you two are going to do.  With the pandemic, you really can’t be surprising people too much. It depends on where you are in this world.  There’s a lot of place to eat outside but if the wind is blowing or it’s raining, that doesn’t make for a very good background.  I think as long as this pandemic thing is on, there’s no place that you could really consider romantic enough unless you do it at home. I think doing it at your home, it’s fine, especially if you’re a single person and you two are just a couple. I think carrying it all back home from ‘I’ll fix dinner for you, baby’ to picking up her favorite CD or DVD and kind of just build the day around him or her.


From Logan K. Young: Which is a tastier aphrodisiac: artichokes or oysters?

Hmm… I hate both of them. To be very honest, I don’t see either one as a romantic food. If I was forced to say something, I would go with oysters on the half shell.  During the days when I used to have me a drink or two, I would always remember anytime I would be at the Huntsville Alabama airport, they always kept an oyster bar in their restaurant.  And after flying and working, there wasn’t a real restaurant there.  You try something new and think ‘well, if everybody else is trying it, well, eh… maybe give it a try.’ So I filled it full of hot sauce and just let it slide down my throat.  I never chewed one. But it was just too nasty a feeling in my mouth.

And artichokes… if it was a political thing, maybe… If you’re a big record executive and I’m at your house and we’re trying to do something, then I’ll take a moment and eat a little piece of shit, you know? But, under ordinary circumstances, you can have your artichokes.


From Mandy Carlin: If your partner says “I want to show you a movie to get you in the mood” and shows you a horror film, what would you do?

I’d tell them, ‘Wake me up when you get to the sexual part!’ ‘Cause that ain’t shit! (laughs)


From JT Tomlin: How do you react to a partner that says, “if I can’t have you, nobody can!”

Take it as a hell of a compliment and it depends on their personality. If they say little crazy things every now and then, they’re the type of people where every time you introduce them to someone or speak of someone, they say ‘Oh, I just hate them!’ I would leave them alone because you got someone there who’s not wrapped real tight, you know? And it’s going to show.  The longer the relationship, the more they’ll feel free to say actually what’s really on their mind- a bunch of crazy shit.  Yeah, I would leave ‘em alone.


From Pat Dennis: Is role playing sexy?

Yeah… I tried it… A few times. It was alright… But I don’t know… It’s like playing dominoes- you ain’t really going nowhere. I’m not down on dominos, don’t get me wrong. (laughs) But it’s just like, I don’t see anything romantic about it. It’s like ‘hey, I’m the pizza guy, making a delivery for you…’ No, I don’t see it. I would have to be in a mood for some shit like that.  Just leave that alone.


From Ann Thompson: How do you survive a long distance relationship?

Very easy.  By telephone or computer, where you can see each other, talk back to each other, be undressed or whatever.  You can present yourself in so many different ways and so can your partner.


From Lu Holliman: What’s the best response to a date that says to you ‘maybe we should just be friends’?

Start thinking about where you can meet someone else. ‘Cause that’s a complete no! And if they are using it as a game, they’re gonna be the loser. If you’re interested, she’s just as interested but nevertheless, she’s talking shit just to keep you all stirred up inside and wondering.  Hey, she don’t deserve you no way!  So the next time you her, there’ll probably be some guy giving her a black eye.


From Dana P: What should you do if you catch your partner cheating with someone else at home?

It just speaks for itself.- anywhere from cursing, to crying, to murder. If you think you’re in love with somebody and you think they’re in love with you and you find out that… sex is just something for their concern, just for good feeling for that moment and it really doesn’t matter who they’re with, that’s not good.  If I was walking in and saw that, if they saw me, I would have something to say. I’d be hurt.  I might even cry. But if they didn’t see me… I would just pull the door shut and just go somewhere, and think and call my best buddy, and talk to him about it.  Unless that was my best buddy in there! (laughs) Then you got something.


From CJ: If your partner yells out someone else’s name, is possible to get over that?

Yeah…. I think so.  Sometimes in a relationship, you more likely gonna do that. (laughs) All you can do is accept the fact that, ‘OK baby, I’m here with you.  I’m not there with her.’ And ‘we were together two years, three years and… her name just came out.  I apologize and let me take you to breakfast.’

A Swamp Dogg Valentine (Art: Ron Hart)

From Mae Worley: How can you tell if your partner’s cheating on you?

If you don’t see it, you don’t know. You may think you know, but if you don’t see it, you really don’t know. Just because they don’t want to be romantic or just because they came home late or just because they hung up the telephone quickly before you walk in the door, that’s all little things that lead up to what you are thinking.  Yeah, you’re right in what you’re thinking but you’re not right in accusing them because you really don’t know.


From Jeff T: How do you deal with a partner who wants an ‘open relationship’?

You give it to them because they’re already into it. They probably just left one when they picked you up and they like it.  But anytime they ask for something like that, they want it and usually, they’re usually already in it.  That’s a dead giveaway.  It’s like you are not enough for them in some certain categories.  And then I’d hit her on the top of the head- wasting my time and my money!  But it depends on how you feel about the person.  You might be dating somebody and passing time and they may be doing almost the same thing, so that’s where you get in to the category of ‘who cares?’ It’s just… keep going and see what happens.  You eventually meet somebody else and hey, then you both got something solid I guess.


From Nina Monroe: How do you know when it’s time to end a relationship?

(laughs) Uh… There’s several ways to know.  When you walk in and they’re in the bed performing fellatio or something, that’s one way of knowing. (laughs) When you’re going to her place and ringing the bell and knocking on the door and nobody answers or buzzes you in, although you know for a fact they’re home- you see their car in the garage and all of that, but they will not answer and you know, it’s real quiet and shit. That’s it then.


From Angela Michaels: What’s the worst type of relationship?

Well, I’ve been in a few situations, but some of the worst is when you’re with someone you hate! (laughs)


VIDEO: Swamp Dogg feat. Bon Iver and Trombone Shorty “I’ll Pretend”



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Jason Gross

Jason Gross is the editor/founder of Perfect Sound Forever, one of the first and longest-running online music magazines. He has written for Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Time Out, AP, New York, MTV, Oxford American, Billboard, MOJO, The Wire, and Blurt. Reissues and collections that he's produced included Delta 5, Essential Logic, Kleenex/Liliput, DNA, Oh OK and OHM –The Early Gurus of Electronic Music. He lives in New York with his girlfriend and 30 plush cats.

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