Denny’s Adventure’s In “Willis Wonderland” – part 19

Submitted by denny July 18th, 2010
Certifikitsch WinnerClassique d Camembert

Amazing. This is in the studio and every time I walked in here it made me crazy knowing that I don’t play a single instrument. I can sing “I Remember You” and “A Different Drum”, that counts for something creative. Walking in this room will give anyone chills. I swear, my hair stood on end half the time I was at “Willis Wonderland”.

These are the drawers of percussion instruments that sit in the studio. The chest of drawers that these sit in was a line of furniture that Allee made in the 80’s. I just skimmed the top of these drawers and the instruments inside are amazing. I mean really, a corn shaker!? It was the first thing I grabbed.

More percussion instruments.

It’s about percussion.

This is a chest of drawers made by Allee in the 80’s and all hardware are pieces made from old cars, note the “Rambler” handle!

Next time I am here at “Willis Wonderland” I want my coffee in this mug. RIP Liberace.

Such a lovely puddy. This is “Sweet Potato” watching us as we go over song files and such. It’s funny how cats think everything is about them. This cat is sooooo sweet. Much to Allee’s surprise I had 2 of the cats on my lap which apparently was quite odd for them and out of character. Makes me miss my cat Frederick von Tuttles.

“Groove On Brother” is a cute little piece that hangs out in the studio as well. I think there are 2 of these little guys!

23 Responses to “Denny’s Adventure’s In “Willis Wonderland” – part 19”

  1. Allee Willis

    Photo #1 is primarily of my Roland V-Drums, electronic drums with hundreds of different drum sounds. I love drums and would collect vintage drum sets if I had any room to keep them. I do have tons of individual drums and many, many African drums but most of them are singles that I can stack on top of each other. There’s really no room in my studio for these V-drums but they’re on wheels so move around as needed. Notice the amount of drumsticks and mallets I have in the vintage outer space wastebasket that travels around with it.

    As you can see from the next three photos I collect percussion instruments. I have about 400 of them. Getting my start with Earth, Wind & Fire ingrained the love of percussion into me forever. While I was co-writing The Color Purple musical from 2001 – 2005 I would go nuts on eBay finding new (vintage) percussion instruments whenever we were writing for the top of Act 2 which takes place in Africa.

    The chest of drawers in photo #5 is one of many that I made and sold in the 1980’s. I love car parts and still have boxes of them. Handles and chrome insignias are very practical on items other than automobiles and trucks. You can see more of the furniture I made around that time here:

    I got the Liberace mug in photo #6 from Liberace’s manager of 37 years, Seymour Heller a.k.a. The Shagman, named so for the toupee on his head that moved when he walked. The mug has sat in my studio for at least 20 years.

    It’s hard to tell from the photograph of Sweet Potato that he’s quite the hefty feline. Down from his top weight of 25 1/2 pounds he’s now a slim 21. He likes to sit on the Wacom Tablet and I, like any cat loving mother, have to squeeze the pen, the mouse that I use, up under him and bend my hand in completely weird positions to control the computer.

    There are, in fact, two Groove On Brother statues in my studio. The other one is unpainted. I love anything that has the word ‘groove’ on it, especially if it’s topped off with an Afro.

  2. Lisa Rios

    In photo number 2, what is the top instrument w/the face?? It looks African to me. It is beautiful. I own a small import shop and have never seen one before. I so covet that!

    Also the chest of drawers w/the car part pulls are to die for. You should get a gold or platinum record simply for designing and executing that. It is magnificent. Brilliant!!

    Thanks to Denny for all his photos and commentary.

      • Lisa Rios

        I’m not getting furniture on the page you sent me to. I’d love to see more. I’m getting a “flash site is being worked on” message.

        My shop specializes in things from India, Africa, Tibet, Turkey, etc…. I used to get stuff from Afghanistan too but being that we (the USA) are killing ’em by the dozens, they don’t feel like sending me any more goodies. (that’s my feeble attempt at a laugh/cry type of joke) Here’s a link to a synopsis of the shop:

        I’m really enjoying Denny’s tour. What you’ve done with the house is spectacular and fun. Perhaps that’s your middle name? Allee Fun Willis. Should be.

        • Allee Willis

          Lisa, that’s bizarre because I just checked the link on two different computers here and had a friend try it at their place and the flash page comes up fine. What kind of computer are you on? Not that that should make a difference but if it’s still not working for you I can try and check it out further. But it doesn’t make sense because if someone doesn’t have flash or the flash version isn’t working it automatically defaults to an HTML version of the site. And in that case you would get a custom-designed page and not something generic like ‚Äúflash site is being worked on”.

          Your shop looks like it has quite interesting stuff. You must have a lot of fun with that too!

  3. denny

    The felines of “Willis Wonderland” are so amazing and they must have sensed an animal person in me, as every time I sat down, one of them, Sweet Potato & Niblet I believe, ended up on my lap.

    Yes, anything with groove on it is right on!

    Those 3 drawers of percussion instruments could keep me busy for hours and I am happy that I was able to contribute an instrument to these drawers that came all the way from Kenya. I mean, I didn’t go to Kenya, I got it in LA. But still….

    I worship Liberace and I worship this mug. I’m going to light a candle next time I see it, it’s that amazing! In honor of the late great master himself. Treasure this one Allee!

  4. MyFunCloset

    I’m on a PC too, and also got an “under construction” message when I went to thru your link to see more auto accent furniture. What a fabulous adventure Denny had in your wonderland. Still enjoying the photos day after day. Allee, compliments on your organization skills too. “Give me space and I will fill it”… and still know where it is!

    • Allee Willis

      Thanks for letting me know. Hopefully I can get someone on this this morning as, of course, this shouldn’t be happening. Closet, what browser are you trying to access it with? If you also have Firefox can you let me know if it’s working from there?

  5. Allee Willis

    Re the wood work, I just brought a whole bunch of car parts and a sketch of the shape and color of the drawers and was right next to the carpenter as he cobbled it together. The first ones I made were done with a complete idiot who I unfortunately spent a good three years making this and some of my other furniture with. Everything was too heavy, didn’t make maximum use of the space and some of the chairs were especially lethal as they tipped over if you sat in a certain position. I eventually wised up and found much more skilled and moral carpenters to work with. The chest of drawers in the photo was made by the more skilled workers.