Drummer/keyboardist Paul Williams is mostly known for his tenure in the U.S. space rock group Quarkspace and for his regular column in the prog rock magazine Progression. Through the 1990s he went from the status of amateur drummer to professional musician and record producer. He is also involved in the New Druids, Spirits Burning, National Steam, the "supergroup" Ashtabula County Spacerock Big Band, and is the sole member in the space electronica outfit Church of Hed.
Williams was born in 1966 in Amherst, OH, a land that would nourish a lot of space rock activity. Self-taught on drums and keyboards, he began playing music during his teens, in school jazz and marching bands. At age 18 he was recruited by guitarist and classmate Darren Gough to play drums in the newly formed group Quark! After two years of local gigging, Williams left to concentrate on his studies, but remained active on the music scene. He spent the second half of the '80s playing with the New Druids and released a cassette of space music, putting together his own label, Eternity's Jest, on which all Quarkspace-related material would later appear.
In 1991, Williams met guitarist Dave Wexler. Together they gathered the old members of Quark! (renamed Quarkspace to avoid legal action from the software company by the same name). A technology wizard (he earned a living through the '90s as an IT consultant), Williams gradually moved from acoustic to electronic drums, keyboards ,and electronics, dragging the group's sound toward a space rock-electronica in the process. He also took up the production and recording aspects of the group's life. Quarkspace occupied most of his time during the decade, but he also collaborated with Wexler and the group's singer/guitarist, Chet Santia, under the moniker National Steam.
As Quarkspace was slowing down its activities in 2001 and retiring from live performance, Williams got involved in the Ashtabula County Spacerock Big Band, along with bandmate Jay Swanson and members of Architectural Metaphor, Star Nation, and Sun Machine. He also started his solo electronica project Church of Hed, making him the most active musician in Quarkspace.