2019-01-05 07:31:29 UTC
Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey, who left his mark in modern music by playing
with the Avengers and Chris Isaak has died.
The Logansport, Indiana-born Wilsey was 61.
At this point details are few, but the cause of death is believed to have
been a heart attack.
Although Wilsey played bass with the legendary Bay Area punk band The
Avengers after replacing Jonathon Postal, he’s perhaps best known for his
work with another Bay Area musician, Chris Isaak.
Wilsey played guitar in Isaak’s Silvertone band, appearing on four of
Isaak’s albums–Silvertone, Chris Isaak, Heart Shaped WorldandSan
The Fender Stratocaster-playing Wilsey is responsible the two note opening of
Isaak’s dreamy “Wicked Game.” A rippling vibrato played with finesse,
reverb and delay, Wilsey’s riff remains one of the most iconic riffs of the
last 50 years.
On his Facebook page Isaak wrote: “…was in Stockton when I heard the news
about Jimmy… There’s a picture in my mom’s living room of me singing,
him picking guitar…I met Jimmy in San Francisco … we were both just kids
wanting to make music. I met Jimmy and we hit it off right away when I was
playing in my band, Silvertone. He was very quiet, soft spoken but also
deadly funny and quick witted. Nobody made me laugh like Jimmy.. I remember
him sitting in with my band playing ”Be Bop a Lulu” and him tearingit up
on guitar. That moved me from lead guitar to rhythm and he was in the
band..We played at crummy bars and clubs for next to nothing, and were
thrilled to do it. We were chasing a dream and I like to think we caught
ahold of it… Jimmy had so much heart and a great sound… He also had a
great arm – he could throw a baseball like a pro. I look at his picture
now; good looking, cool, young Jimmy..and I miss him and I’m so glad I had
those times with him. I used to yell” sick ‘em Cal!” When he took a
guitar solo. I’m going to put on an old record and listen to my friend…
Rest In Peace James Calvin Wilsey.”
Meanwhile, Wilsey’s Avengers bandmate Penelope Houston wrote on her
Facebook page: “RIP Jimmy Wilsey AKA James Calvin Wilsey, Chubby Cleaver,
Jims. I’m going to miss you, my friend. So sorry for Waylon and all your
loved ones. Jimmy passed away today.”
Wilsey last released a solo album in 2008 comprised entirely of guitar
instrumentals calledEl Dorado.