In a wonderful review of my new book, “Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey,” in the June 2022 “Bentley’s Bandstand” column at his Americana Highways website, Bill Bentley writes: “This is the rock & roll book to read this year. It is a thrilling, heart-breaking, mind-blowing, cautionary and in the end passionate tale of how a guitarist of infinite ability and absolutely addictive tendencies attains the highest success on the rock & roll merry-go-round, only to flame out in a desperate tale of heroin, homelessness and, in the end, suicidal escapades that killed him. Rock & roll can be the scariest game there is if the person isn’t wired for success. Failure is survivable, but for those not ready for it, success is the killer. …”
You can read the rest of the review here.
You can get my book at the HoZac Books website.
The Sketched Sounds podcast just went live (June 6, 2022). Justin Bieggar interviews me about the Wilsey book, the San Francisco punk scene of the late ’70s and much more. Listen to it here at Spotify if you have Spotify, or listen here.
Last week Howie Klein published an essay that I wrote about how Jimmy Wilsey became a punk musician at his excellent “Down With Tyranny” blog. “My new book, “Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey” (HoZac Books), tells Jimmy’s story, but it also details the San Francisco punk scene that began in December 1976, three months after 19-year-old Jimmy moved to San Francisco. During the summer of 1977 Jimmy became bass player for one of San Francisco’s greatest punk bands, the Avengers, and quickly became one of the stars of the small SF scene.
“Punk was initially not a particular sound, it was a concept, and the concept was this: anyone who wanted to could be in a band and play rock & roll, you didn’t have to know how to play your instrument, you only had to have something to say, and many times not even that was necessary.
“When the established record companies decided punk wasn’t commercial, punk fans like Howie Klein formed their own record companies. The first singles by The Mutants, The Nuns and The Offs were released as singles by Howie’s 415 label, and in the early ’80s, when Jimmy was in Silvertone, Howie told me, he wanted to release Silvertone’s “Blue Hotel” but that didn’t work out. …”
You can read all of “How The Patti Smith Group Inspired James Calvin Wilsey” here.
I will also be doing an online event at Book Passage on Thursday, July 21, 2022. Former Creem managing editor and music critic Robert Duncan will be questioning me about my Jimmy Wilsey book. More info here. My book on Jimmy Wilsey will be available for purchase at Book Passage online and at the Corte Madera store beginning July 4, 2022.