Billy Zoom's Jet Set

RIP Jimmy Wilsey

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"It was all happening before the Stray Cats. Early on in the scene, half of the people in the audience were in bands. If you messed up on stage, everyone knew it. I remember Billy Zoom from X had been into rockabilly since the late ’60s, when he played with Gene Vincent. He was staying at our guitar players house when they had a gig up here with us. He was playing Gene Vincent stuff, just like the record. He was playing Elvis Sun Sessions stuff just like the record. I remember him playing Eddie Cochran, sitting in the balcony. He knew all the intros and turnarounds, just like the record. I thought, “That’s not even possible.” Then I was watching him do it and I was thinking, “Oh, that’s not hard. I want to do that.” -James Calvin Wilsey- 1/1/08 JuiceMagazine

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I remember when Chris Isaak first came on the scene (or at least to my attention) around 1983/84 and remember somehow I saw they or one of them was using Gretsch, which was such a dead issue there in the age striped, spray painted heavy metal guitars-- the whole Van Halen scene and vibe. I thought 'how cool someone is into them'. I must admit, I did not know about X @ that time.

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"It was all happening before the Stray Cats. Early on in the scene, half of the people in the audience were in bands. If you messed up on stage, everyone knew it. I remember Billy Zoom from X had been into rockabilly since the late ’60s, when he played with Gene Vincent. He was staying at our guitar players house when they had a gig up here with us. He was playing Gene Vincent stuff, just like the record. He was playing Elvis Sun Sessions stuff just like the record. I remember him playing Eddie Cochran, sitting in the balcony. He knew all the intros and turnarounds, just like the record. I thought, “That’s not even possible.” Then I was watching him do it and I was thinking, “Oh, that’s not hard. I want to do that.” -James Calvin Wilsey- 1/1/08 JuiceMagazine

– Billy Zoom

If it wasn't hard, then everyone would be doing it. It takes a special talent, a special ear. Glad there are some that can still do it.

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nice bz..mabuhay/berkeley square days

rip wilsey

cheers

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That's really a shame. I really enjoyed Wilsey's playing. His playing was an integral part of Chris Isaak's sound almost as much as Isaak himself. Saw Wilsey live with Isaak on numerous occasions and his playing and tone were always impeccable. Rest in peace. Another gone too soon.

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– Billy Zoom

This is the only album of his that I have. Good stuff. Sad loss. R.I.P.

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I remember exactly where I was when I first heard him play. It was in line at the bookstore at San Francisco State in the early '80's and this sound came out of the radio that was new and old and timeless. The vocal sounded kinda like Roy Orbison and the guitar was full of twang and history. I was lucky to see them a couple of times back then.

James Calvin Wilsey was to Twangy guitar like Grant Green was to jazz guitar like BBKing was to blues guitar.

It's hard to be an artist in this life. RIP James Calvin Wilsey.

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great sounds repeat in the brain.


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