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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Did Chris Isaak release a statement? Their music came along at the right time., when David Lynch was happening.

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@ champagnesparkle

In case you didn't see the other James Wilsey thread here on the GDP, Deed Eddy posted the following:

Posted by Chris Isaak on his FBook Page.

"I 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 tearing it 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."

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Lots of stuff I didn't know here. Fair warning, it's a pretty depressing read. I've been "friends"with him on Facebook for a bunch of years. He posted goofy stuff, would disappear now and then. I had no idea he was homeless when he died or that he had the drug problems.

https://www.rollingstone.co...

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Such a unique talent, one we saw and heard too little.

I cannot play guitar fast; and after listening to James Calvin Wilsey, I realized that I cannot play guitar slow, either.

Paul/FF909

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Everytime someone comments and this pops to the top of the new posts, I gasp once more. Still dead? Dead again? Such a talent. A kind of musicianship rooted in tone and phrasing that strikes me as unteachable. Like Frissell. A tone painter who could translate soul into sound. So moving.

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"A tone painter who could translate soul into sound. "

That's PERFECT.


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