R.I.P. "Wicked Game" Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey

The musician who also played in classic punk band the Avengers was 61

BY Alex HudsonPublished Dec 26, 2018

James Calvin Wilsey of classic punk act the Avengers has reportedly passed away. The musician — who also played the iconic lead guitar on Chris Isaak's 1989 hit "Wicked Game" — was 61.

The sad news arrived via Penelope Houston, a San Francisco singer-songwriter who played with Wilsey in the '70s punk band the Avengers. In a Christmas Eve update posted on Facebook, she wrote:

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.

The news was soon echoed by Dead Kennedys' East Bay Ray.

The Avengers formed in San Francisco back in 1977, making them part of America's first-wave punk history. The band famously released the We Are the One EP in '77, and after opening for the Sex Pistols, worked with Steve Jones before their first breakup in 1979. During Wilsey's time in the group, he played bass rather than guitar.

In the '80s, Wilsey played in roots crooner Chris Isaak's backing band Silvertone. He handled guitar on Isaak's first few albums, including 1989's breakthrough Heart Shaped World (which featured "Wicked Game"). His final album with the group was 1993's San Francisco Days.

After leaving Silvertone, Wilsey released a single solo album via Lakeshore Records, 2008's instrumental release El Dorado.

Below, revisit "Wicked Game."

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