Michael Goldberg

Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey


WICKED GAME: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey by author Michael Goldberg. Another incredibly in-depth look into the dark side of San Francisco in the 1970s & 80s, and the dark side of rock ‘n roll in general, through the wild life of one Jimmy Wilsey. From his vantage point on bass in SF Punk legends The Avengers in 1977, through his quick trip with Belfast Cowboys (with Rozz Rezabek from Negative Trend) and on into his next phase of real guitar virtuosity in Silvertone (the early band fronted by Chris Isaak which also included John Silvers from The Dils), Wilsey’s life unfolded sadly as many others of his era and from this scene.

Full of amazing and previously unseen photos from the Michael Goldberg, Hugh Brown, Bruce Conner, James Stark, Sue Brisk, and Chester Simpson archives, and complimented with intimate interviews from his past relationships with Claudia Summers and Jennifer Rubin (Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Bad Dreams, The Crush, etc), everything looked so promising, until it wasn’t…

James Calvin Wilsey: He was the “heart and soul” of SF punk band the Avengers, and worked with Chris Isaak for over a decade before he crashed and burned.

His hypnotic guitar riffs throughout “Wicked Game” made Chris Isaak an international star. His story is the story of San Francisco punk rock, the story of one of the greatest punk bands, the Avengers, “the story of every working musician,” as Robert Duncan puts it, and the nightmare of drug addiction.

Jimmy Wilsey’s story is the story of the dark side of rock & roll.

Includes over 100 photos and flyers by avant-garde artist Bruce Conner, Avengers singer/songwriter Penelope Houston, Blondie’s Chris Stein, Ruby Ray, Chester Simpson, Sue Brisk, Marcus Leatherdale, Amy Starks, Michael Zagaris, Hugh Brown, James Stark, Jimmy Wilsey and others.

Michael Goldberg will be donating 25% of his book royalties to Jimmy Wilsey’s teenage son, Waylon James Wilsey.

Author Michael Goldberg is a journalist, novelist, and photographer. He has been interviewing and photographing musicians since he was seventeen. He was a senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for a decade. His writing also appeared in Esquire, New Musical Express, Creem, DownBeat, New York Rocker, Trouser Press, Musician, New West, Vibe, New Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other publications. He was had three novels published: True Love Scars, The Flowers Lied, and Untitled. Author Simon Warner wrote, “Michael Goldberg has his finger on the pulse, his foot to the beat, his hip to the rhythm and his ears peeled for the cadences of rock & roll’s raucous jibber-jabber.”

Sign up!

Sign up for THE CAST Newsletter for first dibs on 1-of-a-kind items, new releases, and special offers exclusively for subscribers.

My Cart

Subtotal: $0.00

Your cart is currently empty.