Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

Watching the Avengers Absolutely Crush the Pistols

Michael Goldberg, 'Wicked Game' (HoZac Books), June 2022

NOTE: What follows is an excerpt from Michael Goldberg's new book Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey (HoZac Books). Goldberg is a former Rolling Stone Senior Writer and founded the first Web rock magazine, Addicted To Noise. Jimmy Wilsey, who became friends with Goldberg, was the "heart and soul" of one of San Francisco's greatest punk bands, the Avengers. He co-founded the second version of Silvertone with Chris Isaak, and played with Isaak for 12 years. He wrote and played the guitar intro and guitar parts in 'Wicked Game', which became an international top 10 hit in 10 countries including the US in 1991. 'Wicked Game' has been streamed over 300 million times on Spotify; 200 million times during the three years Goldberg wrote the book. The book includes over 150 photos and flyers; photos are by avant-garde artist Bruce Connor, Blondie co-founder Chris Stein, Ruby Ray, Michael Zagaris, Chester Simpson and others. Sadly, Jimmy became addicted to heroin, became homeless in September 2018 and died of multiple organ failure on Christmas Eve day of that year. This excerpt finds 20-year-old Jimmy on bass in the Avengers – he had moved to San Francisco from Florissant, Missouri, where he grew up, in the fall of 1976 – when the group played a stunningly great set before the Sex Pistols performed their final show of the Seventies in San Francisco.

                                                *

Total word count of piece: 4929

Subscribe

Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.