GARY WILSON


Artist


EXPERIMENTAL

Gary Wilson’s story is one of deserved fame found late. Gary started playing music young, he taught himself to play guitar, bass, drums, piano and cello as a child. His teen idols were Fabian, Bobby Rydell and Dion and the Belmonts and later the Beatles, the Mothers,  Beefheart, Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders.  By 12,Gary began recording songs in his parent’s basement and began playing keyboards in a band called Lourde Fuzz, cutting a single whilst in 8th grade.  In 1969, 14 year old Gary discovered the music of John Cage and contacted him. Amazingly, Cage invited him to his home to discuss music, during which time Wilson was also given some influential advice from Cage: if your music  /  performance "doesn’t irritate people, you aren’t doing your job”. 

He graduated from high school in 1970, and set up a studio in his parents' basement in Endicott, New York and worked with magnetic recording tape sometimes accompanied by a backing band The Blind Dates.The 14 year old must have taken Cage’s advice as his gigs started getting weirder with fights breaking out between the audience and the band every  three or four songs, with the audience throwing things at the stage. His 1970s performances were cited as bizarre and outrageous including a "show that included cellophane, duct tape, bed sheets, fake blood, flour, and milk."

In 1977 Having completed the album You Think You Really Know Me in his parents’ basement,  Wilson pressed, distributed, funded and released it himself. He promoted it by mailing it to radio stations and music writers throughout the U.S, sending hand-made press packs, including some photos of himself wrapped in tape in his underwear.  A few years later, Cry Baby Records would re-release the album, pressing about 1000 copies. After receiving a small amount of radio play, Wilson moved west to California in 1978 to try to get a record deal. He recorded three singles and after an American tour ending in 1981with a gig at CBGB's , he retired from music and settled in California.

Nearly twenty years later in 1996, Beck was heard citing Gary Wilson as an influence in concerts, at award ceremonies, and on his album Odelay. Beck even name checked Wilson in his hit 'Where It's At': "Passin' the dutchie from coast to coast/like my man Gary Wilson rocks the most." Around the same time, the people behind Sub Pop Records cited Wilson as a major influence on their company. On Beck’s website he says of You Think You Really Know Me:  “I first heard it in the early 90’s from a cassette copy being passed around. Sounding something like Prince starring in a Dario Argento film, the desperation of the voice in songs like ‘Loneliness’ and ‘6.4 = Makeout’ warped through the music, combining the darkly absurd with something elusive—that weirdness underneath the smooth surface of 70’s mellow pop and countless Three’s Company episodes finally articulated. “
One of Gary Wilson’s friends sent his album to Motel Records, who in the early 2000s, tried to find him. They did eventually..in San Diego, nearly 50 years old, working part-time at The Jolar Cinema adult theatre playing keyboard in a weekly jazz act at the Rancho Bernardino Lounge. He gave Motel Records his permission to repress You Think You Really Know Me, and in May 2002 Gary Wilson returned to the stage after a 20 year absence, playing two shows at Joe’s Pub in downtown Manhattan. Motel  Records soon after put out a collection of singles, b-sides, rare and unreleased songs dating back to 1974 called Forgotten Lovers.

Ready for a real comeback, in 2004, Wilson released his first new album of original material in almost 30 years called Mary Had Brown Hair on Stones Throw Records. He also played instruments and co-produced 'Rain of Earth' as one of the Stones Throw Singers on a tribute album to Bruce Haack titled Dimension Mix. In July 2011 Stones Throw Records released a direct-to-vinyl live recording from a performance earlier that year
According to Wilson's MySpace account, his lounge act band is still together, playing their regular Friday and Saturday night slot at Bistro 221 in Escondido, covering songs by Nat King Cole, Lou Rawls, Wayne Newton and Johnny Mathis.
 

DISCOGRAPHY

Albums
•    Another Galaxy (1974)
•    You Think You Really Know Me (1977, reissued 1991 and 2002)
•    Forgotten Lovers (2003, reissued 2011 on vinyl)
•    Mary Had Brown Hair (2004)
•    Lisa Wants To Talk To You (2008)
•    Electric Endicott (2010)
•    Feel the Beat (2011)

Singles
•    Dream(s)/Soul Travel (1973)
•    Another Galaxy/Softly the Water Flows (1973–1974)
•    In the Midnight Hour/When I Spoke of Love (1978)
•    Forgotten Lovers E.P. (1979)
•    Invasion of Privacy (double 7") (1980)
•    This Is Why I Wear My Wedding Gown E.P. (1983)
•    Newark Valley (2004)
•    6.4 = Make Out (demo version) (2004)