Anyone ever touched by the artist’s music should consider helping out during Wicks’ time of need. Below, listen to the Records’ classic “Starry Eyes” tune.
By Dave Steinfeld
Since I wrote the article on The Records, “Still Starry Eyed,” nearly four years ago, several noteworthy events have taken place in the Records camp. At the tail end of 2011, John Wicks re-released the Rotate CD (reviewed HERE. Not long after that, in early 2012, Phil Brown passed away after a lengthy illness. Wicks — who has also been recording with Bangles drummer Debbi Peterson as of late — penned a song called “Chasing Angels” in the bassist’s memory.
Now comes word that John Wicks is undergoing some serious health issues of his own. This past spring, he was admitted to a hospital in California where he’s been battling an extremely rare form of pancreatic cancer. Like so many other musicians, John’s income over the years has not exactly been commensurate with his talent. The last thing he needs to worry about when he’s in the midst of a serious illness, undergoing chemotherapy and enduring its side effects is paying for all this. But as we all know, this country’s health care system still needs work and this country is not often kind to artists. John’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page in his name, where fans and colleagues can go to donate money and/or good vibes. In addition, there are some cool rewards you can get by contributing that will be of special interest to power pop fans.
I’ve gotten to know John fairly well these last few years through the wonders of the Internet. It’s ironic that we’ve never actually met considering that he’s now based here in the States, especially since I have met Will Birch who is still based in England. But if I’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that truth is stranger than fiction. As a boy growing up in suburban Connecticut, I still remember the thrill of hearing “Starry Eyes” being played in the one record store in my town. I also remember buying the 45 when my friend Steve and I made a day trip to New York City in the winter of 1980 (what cool kids we were!). Never did I dream back then that I would get to know the two guys whose names adorned the 45 and who wrote both “Starry Eyes” and its great (single only) B-side, “Paint Her Face.” But the Internet didn’t exist back then and, again, truth is stranger…
What has impressed me about John Wicks goes beyond his obvious musical talent. Our email conversations have been pretty personal — especially for two guys who have never met. John strikes me as being a very transparent person, which is a rare and admirable quality. He’s been very honest with me about his personal struggles (as I have with him about my own), be they health related or career related. We’ve also talked music and bonded over our mutual love of all things Beatle-related. He is a very genuine guy and I would urge anyone who reads this to take a moment and make a donation during his time of need.
Special thanks to Suzanne Jagger for her help in assembling details for this article. More Info: http://www.gofundme.com/johnwickshelp. John Wicks And the Records website: http://johnwicksandtherecords.com/