Side Projects: Michael Goldberg On James Calvin Wilsey

Performance Anxiety

10-08-2022 • 1 hr 42 mins

With two notes, James Calvin Wilsey announced his presence to the music world at large. But by the time Wicked Game launched Chris Isaak, Rowland Sally, Kenney Dale Johnson, & James Calvin Wilsey onto MTV and in front of millions, Jimmy was already living a very rock & roll lifestyle; one that would lead him to crash and burn half an album later. Journalist and author Michael Goldberg joins the podcast to discuss James Wilsey and the new book he’s written about his life, death, & the music he left behind. It may be the most heartbreaking episode I’ve recorded.

Michael discusses Jimmy’s early days in school and how he started playing with The Avengers in San Francisco, meeting Chris Isaak and deciding he didn’t want to play with him, initially. We also talk about his time as a consultant for Apple and in IT for a Hollywood marketing company. But even through his addiction to heroin, Jimmy was always working on music. In addition to the solo album he released, El Dorado, there was so much more, including music with Billy Idol and Lana Del Rey. It’s a heartbreaking and fascinating story. Pick up Michael’s book Wicked Game - The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey from HoZac Books. A percentage of the sales will go to help Jimmy’s son, Waylon. There’s a link in the notes. Follow Michael on social media to see what he’s up to. Follow us @PerformanceAnx on social media. Buy stuff at Or buy us a cup of coffee at Now get some tissues and check out the story of James Calvin Wilsey with Michael Goldberg on Performance Anxiety, part of Pantheon Podcasts.