Music News

The Missing Link

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Neither Geevers nor Louwers will join Wray during his upcoming swing through America; instead he'll be accompanied by Dieselhed, a Bay Area act that he has never heard. ("I'm gonna rehearse with them three days before we go out and play," he allows. "From what I heard about them, I should like them just fine.") As he tells it, his reasons for touring America again have more to do with business than with his desire to play in the States. "I didn't have no record to push, which isn't a problem in Europe--they'll book you anyway," he asserts. "But in America, they don't want to take a chance on bringin' you and payin' for plane fare and hotel and all that if you don't have a record to support. And now I do."

Most artists would have some trepidation about playing in their native country for the first time in a dozen years, but not Wray; he's raring to go, in part because of his enthusiasm for domestic rockers. He admits to being unfamiliar with the Reverend Horton Heat and other acts whose work bears obvious Wray stamps, but he calls Nirvana "Link Wray with words," and adds, "I love all them young groups like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. They're keepin' the gee-tar alive. You've heard of No Doubt, right? With this young chick singin' and these guys playin' bass and drums? They're fuckin' fantastic, aren't they?" A pause. "Well, I think they are," he says.

Wray feels the same about life in general. Most entertainers known more as influences than stars in their own right nurse a certain bitterness about this situation since, to put it frankly, being an influence doesn't pay worth a damn. But if Wray is frustrated, his unhappiness is buried so deep that it may never get out. "I don't play music for the money--that's why I'm not a millionaire," he says. "When I go on these tours, I know I have to make the money to pay my house rent and to buy the food and clothes for my son so that he can have a safe life here in Denmark.

"When I'm home, I don't contact nobody. I don't even have a telephone. This telephone I'm talkin' to you on belongs to my manager, 'cause I don't want to be contacted by the outside world. When I'm at home, I want to sit and watch my tee-vee and be a daddy to my son and a husband to my wife and write my songs and have my privacy. But when I'm on stage, I'm open to the world. And if you come to the show, you better bring your ear-plugs. 'Cause it's gonna be loud."\

Link Wray, with Dieselhed. 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28, Bluebird Theater, 3317 East Colfax, $14-$15, 830-

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts