Ian Wallace (1946-2007)

1. 5. 2007 | Rubriky: Články, Multilingual, Lives

[by Ken Hunt, London] The drummer and more, Ian Wallace, born in Bury, Lancashire, England on 29 September 1946, died in Los Angeles on 22 February 2007. California had been his home and base of operations since 1976 when he churlishly decided that the warmth of the Californian sun beat the fine wet rain of his homeland. His companion in rhythm in David Lindley’s El Rayo-X, Ras Baboo called him, in the finest tradition of finest crap cinematography and, one hopes, a curl of the lip worthy of Anthony Quayle, ‘English’. He could escape British weather but not his heritage.

Before he went West, Wallace had what sounds like a healthy career in Blighty. He toured and did sessions for acts such as Sandie Shaw, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Viv Stanshall’s Big Grunt. ‘Thanks’ to one of Stanshall’s periods of periodic instability, Wallace got to work with Stanshall’s cohort in Bonzo crime against normalcy, Neil Innes. In turn, that led to him working with King Crimson from early 1971. Wallace slipped into touring and session work with Alexis Korner, Labi Siffre and Steve Marriott’s All Stars.

It was at the end of a US tour with that last outfit, that he decided to go where the climate suited his mood. The Los Angeles music scene was happening. He got the drum chair with Bob Dylan and appeared on the Street Legal and At Budokan (both 1978) albums. California ushered in another stage in Wallace’s musical career. Amongst the people with whom he worked - and ran - were Jackson Browne, David Lindley, Crosby Stills and Nash, Don Henley and the Traveling Wilburys. For a measure of the sheer understatement and subtlety of Wallace’s drumming, try Your Old Lady from the Jackson Browne and Greg Ladanyi-produced El Rayo-X (1981). Best of all, go for the flat-out, no-holds-barred version of Mercury Blues on El Rayo Live (1983). No-one, but no-one who heard that combo performance was left unmoved, not least of all musicians. It was a rare exception to the rule that if you can hear the drummer they’re not doing their job.

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