Ian Wallace died today. As well as being a wonderful chap he was a world class musician and I got to know him last year when he played on 8 songs that are now deeply embedded in the DNA of Callback. His credentials are remarkable – he played with everyone from Dylan to CSN, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, King Crimson…and, incredibly, me.
The first time I visited him at his house I stopped on the staircase and gawped at a photograph taken from backstage looking over the shoulders of a large band to a massive outdoor arena packed to the gills with fans. “What’s this?” I asked. “That’s me at the back playing with Dylan in the stadium in Nuremburg where Hitler used to hold his rallies. But what’s really cool is that it’s packed with 80,000 German kids who all have their backs turned to where Adolf used to stand and rant, and they’ve all paid to watch this Jewish guy sing and play his guitar!”
Yes. That’s pretty damn cool.
In a funny kind of way life is like a gig. All too soon it’s over and after a brief wave at the fans you’re whisked off-stage to an awaiting bus before you’re driven off into the night. I don’t know where Ian’s next gig is but I am quite sure that, as he steps up to his kit, there will be another huge audience, with their backs turned to the devil, eagerly waiting for Ian to count the band in.
You can find that photograph, and plenty of others, on Ian’s website at: www.ianrwallace.com