My friend, musician and radio host, Page Wilson has died. He was 56.
Click here to read his obituary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Click here to read a piece about Wilson written by Harry Kollatz for Richmond Magazine in 2009. For a reaction from Kollatz to the news of Wilson's death click here.
Click here to see Mark Holmberg's Channel 6 story.
The video here was shot by me in 1999 in the old Texas-Wisconsin Border Café. Wilson was acting as one of the auctioneers to raise money from the artifacts on the then-closing restaurant's walls to fund a scholarship in the name of Jim Bradford. A good time was had.
My earliest memories of Page Wilson go back to when he was singing in the basement at Sam Miller's, sometime in the mid-70s. In those days I managed the Biograph Theatre and occasionally promoted live music events.
At times, over the years, we worked together or had mutual interests. A born promoter, Page was always a good man to have on your side. He remembered his friends and he was a tireless supporter of Richmond's music scene.
Already I've heard from a couple of old pals who said they had asked Page to sing "Amazing Grace" when they cashed in their chips. Now I suppose they, and the rest of us, will be singing it at his sendoff.
My favorite Page Wilson moment: At the Biograph's 30th anniversary party at Poe's Pub (Feb. of 2002), Page performed, as did the Taters and Used Carlotta.
At first I was a little surprised when Page volunteered to lead off the show. But he knew exactly how he wanted to start the party. After eulogizing the long-dead theater (1972-87) for the ears of a crowd that had gathered to remember it fondly, without accompaniment, Page sang a slow version of "This Land is Your Land." His tender rendition of the Woody Guthrie classic was a far cry from most of his suitable-for-a-saloon material. Page made it sound like a sweet hymn at a memorial service.
In recent years it was difficult to watch as Page struggled with bad luck and bad health. He was a proud man and could be stubborn. As he had always been an independent's independent, Page had nothing to fall back on but a little help from his friends.
Now Page's tribulations are over. They will become a footnote to the larger story of his generous, self-styled way of doing everything. Don't bother waiting for the next booming-voiced Page Wilson. There won't be another one coming along any time soon. Page wasn't imitating anyone ... he was one of a kind.
- Shortly after 6 p.m. on Wed., Mar. 16, a spontaneous gathering at Bellytimber took place. It's a relatively new bar in the same building that housed the Tex-Wisc Border Café ... in another millennium. Lots of familiar faces. Old faces. Good faces. We drank to Page. Stories were told. Then, naturally, we hoisted another one to Page.
- Click here to read the bio material on Page Wilson and Reckless Abandon at Page's web site.
- Click here to see Plan 9's Page Wilson Remembered page.
- Click here to read and hear "WCVE Public Radio Mourns Passing of Page Wilson." Don't miss the comments section.
- Now I'm told Page was born on Feb. 12, 1954, which would have made him 57 when he died.
- Click here to read "Amazing Grace" at STYLE Weekly.
- Click here to read about a May 8th memorial show at the Canal Club, being put together by some of Page's friends. The talent lineup already includes: Janet Martin, Susan Greenbaum, the Taters, Terry Garland and His Small Band, the Reckless Abandon Boys, plus Lil Ronnie and the Grand Dukes.
- Sat., Mar. 26, at Page's usual time-slot on WCVE (88.9 FM), 8 p.m., a tribute to him will air. Live music by some of Page's friends will be featured.
- Click here to see/hear a Christian Children's Fund public service announcement (produced by Burford Advertising) that features Page singing "Amazing Grace."