Lightning Red (Wayne Bak) musical artist died July 6th at the age of 67 of heart problems and prostate cancer.
He was a blues artist who performed nationally and internationally touring England, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Scandinavia, Croatia, Germany, Holland, and Australia. He played electric guitar, was a song writer, sang and fronted his own band for 50 years.
He recorded 8 albums of original music. His entire life was shaped by an insatiable passion for the blues. It’s all he ever played. He is considered a great blues artist by many across the world.
Red and his wife came to Austin in 1977 from the Chicago area. After living out-of-state for 8 years, they returned back home to Austin in December 2015.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Deborah Vanko, a sister, Janice Brennan of Illinois, a sister Joan Bakalar and her daughter, Stacey of New Zealand.
Please direct all condolences, and other correspondence to Deborah Vanko, beloved wife of Wayne.
Jim was a close friend of mine. I met him through a friend in the late seventies. We last spoke about five weeks ago when he was visiting his 105 year old mother in Ft. Worth. He wanted to visit our new home in Austin, and promised to come by soon.
Several phone calls in the last few weeks went unanswered, and I was getting concerned…
Finding out the news today has left me in shock!
The last time I saw Jim (or “YANAWAY” as we all called him) was in Monterey, California in the spring of last year. He was driving through from his new home on the Columbia River in Washington, on his way back to Austin, and we had a great visit.
Soon afterward, my 8 year battle with cancer took a turn for the worse, and I headed back to Des Moines where my wife was living. Yanaway and I spoke often in the latter half of ‘15 and he lamented the fact that looking after his mother required an increasing amount of time in Ft. Worth, preventing him from getting back to the west coast.
I will miss him IMMENSLY!!! He could tell music biz stories that had me rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off. During my hiatus away from Austin, I’d visit a few times a year, and we always got together.
Yanaway was a great help to me when pursuing music opportunities in Europe, and he has MANY friends and business connections there. I now regret not having interviewed him for my new book about Texas Music History (as I and many of my long time legendary Texan friends have experienced it).
I’ve heard word of a Celebration of His Life to be held at C-Boy’s, possibly on June 18th, and it should be quite an event…
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Once the cobra bit me, I might as well just eat the cobra,” David Lowery [leader of the bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker]
said in a recent interview. “Nothing worse can happen to me.”
“People say, ‘Hey, man, you can’t fight this, we’re moving from ownership to [INTERNET]
access,’ ”Mr. Lowery said. “That’s exactly why I’m fighting it. We have to get it right.
I want to get those [writer's/publishing] rates right.”
Speaking of young musicians like his students at the University of Georgia, he added,
“I want them to have\ the same advantages I’ve had, to get paid fairly.”
The fact is, Fort McMurray [Canadian tar sands field] looks like Hiroshima,
...a wasteland. The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying!
- Neil Young
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!
‘The only true and sustainable prosperity is shared prosperity’
— Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz
AUG 26 - Wierd News of the Day :
Marijuana is not classified as a drug in North Korea,
where smoking it is a popular way for soldiers and
manual laborers to wind down after a long day.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!
Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a
power obtainable at any point of the universe.
Throughout space there is energy. — Nikola Tesla, 1892
I want to thank the audience in KC the other night.
Told ya'll it was going to be fun!
...thanks Willie...lookin forward to playin Kansas City again.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!
"No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government,
our corporations, our media, and our religious & charitable institutions
may become, the music will still be wonderful."
-- Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
International BLUES FAMILY CD Featured in Sweden Internationell festivalblues för internationella bluesfestivaler english translation here
Thunder Blues - live shows creating a buzz:
phone (515) 953-8086
emailwebsitefacebook Barry Norgaard now handling Red's regional booking activities... ,
Tom Wegner is still on drums, Emeal Myles is on bass (with
assistance from Jeff Daniels on B3/keys and guitarist
Keith Petrosky) and Brad Campbell remains a great friend.
Proud to have Chicago's own
Emeal Myles on bass -
Studio sessions in the works
Red performs the Monterey Bay Blues Fest.
June 24...other area performances TBA
The shuffles and grooves from the guitar of Lightning Red
and his raw way of singing the blues, combined with the
moving gospel and blues vocals from LZ Love and the joyous
harp playing of Sonnyboy are creating a unique ‘Blues Family’-sound.
You’d better be there in 2012 when they are coming back to perform several shows in Europe.
...a packed CD with room for diverse styles. This talented band throws itself behind the core duo
doing blues, soul, funk and rock. Most songsfeel vibrant and spontaneous, and a nice live feel is always
there. This CD is hot. Variation is there in many ways, especially in the striking vocal microphone
rotation of Lightnin' Red and LZ Love. Very original .
...I placed the cd in its drawer, jumped around from song to song, and was caught by the
fat sound and variety of this particular group. I was caught by the atmosphere, by the
sound quality and by the natural effort of the musicians.
I had never before heard of this group, but this is of high quality. Very high class!
"The 504 was built specifically for your listening enjoyment
with an outstanding stage along with a superb sound and
light system, and our club is without a doubt the best place
to hear live music in the greater Des Moines area."
Concerts - January
Perth Blues Club
Concerts - February
Wellington Blues Club
Wellington, New Zealand
Guest Appearance with Darren Watson
Wellington, New Zealand
Private House Concert
with Steve Gainsford
Christchurch, New Zealand
the Groovemaster is now available on cdbaby.com to buy, click on this image