The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's most glaring omission


Promo West Pavillion

TWO DAYS, 1000 MILES, AND LINK WRAY - Greg Laxton,

I took this photo the only time I saw Link Wray. The gig was at Promo West Pavillion July 3, 2002 in Columbus Ohio. I left Southern Maryland that day about 5am, got a motel around 2, then headed to the event. I ran into a guy who was in an opening band, and he was amazed I drove so far to a Link Wray gig.
I told him I ran a website on Link (I called it Link Wray's Net Shack at the time). I gave him a card and asked if he could get it to someone in Link's entourage, and how much I'd love to have a few minutes for an interview for the website.

Thinking back, I now regret that move - there was one thing on that card that probably prevented an interview from ever happening. That thing was my address. I lived in Maryland, and Olive wasn't letting anyone from the Maryland - DC area close to Link, regardless if they knew Link or not.
I remember being thrilled and shocked at the same time when I saw Link Wray play.
Thrilled because it was LINK WRAY - my rock and roll hero! Thrilled because I had FINALLY gotten to see him after ALL the gigs in and around the DC area (Richmond, Springfield, Alexandria and Baltimore - I had tickets to them all) were cancelled by Olive.

Shocked because he was skinny as a rail - and he had that "old man shuffle." I guess I expected my rock and roll hero to be like Superman, you know? Someone who never got old I guess.

This was the gig that Atom Ellis speaks about in the BE WILD NOT EVIL article. The one where the band thought they would have to pull the plug. You see, Link had just gotten over a severe illness - rumors are out there his illness came close to killing him. Looking at the pictures I took, I'd tend to agree.
Health wise, he probably should have never been out on the road on that tour. He was not in his best form. I'm thankful he was out there though, because it was the first and only time I ever saw Link Wray. Link's health recovered for a bit and he was in much better form in 2003 before his health declined again in 2005.

The gig started and I was stage left, standing right up front. There was about 20 of us hardcore "Link" people and he spent most of the time playing to us. You see, he was the headliner of a huge 4th of July event at Columbus Ohio, and most of the crowd was just there for the fireworks.
I whipped out my camera, and one of the bouncers told me that "professional" cameras were prohibited (a $75 Kodak camera?!!?). Thankfully, I had purchased one of those $10 disposable cameras and that's what I had to use. Unfortunately about half came out, this photo was one of the best ones. (If they'd have only had iPhones then!)

After the gig I hung around the front of the stage as they were breaking down the equipment. I asked if Link would be signing autographs (like he did all thru the prior tours) and the answer was no. (was it that business card?) I asked the stagehand if Link would sign some LPs (I brought all my covers) and he said he'd ask. So I whipped out some of my rarest stuff, secretly hoping that would encourage Link to do a short meet and greet. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. But he did sign YESTERDAY TODAY, CREAM OF THE CROP and KOZMIC CITY BLUES, the Joey Welz LP he did guitar work on.
Wow. Don't know where all that came from. I just intended to post the picture. If you made it this far, thanks for reading.

Almost forgot, not only did I see Link Wray, I got to strum his guitar too. Boy do I wish I had a picture of THAT!
Link Wray - Columbus OH 2002