Born in 1949, the Montreal native picked up his first guitar at age 6 with dreams of making it big like his idol Elvis. He graduated from playing in a number of highschool bands to replacing Amos Garrett in The Great Speckled Bird with Ian & Sylvia Tyson on his 21st birthday. Gaining a lot of TV exposure on the duo’s weeekly CBC program, that gig lasted 3 years and 2 records before he got restless and ventured out on his own, forming a short-lived group called The Teddybears.
After that short stint, he decided to go solo andhoned his craft for the next few years travelling the circuit and developing his own blues-rock mix. He released his independent debut OUT OF THE WOODS in 1977. His frantic fret-work and husky voice delivering humour-laden lyrics would become his trademarks, evidenced by the soon-to-be-party classics “That Hypnotizin’ Boogie”, “Do The Bearcat” and “Hot Hot Papa”. If that was Wilcox in full-throttle, tracks like “Do The Bearcat” and “Bad Apple” were his second gear. Unhappy with the way he was perceived and with sales, it was over 5 years before his return.
He was signed to Capitol Records in 1982 and the next year they re-released OUT OF THE WOODS while he was in the studio. With a proper push from a large label, the album eventually went gold. His follow-up came out shortly there-after – MY EYES KEEP ME IN TROUBLE. Unambitious and assuming, it featured the return of Sadia as producer. More of the faster than a jack-rabbit on speed guitar work was on display – especially on cuts like “Mow ‘Em Down”, only slowing slightly on “Riverboat Fantasy”, the title-track and “Too Cool”. Quoting briefly from “In the Mood” on “Downtown Came Uptown” is about the only time he ventures from the comfort of his blues-tinged rock territory. His second straight gold record, the album cover – featuring a smirking Wilcox blowing a joint pretty much summed up his attitude towards music and life in general. Another series of tours ensued – the club scene a perfect fit for his raunchy brand of blues.
BAD REPUTATION hit the stores in ’84 and served up another healthy dose of what Wilcox was slowly but surely gaining a name for. The title-track, “Boogie Ride” and “Brain Fever” were offset by the almost-melodic “Play On Your Harp” and “Preachin’ The Blues”. The formula was still working – earning him his third straight gold record.
His first ‘best of’ package, simply titled THE BEST OF DAVID WILCOX was released early the next year. Along with the new tracks “Blood Money” and “When You Mistreat Her” it nicely summed up the career thus far of one of Canada’s most prolific artists who was carving out a niche all his own.
Capitol released a second greatest hits package in ’87 as part of their OVER SIXTY MINUTES series while Wilcox was in the studios preparing for his next project. BREAKFAST AT THE CIRCUS was cut later that year. “Layin’ Pipe”, the title-track, “Fire In My Bones”, “Push Push Push” and “Invisible Shield” all featured Wilcox serving up another healthy dose of his patented boogie-rock. More tours ensued and he returned with 1989’s THE NATURAL EDGE. The title-track was one of 11 tracks which laid to rest any fears that Wilcox knew how to serve up anything but a full plate of sped-up boogie tunes that you couldn’t help but tap your toes to. Other noteable cuts included “Ivory Tower”, “Pop Out World” and the lead off track “Still Life”.
Wilcox pretty much dropped out of sight for the next few years until a 3 CD boxset was released as THE COLLECTED WORKS – 1977 -1993. With 2 albums on each disc, the collection consisted of the first 5 studio records as well as live performances of “Trip Out Tonight” and “That Hypnotizin’ Boogie”, the two songs previously only available on the two greatest hits discs & 5 unreleased tracks.
He returned with THIRTEEN SONGS in the summer of ’96. More of the usual, it featured twelve blues/boogie tracks which varied in speed from fast to really fast, but with more of a sense of maturity than before. Noteable about the record was it was the first time Wilcox handled the production himself, and the songs “Rainy Night Saloon”, “God Is On A Bender” and the lead off track “Crazy Blue”.
Unhappy with album sales, Captiol released Wilcox from their stable. As a going-away present they issued GREATEST HITS TOO in 1997. Following Wilcox’s formula for such ventures – it contained the major hits as well as some unreleased tracks. After landing a deal with Stony Plain Records out of Edmonton, it wasn’t until 2002 that he made his return, with the highly anticipated RHYTHM OF LOVE. A definite sense of growth and maturity had filtered into his foray of high-energy blues. “Play That Guitar Rag”, “Easy Like Rain” and the traditional “Rattlesnakin’ Daddy” all let the world know David Wilcox was not only back – but better than ever. Another greatest hits package was released in 2003. ROCKIN’ THE BOOGIE – BEST BOOGIE AND BLUES contained 15 tracks which spanned his quarter-century on the scene.