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In Memory of Jeff...

April 4, 2008 - Jim Price
This Saturday night, April 5, members of the area music scene will again come together to celebrate the memory of one of Altoona’s most talented guitar players, Jeff Wallack.  Jeff’s life was cut short by an apparent brain aneurysm on April 2, 2005 at the age of 40.

Jeff’s guitar abilities amazed area audiences in the 80’s and 90’s, when he played with such bands as the Tom Brunner Group, Rapid Fire, Shattered China and Dash Riprock.  He was a big fan of the harder guitar rock of the 70’s and 80’s, and sharpened his chops by playing the music of names such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, UFO, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Yngwie Malmsteen and others.  He inspired a lot of musicians and future guitar players; not only with his dazzling talents, but as a longtime salesperson at Jarrett’s Music in Altoona, where he was always eager to share his guitar knowledge with other musicians and help beginners find their first guitars and get started on the right foot.

This Saturday night, the annual Jeff Wallack Tribute Show will take place at Aldo’s in Juniata, with proceeds from the evening benefiting the St. Vincent DePaul Food Kitchen.  A number of Jeff’s former bandmates and contemporaries will be taking the stage, performing in their own current projects, and in special collaborations to celebrate the music that Jeff loved to perform.  Felix & the Hurricanes (featuring Jeff’s former Rapid Fire/Dash Riprock bandmate Bob Watters on drums), Half Tempted and The Flame Sky will all perform.  Various guests will be stepping on stage along the way, including singer Steve Oswalt and bassist Joe George, both former bandmates of Jeff’s in Rapid Fire and Shattered China, and many more.

Besides many expected musical highlights throughout the evening, stories about Jeff will be swapped, and memories will be shared.  Those who knew Jeff will celebrate his memory, and those who never got to meet or see him will come away with a better appreciation of who he was and what he meant to this area’s music scene.  There will be a lot of love in the room.  And it will help out the St. Vincent DePaul Food Kitchen because, as his mother said before last year’s tribute show, Jeff loved to eat, and to help out others.

The show will start at 10 PM.  Aldo’s is located at 623 4th Ave. in Juniata.  For more information, call 943-9907.

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Jeff Wallack, during a Rapid Fire show at Sebastiano's in Altoona on Aug. 11, 1989.


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