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Remembering a Local Guitar Hero

March 30, 2007 - Jim Price

This coming Monday, April 2, will mark the second anniversary of the passing of one of the best guitar players to ever grace Altoona area live music stages.  Jeff Wallack passed away suddenly on April 2, 2005, from an apparent brain aneurysm.  He was 40. 

Jeff made his mark on the Altoona area music scene in the 1980’s and 90’s, as a member of 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 became known as one of this area’s top shredders, and his fast fingers on the guitar strings made more than a few jaws drop to the floor during the years that he played on area stages.  

This Saturday night, March 31, Jeff Wallack will be remembered during a special show at Aldo’s Place in Juniata.  The Jeff Wallack Tribute Show will feature performances from the bands Half Tempted and The Flame Sky (with Jeff’s former bandmate in Rapid Fire and Shattered China, Steve Oswalt, singing lead).  In addition, there will be a number of special collaborations throughout the evening featuring many of Jeff’s former bandmates and contemporaries, doing many of the songs Jeff used to play.  There will likely be appearances from area musicians not often seen on stage any more, such as Troy and Jody Earnest, John Scarfone, Joe George, Doug Tussey, and others.  And there will also be a number of younger musicians who Jeff influenced and impacted, both onstage and during the years that he worked for Jarrett’s Music in Altoona.    

It promises to be a night of good hard-hitting guitar rock and memories.  And it’s for a good cause as well, as all proceeds from the evening will be donated to the Altoona Food Bank; because, according to Jeff’s mother, he loved to eat, and enjoyed helping the less fortunate. 

Aldo’s is located at 623 4th Avenue in Juniata.  For more information, call 943-9907.

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