Welcome home fans, to the Official Unofficial Jimmy Wilgus repository of everything Jimmy. Make this a place to gather, create, share, and inspire others to contribute their memoirs of Jimmy. Come together and share your thoughts. He may be really far away, but his songs and lyrics are right here, like a turtle in its shell. "Slap the reaper in the face."
In March 2019 the Federal Penitentiary System in Russia reported a total prisoner population of 558,778. Jimmy is in a Labor Camp in the Republic of Mordovia, about 500 miles outside of Moscow. The arrangements are like military barracks, except with a lot of barbed wire fencing. There are about 18 buildings at this Camp. The interior is open and about 60 prisoners sleep inside. Jimmy makes friends easily and gets along with all of them, teaching English and learning a few Russian phrases. He is good friends with an American prisoner, Tom Stwalley, who is imprisoned on charges of growing marijuana in his Moscow apartment. Tom is a jazz musician/singer and they share a lot of music stories.
As of August 1, 2020, Jimmy submitted a request for a Prisoner Transfer from Russia to the US. His request with the US Dept. of Justice has been approved and Russia has been so notified. His application with the Russian Ministry of Justice was submitted in January 2018 and we are waiting for their decision .
Sept. 5, 2020: Jimmy made a surprise phone call to his parents on Sept. 4. His cellmate Tom was physically attacked by a Russian inmate who was younger and stronger. Tom was immediately removed but not the assailant. Jimmy was at the factory at the time and received a call to report to the office. When he arrived, he and Tom were detained there for more than 7 hours, after which they were ushered to a confinement cell and remained there for 7 days.
Jimmy could not get an explanation as to why he was being held in solitary confinement when he had nothing to do with the altercation. When they were released a week later, they were asked to sign a paper confessing they were "held in confinement because they had broken prison rules". The statement was in Russian so the interpreter told them what they were signing and if they didn't sign this document they could not go back to their regular cell.
When they were returned to their regular cell, the Russian attacker was still there and was never punished. Jimmy was told by another prisoner that the Russian prisoners were encouraged by the Commandant to fight with the Americans, to get them in trouble. The Russians would not be punished.so long as witnesses confirmed the American started the fight. In this case, Tom was in the cell with a couple of Russian prisoners while Jimmy was working at the factory.
Jimmy claims he and Tom, the only Americans in building 17, get along very well with the guards. As a matter of fact, as soon as Jimmy returned to his cell, a guard called to invite him to use the office phone, which he did to call his wife and parents. The guards told Jimmy that the Commandant at this Labor Camp does not believe in pardons for Americans and, with multiple charges of violations, he can extend Jimmy's sentence beyond 12.5 years.
It appears that the Commandant at this Labor Camp has a vendetta against Americans and has charged Jimmy with several violations which Jimmy claims are false. Jimmy has requested that somebody do something to get him transferred to another prison near Moscow. His wife Elena has located such a prison and his parents are asking the US Department of State to insist that he be transferred to the prison closer to Moscow where he can be safer and monitored more often by the American Citizen Services, a branch of the US Embassy in Moscow.
Jimmy has also requested that his fellow American, Thomas Swalley, be included in a transfer. His parents are working on this option, as well as his transfer to a US Federal Penitentiary for a retrial. We’ll keep you posted.
Piano / Synthesizers
Stage Presence / Personality
Composer, Vocalist, Drummer, Pianist, Performer, Recording Artist, Producer, Engineer
After being introduced to a piano by his mother at 4 years old, Jimmy Wilgus taught himself piano as a child and studied drums at the age of 12 with jazz legend Joe Morello. He began writing and recording songs on his 4 track tape player when he was still in high school. By the time he was 16 he was studying vocals with Marty Lawrence of Manhattan. Armed with a trained voice and prolific songwriting talent, Jimmy began recording at professional studios including the Power Station, Skyline Studios, Sorcerer Sound, Water Music, Waterfront, Trax East, Mixolidian, Brielle Music, and Boulevard Music. His song “Colorblind” won the Billboard song writing contest and he’s received honorable mention certificates for “Living in a Bad Dream”, “Where Have You Been?” and several other songs.
Jimmy’s music caught the ear of video director, Chuck Fishbein, Crazy Duck Productions, who made videos of Jimmy and won an award for producing the video for the Jimmy Wilgus classic, “Rock and Roll People”.
At the age of 18, Jimmy took his music out of the studio and into the NY club scene with his 5-6 piece band “Jimmy Wilgus & the People”. Jimmy added 4/5 very talented musicians since quality of music was the focus.
He’s played in such venues as Club Bene, The Count Basie Theater, The Morristown Community theater, NJ Performing Arts Center and The Tito Puente Amphitheater in Puerto Rico, as well as local favorites in NYC such as The Bitter End, CBGB’s and The China Club.
“Jimmy Wilgus and The People” were recognized as one of the Best Unsigned Bands in the country by Musician Magazine back in the 90’s.
In addition to his own band, Jimmy has toured with several groups. Most notably as playing keyboards for the Joe Bergamini progressive rock band, 4-FRONT, who opened for such artists as Kansas, Marillion, The Spin Doctors and Saga. He also played drums for New York songstress NICOLA.
Jimmy also studied culinary arts at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, earned a degree as Chef and received a special award for creating a practical children’s menu in gourmet dining.
In 2000 Jimmy had a recording facility called THE DEN in Denville, NJ. There he produced or recorded hundreds of artists of all genres of music, including the following:
9 CIRCLES, NICOLA, HEERNT, FRIDAY’S CHILD, CHRIS RICH, NORWAY, MICHAEL KAPLAN, THE FAKERS, ROB CHIOSSI and ATHENIA.
He’s written and recorded music for several television and radio commercials here in the USA, including Rolling Rock Beer, Sprint Communications, Pearle Vision, NBC News, CUBIES reusable ice cubes and the YMCA, as well as several products in Russia.
If you have the chance, you must see a short film written, directed and filmed by Jimmy entitled, THE DIRECTORS CUT, featuring Indians Rich. Jimmy also acted in the movie.
Jimmy has taken the time to teach music to young children at the Valley Music Center in Long Valley, NJ. He also gave private lesson in drumming, piano, keyboard and vocals.
With 20 years of professional experience in all facets of music, Jimmy formed the band WICKED MONKEY with Russian guitarist Yury Nikolaev. With WICKED MONKEY, Jimmy has toured Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, as the front man. He learned the lyrics to a popular Russian folk song which brought the house down at concerts in Russia.
Most recently Jimmy has scored several films for Russian director Vitaly Pavlov and was asked to compose all the theme’s and incidental music for the 2013 Pacific Meridian Film Festival in Vladivostok, Russia, where he was honored for his work.
In 2014, Jimmy traveled to Moscow to perform concerts, singing a duet with Svitlana Bolbot. There he met Elena, married her in May 2014 and decided to live in Moscow. He was giving drum lessons to adult Russian musicians and young beginners. He became partners with Russian investors and musicians to set up a new, state-of-the-art recording and production studio. There he wrote many themes for a documentary recognizing the night during World War II when the Germans & Russians put down their weapons for one New Year’s night to socialize together. While working on these side projects, Jimmy was constantly working with Vitaly Pavlov scripting music for motion pictures, a TV series, and video commercials. He appeared many times on TV in concerts, did TV interviews and gave Master Classes at major music stores in Moscow.
In the meantime, one of Jimmy’s fans has created a website for fans to listen to his music and send comments. Feel free to visit therewasnosunset.com for more about Jimmy as a creative artist.
Jimmy will be back! Stay tuned!
What's Up with Jimmy
Livin' in a Bad Dream.
In November 2016, Jimmy was arrested in Moscow, Russia & charged with false accusations. His case was sabotaged by his Russian lawyer who sided with the prosecutor and he was sentenced to 12.5 years in a labor camp in Moldova, Russia. His case was brought to the attention of the US Dept. Of Justice, and after reviewing his case, they have filed a formal request with the Russian Minister of Justice to have him extradited as soon as possible.
Jimmy is okay for now. He's lost a lot of weight resulting from a diet of borscht soup and wheat pancakes. He is making the best of a horrible situation as the result of false charges. If you've got something to say that's positive, write a note and we'll make sure that he gets it!