Musician Spotlight: Van Wilks

Sep 2, 2022

Born in Galveston, TX, Van Wilks began playing guitar at a young age as a youthful refuge while his family constantly moved around Texas. Influenced heavily by the British Invasion, Wilks began to hone in on his sound early on. He moved to Austin in the early 70s, a time when the guitar was defined by volume and power. Combining previous influences and his own style, Wilks brought his guitar muscle and class to the people of Austin through his popular band, Fools.

Since his first release, Van Wilks has built an illustrious career that includes six solo albums, one live album, and multiple globe-spanning tours with acts such as ZZ Top, Heart, Van Halen, Journey, Aerosmith, and countless others. His career has led him on a scorched earth path from Texas to Moscow, the Virgin Islands to India, and everywhere in between. Throughout the years, Wilks has acquired an impressive trophy collection, winning multiple Austin Music Awards, being voted best electric and acoustic guitarist in the Austin Chronicle Readers Poll, and being inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame.

We sat down with Van to discuss how he got started playing music, what brought him to MTF, and what’s to come for the remainder of 2022.


How did you get your musical start? What inspired you to start playing music in the first place?
Like most Texas teens in the ‘60’s, I was inspired by the Beatles and the English Invasion. From there I studied where they got their music and discovered it was mostly from American artists.  I was hooked and still am!

Who are some of your musical inspirations?
Most American Blues Players. Billy Gibbons, Early Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jimi Hendrix, and Joni Mitchell. It’s endless! I’m a fan!

What was the injury that first brought you into contact with MTF? How did it impact your ability to play music?
Pain in the fingers from arthritis and many years of overuse. I’ve had to adapt to playing certain chords and styles in an alternate way due to finger pain, and specifically, thumb pain.

What was your experience like receiving treatment through MTF? How long did it take for you to be able to play again?
MTF and Dr. Barron have been amazing! He truly understands the issues and how frustrating it can be to the artist. I’ve never had to stop playing. The treatment is making it possible to continue working with less pain.

What do you have going on for the rest of the year?
We play regularly in Austin and always spread the word about MTF! Check out upcoming dates on my website – would love to see y’all out there!

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