Wayne "Lightning Red" Bak

We've received word from Deborah Vanko that her husband Lightning Red has passed away; she has graciously provided us with the following obituary. The Austin Blues Society is saddened by the passing of such a steadfast blues performer, and we extend our sympathies to Deborah and her family for this loss.

Lightning Red (Wayne Bak), musical artist, died July 6th at the age of 67 of heart problems and prostate cancer.

He was a blues artist who performed nationally and internationally, touring England, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Scandinavia, Croatia, Germany, Holland, and Australia. He played electric guitar, was a song writer, sang and fronted his own band for 50 years.

He recorded 8 albums of original music. His entire life was shaped by an insatiable passion for the blues. It’s all he ever played. He is considered a great blues artist by many across the world.

Red and his wife came to Austin in 1977 from the Chicago area. After living out-of-state for 8 years, they returned back home to Austin in December 2015.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Deborah Vanko, a sister, Janice Brennan of Illinois, a sister Joan Bakalar and her daughter, Stacey of New Zealand.

Please go to his website lightningred.com to hear his music and learn more about him. His website has a wonderful, full history of of his life.

A Celebration of his Life will be held at his home on July 24th.