Tommy Bolin

Last updated

Tommy Bolin
Tommy Bolin with a Yamaha SX.jpg
Bolin in 1975
Background information
Birth nameThomas Richard Bolin
Born(1951-08-01)August 1, 1951
Sioux City, Iowa, U.S.
DiedDecember 4, 1976(1976-12-04) (aged 25)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion, blues rock, funk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar
Years active1966–1976
Labels Columbia
Associated acts Zephyr, Billy Cobham, James Gang, Deep Purple, Moxy, Alphonse Mouzon, Energy, A Patch of Blue
Website Official website

Thomas Richard Bolin (August 1, 1951 – December 4, 1976) was an American guitarist and songwriter who played with Zephyr (from 1969 to 1971), The James Gang (from 1973 to 1974), and Deep Purple (from 1975 to 1976), in addition to maintaining a notable career as a solo artist and session musician.

Contents

Musical career

Early years

Tommy Bolin was born in Sioux City, Iowa, United States, and began playing with a band called The Miserlous before he was asked to join another band called Denny and The Triumphs, in 1964 aged thirteen. The band included Dave Stokes on lead vocals, Brad Miller on guitar and vocals, Bolin on lead guitar, Steve Bridenbaugh on organ and vocals and finally Denny Foote on bass & Brad Larvick on drums. They played a blend of rock and roll, R&B and the pop hits of the moment, and when bassist Denny Foote left the band to be replaced by the drummer's brother George Larvick Jr, they changed their name and became A Patch of Blue. An album was released in 1969, Patch of Blue Live! from two 1967 concerts in Correctionville, Iowa and in Sioux City. In 1969, the band was inducted in the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Bolin moved to Boulder, Colorado, in his late teens and then played in a band called American Standard (with future songwriting collaborator Jeff Cook) before joining Ethereal Zephyr, a band named after a train that ran between Denver and Chicago. When record companies became interested, the name was shortened to Zephyr. This band included Bolin on lead guitar, David Givens on bass, and Givens' wife Candy Givens on vocals. The band had begun to do larger venues, opening for more established acts such as Led Zeppelin. Their second album, entitled Going Back to Colorado, featured a new drummer, Bobby Berge, who would pop up from time to time in musician credits in album liner notes from Bolin's later projects.

In 1972, the 20-year old Bolin formed the fusion jazz-rock-blues band Energy. Unable to secure a record contract, the band never released an album during Bolin's lifetime. However, several recordings have been released posthumously. Bolin briefly reunited with David and Candy Givens in a band called the 4-Nikators, after which he took nearly a year off from music. During this time, he wrote close to a hundred songs. [1]

James Gang and Billy Cobham

Stuck between the musical direction he wanted to pursue and a nearly-empty bank account, 1973 found Bolin replacing Domenic Troiano, who had replaced Joe Walsh, in the James Gang. [2] He recorded two James Gang records: Bang in 1973 and Miami in 1974. [2] Bolin wrote or co-wrote all but one song on these two albums.

In between the two James Gang albums, Bolin played on Mahavishnu Orchestra member Billy Cobham's solo album Spectrum , which included Bolin on guitar, Cobham on drums, Leland Sklar on bass and Jan Hammer (also of Mahavishnu Orchestra) on keyboards and synthesizers.

After the Miami tour, Bolin wanted out of the James Gang. He went on to do session work for numerous rock bands and also with a number of jazz artists including Alphonse Mouzon's album Mind Transplant , [2] considered "easily one of the best fusion recordings of all time" by AllMusic reviewer Robert Taylor. He also toured with Carmine Appice and The Good Rats. At the start of 1975, Bolin was a guest studio guitarist for Canadian band Moxy during the recording of their debut album, on which Bolin contributed guitar solos for six songs.

First solo album and Deep Purple

Later in 1975, Bolin signed with Nemperor records to record a solo album. Bolin was encouraged and coached by The Beach Boys to do his own vocals on this album as well. Session players on this record included David Foster, David Sanborn, Jan Hammer, Stanley Sheldon, Jeff Porcaro, Phil Collins and Glenn Hughes (uncredited due to contractual reasons). During the recording of this album, he was contacted by Deep Purple.

After Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple, the band had a meeting and discussed whether to disband or try to find a replacement, and chose the latter option. David Coverdale had been listening to the Billy Cobham LP Spectrum, on which Bolin was lead guitarist for four songs. He decided he wanted Bolin in Deep Purple, and invited him over for a jam. He jammed with the band for four hours and the job was his. The band then relocated to Munich, Germany, to begin work on Come Taste the Band . Bolin wrote or co-wrote seven of the record's nine tracks, including the instrumental "Owed to G," which was a tribute to George Gershwin. [2] Come Taste the Band was released in October 1975, and Australian, Japanese and US tours ensued. Bolin's solo album Teaser was released in November, but his obligations to Deep Purple meant he could not support his own album with a tour.

"A very sad stigma that followed Tommy joining these groups (James Gang, Deep Purple) was the fact that he was always a replacement. It was very hard for him to be on stage and hear, "Joe Walsh!" or "Where"s Ritchie?" This is what haunted him during the English tour, was ‘Where’s Ritchie?’... you know, booed off the stage. He played terribly, he was just so unhappy to be responded to like this. The reception was miserable, so his attitude was miserable."

— Karen Ulibarri-Hughes, Bolin's long-time girlfriend. [3]

While the Come Taste the Band album sold moderately well and revitalized Deep Purple for a time, the concert tours had many low points. Audiences expected Bolin to play solos that sounded like Blackmore's, but the guitarists' styles were very different. Bolin's issues with hard drugs plus fellow band member Glenn Hughes' cocaine addiction, also led to several below-par concert performances. [4] One such concert in Tokyo came after Bolin had passed out and fell asleep on his left arm for eight hours. At showtime, he was only able to play simple chords in a bar fashion, with keyboardist Jon Lord having to play many of the guitar parts on the organ. Unfortunately, this concert was recorded for a live album called Last Concert in Japan . Despite pleas by band members to not release the album, it came out in Japan and found its way into the UK and the US. [5] A better concert recording by this Deep Purple lineup was made in Long Beach, California in early 1976, and released in 1995 as King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Deep Purple in Concert .

The Tommy Bolin Band and second solo album

After Deep Purple disbanded in March 1976, Bolin was free to form the Tommy Bolin Band and he hit the road while making plans for a second solo album. The Tommy Bolin Band had a rotating cast of players which included Narada Michael Walden, Mark Stein, Norma Jean Bell, Reggie McBride, Jimmy Haslip, Max Carl Gronenthal and eventually Bolin's younger brother Johnnie Bolin on drums.

By mid-1976, CBS Records signed Bolin and he began to record Private Eyes , his second and last solo record, in June. The album was released in September, and a supporting tour ensued. [2]

Death

Bolin's tour for Private Eyes would be his final live appearances. He opened for Peter Frampton and Jeff Beck. In his final show, he opened for Beck on December 3, 1976 in Miami, and encored with a rendition of "Post Toastee." He also posed for his last photo, sitting backstage with Jeff Beck after the show, which appeared in Rolling Stone. [6] The article in Rolling Stone stated, "Just before Bolin's final concert, Jon Marlowe of The Miami News, after an interview with the guitarist, told him, 'Take care of yourself,' to which Tommy replied, 'I've been taking care of myself my whole life. Don't worry about me. I'm going to be around for a long time.'" (Issue No. 230; page 14). Hours later, Bolin died from an overdose of heroin and other substances, including alcohol, cocaine and barbiturates. [7] [8] He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Sioux City, Iowa. [9]

Personal life

He was the first child in the family of Richard Bolin and Barbara Joseph. [10] Bolin's father Richard was of Swedish descent and his mother Barbara was the daughter of Lebanese immigrants from Ferzol, Lebanon. [11] [12] His maternal grandfather Abraham "Abe" Joseph was a recording musician in Lebanon before immigrating to the USA. [12] The Bolin estate has about 15 records of his grandfather in the safe vault. [12] He had two younger brothers named Johnnie (drummer with Black Oak Arkansas) and Rick (a singer).

In a 1975 article, Bolin called himself an entirely self-taught guitarist who plays by ear, stating, "I only ever had four lessons. I don’t know any scales at all. I know what to play, but don’t know any scales because I never bothered to learn any." [13]

Tributes

In 2008, a book titled Touched By Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story by author Greg Prato was released, which featured all-new interviews with former bandmates, family members, and friends of Bolin, which recounted his entire life story. [14] The same year, a photo of Bolin was used for the front cover for the book Gettin' Tighter: Deep Purple '68–'76, by author Martin Popoff. [15]

In 2010, several well-known artists gathered to create a tribute album titled Mister Bolin's Late Night Revival, a compilation of 17 previously unreleased tracks written by the guitar legend. The CD includes works by HiFi Superstar, Doogie White, Eric Martin, Troy Luccketta, Jeff Pilson, Randy Jackson, Rex Carroll, Rachel Barton, Derek St. Holmes, Kimberley Dahme, and The 77s. A percentage of the proceeds from this project will benefit the Jackson Recovery Centers. [16]

Producer Greg Hampton (who has previously worked on such archival Bolin releases as Whips and Roses ) co-produced (with Gov't Mule leader Warren Haynes) a tribute to Bolin, Tommy Bolin and Friends: Great Gypsy Soul , which was released in 2012, and featured contributions from Brad Whitford, Nels Cline, John Scofield, Myles Kennedy, Derek Trucks, Steve Morse, and Peter Frampton, among many others. [17]

Discography

YearRecordedArtistAlbumNotes
19691969 Zephyr Zephyr Studio
19711971Zephyr Going Back to Colorado Studio
19731973 James Gang Bang Studio
19731973 Billy Cobham Spectrum Studio
19741974James Gang Miami Studio
19751974 Alphonse Mouzon Mind Transplant Studio
19751975 Moxy Moxy Studio; guitar solos (6 tracks)
19751975 Deep Purple Come Taste the Band Studio
1975
2011
1975Tommy Bolin Teaser
Teaser Deluxe
Studio
Remix
19761976Tommy Bolin Private Eyes Studio
1977
2001
1975 Deep Purple Last Concert in Japan
This Time Around: Live in Tokyo
Live
Remixed & Expanded
1995
2000
2009
1976Deep Purple King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Deep Purple in Concert / On the Wings of a Russian Foxbat
Deep Purple: Extended Versions
Live at Long Beach 1976
Live

Remastered
1989compilationTommy BolinThe Ultimate: The Best of Tommy BolinGreatest Hits
1996compilationTommy BolinFrom the Archives, Vol. 1Outtakes
19971973ZephyrZephyr Live At Art's Bar And Grill, May 2, 1973Live
19971974Tommy Bolin & FriendsLive at Ebbets Field 1974Live
19971976Tommy Bolin1976: In His Own WordsInterview
19971976Tommy Bolin BandLive at Ebbets Field 1976Live
19971976Tommy Bolin BandLive at Northern Lights Recording Studio, Maynard, MALive
1997compilationTommy BolinThe Bottom Shelf, Volume 1Outtakes
1997compilationTommy BolinFrom the Archives, Vol. 2Outtakes
19981972EnergyThe Energy Radio Broadcasts 1972Live
19991967Patch of BluePatch of Blue Live!Live
19991972EnergyEnergyUnreleased Studio album
19991974Alphonse MouzonTommy Bolin & Alphonse Mouzon Fusion JamJam Sessions
1999compilationTommy BolinCome Taste the ManOuttakes
1999compilationTommy BolinSnapshotOuttakes
20001975Deep Purple Days May Come and Days May Go – The California Rehearsals: June 1975 and 1420 Beachwood Drive: The 1975 Rehearsals, Volume 2 Jam Sessions
20001976Tommy Bolin BandFirst Time LiveLive
2000compilationTommy BolinNakedOuttakes
20011976Tommy Bolin BandLive 9/19/76Live
20021973Billy CobhamLove Child: The Spectrum SessionsJam Sessions
20021976Tommy Bolin BandLive in Miami at Jai Alai: The Final ShowLive
2002compilationTommy BolinNaked IIOuttakes
2002compilationTommy BolinAfter Hours: The Glen Holly Jams, Volume 1Jam sessions
20031972EnergyLive at Tulagi in Boulder and Rooftop Ballroom in Sioux City, December 1972Live
20031976Tommy Bolin BandAlive on Long IslandLive
2004compilationBilly CobhamRudiments: The Billy Cobham Anthologygreatest Hts
20051976Tommy Bolin BandAlbany NY, September 20, 1976Live
20051976Tommy Bolin BandLive at the Jet BarLive
20051972EnergyEnergyDisc 1: Energy studio CD; Disc 2: Live at Tulagi and Rooftop Ballroom
20061975Tommy Bolin Whips and Roses Teaser outtakes
20061975Tommy BolinWhips and Roses IITeaser outtakes
2008compilationTommy BolinThe Ultimate ReduxGreatest Hits & Outtakes
20111975-1976Deep Purple Phoenix Rising CD: 1975/1976 tour live album; DVD: Documentary and Rises Over Japan
2013compilationTommy BolinWhirlwindOuttakes
20141973-1976Tommy BolinCaptured Raw Jams, Vol. 1Jam Sessions

Tribute albums

Related Research Articles

Deep Purple English rock band

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford, Hertfordshire, in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach has changed over the years. Originally formed as a psychedelic rock and progressive rock band, they shifted to a heavier sound with their 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early- to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

Glenn Hughes (musician) British bassist and singer

Glenn Hughes is an English bassist and singer, best known for playing bass and performing vocals in funk rock band Trapeze and in the Mk. III and IV line-ups of Deep Purple, as well as briefly fronting Black Sabbath in the mid-1980s. He is known by fans as "The Voice of Rock" due to his soulful and wide-ranging singing voice.

David Coverdale English rock singer-songwriter

David Coverdale is an English rock singer-songwriter best known for his work with Whitesnake, a hard rock band he founded in 1978. Before Whitesnake, Coverdale was the lead singer of Deep Purple from 1973 to 1976, after which he established his solo career. A collaboration with Jimmy Page resulted in a 1993 album that was certified Platinum. In 2016, Coverdale was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple, giving one of the band's induction speeches. Coverdale is known in particular for his powerful blues-tinged voice.

James Gang American rock band

The James Gang was an American rock band formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1966. The band went through a variety of line-up changes until they recorded their first album as a power trio consisting of Joe Walsh, Tom Kriss (bass) and Jim Fox (drums). Dale Peters replaced Kriss on bass for the band's second and third albums. The band had two hit songs, "Funk #49" and "Walk Away", which continue to be popular on classic rock and AOR stations. In 1972, Walsh left to pursue a solo career and would later join the Eagles. The band continued on with a variety of other guitarists and lead singers to replace Walsh, but failed to produce a hit song over the course of six more studio albums and broke up in 1977. Various incarnations have reformed for several reunions since then.

Black Oak Arkansas Musical artist

Black Oak Arkansas is an American Southern rock band named after the band's hometown of Black Oak, Arkansas. The band reached the height of its fame in the 1970s with four charting albums released in that decade. Their style is punctuated by multiple guitar players and the raspy voice and on-stage antics of vocalist Jim "Dandy" Mangrum.

Joe Lynn Turner American singer

Joe Lynn Turner is an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, and producer. He is known for his work in the hard rock bands Rainbow, Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Deep Purple. During his career, Turner fronted and played guitar with pop rock band Fandango in the late 1970s; and in the early 1980s, he became a member of Rainbow, fronting the band and writing songs with guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore and bassist, and producer, Roger Glover. After Rainbow had disbanded in March 1984, he pursued a solo career, released one album, Rescue You, and then later did session work, singing background vocals for the likes of Billy Joel, Cher, and Michael Bolton. On the advice of Bolton, Turner began recording jingles for radio and television. Other songs he had composed or through collaboration with songwriters like Desmond Child and Jack Ponti were being recorded and released by international recording artists Jimmy Barnes, Lee Aaron, and Bonfire. Turner had a short-lived association with neoclassical metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen and then Deep Purple. From the mid-1990s, he resumed his solo career, releasing an additional nine studio and two live recordings. Turner did other session work, appearing as lead vocalist on tribute albums and working on projects involving various musical groups including progressive rock band Mother's Army; Bulgarian hard rock band Brazen Abbot; funk rock duo Hughes Turner Project; and classic rock/ progressive rock band Rated X. In 2006, Frontiers Records approached Turner to become involved with the AOR side project Sunstorm. By 2016, four albums under the Sunstorm name had been released. That same year, Turner released The Sessions via Cleopatra Records featuring a veritable who's who of classic rock royalty as guest musicians, before resuming his seemingly constant touring schedule back in Europe.

<i>Come Taste the Band</i> 1975 studio album by Deep Purple

Come Taste The Band is the tenth studio album by the English rock band Deep Purple, originally released in October 1975. It was co-produced and engineered by the band and longtime associate Martin Birch.

Moxy (band) Musical artist

Moxy is a Canadian hard rock and heavy metal band, formed in Toronto, Ontario, in early 1974. They toured Canada before having a hit in late 1975 with "Can't You See I'm A Star". Moxy then toured the United States on the strength of their radio airplay. Markets in which the band was very popular included Ontario, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, and San Antonio. Joe Anthony, "the Godfather of Rock" in San Antonio on KISS-FM was largely responsible for the popularity of the band in south Texas and helped bring about their first headline appearance in the U.S. in 1977, appearing with AC/DC as their opening act.

<i>Last Concert in Japan</i> 1977 live album by Deep Purple

Last Concert in Japan is an album by Deep Purple released in March 1977 in Japan and in 1978 in Europe. Dedicated to Tommy Bolin, it records the last Japanese concert of the Mark IV-lineup that included Bolin. It was recorded on 15 December 1975 at the Tokyo Budokan and achieved gold certification in Japan.

<i>King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Deep Purple in Concert</i> 1995 live album by Deep Purple

King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Deep Purple in Concert is a live album taken from a Deep Purple performance originally broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour, released in July 1995. It contains concert material recorded on 27 February 1976 at Long Beach Arena, Los Angeles, CA featuring the Mark IV line-up with Tommy Bolin.

Ritchie Blackmore British guitarist of the band Deep Purple

Richard Hugh Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter. He was one of the founding members of Deep Purple in 1968, playing jam-style hard rock music that mixed guitar riffs and organ sounds. Blackmore is prolific in creating guitar riffs and is often noted for his classically influenced solos.

<i>Teaser</i> (Tommy Bolin album) 1975 studio album by Tommy Bolin

Teaser is the 1975 debut solo album from American guitarist Tommy Bolin.

<i>Moxy</i> (album) 1975 studio album by Moxy

Moxy, also informally known as The Black Album or Moxy I, is the self-titled debut studio album by the Canadian hard rock and heavy metal band Moxy. Their independently produced album was released in 1975 by Polydor Records in Canada, then under Mercury Records label was reissued in 1976 for worldwide distribution, both labels were owned by PolyGram at the time.

Jock Bartley is an American musician. He is a founding and continuing member of the band Firefall.

Randy Jackson (Zebra) Musical artist

Randy Jackson is an American rock musician from New Orleans, Louisiana, best known for his role as frontman for the band Zebra. He was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. In addition to his career with Zebra, he is a Long Island Music Hall of Fame inductee, a Louisiana Music Hall of Fame inductee, and has toured with Jefferson Airplane and tributes to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Doors.

Phoenix Rising is a combo CD/DVD live album by the Mark IV line-up of Deep Purple, released in May 2011. It includes rare live tracks from Mk IV history, Rises Over Japan, a concert film directed by Tony Klinger, Gettin' Tighter, an 80 minute new music documentary about the band's 1975/1976 tour, and some extras.

Benny Ramos Musical artist

Benny Ramos is a musician and producer from Chicago. He is currently the bassist for King James, the Rex Carroll Band, The Royal Guard, and for Whitecross, which he joined in 2000 for their reunion concert at the Cornerstone Festival and has since toured with internationally.

Rocky Athas Musical artist

Rocky Athas in Texas, is a blues songwriter and guitarist, best known for his work with Black Oak Arkansas, Glenn Hughes, Buddy Miles, Double Trouble and John Mayall.

References

  1. Talevski, Nick (April 7, 2010). Rock Obituaries: Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 43. ISBN   9780857121172 via Google Books.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who's Who of Heavy Metal (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 60/1. ISBN   0-85112-656-1.
  3. "tommy bolin "the ultimate" documentary - part three". YouTube.
  4. "Gettin' Tighter: The Story Of Deep Purple Mk. IV". YouTube . Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  5. "YouTube". YouTube.
  6. Issue No. 230; January 13, 1977; pp 14.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 11, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. "SHOOTING STAR". Angelfire.com. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  9. Strong, Martin Charles (November 12, 2002). The Great Rock Discography. Canongate. ISBN   9781841953120 via Google Books.
  10. "Tommy Bolin (1951-1976)". Findagrave.com.
  11. Barbara Joseph in the 1940 Census in Sioux City, Iowa In the WWII Draft Registration of 1942 in Sioux City it is stated that Abraham "Abe" Joseph was born in Ferzol, Lebanon. Abraham Joseph death certificate of 1964 Information from the National Archives, United States. Scans of oficial acts of Tommy Bollin's maternal grandparents on familysearch.org
  12. 1 2 3 Schwinden, Richard (2015). "Bolin and Mouzon: 1974". Patch.com.
  13. Welch, Chris (October 18, 1975). "Bolin: No Practise Makes Perfect". tommybolin.com. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. "Tommy Bolin Demos, Mister Bolins Late Night Revival Album, Deep Purple, Jackson Recovery Centers, Sioux City, Iowa". Misterbolinslatenightrevival.com. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 1, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Bibliography