Tommy Bolin: A Terrible Loss

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Synchro, Oct 11, 2021 at 2:27 AM.

  1. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Recently, I found myself listening to Tommy Bolin, and realized, as never before, that he was a versatile and immensely talented guitarist. He looked the part of a mid ‘70s rocker, but he had a complex harmonic sense and ventured into Fusion, Soul and Blues. I had been aware of him since the mid ‘70s, but had hardly given him a second thought in the ensuing years. Back in those days, I was a Jazz purist and didn’t give much attention to rockers, but my horizons have widened greatly since then.

    Sadly, Tommy Bolin left us far too soon, at the age of 25. Like so many, especially in that era, drugs and alcohol did him in. It would be easy to pontificate upon the evils of drug abuse, but that would serve no real purpose, at this point. We’ve all seen enough of this to know the score.

    But, sadly, that leaves us with the sad thought; what could have been? Bolin, had played in Zephyr, The James Gang and Deep Purple, but he was also building a solo career and finding real success. To have had such well developed abilities by the age of 25, I can’t help but wonder if he might have gone on to become a household name as his career progressed. From listening to his solo work, I have the impression that he could have brought some real innovation to popular music as it developed through the late ‘70s and into the ‘80s.

    I would definitely recommend giving a listen to Bolin’s solo work.
     
  2. Archtops

    Archtops Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2021
    SoCal
    Thank you for the heads up on Tommy Bolin. I will give him a listen. Wow! 25.. just a kid really.
     
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  3. cowmoo

    cowmoo Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2011
    North Wales
    I’ve been a Bolin fan since i first heard Teaser in the early 80’s.
    He has been the most influential player to me and i still find myself finding nuances to his style i’ve missed.
    I even dyed pink bits in my hair back as a teenager like his ( where did that go?) o_O
    Listen to the stuff with Cobham or Mouzon. Unreal.
     
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  4. Jerzey Bob

    Jerzey Bob Synchromatic

    652
    Apr 3, 2021
    North Jersey
    Just listened to that, then I remembered where I'd heard it before. Sounds like I've got a new slide lick to learn.








     
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  5. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    I knew of him but have never listened for him in any given song. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  6. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    That’s the heck of it. He was a great player from early on, but at 25, he was just getting started.
     
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  7. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Country Gent

    Age:
    53
    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    Couldn’t agree more! Tommy covered a lot of sonic ground, in his short time.
    His “The Ultimate” is a great place to start, for those new to him, lotsa great stuff.
     
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  8. cowmoo

    cowmoo Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2011
    North Wales
    Here's a couple of Tommys tracks i recorded on an old boss mini studio about 20 yrs ago... guitar and bass and i had to tap the drums in by hand as i had no idea or patience to programme them....also get a bit carried away with the solos and layers on Alexis!!!! Excuse the timing errors too! Wild dogs was the first time i tried to sing anything...i don't do that much either!!!

    https://soundcloud.com/cowmoo-1/04-wild-dogs?si=83a7e43daf11464686ff1350b12e8b8b

    https://soundcloud.com/cowmoo-1/05-alexis?si=8af5dcd3c4424e788cd3f035e418b3d3
     
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  9. Freshy

    Freshy Synchromatic

    Age:
    68
    934
    Sep 30, 2017
    Homosassa FLA
    First heard Tommy on the James Gang Bang album in 73 and was hooked. In 1975 Teaser and in 1976 Private Eyes. They are must have for any R&R guitar player that wants to expand their horizons IMO. They are the 2 Pure Tommy albums. His playing parleys what I would call a Brazilian, Gypsy, and Jazz chopping rhythms with R&R making his sound so unique. He brought many top pros in to play on his 2 solo albums. I cant think of any R&Rler that based his music around Maj7, Min7, 6ths and octave solos. I find it so hard to understand how someone so consumed with drugs and alcohol could produce so many masterpieces but maybe it was the sign of the times. Jimi, Morrison, Janis..... the list is long. Maybe its the tormented genius thing.
    Funny how Bolin influenced me to listen to Joe Pass, Wes, Jobim and Django.
    His expressive vocals & lyrics also sold me.
    I put together a you tube stater set for a friend a few years back.
    If you want to hear a more full experience Youtube Tommy Bolin Teaser full album and Tommy Bolin Private Eyes full album, Also James Gang Bang album is 80% Tommy.

    Bustin' Out For Rosey - song about gettin out of jail

    Savannah Woman - remastered out take

    Wild Dogs

    Shake the Devil - wrote when he was dating Linda Blair

    People, People

    From Another Time
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biNDX-cVHgw
    Gypsy Soul
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNp9FLF2e1U
    Alexis
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVuU1X2_MXM
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021 at 6:01 PM
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  10. Freshy

    Freshy Synchromatic

    Age:
    68
    934
    Sep 30, 2017
    Homosassa FLA
  11. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    55
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    I still have all of his stuff in vinyl.
    Since nowadays I mosty listen to music when driving my carI have to admit that it is a long time ago when I listened the last time to his wonderful music. Shame on me.
     
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  12. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    That makes a great deal of sense. I can't imagine the Deep Purple was where this guy belonged, or for that matter, The James Gang. His solo material strikes me as much more suited to his abilities. Perhaps this was one reason he sought escape from substances. The impression I got from reading that interview is that he was not happy to be in that band, and that the band may well ohave not appreciated his talents.
     
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  13. Freshy

    Freshy Synchromatic

    Age:
    68
    934
    Sep 30, 2017
    Homosassa FLA
    I think part of signing up with Deep Purple was money and a top 10 world class tour after bus and truck tours for little scratch. I dont know when or why the young man became too weak to maintain control. He was having his best years as an artist when he really went off the deep end and died. On his last night he opened for Jeff Beck and was on a 4 day bender in Miami. The last song he played was Post Toastee. Ironic much?

    (LA was where he recorded most of his solo stuff / home base. I think when your 24/25 and everyone is telling you are the greatest and you party like its LA 1975.......)

    Post Toastee

    Well my mind has been overflowin'
    'Bout some things that don't seem right.
    And my gun is cocked and loaded,
    I hope I get me some sleep tonight.
    Well I don't know what went wrong,
    It seems like nuthin' is right.
    Well I don't know what went wrong,
    I hope I get me some sleep tonight.

    So take it nice and easy,
    Leave the coals in the pit.
    Don't let your mind post-toastee,
    Like a lot of my friends did.
    Just keep me out of L.A.,
    Things are crazy out there.
    From people that I been meetin',
    Seems I got to beware.


     
  14. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    When wealth and fame intersect, something very powerful is created. It’s stronger than any drug and potentially deadly. If you read Rock biographies, there is a wearying sameness to what seems to happen when these guys are in their early to mid 20s. Access to ready cash, drugs, alcohol, willing would-be consorts and the red carpet treatment can convince a person that they are much more important possibly could ever be.

    The “Forever 27” club is blunt testimony to this, with any number of victims whom do not survive the transition from an exaggerated and extended adolescence into something that resembles adulthood. How many bands break up when the members are roughly 27 years old? I see a strong correlation.

    Spinal Tap is a movie favorite of mine, but the subtext is really about this very thing. This was a group that never grew up. The made it well past 27 years old, and stayed together, but the alternative would have been to face reality, and that was unthinkable.

    In my own life, about the time I turned 28 years old, I came to terms with some of life’s realities and did a lot of maturing in a relatively short period of time, but I had a huge advantage over a Rock star; I wasn’t rich, famous or on the receiving end of thunderous applause.

    “I hope I get me some sleep tonight” sounds like a person whose life had taken on more momentum than any mortal man can ever hope to keep up with. In the ‘70s, cocaine fueled the non stop party for many in the music industry. I don’t think it ever occurred to some of these folks that you didn’t have to live the non stop party.
     
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  15. NowEarThis

    NowEarThis Gretschie

    Age:
    70
    183
    Jun 23, 2021
    Northern Rivers NSW Australia
    It's a sad fact that many brilliant musicians met their maker way too early, both known and unknown. I will never forget my friend who died in his 30's from cancer, a brilliant bass player whose mantra was "keep it simple". RIP.
     
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