A few years ago, I began collecting material for a possible biography of guitarist Tommy Bolin, who died in December 1976 at the age of 25. Supposedly from an overdose of heroin, along with cocaine, barbiturates, and alcohol, his death occurred just after opening for Jeff Beck in Miami.
I use the word ‘supposedly’ because there remain questions about his death, questions I was going to delve into in the biography. Of course, I got sidetracked by another project and the proposed biography lingers only as an idea.
Underrated, Bolin should be rated in the Top 20 guitarists of all time. He began playing with American Standard, followed by becoming part of Ethereal Zephyr, which later shortened the name to simply Zephyr. In 1972, put together a band called Energy, followed by joining the 4-Nikators, which didn’t find much success.
After taking a break from music, Bolin took over as guitarist for the James Gang, taking the place of Domenic Trioano, who had taken over when Joe Walsh left the band. With Bolin, James Gang released two albums, Bang and Miami.
In the middle of his stint with the James Gang, Bolin played on Billy Cobham’s iconic album, Spectrum, still one of the best albums ever, and with Alphonse Mouzon on Mind Transplant. He also toured for a bit with The Good Rats and appeared on Moxy’s debut album.
In 1975, Bolin was laying down tracks for his first solo album, Teaser, for Nemperor Records, when Deep Purple reached out to him. Ritchie Blackmore had left Deep Purple and the band decided to keep going. They wanted Bolin. By this time, Bolin’s issues with drugs had become apparent and affected his playing.
Deep Purple called it quits in 1976 and Bolin went on to form The Tommy Bolin Band. CBS Records signed the band, which recorded Private Eyes, Bolin’s second and last solo project.
It’s a tragic story, made even more so because of Tommy Bolin’s enormous talent.
Now on to what I’ve been listening to lately.
FLIRT – “No!”
FLIRT, an alt-rock band from the Province of Cebu, recently released their single/music video, “No!”
Made up of P. Lopez (vocals, guitar), Carl Michael Geverola (bass), Jovannie Trinidad (lead guitar), and Pedro Quirubin (drums), FLIRT dishes out tight, potent music topped by P. Lopez’s distinctive voice, which recalls Pat Benatar, only more polished.
Vixen X – “Die For You”
London-based alt-rock outfit Vixen X unveiled the music video for “Die For You,” a track from their upcoming debut EP.
Fronted by Tatiana Marcov, whose voice is dark and sumptuous, Vixen X pumps out tantalizing potent music vaguely reminiscent of Hole, visceral and sexy.
L’Freaq – “Loud”
Dark synth-pop artist L’Freaq just released the music video for “Loud,” a track lifted from her forthcoming EP, Showgirl, slated to drop September 23 via Position Music.
Explaining “Loud,” L’Freaq says, “I made LOUD as my war paint song. I’ve had so many experiences in the music industry of men trying to take advantage of me, specifically one man who led me down a dark alley when I was 16 and made fun of me when I said I didn’t trust him. I went into the studio with my co-writer, Chris Ayer, and we played badass movie scenes on mute of women standing in their power, letting their kick-ass personas inspire us. I wanted to make a song that could perfectly narrate those movie scenes, so LOUD was born. This is the song I would play for the 16-year-old version of me, helping her realize that she doesn’t need a man to get ahead, and she’s free to take on the world.”
Kills Birds – “Glisten”
Los Angeles-based rock outfit Kills Birds released the music video, “Glisten,” taken from their upcoming sophomore album, Married, releasing November 12 via Royal Mountain Records.
According to vocalist Nina Ljeti, “This song is about loving the wrong people. It was written after I experienced a profound betrayal, at the hands of a person who was unable to take accountability for their actions. The lyrics in the chorus (why don’t you love me) are directed at the person in question. In retrospect, they’re also questions I need to ask myself.”
TEROUZ – “Big Boy Games”
Hypno-noir artist Terouz just dropped a new single/music video, entitled “Big Boy Games.” One of my personal favorites, Terouz’s voice is not only darkly seductive but also alluringly erogenous, akin to the baritone version of Chris Isaak and/or Robert Palmer, glossy and sensuous.