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Mind Transplant

A gentleman going by Mr. Zero has published in his blog a pretty detailed write-up of Tommy Bolin’s collaboration with Alphonse Mouzon on the latter’s album Mind Transplant. That recording, along with Tommy’s work with Billy Cobham, got him noticed by the big boys and an audition with Deep Purple a year later.

> The Real Thing <
Here’s where the story really unfolds for me.
Tommy Bolin (1 Aug 1951:Sioux City, Iowa – 4 Dec 1976: Miami, FL) had left the ‘James Gang’ in Aug ’74 & he & Stanley Sheldon (19 Sep 1950: Oattwa, KS) on Bass & Mike Finnegan (26 Apr 1945: Troy Ohio) on Vocals & Keyboards & Guille Garcia on Percussion & Marty Rodriguez on Drums were trying to reform a new version of ‘Energy’ which fell apart in a mere 3 weeks, although some demo recordings were made like “Sooner Or Later” (found on ‘Whips & Roses:2’), “Side Walk Strut” & “Shot My Baby Down” this Line-up did perform @ least 1 live show in Denver as a 9 song live tape exists. Then Bolin & Sheldon recorded 3 demo songs for Dr. John’s ‘Hollywood Be Thy Name’ in Nov ’74 the title track “It’s Your Freedom” & “Stick With Me”. Also sometime in ’74 Bolin sat in with ‘Weather Report’ & recorded 11 songs, perhaps as demos or jams.

Bolin was always prone to sit in with anyone who would let him, one time he had sat in on a jam with Mouzon & Coryell of ‘Eleventh House’ in a club in Boulder, CO. sometime in late ’74, Mouzon knew of Bolin by his guitar work on ‘Spectrum’ (1973 Atlantic Records), by; Billy Cobham (16 May 1944: Panama) with Jan Hammer (17 Apr 1948: Prague) both formerly of the ‘Mahavishnu Orchestra’. Mouzon was wanting to record a Fusion Jazz LP of his own, in the vein of ‘Spectrum’, so Mouzon booked some studio time on 6 Oct ’74 @ ‘Glen Holly Studio’ (named after the street it was located on), in Beechwood Canyon- Hollywood Hills, with Bolin on guitar, as it was one of Bolin’s favorite places to record, because it was owned by Bolin’s sometime business partner; Phillip Polomeni (23 Jul 1951: Brooklyn, NYC, -3 Feb 2014: L.A.) along with Stanley Sheldon from Bolin’s band ‘Energy’ & Rocke Grace on Keyboards. As with almost any sessions held at ‘Glen Holy Studios’ they were recorded,

Read more on mrzeros.com.

And we’ll leave you with some very topical fusion extravaganza for your listening pleasure:

Thanks to Uwe Hornung for the Mr. Zero’s link.

27 Comments to “Mind Transplant”:

  1. 1
    robert says:

    Another reminder of how talented Tommy Bolin was and what a shame he didn’t take better care of himself.
    His death is such a ’70s cliche of drugs and alcohol, it still pisses me off. RIP Tommy!

  2. 2
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I’ll teach y’all some Jazz here! 🤣 First IGB, now this … I will not rest in my subversive and corroding burrowing mole work until this site is rechristened ‘The Weather Report”.

    Of course Cobham was first with Spectrum and Mouzon merely repeated the exercise, but if truth be told I always liked the Mouzon album a tad better, it’s not as cool, more organic than Spectrum.

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    Interesting fusion as always with all these musicians from that time & place. Not a bad drummer is Alphonse as all those sort of drummers from that part of the world are, off the planet. He was on a Al Di Meola album from the mid 70’s Land of the Midnight Sun & also Patrick Moraz’s solo album at that time while Yes were on hiatus. The guitarists who he has played with are not too bad either, Coryell, Ritenour & Bolin just to name a few. Not to mention the bass guitarists & also the keyboard players. Classic 70’s fusion indeed & thanks for the links. Cheers.

  4. 4
    MacGregor says:

    Uwe may be the one need ing a’mind transplant’ after reading this latest news flash. Apologies to all (except Uwe) as I just cannot resist some times. Cheers.


  5. 5
    Gregster says:


    It’s so friggin’ hard to get Dr.John recordings, & who would have thought that Tommy appears on a couple of tunes on Dr.John’s live album ???…( I have an excellent 1973 WLIR Dr.John Bootleg, so that covered the later had-to-find release, & another 1986 live at Ronnie Scott’s which is sublime )…

    There is the “Classic Album” 5-disc set available & well-worth getting of Dr.John, but they omitted the awesome “Remedies” so that they could squeeze “In the right place”, which was far more successful to say the least…Now try finding a copy of “Remedies” yet alone “Hollywood be thy name”…

    And having 11 tunes available / recorded with “Weather Report” has got to be a one-red-hot bootleg to find imo…

    For all his faults, Tommy was a very busy man indeed.

    RIP Tommy Bolin.

    Peace !

  6. 6
    Uwe Hornung says:

    From trans-plant to Robert Plant, Herr McGregor? How soaring your stream of consciousness can be, you albatross on cerebral wings over the Purple sea!

    This will disappoint you, but I think Percy’s rearrangements of old material from his former outfit (the one with the leaden drummer) always interesting and often bold. I’ve been to a gig of his where he even made a radically deviating version of I Love Lotta Whole (or a similar title) sound vaguely appealing, a sentiment the original of the ‘song’ – a mono-themed riff with a few shouted purloined words IIRC + assorted noises from a beehive, was it not? – never managed to elicit with me.

  7. 7
    Paulo Glover says:

    I have the Spectrum vinyl, bought it sometime in the 80s. I only listened to Mind Transplant sometime in the late 90s, with the aid of “The Internet”. I like Spectrum more. About Al Mouzon’s records, I like a lot more his “In a Search of a Dream”, that LP is absurd. One of the Fusion Bible chapters of the 70s for sure.

  8. 8
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Bolin had this childlike quality, he’d try anything – unfortunately not only musically.

    Spectrum was my first fusion album (and for a long time the only one!), but I immediately liked it and also recognized Bolin’s playing on it. I had never been a Mahavishnu fan (between Mahavishnu, Weather Report and Return To Forever, I lean towards RTF), so I really only bought it for the Bolin connection, must have been 1976/77. Having that album in my record collection seriously boosted my standing with the elitist jazz rock crowd at our school! 😂 They were dumbfounded that someone from (to them) as intellectually lowly a band as Deep Purple would grace an ex-Mahavishnu’s debut solo album. 😎

    I’m still not really a jazz rock/fusion buff (it’s mostly instrumental music, I don’t latch on to that as much), but I can certainly listen to it in sensible doses.

  9. 9
    TomaSz says:

    Guille Garcia on Percussion & Marty Rodriguez on Drums – two guys from Captain Beyond second LP (of which Garcia resembled somehow Bolin). What a small world it was – and still is… Pity it came to nothing.

  10. 10
    DeeperPurps says:

    Uwe @8. Agreed re Mahavishnu – I never really understood the fuss about any of it. Nor did Ritchie Blackmore who seemed none too impressed by John McLaughlin. Here is what The Dark Destroyer told Cameron Crowe in a 1975 interview for Creem magazine: “””McLaughlin thought that puttin’ a fuzz on guitar would give him a good rock ‘n’ roll sound. He’s a jazz guitarist. He can’t bend a note. He does it with such speed and complexity that it sounds good but that fuzzy noise that he puts on everything blows it. I don’t understand it……But McLaughlin is beyond me…to me, it’s like music from hell. If I was going to hell, that’s the type of music I should expect to hear on the way.””””

    Like you, I too have always gravitated towards RTF, but its early version with Bill Connors on guitar. His soulful rock-tinged playing style has been dubbed Coltrane meets Clapton. And yes, he could definitely bend a note! And he could shred. I think maybe even Ritchie might be suitably impressed. I may have posted this solo before, so please excuse the repetition, but it is well worth hearing at least once again…..Bill Connors’ greatest solo in the estimation of some, from the Stanley Clarke solo (the red) album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smmFum2ZeFg&list=PL-ZKdxn0uhJaI8TF_5FVWrRszuFO7OTEg&index=3

  11. 11
    MacGregor says:

    @ 6 – I do remember your previous comments in regards to Plant’s concerts you have been to & the re working of his earlier work. I couldn’t resist with that sensationalist headline, ‘new top secret project’ & thought, ‘I wonder if it is Stairway, Uwe will be impressed surely’, he he he. I have watched a few concerts
    with the odd alternative version Zep song on line & with dvd’s etc, they sound quite good some of them. When I went to a gig in 1983 he wasn’t playing anything Zep like at all which I was fine with & I knew that before I went. I had those first two records & liked them, still do, well some of the songs. I also liked his guitarists playing, Robbie Blunt. A very melodic player. I could have gone to more recent concerts in Brisbane over the years, but I wasn’t really interested at that time. I do remember thinking ‘which band does he have now’ as he changes ensembles quite a lot. He did play a few gigs in Tasmania about 10 years ago, I hadn’t moved down here then so that would have been the Brisbane gig I didn’t show enough interest in. Not to worry. Cheers.

  12. 12
    MacGregor says:

    @ 8 – I hear you regarding not being into fusion etc that much at all. I have a Mahavishnu Orchestra collection on cd, don’t play it that often. I use to own the Santana & McLaughlin album Love Devotion Surrender on vinyl. That is about it actually, except for Al Di Meola’s Elegant Gypsy perhaps. Unless we include The Dixie Dregs from a little later on. Fusion music was definitely more popular back in the flower power days with festivals & free form experimentation etc. Fantastic musicians all of them & no doubt they are having a great time etc, but for me & others I have talked to, it leaves us needing something extra. No doubt people who like really complex playing & jazz & heavy improvisation to a degree like it a lot. I have attended two John McLaughlin concerts, one in 1991 as a three piece The Que Alegria tour. I do own that cd & that gig was more interesting than the 2015 Fourth Dimension band which was more ‘jazzy’, keyboards can do that at times. Both good concerts for the highest level for musicianship, but after a while……. Allan Holdsworth trio in 2002, apart from a few instrumentals I knew that became boring quicker than I would have liked. Santana in 1983 also was a tad boring after a while. Not to worry & as I prefer song composition mostly with extended musical passages & a few instrumentals here & there to break up the ‘song’ monotony a little, so that isn’t surprising. Cheers

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I love that second Captain Beyond album (Sufficiently Breathless) and the Latin Rock-tinged percussion work on it. Prefer it to the debut, itself a good album.

  14. 14
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I really dug this. The picture of the CY line-up is not period-correct with the recording, it’s a later one with Jason Cahoon being the interim singer before they settled on Willy Daffern (later on with Gary Moore’s G-Force) to record their Rod-less (that sounds like an age-related male condition!) third album Dawn Explosion.


    And this was of course the album’s classic:


    Captain Beyond were a weird creature, basically a rechristened late era Iron Butterfly on a label devoted to Southern Rock with a very English singer and then incorporating those Latin West Coast influences for their second album. Sounds like a recipe for commercial disaster and probably was. Or perhaps they should have called themselves Melting Pot. In fairness, Iron Butterfly came from San Diego, CA, so they cannot have been strangers to Latin-tinged music.

    The Captain Beyond guys are the only credible source (at least as late as 2015 they were) supporting that (i) Rod Evans still lives, and (ii) is doing well in the medical profession working in the respiratory field. Alas!, the great unsolved Purple mystery!!! 🕵️‍♂️

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I always found McLaughlin’s style angular and never understood the point of playing a fast solo on an electric 12-string-guitar other than to demonstrate that your fretting hand is strong and your pick attack merciless. 🙄 But I really don’t know too much of his work. Al Di Meola was always easier on my ears.

    I’ve written this before, but I hear parallels between Bolin’s fusion playing and what Bill Connors did. They were both pretty much the same age and I’m sure that Connors is the more schooled musician, so I’m not saying that one ripped off the other, but the phrasing is very often uncannily similar.

    Speaking of Bolin, here’s an interview not too far away from his later overdose. He doesn’t snipe at Deep Purple and even cites his time with them as an influence (indeed, I hear a Purple influence on the heavier tracks of Private Eyes that was not present on Teaser).


  16. 16
    MacGregor says:

    Just reading about British musician Robin George’s death at classic rock. RIP.


  17. 17
    MacGregor says:

    @ 10- yes DeeperPurps there is no doubt that Connors is definitely more rock than Di Meola & McLaughlin. That comment from Blackmore is a classic that only he could make. Have to laugh though. Thanks for uploading again as I did listen to the link you sent a while ago & also Coryell from that era too, it is nice to hear that again. I have bookmarked it. Allan Holdsworth made a comment on the 1983 Tokyo live dvd I was watching a few weeks ago. He said it is a fine line between rock & jazz playing. Too jazz for a rock audience, too rock for a jazz audience. I know what he means. Still it is good all those fusion players were different as there were too many rock/blues influenced players appearing on the cliched horizon. It keeps it interesting as the years pass by. Cheers.

  18. 18
    DeeperPurps says:

    Uwe @15, I have quite a bit of McLaughlin’s work from his time with Miles Davis, some of his solo projects as well as his collaborations with Shakti. He’s a very fine guitarist, but I agree, his style is quite angular and is challenging to listen to at times. I find the same with Allan Holdsworth as well – an incredibly technical guitarist, but melody-wise, it’s difficult. The afficionados of McLaughlin and Holdsworth obviously enjoy it, but I lean more towards Ritchie’s sentiments about that type of playing, (ie): musak in the down elevator to hell. I gravitate more towards Al Di Meola, Bill Connors and Larry Coryell…..a lot more melody and rock influence in their playing styles. Agreed – definitely there are parallels between Tommy Bolin’s playing and phrasing with that of Connors.

    MacGregor @ 17. Indeed those 70’s fusion guitarists were pushing the envelope between two genres and some were more successful at it than others. Holdsworth is said by many to have been the greatest technical guitarist there ever was. Perhaps, but his compositions and playing were so niche, that it appealed to only a very small cross-section of the listening public. Catering to that minority elitist, jazz-snob crowd might earn accolades but it won’t put food on the table. As I understand it, Holdsworth died a pauper….had to sell off most of his equipment to survive later on in life. Quite a tragic way to end.

    On a more positive note, and back to the music…..by a Deep Purple alumni, the one and only Joe Satriani from circa 1989. Young Joe pulls out all the stops on this solo…..let me know what you think!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUzX-VtpvxM&list=PL-ZKdxn0uhJaI8TF_5FVWrRszuFO7OTEg&index=9

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    DeeperPurps, is it disparaging if I state that I find Satch’s playing pleasantly fluid (it doesn’t rub me the wrong way at all), but rate both Malmsteen and Steve Vai more individualistic? Let’s not even talk about someone like Jeff Beck. Satch is technically brilliant, very melodic, never inappropriate and lightning-fast, I think he worked well with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony in Chickenfoot too, I guess I miss something demanding (and sometimes even grating) in his playing, it sounds all too effortless (but is of course impossible to play for most other guitarists) and ear-pleasing to me.

    Stu Hamm’s bass in that link is nice of course.

  20. 20
    MacGregor says:

    @ 18 – DeeperPurps, Allan Holdsworth was a very shy unassuming man. The rock guitar thing wasn’t his passion at all, he was initially going to be a saxophone player as he was fascinated by John Coltrane. His father wouldn’t buy him one, too expensive so he purchased a guitar for him. He always did what he wanted to do, so yes he didn’t make a lot of money, but he wasn’t a musician for that reason. Kudos to him for being himself in that respect. I am not a follower per se but I do like that 1984 EP Road Games, a few lovely songs & a couple of cracking instrumentals. He didn’t like being pigeon holed either, so I doubt he catered to a specific audience, it was just what he did & how it came about. Probably the era where he came closest to ‘rock’ music although he was in the band UK with those rock musicians for an album & tour, late 70’s. He hated that as it wasn’t his music & too rock orientated even though it was progressive music. I was a lot more open 40 years ago to new guitarists & that lasted about ten years at buying & listening to it, then I backed right off as it wore me out, for want of a better expression. Jazz isn’t my cup of tea either, too boring & Miles Davis I cannot get into, I have tried over the years, mind blowing musicians all of them. Regarding Satriani yes a shit hot player, I own the ‘Alien’ cd but he amongst others were that era of guitarists who whilst amazing players, ended up leaving me craving vocal songs more & more. It didn’t help that a guitarist I was jamming with & ended up in a band with was infatuated by that American guitar virtuosity & could play like those guys big time, fun to jam with, but after a while it was too much an assault on the sense, he he he. I did listen to that Satriani link & it was an album that a friend of mine had with ‘Alien’ at that time. He is going off there big time. I have alway wondered what he would have been like in a band of songwriters as such, he nearly did as we know. A nice down to earth chap he is. Thanks for the link. Cheers.

  21. 21
    Paulo Glover says:

    @20Macgregor, Allan Holdsworth was also a violin player.
    His guitar style full of legato and four (or more) notes per string comes from there.
    He plays a violin solo on this song (piano solo is Gary Husband)
    That LP is worth a listen 🙂

    We can see why those musicians had a very hard time in 70s and 80s, with that talk on jazz radios “your music is too hard to play here, get out” and rock radios “Your music is too soft to play here, get out” 🙂

  22. 22
    DeeperPurps says:

    Uwe @19….you aren’t wrong. In fact you are echoing somewhat Blackmore’s thoughts about Satriani in a GuitarWorld interview in 2018, to wit: “Joe Satriani is a brilliant player, but I never see him really searching for notes; I never hear him playing a wrong note. Jimi Hendrix used to play lots of wrong notes because he was searching all the time—’Where the hell is that correct note?!’ And when he did find that right note—wow, that was incredible………….”And Joe Satriani is a very polished player—almost too polished, that’s what worries me sometimes”. Here’s a link to the full interview: https://www.guitarworld.com/artists/ritchie-blackmore-on-joe-satriani-if-youre-always-playing-the-correct-notes-theres-something-wrong

    Those Blackmore statements obviously ruffled some feathers in the guitar community including Joe himself who provided a response in GuitarWorld later that year: “Well, it’s unfortunate when somebody that you look up to has something negative to say about you,” Satriani said in the interview. “So that part will always hurt. I wouldn’t hide my feelings about that.”…..”I get criticized on both sides of the fence for the opposite offenses,” Satriani continued. “And I don’t quite understand it other than most of the time, when someone has criticism, it’s because they’re challenged and they feel that they have to strike out. So I get it—I understand why he would have to say something negative. I can kind of laugh at it, because I’m not like that myself. I tend to just look at the positive of another musician and focus on that.” Here’s a link to the full interview in GW: https://www.guitarworld.com/artists/its-unfortunate-joe-satriani-responds-to-ritchie-blackmore-comments

    MacGregor @20 – yes Allan Holdsworth followed his own muse and in that respect was a true artist. I have a couple of his albums including Metal Fatigue, UK and a live concert in Paris. The UK album is the easiest one to listen to, while his other material is more challenging to get into. As for that shredding phenomenon that arose in the 80’s post Eddie Van Halen and which spawned the likes of Vai, Malmsteen, Satriani, Gilbert and a plethora of others….yes, agreed, it got somewhat out of hand. All about speed and virtuosity and too little about feel and emotion. To my ears anyway. But that’s what I think sets Satriani apart from most of those others….his guitar compositions, though not complemented by vocals, are very melodic…way more so than most of his peers. He is one whose albums I can listen to regularly and find something new and satisfying with each new spin.

  23. 23
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I didn’t deem what Ritchie said about Joe too devastating really (or intended to be devastating). I know Joe’s a Long Island boy, but he’s been living on the West Coast for so long, he’s basically a naturalized Californian. And if you are from California you simply don’t look for bum notes to work on. Plus Joe is so fluent in his playing and has such a huge vocabulary/library of licks, he never runs out of the RIGHT notes to play. Ritchie was simply observing facts, but Joe all of the sudden looking for that dirty note would be contrived. He’s a melodic player and can’t help it. I saw him with Mk VI, he played great and technically awesome, but was he ever dangerous that evening in Kassel? Nope, that’s just not in him.

    It’s a bit like accusing Tommy Bolin for not sounding as dark as Ritchie – how could he and where should he have picked that up in Sioux City or Boulder?

  24. 24
    MacGregor says:

    @ 21- thanks Paulo, yes I bought the IOU album after getting into Road Games in 1984. I just listened to it again & also Metal Fatigue. The songs keep me interested & the odd instrumental. I like Paul Williams as a vocalist & Jack Bruce is on vocals on 2 tracks on RG. Allan was certainly a different player & composer & a wonderful guitarist & innovator indeed. Maybe as that era is all I know I got lucky. The 2002 concert unfortunately was only a 3 piece band & therefore all instrumental. I only recognised 2 instrumentals, hence it was hard to keep an interest after an hour or so, plus Chad Wackerman was ‘overplaying’ on the drums, it all became became a little monotonous. It was indeed a virtuoso performance from the 3 musicians & good to see Holdsworth playing. I like that Tokyo 1983/4 gig on video, it is that era I know. It was good to buy a few tickets in 2002 & help Allan pay his way, he was not popular commercially & it seems it cost him repeatedly throughout his career. He is held in high regard by his peers, a fine accolade in itself. @ 22- thanks DeeperPurps & yes UK the band were much more accessible & a good way to hear Holdsworth in his earlier career. A comment he made on that Tokyo dvd was that the guys in the band, Wetton & Jobson pulled him up for not playing to script, his reply was ‘that is what I do’, probably guitar solo wise I would imagine he meant. He then left the band as did Bill Bruford & no surprises there as they were both jazz/rock musicians & I understand their predicament. It is a fine line indeed, between instrumentals & vocals songs & as we know between Rock & Jazz. Or should that be Jazz & Rock. Cheers.

  25. 25
    Gregster says:


    In our own minds historic listening libraries, we can only form comparisons based on who we heard, & accepted first as a favoured reference-point, on which others there-after are judged…So comparisons are always going to be biased regardless, & never correct.

    On that basis, most, if not all of the comments made about this guy & that guy forget one critical element, & that’s the influence of Jimi Hendrix made on each of them.

    All of these players have made-a-name for themselves, since they moved enough people to buy their recordings, with the main difference being whether it was part of a band effort, or solo instrumental effort. This is a very important difference, & so imo comparisons are unfair.

    Joe Satriani is a true magician, & yet I’m moved more by a Leslie west solo…And throw Robin Trower into the mix, & it becomes very difficult to suggest, yet alone say who is the better performer, or more gifted craftsman. And then there’s folks like John Scofield…Or even Robben Ford…

    They’re all equals in their own way to their own fans, so it’s probably better to listen carefully & learn as to why these people are revered, rather than trying to compare against one-another.

    For sure, I always give Tommy Bolin a heads-up over Mr.Blackmore, & that’s simply because of RB being an ass-hole, & Tommy being a gifted musician, who passed-on way-to-soon, before his influence could affect “his time” even more within the “scene”.

    They’re all good players & have something to offer. Whether you like one over the other is your own business & reflects your tastes, if not your reference points in your own listening histories.

    Peace !

  26. 26
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I love Tommy too, Gregster, but in pure technical prowess he couldn’t hold a candle to Blackers. His playing was charming, original and often exciting (so much, it impressed virtuosos like Billy Cobham, Jeff Beck and Jan Hammer), but it relied very little on technique. Tommy was the guitarist with the least technical abilities DP ever had, yet I wouldn’t want to miss a single note he played with them. Had he not died so young, I believe that his career would have seen him become an artist in the singer songwriter mold à la Clapton or Frampton, possibly with frequent side projects because Tommy really couldn’t say no to anyone.

    Blackmore wasn’t just a technical player either, but as a young man he was a braggart who relished in making things look easy that were beyond the capabilities of most fellow guitarists. He liked to pull the rug from underneath other guitarists so to say.

    But you’re right, it is really more a matter of what speaks to you as opposed who’s “better”, whatever that means.

  27. 27
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I stumbled across this here, a 2001 interview of Art Connor (AC) with Stanley Sheldon (SS), Tommy’s old Energy buddy, partner in lamentable susbstance abuse and of course later on mainstay bassist for Peter Frampton (without ever having a contract!).


    Some excerpts, but it’s really worth a thorough read, not only for the pointed revelation that Stanley played three consecutive nights with Peter Frampton at the LA Forum on heroin to get over the grief after Tommy’s drug death (and not being allowed to join Tommy’s funeral by the Peter Frampton management):

    “AC: Now, you’ve played with Peter and you played with Tommy, both great guitarists in their own way and their own fashion. How would you compare and contrast them?

    SS: Well, that is an interesting question. I would say that Tommy was this unbridled, unrestrained player. He had no restraint whatsoever in his playing, and that could have been a weakness at a point. It was also the strongest thing about his playing, so it was like a double-edged sword. With Peter, it’s just the opposite. It’s inverse. Like we already talked about, he was almost too afraid to take chances on stage. Too methodical, too thought out, too calculated, just too contrived in a word.

    AC: He is capable of doing it though, or it least he was.

    SS: Oh, he is very capable. We used to have jams on stage at the sound checks, and we had some amazing jams, because Peter is such a great guitar player. He’s just so clean and studied and practiced. To his credit, he has a lot of soul. Tommy was unrestrained, “Go for it, balls to the wall” and that’s what made him great.”


    “C: Speaking of jams, at the big Denver show at Mile High Stadium, was there a jam with Peter (Frampton) and Tommy? That’s one of the rumors that have been floating around for years.

    SS: Unfortunately, no. That never happened.

    AC: OK, you just killed that one!”

    SS: Well, I’m going to tell you a story here about that show. It was real personal moment for me. Tommy and I were alone in the dressing room, and it was big pill for Tommy to swallow, having to open for us, and all of that. My cousin was there that day too, he was playing with Gary Wright.

    So Tommy was opening, then Gary Wright with my cousin Tom, and then I got to play! All of Energy was right there except for Bobby, and I’m sure he may have been somewhere in the stadium. And Tommy, he was actually crying. We were partying backstage, and suddenly he just broke down. We just started hugging each other, and I said “Shit man, it’s just the way it ended up Tommy!”

    AC: You were right, it’s just the way the cards fell. But, a year before Tommy was touring the world with Deep Purple.

    SS: Tommy wanted to be the Number One and Peter was the Number One right then and it was tearing him apart. It was just the pure showman in his blood. He wanted what Peter had, and he wanted to be headlining. And not having that, it brought him to tears. I don’t think that detracts from Tommy, he was a brave player.”


    “AC: I’d like to go back for a minute to Peter and Tommy if we can. You were on the road with Peter when Tommy died. Can tell us what happened with you when you heard the news?

    SS: Now that’s a story in itself. On the days between when Tommy died and his funeral, we had sold out the LA Forum for three nights in row. And Dee Anthony (Both Peter Frampton’s and Humble Pie’s notorious manager) made it quite clear that I had to stay there. So I couldn’t even go to his funeral. And that haunts me still to this day.

    AC: Did Peter and the rest of the guys in the band talk about it with you? They must have known how close you and Tommy were, or was it a personal and private thing for you?

    SS: It was very personal. Peter was very elegant about it. He said very few words, but he kind of let me know that he knew and he understood. He was real considerate, as a matter of fact everyone in the band was very supportive, because they all knew who Tommy was.

    AC: So I can imagine it was a very hard time for you.

    SS: It was really difficult to play those gigs at the Forum. But again, I got through it with the help of substances.

    AC: Good old “Mr. Brownstone” as Guns and Roses would say.

    SS: And quite frankly, that helped, it got me through it at least, for whatever that is worth.

    AC: Well… again we’re talking about twenty-five years ago, that’s the way it was back then.

    SS: Yeah, and I’ve gone through a pretty good healing process psychologically since then, and I did finally grieve over my best friend’s death. And I know Tommy would forgive me for not being at his funeral and not being a pallbearer.

    AC: I’m just going to talk off the top of head here. I don’t think there was anything to forgive. I think he would have said, “You have a show to do, you worked hard for this day, you need to be there!”

    SS: I’m sure he would have! (laughing again)

    AC: You just raise a glass in his honor after the gig.

    SS: Exactly… but when I see the video of his funeral, and to me nothing is more morose, and that’s really the last place I would want to be, even if I had been able to. I just don’t like funerals. But of course, out of respect and love, I still would have wanted to be there.”


    “AC: Stanley, I’ve really enjoyed our conversation tonight, and I want to ask you just a few more questions, one of them my signature question — If Tommy had survived through the decades, where do you think he would be musically, and what would he be doing today? Perhaps something similar to what you are doing?

    SS: Maybe… (really thinking about his answer) I know Tommy loved nothing above rhythm – rhythm was “god” to him, and it was king to him. The rhythms… He was, I think, more inspired by drummers, and he’s the one that pointed me in that direction. It’s what I’ve been studying here at KU. My master’s thesis has to do with the slave society in the Caribbean, and that whole Afro-American element in culture and art, and you know it’s pretty obvious, but it still can never be overstated. Tommy’s the one that led me to that understanding. I think he would be probably be doing what any of the great guitarists like Carlos Santana or somebody like Bob Marley, or any of those great players are doing. Tommy would be playing some great music and some great rhythms with a lot of fantastic musicians, and some of them would be Afro-American.

    AC: That seems to be the general consensus, I’ve asked this question a number of times.

    SS: Really, you’ve heard that before?

    AC: Yes! At last years Bolin Fest, I ran around backstage bothering all of these musicians, making a nuisance of myself and basically they have all said the same thing. Even Glenn Hughes said he felt he probably wouldn’t be playing guitar as we knew him to be playing , he may have been into programming or drumming. Glenn Hughes of all people!

    SS: That is wild, because Tommy was a powerful rhythmic innovator. And when I think about it, and the way he used that Echoplex, he used it like a drum, he really did. That was Tommy’s first instrument, the drums.

    AC: That’s right! I remember reading about that. It’s funny, Jan Hammer said something similar, that Tommy was very rhythmic.

    SS: Yeah, well, I guess I’m not too crazy!”

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