TOMMY BOLIN: 1976, IN HIS OWN WORDS
By John Bentzinger
“I’m giving away all these secrets!!!” Tommy Bolin declares in this Bolin 2 CD Archives spoken word release, Tommy Bolin: 1976, In His Own Words. On September 20th, 1976, Tommy Bolin sat down in front of a microphone with two young journalism students in Albany, New York. Tommy was getting used to answering the same tired questions from music writers and radio disc jockey’s he’d encountered all over the globe. He wasn’t expecting two young men who knew his music and his career backwards and forwards… in some ways better than Tommy remembered it himself. For more than an hour a relaxed and delighted Bolin gave a stunning account of his career to this point.
He shared some musical secrets with his new friends, and talked with unbridled optimism about the Private Eyes tour that he has just embarked upon. This is easily the most probing and thought provoking interview Tommy ever recorded.
The Tommy Bolin Archives succeeded in recreating the anticipation… and disappointments of Tommy’s last tour with over two hours of interviews taken from this time period. The interviews are all from original master tapes, and have been painstakingly tracked down and digitally transferred by Bolin family friend John Bentzinger. You’ll hear an interview with a young radio disc jockey who was tragically killed in an automobile accident just a few months later. His family kept the master reel in their attic… unplanned for over 20 years.
As the Private Eyes tour rolls on, you’ll hear the pressure for a hit single start to build. “It’s vitally important!!” Tommy declares to another interviewer. And you’ll hear Tommy’s final recorded interview in his home town of Sioux City, Iowa just days before his own death… looking forward to his next studio session.
Here are a few excerpts: On Spectrum Cobham called me up one day and said, “Do you want to be on my album?? I said, “Who is this?? He said, “Billy Cobham.” And I said, “Who is this really?? On Deep Purple I didn’t even want to go to the interview! Famous people I respected three years ago now come over to my house. Jeff Beck, and people like that. He says, “When you get to England, come on over.? You would think he means to jam. But he says, “We’ll race cars!?
On recording with Moxy, “Oh my God! I was starving. I played on it, didn’t I?” On the jazz scene when Mahavishnu came out, “All of the sudden all these jazz cats everywhere got a black Les Paul, and started playing through a fuzzy amp. They all sound the same.” On political benefits, “That’s all stupid. They should keep it all separate. For someone like Gregg Allman to endorse (Jimmy) Carter after his drug bust… it looks stupid, even for Carter.” On Tommy’s song Savannah Woman, “I love that song. We were doing it live for awhile. It’s a very intimate song, so it’s hard to do unless you’re in a club that only holds 200 people.” On Glenn Hughes, “He’s an incredible singer. Incredible. I mean REALLY incredible. I’m as interested as anyone to see what he can do.” On his own albums, “I really don’t listen to my own albums. I unconsciously listen to everything. You know, there’s a tune by the Carpenter’s that has a great lead at the end… I respect a lot of people.”