Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spiderobit: Trevor Bolder

Trevor Bolder, bassist with the Spiders From Mars and Uriah Heep, has died.

Bolder came from a musical family - his father a trumpeter; one aunt an opera singer another a music teacher. From the age of seven, he was in brass bands and, but for the intervention of the Beatles and the 1960s, would have carried his instrument into the Royal Marines Band.

Although it was The Beatles that inspired his brother and him to form a band, it was The Stones who really shaped his sound and style, acting as a gateway to blues. In a rare interview in 2003 Bolder explained how this shaped his style:

I started out from listening to a lot of the old blues players from ’30s and ’40s, listening to a lot of Sonny Boy Williamson, a lot of early blues stuff, copying it. We didn’t have a lot of blues albums in England when we were fourteen and learnt to play, but we liked it [the blues] so much that it was all we ever played. In Hull, we would go out just on Saturday with what money we had from mid-day working or whatever, and we used to buy every blues album we could find. We found all these great songs by all those people.
Bolder's first professional band was in the none-more-70s Mick Ronson outfit Ronno - he joined the band when it was still called The Rats, after their then-bassist refused to play a gig for fear of being electrocuted.

It was Ronson who would introduce Bolder to Bowie - at this point, Mick had already had one spell with Dave; when he was summoned back from Hull to London to help Bowie on a Peel Session, Bolder went with him. After that, things were Hunky Dory.

So Bolder became one of the Spiders From Mars; he stayed with Bowie until 1973 when - in his own words - Bowie just phased him out of his backing team. There would be a Spiders From Mars album without Ziggy which had some success in America, but without Bowie, and with Mick Woodmansey increasingly mired in the religion-style Scientology group, the band fell apart.

Bolder returned to Hull, and was about to form his own band when he was invited to join Uriah Heep. As their third bassist, you might have expected a tenure similar to that of a Spinal Tap drummer, but he remained with the group, more or less unbrokenly, until ill health forced him to step down last year. (There was a two year-long exile in Wishbone Ash.) He also came to write for the group.

In that 2003 interview, Trevor explained why he remained in the Heep:
The music and the friendship, the big thing. We’re all very good friends, we’ve gone through a lot of hard times together and a lot of great times, and we’re still here. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t friends with them, I wouldn’t play with them. I mean, I played with WISHBONE ASH for two years, and I never really fit in with them socially that well. I got on really well with Laurie [Wisefield] and I get on well with Andy Powell now, but I never felt like a member of that band.
Trevor Bolder died May 21st, from cancer. He was 62.


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