Tommy Bolin Interview


Recorded November 24, 1976 on radio station KMNS in his home town, Sioux City, Iowa, ten days before his death on December 4, 1976.


FI = Female Interviewer

MI = Male Interviewer

TB = Tommy Bolin

FI - Tommy, tell us about your new album. Or your old albums and your new albums...

TB - OK, the first album - shall we start at the first album?

FI - Sure, sure.

TB - Uh, the group Zephyr. A Denver-based group that, uh, I did like right after I left Sioux City when I was fifteen.

FI - Fifteen.

TB - Yeah. Which was a while ago.

MI - Tommy?

TB - Yeah.

MI - What high school did you go to?

TB - Central High School. Well, actually I, uh...

MI - You were cancelled, huh?

TB - They cancelled me out, yes. (general laughter) I got cancelled.

MI - I think I've heard an album by Zephyr. They were, what? Basically a heavy group?

TB - Yeah, it was a hard rock group. I did um, the first Zephyr album and then another Zephyr album called, "Going Back to Colorado." And then from there I did, uh, oh boy, um, Billy Cobham album,"Spectrum."

FI - I heard that. Dynamite! That was all right. Didn't you like it?

TB - I loved it.

FI - Oh.

TB - I loved it. Uh, an Alphonse Mouzon album, um, which is kind of on the same level as "Spectrum," uh, he's like a very heavy, jazz-type drummer; um, called "Mind Transplant," on Blue Note. And then, uh, two James Gang albums, "Bang!" and "Miami." Then, um, a Deep Purple album, "Come Taste the Band." Then a Tommy Bolin album, "Teaser," then another Tommy Bolin album, "Private Eyes," and then another one that I haven't done yet that will be out in March.

FI - That's great! We'll have more with Tommy Bolin in a moment...


FI - Have you got some type of new thing that you want to do - any type of different things you want to do with this up-and-coming album?

TB - Well, like with the "Private Eyes" album, I wrote the majority of it in the studio and we did like ten tunes in six days so the next album I'll probably (clinking sound interrupts) write a, that was me, I'll write, that was my head...

FI - (laughs)

TB - ...I'll write mostly in the studio.

FI - This interview brought to you by Slow Motion Records.

("Post Toastie" playing in the background)

FI - Ah, nice music, Tommy. Tell us, how did you write "Post Toastie?"

TB - Well I went in the studio and got this basic idea that's playing now (opening riffs) and, uh, just thoughts started coming to me on, uh, how to, uh, you know, things I thought would add to the thing. It goes into a reggae thing, to like a ballad thing and then back to the theme at the end. It was originally like, well it's nine minutes long so you won't be able to play the whole thing now but it was originally like fourteen minutes and I had to splice it all up.

("Post Toastie" fades out. "Bustin' Out For Rosie" begins)

FI - "Busting Out For Rosie." Hey, what does does "Rosie" mean, Tommy?

TB - Rosie's like, um, in the band, with the bands that I've had, like in Los Angeles, I've hung about with Dr. John a lot, and, uh, it's a New Orleans term that, uh, Rosie's like, if you're in jail or something, Rosie's like a New Orleans term for the chick that you're waiting, that's waiting on the outside.

FI - Ahhh.

TB - Isn't that interesting?

FI - Yes, very.

("Busting Out For Rosie" fades out. "Gysie Soul" begins)

FI - Tommy, do you ever get tired of playing hard rock?

TB - Well, it gets to a point where, you know, you have to release yourself without, you know, playing 120 decibels all the time so, "Gypsy Soul," I think, kind of speaks for itself.

("Gypsy Soul fades out, there's a break and the interview fades back in)

TB - ...the acoustics are all over the hall, youjust very echoey and stuff.

MI - How long is it since you've been back in Sioux CIty?

TB - Oh God, about seven months.

MI - Seven months. What have you done in the last seven months then?

TB - Worked, worked...

MI - Why weren't you here? We missed you.

TB - I worked.

MI - Where were you?

TB - I've been working for a change. It's much better than not, I found out.

MI - I like being unemployed.

TB - You do? Well I tried that the year before last.

MI - Where were you working?

TB - We've been touring all over since I left Purple, which was about eight months ago. Um, about a month after that we started touring and recording the "Private Eyes" album and doing the "Private Eyes" tour, and um, which will end the twelfth of next month and then I'm off.

TB - Then you're off.

TB - For eighteen days.

MI - Then what are you going to do? Hit the studio and do another album?

TB - Right. That will probably be out in March.

MI - March. Title already or...?

TB - Not yet. Any ideas?

MI - Call it the Carl Keller album (presumably the interviewer's name).

TB - (laughs)

MI - Do something unique, you know, they call it the 'Johnny Carson Show,' do something unusual, c'mon. How was the, what were the fun cities that you toured? What are the good places in America?

TB - Uh, in America...

MI - Well, you know. Anywhere. The good places in the world.

TB - Uh, in the world, well, out of the countries, you know, with Purple I got a chance to tour a lot of countries. So I think Australia and Japan are probably my favorite.

MI - Because of the crowds?

TB- Yes. And because it's just beautiful. I mean, the country is beautiful...

MI - Pace slower than here?

TB - Yes, yes. But I still love America.

MI - Good. Well, you're back here, with us. Let's talk some more but first, let's play some more music. 3:23 at KMNS.


MI - Gina asked me to ask you... (general laughter) No, don't blame you, huh? All right.

TB - No, you may ask me that.

MI - All right, I'll ask that question...

TB - I like their feet (laughs).

MI - You like their feet. Strange answer. All right, uh...

TB - (laughs) If they only knew...

MI - We're having a good time. When you were touring with Purple, did you, who was out with (makes sounds to indicate he cannot speak correctly), easy for me to say. Were you touring by yourself, did you have a lead group or something?

TB - Yeah, we did the majority of the tour with Nazareth.

MI - Nazareth.

TB - "Love Hurts?"

MI - Yeah, I know, I know Nazareth.

TB - Yeah.

MI - I know, love hurts, bring it on (laughs). And you were with the James Gang before that?

TB - Yes.

MI - What happened to the rest of Purple? Are they still touring or...

TB - Um, they're all doing like solo albums. Jon and Ian have a group, uh, David is attempting to do a solo album, and Glenn said he did a double album which I've yet to see but I wish him all the luck in the world.

MI - You're not upset that you...

TB - No.

MI - Not at all, huh?

TB - No.

MI - You just kinda, everybody...

TB - Yeah.

MI - Gee, is that what, I guess that's what happens with almost all of the groups eventually, after, after so much time together it just kinda...

TB - Yeah, well, with Purple, they were together what, like eight, nine years, so...

MI - They were way back. "Hush" was about the first wasn't it?

TB - Yeah.

MI - Because I was in Ohio and that had to be, oh, ten years ago?

TB - Probably. I was quite young at the time.

MI - Gee! I'm dating myself. Got the news next. We'll talk with Tommy in just a moment, after we hear this from Mutual on KMNS.


MI - What's it like for a star to come back to his home town, back to Sioux CIty now after...?

TB - Well, the thing is, you know, usually when I make it back, I never get to spend any time at home or anything. And it's nice that I got, tomorrow being turkey day, I'll be able to spend turkey day with my parents.

MI - It's been a long time since you were able to spend a holiday with your folks?

TB - Oh, yeah. It's been three or four years.

MI - Good! What happens in the future? Now you told me an album... where do you see Tommy Bolin in, say, ten years? What's the future like when you go way down the road? What do you want to do?

TB - Buy this station and fire you (general laughter).

MI - Hello!?! It's now the Carl Keller show. You don't have any future plans... other than buying this radio station just to get rid of me...?

TB - No, I, you know, to make enough money to sit back and raise cattle.

MI - Raise cattle. Where are you going to raise cattle? Here?

TB - Downtown Sioux City.

MI - Downtown Sioux City. You're not going to retire to the islands like Partridge did...?

TB - I may, I don't know. I would like to travel.

MI - You like traveling.

TB - Yes. I mean travel without working.

MI - I'd like to do anything without working. Where would you like to go? Australia, Japan?

TB - Any place that doesn't have snow.

MI - Any place... I like that idea. Have you been to Hawaii? Of course, you had to be in Hawaii; you went to Australia.

TB - Yes, I was in Hawaii.

MI - Did you do some concerts there?

TB - Yeah. That was the first Purple concert. But it was kind of, I got my small pox shot. It was like, aw, eeet, the small pox shot and the TDT also. My week in Hawaii was watching everybody swim.

MI - Great deal, huh? Let's go up to the beach and watch the guys swim.

TB - That's about it...

MI - Wave goodbye and everything.

TB - Aloha.

MI - Where does the new tour after the album take you?

TB - Well, we do, uh, we start, uh, we have, I'm going to Miami on Friday for... a short rest.

MI - Hmm... no snow there.

TB - Well, until I get there ... And then we start the 2nd with the Jeff Beck tour, through the south, and then the 12th and then I do the album in January and then we go out with Fleetwood Mac in February.

MI - Uh-huh! Fleetwood Mac! They have that...

TB - They're a two song band.

MI - They're not doing bad at all. They won a lot of awards on that tinker-toy show (laughs).

TB- Yeah.

(End is missing)