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Bruce Thomas Master, Madman, or Hack?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Fender2015, Apr 12, 2021.


  1. Fender2015

    Fender2015 Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    All I have been challenged by a friend of mine to say whether Bruce Thomas of Elvis Costello fame Genius, madman or a hack. What are y’all think?
     
    MCF and dogbrained like this.
  2. Genius. Master of movement whether progressing through chord changes or making hanging on a particular note interesting. Also proficient in many different styles. Like Graham Maby, Bruce Thomas made his parts interesting and always tasty.
     
  3. Dluxe

    Dluxe

    Jan 9, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I was lucky enough to see the band the summer of '82. Amazing show with The Fabulous Thunderbirds opening..
    Screenshot_20210306-211350~2.png
     
  4. Was he playing his salmon colored P bass?
     
    Dluxe likes this.
  5. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Agree. Here in the UK at least, the late 70's to early 80's was a true golden era of inventive, original and highly skilled bass players (and imaginative producers willing to push the bass in the mix) that re-wrote the electric bass rule book, IMHO.

    YMMV
     
    foal30, jim nolte, dutchwife and 15 others like this.
  6. While Bruce Thomas was a perfect fit for Elvis Costello and Graham Maby a perfect fit for Joe Jackson, imagine if Thomas played with Jackson and Maby played with Costello! No doubt both situations would have worked well as each bassist, in slightly different styles, was able to propel the front man’s music so forward. Two bass geniuses.
     
  7. GtenderG

    GtenderG Supporting Member

    Feb 29, 2008
    Well, if Bruce Thomas is a hack then sign me up for Hack classes. Honestly, what would prompt that question?
    While music is absolutely subjective (one persons noise is a symphony to another) I've always found his bass lines to imaginative imaginative and integral to the songs movement. I love listening to the guy play!

    Here is one of my faves.. This Years Girl

     
    JMacBass65, GregC, P. Aaron and 17 others like this.
  8. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Only a madperson would call BT a "hack."

    I could cite myriad counterfactuals ("Watching the Detectives" live @ Hollywood High, "Lipstick Vogue," the entirety of Imperial Bedroom) but what would be the point?

    Between him and JAE the "I'm not worthy" seed got planted deep in my low-self-esteem teenage psyche.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
    JMacBass65, GregC, design and 3 others like this.
  9. Yeah UK bassists were the best. Of course John Entwistle and JAck Bruce paved the way but the 70's generation with JJ Burnell and Bruce Foxton carried the torch and than of course Graham Maby, Peter Hook, Colin Moulding, Bruce Thomas, Paul Simonon, and Leigh Gormon were just a league of legendary New Wave bassists. I'm sure I'm missing some big names too.
     
  10. Jjacks651

    Jjacks651

    Feb 7, 2014
    Connecticut
    Definitely Genius!

    John
     
    DrMole, 4 Strings Good and JettBlaq like this.
  11. ELG60

    ELG60 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Mid-Florida
    I believe him to be largely unappreciated. Genius . . . I'm not qualified to say, but inventive, quite talented and fun to hear? Most certainly for me he is.

    To answer your question, he certainly is a master of his instrument.
     
  12. Konza

    Konza

    Jun 16, 2013
    Another vote for genius.
     
  13. 9M2E

    9M2E

    Dec 6, 2011
    Middleport, NY
    If you think Bruce is anything but a master genius, you are the hack. This coming from a 36 year old who taught himself bass at age of 13 with this years model, green day dookie, rancid and out come the wolves and RHCP's BSSM. Oh here's my BT profile bass with Guitar Fetish Empress Body :) SmartSelect_20210413-091922_Instagram.jpg
     
    JMacBass65, GregC, Jjacks651 and 9 others like this.
  14. Matthijs

    Matthijs Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    Amsterdam
    Norman Watt Roy of Ian Dury’s Blockheads!
     
  15. jwoiton

    jwoiton Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2005
    Dallas area
    Elvis Costello's original backing band The Attractions were all top notch players. Check out this live version of "Watching the Detectives", it is Genius.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
  16. Another vote for “genius”.
     
    JMacBass65, JettBlaq and 4SG like this.
  17. ellipsis

    ellipsis Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2010
    Santa Fe, NM
    Absolute genius. The Attractions, collectively, are one of the most under appreciated bands ever.
     
    JMacBass65, GregC, woodyng2 and 6 others like this.
  18. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Genius!
     
    JMacBass65, JettBlaq and 4SG like this.
  19. So far unanimous for Genius, and for intelligent and incisive reasons. OP - could you please check in and explain why anyone would feel BT was a hack?
     
  20. Drucifer

    Drucifer Not currently practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Endorsements: your name could be here, Mr. Sadowsky!
    Genius, one of my favorites.
     
    JMacBass65, JettBlaq and 4SG like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 6, 2021

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