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Bruce Thomas

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by shrimpflea, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. Bruce Thomas: Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    One of my favorite bass players...always loved his playing but as I get older I'm realizing he had one of the best bass tones ever....always sounded great.

    Bruce Thomas: Elvis Costello & The Attractions video
  2. Bipslapper

    Bipslapper Well Ahoy, Paloi Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    Cape Cod, MA
    One of the main reasons I started playing bass in 1985. Great tone, groove and it was great that Elvis kept the bass loud in the mix in every recording. He and Pete Thomas really jelled. I've seen Elvis many times, recently 2011 on the Cape but Bruce wasn't with him. It was Elvis, Pete, Steve Nieve on keys and the bass player was Davey Faragher, who is great in his own right. But there is only one Bruce Thomas.

    Lipstick Vogue is a great bass song. Thanks for posting
  3. sparkyfender2


    Nov 25, 2013
    Always loved his tone and his lines.
  4. Awesome bass player!
  5. randyripoff


    Jul 12, 2008
    I own a DVD that features a number of live performances by EC and the Attractions. They were one hell of a band, and Bruce was front and center.
  6. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Saw EC&TA in the 90s, Bruce played a Jerry Jones Longhorn.
  7. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Killer bassist - built great parts, super pocket with the keys and drums, always helping to build the tune. Have to read his autobiography sometime - I understand it's a good read, but also contributed to the estrangement between "The Artist" and Mr. Thomas.
  8. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Incredible bassist. He was a huge part of The Attractions' sound and he really added a lot to every song he recorded with EC. His tone just pops out live, too, without running over the mix.

    He is so inventive and melodic and his sense if time is brilliant, does so much to move the songs forward or to create tension and release. His fills are just nuts and completely original.

    Carragher's tone with The Imposters is just too fat and doesn't work with the old material, takes the edge off the songs IMO.

    Look for the '78 Live at the Rockpalast full concert footage on YT for an incredible show and a full sense if his style and virtuosity.
    billgwx and EduardoK like this.
  9. ShoeManiac


    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    I've always had nothing but respect for Bruce Thomas as a bass player. He really is fantastic, and his playing with the Attractions was a big part of the sound of that band.

    But his conflicts with Elvis Costello were so significant that he left the Attractions for a while. He came back to play on the album All This Useless Beauty. But during the ensuing tour there were reports of their personal differences causing major problems. Including instances of Bruce Thomas allegedly sabotaging songs on stage. If that was really the case? Then I would have to re-think how I think of Bruce Thomas, because doing something like that is beyond un-professional.

    And as much as I love Bruce Thomas's playing? You know who I got tickets to see in March? Elvis Costello & The Imposters. Not Bruce Thomas.
  10. Shimmidybone


    Jan 13, 2014
    Houston, TX
    Love listening to him play. He balances out being busy with the song so well. Never really pinned down any of his techniques though. I would love to really sit down and study him some day. Anyone have any thoughts on how he builds his bass lines or the techniques that he uses?
  11. MethodsofDance


    Nov 19, 2013
    Love the basslines on "Accidents Will Happen" and "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea", was mad into that band when I was a kid, still enjoy hearing it.
    codycon96 likes this.
  12. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    I used to play "lipstick Vogue" in a Memphis band in the late 70's,it was a fun,busy bassline!
  13. Costello's songs were already sophisticated pop music. Bruce Thomas made them even moreso with his frequent avoidance of the root and musical wanderings. Some of the bass lines are as profound and memorable as the main melodies.

    Thomas (bass), Thomas (drums), Naïve, and Costello were the perfect storm. Nothing like that before or since.
  14. This makes me sad, but it is not uncommon in this industry. I just quit a band because of an immature drummer who vented his petty grievances on stage and vindictively sabotaged performances.

    Do you have a source for that information?

    I read the reviews for Thomas' book on Amazon, it seems the book is (A) boring and idiosyncratic and (B) not nearly inflammatory enough to get a guy fired. So I'll probably skip it.
  15. Cool. I think the guy could get away with playing just about anything. He used to play one of those Ampeg Scroll basses as well.
  16. Lessfrets


    Nov 26, 2013
    Bruce is one of my favorite bassists. I practice EC & The Attractions songs quite often. I always loved his sense of groove and melody. He made me fall in love with my P bass again after a long absence. Costello's songs are perfect for playing along with.
    EduardoK likes this.
  17. Lessfrets


    Nov 26, 2013

    I know Bruce was the eldest member and most experienced musician of the band so maybe it was just professional ego bumping heads and not wanting to be told what to do or what to play. Which is unprofessional when you're not the band leader but Im still in awe of his playing.
  18. randyripoff


    Jul 12, 2008
    I've read the book. I'd have to say that what was in the book didn't seem to be enough to get someone fired. My guess is that there was either something else going on, or the miniscule attack was the tip of the iceberg.
  19. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thomas is a brilliant player. He was one of my biggest influences when I first started playing (along with Graham Maby). His contributions to the early EC records are monumental.

    He also has a reputation for being difficult to work with. It's too bad.

    He's worth checking out on Suzanne Vega's 99.9F Degrees album, too. Just as creative as his EC stuff, but a completely different context. He's one of the best, for sure.
    31HZ likes this.
  20. catgut


    Jan 15, 2014
    Seattle, WA
    Drat! I just added Bruce to the underrated list. Didn't know he was so not underrated. Bass threads are usually stuffed with Stu Hamm and Flea fans. Nice.