mars cowling 411

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by senny, Dec 12, 2001.

  1. Here is some info regarding the great Pat Travers Bassist Peter "Mars" Cowling.

    He left the Pat Travers band in the mid 90`s.
    He needed a break after 30+ years of touring.

    To me, his finest playing is on the live Travers CD
    entitled "Go For What You Know."

    I have been friends with Mars since 1987.

    He doesn't divulge a lot of info . you sort of have to pull it out of him!

    One of the first bands he was ever in was with Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest .
    Not many folks know that..

    He is a big fan of prog rock, King Crimson is a particular favorite.
    He is also a fan of Frank Zappa's music, as well as Geddy Lee and the band RUSH.

    Lately, he's keeping things low key.
    Last year, he did a short European tour with a band he was in many years ago called Excelsior.
    Mars called upon me to write his bio for the tour, which i did with pleasure.

    I actually hooked him up with a situation in Florida, with a tremendously talented Guitarist named Gary Shutt.
    Mars couldn't make the 2 hour ride to rehearsals, so he had to split.

    Mars was in a prog band in the early 70's called GNIDROLOG.
    GNIDROLOG has recently released a CD that Mars played on in 1972 called In Spite Of Harry's Toenail.
    Mars plays Cello on a few tracks of this CD.
    GNIDROLOG also released LADY LAKE.
    Mars did the cover art on that record, as well as played his ass off as usual.

    Mars doesn't realize just how many rabid fans he has, in fact, he's a bit embarassed when people fuss
    about his playing.
    H'es not interested in interviews and things of that nature.
    He of course uses his trusty P bass, with Dean Markley SLP strings in studio, and Markley Blue Steels live (50-105)

    He uses Genz Benz cabs, Mos valve pre and power amps, and owns a five string from the Guitar factory
    in Orlando.(he used it on "Stevie" with Pat live.

    Waht else can i say, he is the greatest, most under
    rated bassist ever.
    Dann Glenn is also a friend, and he told me some time ago that the one and only Jaco Pastorius dug Mars' playing.
    I mentioned that to Mars, and he was stunned.
    He is NOT online as yet, but will be soon.
    He has 2 residences in Florida, West and East Coast.
    Tony Senatore
  2. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    That is SOOOOO cool! I remember watching a video for "Life In London" at a record store and was simply amazed at:
    How high Mars wore his bass
    How tight and precise his playing was.

    Yeah, I'm one of the fans. I didn't follow him in particular, but he was one of the big reasons I liked Pat Travers.
  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    If you ever MET Pat Travers, Mars would be the only reason you'd like him ;)

    I'm a big Mars-head myself, and have always wondered what he got up to after P.T. "Go For What You Know" has been my favorite live album for years and years.
    Tony Bassplayer likes this.
  4. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    and thanks for the e-mail. Mars just continues to blow me away. As I mentioned, he was the only part of Gnidrolog I liked. I remember years ago, I was taking bass lessons, and when I played some of "Go For What You Know" for my teacher (Robin Henkel, a local pro), he said, "I don't know who that is, but he's f***ing great!

    Please keep us updated, and thanks again.

    I'm a DG fan as well.
  5. I'm going to speak to Mars this week, so i will see if there's anything new on his end.
    If so, i will let everyone know.
    Tony Senatore
    lesliegl likes this.
  6. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Hey Senny,

    Ever thought about interviewing him yourself, since you're buddies? Lots of us would like to see him featured here on Talkbass or elsewhere.
  7. Mike,
    Last year, i did an EXTENSIVE Mars article.
    Just when it was time to submit the article, Mars
    didn't get the photos to me that were needed, then the magazine backed out on me.
    Still waiting for Mars' photos.
    When i call him this week, i'm going to ask once again if he has any interest, and i will do a new interview.
    Everyone from Les Claypool to Rex Brown from Pantera has been influenced or inspired by Mars, and have mentioned him in variuos articles..
    I receive so much e mail from people in regard to Mars.
    When PT played at Tramps in NYC in 1992, Mars invited me onstage to play the encore with ex Travers drummers Sandy Gennaro.
    What an honor to use his axe, and to his quote on my website.

    Mars wears his bass like a VIOLIN!
    Thanks for your interest in Mars C.
    You obviously have great taste.
    Tony Senatore
    lesliegl likes this.
  8. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
    Mars' playing on the first two PT studio albums...the first one in particular still blows my mind. The interplay between guitar and bass on Medley I and II (Pat Travers) are IMO the best ever recorded.
  9. GremlinAndy


    Feb 15, 2006
    I was a big fan of the Pat Travers band back in the late 70's. I managed to get to see them a few times, and as a fledgeling bass player back then, Mars just blew me away. His steam pumping finger action was very unusual at the time (I thought so anyway), and his knowledge of the entire neck was all but alien to me. No-one played quite like Mars at that time, he was like a secret bassists-bassist, hidden in plain view, and not appreciated by enough people.
    It's interesting to me that I also saw the PT band supporting "Journey" back in '79 (iirc) and at the time no-one in the UK really knew who Journey were. The *entire* crowd had gone to see the support act and almost all walked out afterwards.

    *EDIT* OOOOF! I just noticed the dates on these posts. I apologise for ressurrecting the dead. That'll teach me to respond to a result of a google search to see what happened to my old favorite bassist.

    I wonder how he's doing these days... Born in 1946 that would make him erm... 63ish?
    jreynolds2159 likes this.
  10. Geddyfleaharris

    Geddyfleaharris Supporting Member

    Nothing the matter with resurrecting this thread. Mars is a very cool bass player. Saw him 3 or 4 times with PT in the late 70s early 80s. For sure he has a style unto his own. Plus he has one of the coolest names ever!

    As the OP said the "Go for What You Know" album is one of my fave live albums too! From most posts I read PT can be a bit of an ass off the stage but I still never thought he achieved the popularity that he deserved.
    Tony Bassplayer likes this.
  11. Michael Vee

    Michael Vee Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Yet another Mars fan here. "Crash and Burn" was a favorite LP around '81 for me

    It's worth noting that the OP, Senny (Tony Senatore) has not posted on TB since August 2006, and before THAT post, had not posted since his last in this thread in 2001. His website is current, though, and looks good.

    And I don't think Mars ever made it onto Talkbass as Senny thought, at least not that we know of.
  12. GremlinAndy


    Feb 15, 2006
    I'd love to hear from him, or someone who knows what he's up to these days.... Especially since I'm from very near his home town. ...well just over an hour away. To me he's a "Local Lad Makes Good!" (in a newspaper style headline).
  13. Hamrhed


    Dec 26, 2007
    Thats right- I agree 100%! Considering the giants in that band (PT, Pat Thrall, Tommy Aldridge), Mars was an equal in every way... Merry Christmas, Mars... hope you rock happy in '09 :cool:
    lesliegl likes this.
  14. Saw Travers in 1979 at the Toledo Sports Arena open for AC/DC, after 3 encores the lads from down under were literally blown off the stage and left early.
  15. I'm also late to the thread but I just have to say it.
    Mars is F*&%ing Great!!! He's got the chops that blow most people away. I've been a big fan for as long as he's been around. Seen him play a few times back in the late 70's early 80's with PT, always great bass playing.
    I put him up at the top of my list for best players ever.
    lesliegl likes this.
  16. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    Top three bassist in my book!!! I love Putting it Straight and Heat in the Street, Crash and Burn Go for what you know. Mars is a great player and his tone was/is unreal on record.
  17. KevtheRev


    Feb 3, 2008
    There was a thread I saw a few weeks back titled "Best rhythm section" and Mars Cowling / Tommy Aldridge on Live - Go For What You Know immediately came to mind. They just smoked together. Glad to see Mars getting some attention on TB!
    lesliegl likes this.
  18. bigtexashonk

    bigtexashonk Supporting Member

    Vastly underrated/undiscovered bassist. He does exactly what a great bass line should do - DRIVE IT ALL!
  19. Mars was a huge influence on me growing up, and I think the live Travers album is the best representation of his bass playing - super aggressive, tasty fills, yet amazingly solid pocket, and man oh man, that tone! He and Aldridge totally kill on that album.
    Tony Bassplayer and lesliegl like this.
  20. ectoflanger


    Mar 17, 2009
    Loved Go For What You Know particularly 'Stevie'. I bought the album when I was a junior in high school. To this day I remember 'Mars' Cowling's smiling visage amongst the band member pics along with Pat Thrall, Tommy Aldridge, and Travers himself. Did you know that Nico McBrain did a stint with Travers as well?

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