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Tom Fowler

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Daveomd, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. Daveomd


    Feb 28, 2010
    Made a mid-70s Zappa playlist for my iPod and went to sleep last night jammin' out to some of the best bass sounds and playing I've ever heard. Jeez, what a great recorded bass tone! "Inca Roads" from One Size Fits All, "Fifty-Fifty" from Overnite Sensation, the entire Roxy And Elsewhere LP for the perfect P Bass tone...truly inspiring stuff.
  2. Yeah, Fowler's tone was awesome during that era...classic 70s sound, still sounds great 35 years later. If you like Zappa, you should check out Zappa plays Zappa when they come to your town. It's not Frank, but Dweezil and Co. (any lineup) does a nice job.
  3. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    Yeah, Tom's playing on "Fifty-Fifty" is absolutely nut-bustin'! Also "Montana" and Zomby Woof" from that same album.

    btw, on another TB thread in the last year or so someone else was saying (with supreme assured confidence, for whatever that's worth on an internet forum!) that Tom was playing his Alembic by the time One Size Fits All ("Inca Roads") was recorded. Dunno if that's true, but...
  4. GregDunn


    Jan 8, 2009
    It's also worth checking out Project/Object if they play nearby. There's almost always 1 to 3 former FZ band members in the lineup, and if you can see Dave Johnsen on bass it's a no-brainer! His interpretation of Apostrophe' is brilliant.
  5. Daveomd


    Feb 28, 2010
    None of FZ's bassists were slouches by any means and he definitely gave them plenty of room to shine. Fowler is my fav, though, and I'm sure it has something to do with the material he played on. Thunes had an awesome sound, too, but there was sort of a bad vibe in that 80's period IMO. The early/mid 70s stuff was all about fun.
  6. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Which other basses did he play during his tenure with Zappa? On the pictures and videos of the Mothers of Invention with Tom Fowler on bass I've had the chance to check out, I've never seen other than his Alembic.
  7. Sounds like a P-bass with Flats on "Over-Nite Sensation", anybody out there know for sure?
  8. Daveomd


    Feb 28, 2010
    There's some stuff on Youtube from '73 where he's playing an old Jazz bass, the pictures inside Roxy And Elsewhere show a black P bass
  9. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I've just checked my copy and you are right. I totally forgot about those pictures.
  10. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    When I saw The Mothers of Invention at the Capital Theater in Passaic NJ in November 1974 I'd swear he was playing a Fender Precision.
  11. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    I was at that same show 11.8.74 and I'm certain that Fowler was playing an Alembic. AFAIK, that's the only bass he used live after the summer of '74. I play an Alembic today because of Fowler's use of an Alembic at that show - that's where I first got turned on to them. Check out the video called The Dub Room Special, which was recorded in August of '74, and you can watch Fowler using an Alembic. Killer tone!
  12. tedesco23


    May 12, 2010
    Evansville, WI
    Fowler's playing on Jean-Luc Ponty's "Imaginary Voyage" really elevates the whole album. One of my favorite bass albums of all time.
  13. PhR


    Dec 13, 2005
    He also played an Alembic when they played in Helsinki 1974. There's a pic of that bass in a Pekka Pohjola book where Pohjola tries out the bass with Fowler looking.
  14. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    Wow...I would love to see the photo of Fowler and Pohjola together. Any way to scan it and share?
  15. Great player. I saw Zappa a number of times in the early to mid '70s and the times I saw Tom he used a Precision or Alembic as I recall.
  16. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    What I hear at the start of the Fowler era is better technology, which in turn informs the engineering approach. Compression per track, more tracks, more mix-slotting done both by smart use of compression, EQ, and panning.

    The bass is a lesser influence than either the engineering, or the player.
  17. oldbassplayergu

    oldbassplayergu Banned

    Dec 19, 2010
    zappa knew talent patrick o'hearn's fretless tone on rubber shirt is sooo smoooothhh.

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