Book excerpt: Tommy Bolin: The magical year of 1975

This excerpt from "Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story" by Greg Prato details the guitarist’s transition to Deep Purple and the making of his own solo album, ‘Teaser.’
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To many, Tommy Bolin was the legitimate heir to Jimi Hendrix’s rock guitar throne.

Stints with the James Gang and Deep Purple — as well as solo albums and a groundbreaking release with jazz-rocker Billy Cobham — certainly proved that the adulation was rightly deserved. Name a musical style, and Tommy could master it. And with a techno-color fashion sense, he certainly stood out from the pack.

Only one problem: Tommy had a death-defying drug addiction, which ultimately would lead to a premature and tragic end — before he was able to truly take his standing among the elite musicians of the world.

“Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story” is the first book to focus entirely on the life story of Tommy Bolin — compiled from nearly 50 exclusive interviews (including family, friends and band members that played alongside Tommy throughout the years — including David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Carmine Appice, Martin Barre, Jan Hammer, Alphonse Mouzon, Mark Stein, Jim Fox, Dale Peters, etc.) — and featuring many never-before-seen photos.

This excerpt from the book (titled Moxy/‘Teaser’/Deep Purple) focuses on the year 1975, which saw Tommy — having recently departed from the James Gang after playing on two oft-overlooked classics, Bang and Miami — begin the new year doing session work for Canadian rockers Moxy. Soon after, Tommy achieved a longtime goal by signing a solo deal with Nemperor Records, resulting in sessions for his solo debut, the soon-to-be-classic Teaser. But at the same time, Tommy learned that one of the world’s biggest rock bands, Deep Purple, was looking for a replacement guitarist for Ritchie Blackmore. A tryout was arranged, and … read on!

Cast Of Characters

Carmine Appice [Vanilla Fudge/Cactus/Beck Bogert and Appice/Rod Stewart drummer, and played on Teaser and Private Eyes]

Bobby Berge [Zephyr drummer, and played drums on Teaser and Private Eyes, and for part of the Tommy Bolin Band’s 1976 tour]

Ritchie Blackmore [Deep Purple/Rainbow/Blackmore’s Night guitarist]

Johnnie Bolin [Tommy’s middle brother, played drums for part of the Tommy Bolin Band’s 1976 tour, vice president of the Tommy Bolin Archives, Black Oak Arkansas drummer]

Tommy Bolin
[Zephyr/Energy/James Gang/Deep Purple guitarist, session guitarist, solo artist, singer]

G. Brown [Former rock journalist/KCUV D.J.]

Jeff Cook [American Standard/Energy singer, Tommy’s lyricist]

David Coverdale [Deep Purple/Whitesnake/Coverdale-Page singer]

Mike Drumm [President of the Tommy Bolin Archives]

Robert Ferbrache [Employee of Ebbet’s Field and Feyline Management, sound engineer, photographer]

Barry Fey [Tommy’s manager for most of his career, concert promoter]

Jan Hammer [Mahavishnu Orchestra/Jeremy Steig/Billy Cobham/Jeff Beck keyboardist, and played on Teaser]

Glenn Hughes [Trapeze/Deep Purple/Tony Iommi singer/bassist, Black Sabbath singer, solo artist]

Earl Johnson [Moxy guitarist]

Phillip Polimeni [Friend of Tommy’s, owner of Glen Holly Studios]

Prairie Prince [The Tubes drummer, played on Teaser]

Stanley Sheldon [Energy/Peter Frampton bassist]


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