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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.’

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]