Uriah Heep’s Trevor Bolder Tribute: A kind person and superb bassist!

(This is a special edition of Rock Lines. We will resume regular coverage soon!)

Image used by permission of: guenterleitenbauer.

Image used by permission of: guenterleitenbauer.

On Tuesday May 21st, Trevor Bolder, longtime Uriah Heep bassist and former member of David Bowie’s Spiders from Mars passed away. Trevor was 62 and had been battling pancreatic cancer.

The world has lost one of the most profound bass players in music history. Uriah Heep has lost a legendary member of the band. Trevor’s family has lost a kind, gentle and loving man. The fraternity will never be the same.

Trevor grew up in Hull, England and first met Mick Ronsen as a member of the Rats. Trevor would later team up with Mick in 1971 as the bassist for David Bowie’s Spiders from Mars. He would record four records with David Bowie’s glam rock band including Hunky Dory and Aladdin Sane.  In the U.S. the song, “Suffragette City”, from the album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars would be a hit single and performed by countless club bands in 1972.

The excitement of  “Suffragette City” had many of us wanting more of the same sound from David Bowie. But that wasn’t to last with David Bowie eventually changing musical styles and moving on without The Spiders and Trevor.

By 1976 Uriah Heep was seeking a bass player to replace the departed, John Wetton.  John Wetton had replaced Gary Thain who suffered an electrocution onstage in Dallas and due to declining heath had been let go. When Wetton left the band, Uriah Heep had already fired lead singer David Byron. It was the Byron, Box, Hensley, Thain and Kerslake version of Uriah Heep that were taking the concert halls by storm. The future of Uriah Heep was on shaky ground to say the least.

Enter Trevor Bolder.

His rock solid playing would not only revive Uriah Heep along with the addition of new singer John Lawton, but; Trevor’s presence would continue to play a pivotal role in Heep’s long existence. Trevor Bolder didn’t copy Gary Thain’s brilliant melodic bass playing, he gave such songs as “July Morning” his own original stamp of improvisation and solos. Mr. Bolder took ownership of the songs and his wealth of talent was a genuine gift to the audience.

When Uriah Heep suffered a dismal short breakup in 1981, Trevor joined a brief stay in Wishbone Ash between 1981-83. Uriah Heep would revamp the lineup with Lee Kerslake  rejoining on drums with bassist Bob Daisley ( both men had just been fired from Ozzy Osborne’s “Blizzard of Oz” ) . After Bob Daisley got an offer to return to Ozzy’s band in 1983, the return to Heep would be a stable move for Trevor.

  • Out of Uriah Heep’s 45-year history it would be Trevor Bolder whose tenure (34 years) in the band would only be second to original member and guitarist Mick Box.
  • Few people know it was Trevor Bolder, who recommended current Heep drummer, Russell Gilbrook, when Lee Kerslake’s health failed in 2007.

Trevor’s style of bass playing was old school, much in the vein of a Jon Entwistle. I have no doubt (if he wanted to) Trevor could have been an excellent jazz bassist, but his passion was his melodic and tasteful improvisation with progressive rock music. In later years Trevor worked with Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot and Phil Collen in a project called  Cybernauts.

I had the privilege of meeting Trevor only twice, but I found him to be soft-spoken, laid back and a gentleman. Far from the pretentious rock star attitude of others. Trevor wrote many songs and produced a few of Uriah Heep’s recordings over the years.

I will remember Trevor as the kind, gentle giant of stability who obviously loved his role in Uriah Heep. The day he passed, I was listening to a recording of “Gypsy from YouTube (unaware of his passing at the time) and marveled at the simple but consistent bass pattern, while noticing his subtle nuances performed live. Mr. Bolder was a superb vocalist within Uriah Heep’s harmonies and occasionally sang lead vocals on several of his written material.

On Uriah Heep’s “Wake the Sleeper CD, Trevor wrote “Angels Walk With You:

I only know what I’m feeling

Do you know it’s true

‘Cos I’ve searched for you

‘Cos I believe in you

Why do we walk in shadows

While this world falls apart

‘Cos I’d die for you

‘Cos I know angels walk with you

In my hands I hold nothing

The more I have the less I use

If I’d gone down that road forever

I would not have found you.

Today, Trevor walks with the Angels!

Our hearts and prayers go out to Trevor’s family and his musical family across the world!

Sincerely,

Jim Carver

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Jim Carver About Jim Carver

Jim Carver is the President of The Rust Belt Chronicles.

In 2004, Jim graduated from North Central State College with a degree in Business Information Technology. Jim developed "Rock Lines" news report online in 2010.After a trial-run of The Rust Belt Chronicles in April of 2013, Jim decided to make his dream a reality in 2014 by re-launching The Rust Belt Chronicles.

Comments

  1. Thank you for writing such an accurate story on Trevor. I not only had the privilege of managing part of his career with Uriah Heep in the 90’s, but he was my friend 1st, and foremost, to myself for almost 30 years now. I met Trevor thru his wife, Shelly, who I had become good friends with while she was living in Dallas. He was a gentleman, a great husband, loved his wife and kids, his band mates and they broke the mode with him. He was and will be one of the greatest bassist that has ever graced our ears – Cheers TB!!

    Donnie Frizzell

  2. Kathy Suess says:

    Love you Trevor…RIP and forever rock on!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Uriah Heep’s Trevor Bolder Tribute: A kind person and superb bassist! May 24, 2013 […]

  2. […] Rimmer (ex-Zodiac Mindwarp) has officially taken the place of the late Trevor Bolder in Uriah Heep. Davey follows the footprints of Gary Thain, John Wetton and Trevor Bolder; who were […]

  3. […] being released by Frontiers Records. “Outsider” is the first recording since bassist, Trevor Bolder untimely passing in May of […]

  4. […] Bear” Kerslake would be replaced by Russell Gilbrook. And sadly due to his untimely passing, Trevor Bolder would be replaced with Davey Rimmer (ex-Zodiac […]

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