Monday, December 15, 2008

365 Days Later & More Tommy Mania!

I started this blog a year ago today, and have averaged one post every 4.5 days, drawn 22,000+ visits (Sitemeter doesn't count mine) from I don't know how many countries, and evidently have entertained some people enough to warrant returning regularly. Some of the best watermedia painters in the world have looked in, and even commented. Music fans, old colleagues, students and bandmates, workshop attendees, collectors, and the occasional long-lost friend. I was even honored with a post from Bruce - um, 365 days ago! :)

Well, it's all been exciting and a lot of fun, but even more exciting is what's happened with Tommy Bolin over the past 12 months. Johnnie Bolin, Dean Guitars, and I introduced the commemorative "Teaser" guitar at NAMM last January to a spectacular reception (see posts from Dec. 2007 and Jan. 2008), and the new January 2009 issue of Guitar Player magazine has a full page ad for the guitar on page 82, opposite the cover story on David Gilmour - appropriately, in my view, as Pink Floyd's legendary guitarist has been another huge influence on me. The ad utilizes the tag line I came up with, Once In a Million Years, a Shooting Star Returns. We're very pleased that the guitar has nearly sold out, and is already being auctioned on ebay with starting bids at the list price. There may be more Tommy axes from Dean in the future!

But it doesn't stop there! Greg Prato's new book, Touched By Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story, is now available! This is the book so many have been waiting 32 years for, and we are all indebtted to Greg for taking on the project. He interviewed approx. 50 people (including myself), all of whom either knew, played with, or were otherwise connected to Tommy in an important way. I haven't gotten my copy yet, but my nose is glued to the window, waiting for the postman. The book can be ordered here.

As if that weren't enough, Martin Popoff's history of Deep Purple from the years 1968-1976 - the years that matter - is hot off the press. Extraordinary. One might think that the title of the book - if it were to use the title of a Purple song or album - would be something culled from one of the classic, "signature" Purple periods: Shades of Deep Purple, Machine Head, Highway Star, Smoke On the Water, Made in Japan, etc. But no! Mr. Popoff instead used the title of one of the tracks Tommy wrote for Come Taste The Band: Gettin' Tighter !!! I still remember when I heard that song for the first time, and was floored. Tommy had reinvented the wheel, and injected a grinding American bluesiness, funk, and jazz-fusion sensibility into the British supergroup's patented monstrous sound. Popoff didn't stop there. One might expect a picture of perhaps the Mk. II lineup on the cover, or maybe the Lord/Paice/Blackmore core, or, predictably, one of those familiar pics of Ritchie Blackmore. No again! Instead, a never-before-seen photo by Richard Galbraith - from a roll of film thought to be lost forever - showing the one and only Tommy Bolin in a shot that sends chills down the spines of disciples. (the famous jacket can be seen more clearly here, scroll down) How cool is that!! Read more about the book, and order it here.

Since I came up with the idea of the guitar, and got Johnnie together with Elliott Rubinson of Dean Guitars, there has been a snowball effect of Tommy's visibility: a great feature in Classic Rock magazine, the cover of Guitar Player magazine in February 2008, another feature in Guitar Player, June 2008, "10 Things You Gotta Do To Play Like Tommy Bolin" (good luck!), Greg Prato's new book, and Martin Popoff's new book. The Tommy Bolin Archives site and are busier than ever, and the CDs just keep rolling out. The buzz gets louder each day as new generations of music lovers discover the genius of the beautiful kid from Sioux City. Coincidence? I don't think so. :) I used to scrawl "Tommy Bolin Lives!" on the walls of my highschool. It's true.


W. K. Moore said...

It's been almost a year!? Man I remember that time and all the pix you sent out covering your view of the event. Glad the work you did was well received. When is the next design coming out and who is the guitar hero?

David Burge said...

Just keeps on coming. Serendipity or whatever powers there are seem to be working in parallel.
An incredible re-emergence.

Billie Crain said...

OMG! now i know who Tommy Bolin is! 'Smoke on the Water' ala Deep Purple was an alltime fav of mine back in the day. too bad i was high most of the time back then or i'd probably have made the connection sooner. ah yes...good times.*eyeroll*

btw Nick, i found this on Youtube:

i believe you are being interviewed by one of the 'ladies' participating on Sharon Osbourne's Rock of Love Charm School reality show. tell me i'm wrong...please! LOL!

Congrats on the success of the guitar sales!! brilliant work!

Nick said...

Bill, it has indeed been gratifying. It's possible another model with Tommy's name on it might develop, based on a different guitar he played.

Dake - a testament to the man's legend!

Billie - Smoke on the Water was the product of Ritchie Blackmore, Purple's famous long-time guitarist. Tommy replaced Blackmore, who was in his own way, irreplaceable. Smartly, Tommy rewrote the band instead of trying to be a Blackmore clone. Blackmore went on to form Rainbow, the first record of which was fantastic, the second less-so, and downhill from there. He's now doing Blackmore's Night which is a showcase for his medieval-baroque minstrel side.

wayne said...

Hi Nick,
The Tommy resurgent interest is a real credit to you -- you've obvioulsy been instrumental (pun intended) in reinvigorating 'Tommy mania'. Wow, lots of interesting info, history, and links here...
It's a great overview of your blog history of 12 months too!! All those visits.. well deserved too .. happy Christmas and New Year to you and family! cheers Wayne

Nick said...

Wayne, it's been a lot more fun with you dropping by, and an honor sir!