British bass vet tells FBPO all about playing with David Bowie’s Spiders from Mars, Mick Ronson, Wishbone Ash and current gig with Uriah Heep
Exclusive interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
April 16, 2012
Trevor Bolder is a British bass player, best known for his associations with Uriah Heep, the Mick Ronson Band, Wishbone Ash and David Bowie/Spiders From Mars. In 1971, Bolder played bass on Bowie’s Hunky Dory album, along with Ronson on guitar and Rick Wakeman on keyboards. In 1972, Trevor played on Bowie’s classic, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.
Today, Trevor is back with Uriah Heep, with whom he has recorded over a dozen albums, including Equator, Raging Silence, Future Echoes of the Past, Magician’s Birthday Party and Live in the USA. The band began a tour of the U.S. in June 2011.
FBPO: How would you describe your musical upbringing?
TB: I come from a family of musicians. I started playing trumpet when I was 9. This allowed me to join a brass band and start my musical upbringing and understanding. I also soloed on the cornet, which is a similar role to that of a solo violinist. When the Beatles came along, however, I thought I would take up the guitar. I joined my brother’s band, but, because he was on the guitar – and I was the youngest – I was assigned the bass. Looking back, it was the best move I ever made!
FBPO: Can you identify a turning point in your life where you realized, undoubtedly, that you were going to make a career out of music?
TB: Ever since the age of 12, I’ve always wanted a career in music. I was going to join the military so I could play in the military band, however, my mother would not allow me. Thankfully, along came rock & roll!
FBPO: Performing and recording with the likes of Mick Ronson, Rick Wakeman and Aynsley Dunbar must have been quite special.
TB: I have been great friends with Mick for many years, since even before I played with David Bowie. It was such a pleasure to play alongside such a great talent. At the time I played alongside Rick Wakeman, I didn’t really know him because this was before his Yes days. I could tell at the time, though, that he was a very talented player with a great future. Aynsley Dunbar was a fantastic drummer and it was great to record and play live with him. We played a lot together, however, at first it was hard to play alongside another drummer who wasn’t Woody Woodmansey.
FBPO: Can you tell me something about David Bowie that most people don’t know?
TB: David Bowie was such a large name. Everything about him was documented in the papers, so this question can’t really be answered. [Laughs]
FBPO: What was the Wishbone Ash experience like?
TB: My time with Wishbone Ash was fantastic! They really are great musicians. I had such a great experience working and touring with them. I became a great friend of Laurie Wisefield. One of the unique elements of Wishbone Ash was the soundchecks. We use to spend sometimes two to three hours jamming on all genres of music, ranging from rock to blues and jazz. This was great fun and something that I really enjoyed while working with that band.
FBPO: Though your CV includes many high profile acts, I sense you have a soft spot for Uriah Heep. Am I right?
TB: Yes, Uriah Heep is a very close family and this is what makes playing for them such a wonderful experience. I have been friends with Mick Box for many years and we are just like brothers. We were born on the same day and seem to have a bond where we have the same thoughts. Uriah Heep is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. We have toured the world, playing at many different venues and achieved accolades that many big bands never achieve.
FBPO: What’s keeping you busy these days?
TB: Uriah Heep. It is a 24/7 job! [Laughs]
FBPO: What lies ahead for you and your career? What else can we expect to see and hear from Trevor Bolder?
TB: I would like to finish my solo album. I will upgrade my studio to ensure it has ProTools and write new songs to be included on the album. I will also hope to do something with Woody (Woodmansey) again, as we understand each other so well when we play together!
FBPO: What would you be if you weren’t a bass player?
TB: I would be a guitarist! [Laughs]