While it all began for Tim Bogert in August of 1944 in New York City, the life of his music began for most of us in 1967 with the release of the debut album of Vanilla Fudge.
When Tim was eight years old, he was already riding his bicycle to piano lessons. The piano lessons, however, were soon replaced by Little League. Music was in him, though and at thirteen, Little League was then replaced by a clarinet. Soon thereafter, Tim picked up the saxophone and played in his high school marching band. Tim was living in New Jersey by now and he met a friend named Dale. They formed a band called The Belltones with Tim playing sax and made good money playing gigs around New Jersey at high school dances and VFW halls. This band evolved into The Chessmen.
The Chessmen was introduced by WADO disk jockey Allen Fredericks, who helped them get gigs backing up doowop groups such as The Shirelles, The Crest, The Earl, and The Doves. The Chessmen were now playing New York City. With the advent of surf music which didn’t have much sax, Tim Bogert then picked up the electric bass.
After Tim left high school, he was in and out of a number of bands in the NYC area. In 1965, he went on a lounge tour of the Eastern Seaboard with Rick Martin and the Showmen, where he met Mark Stein, the keyboardist and vocalist. The two of them hit it off, and they soon left to join with drummer Joey Brennan and guitarist Vince Martell to form their own band, The Pigeons. After recording an album called “While the World was Eating”, they replaced drummer Joe Brennan with Carmine Appice and changed the name of the band to Vanilla Fudge.
A hoopla has been made about who actually came up with the name. Some attribute it to Shadow Morton. However, according to Tim, “I think it was Mark’s cousin who came up with Vanilla Fudge. Everyone thought it had something to do with ‘ white soul ‘ because white boys were doing soul music. It had nothing to do with that, it had something to do with a nickname.”
According to Mark Stein, he and Tim were “hanging out” one day in early 1967 when You Keep Me Hanging On by The Supremes came on the radio. They both agreed that the words were very soulful and that the song was too fast. Tim replies that they took the idea to slow it down back to Vince and Carmine.
They performed it that night and refined the arrangement over the next few weeks and the rest is history. It was recorded in one take and that’s the version we’ve been listening to for thirty years! The album soared to number 3 on the national charts behind The Beatles and The Supremes. It stayed on the charts for over 200 weeks! The first notes Tim plays in the intro to this symphonic rock piece indicate his incredible speed and his unique ability take you on a “bass trip” while continuously doing what a bass player is supposed to do; holding down the bottom and completing the rhythm section. This was the emerging Tim Bogert style. Tim recorded five albums with Vanilla Fudge between 1967 and 1969. As Vanilla Fudge matured, so did his style, on both the melodic and rhythmic sides. His “bass trips” became even more imaginative, utilizing more effects and greater speed, yet his rhythmic grooves were just as awesome. These techniques are prevalent on the Some Velvet Morning and Break Song cuts on the Near the Beginning album. Tim and drummer Carmine Appice became undoubtedly the tightest rhythm section in rock.
This really became evident in Vanilla Fudge’s last album, Rock & Roll, in 1969. Need Love and Street Walkin’ Woman really smoke! Guitar legend Jeff Beck was known to have said Tim and Carmine were his favorite rhythm section.
If you listen closely to Intro: The Beat Goes On from The Beat Goes On, Vanilla Fudge’s second album, Tim and Carmine actually play “question & answer” between bass and drums which would normally be done between between, say bass and guitar, or two drummers. Tim even matches the pitch of Carmine’s drums! Throughout the life span of Vanilla Fudge, Tim’s bass lines not only solidified and enhanced Carmine Appice’s outstanding performance on the drums, he solidified the bottom half of that orchestral quality so pronounced in Vanilla Fudge’s symphonic rock style. Tim’s incredible vocal range helped Vanilla Fudge win the coveted “Golden Gondola” award in Italy in 1968.
Following the breakup of Vanilla Fudge in March of 1970, Tim went on with Carmine to form Cactus with guitarist Jim McCarty (Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels), and vocalist Rusty Day(Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes). Says Tim, “Carmine and I were lying in the back of a limo on the way home from a gig in Arizona. We were talking about leaving the Fudge. We passed under a sign that read ‘ The Cactus Drive-In’ . It was the easiest band name we ever thought of. ”
This high energy rockin’ blues band gave Tim the opportunity to further prove his ability to fill the gaps in what was essentially an instrumental trio, while maintaining his meaty, melodic style. After three studio albums, Jim McCarty left the band and was replaced by an unknown guitarist, Werner Friching, from Germany that they met in New York. Carmine once said that he and Tim had trouble with many guitarists because the two of them were “crazy musicians from New York” and were too high energy. Well, so much the loss for the guitar players! With the addition of keyboardist Duane Hitchings, from the original Buddy Miles Express and a new vocalist, Pete French, from Atomic Rooster, they recorded a fourth album ‘Ot ‘n Sweaty in 1972. This Cactus version, lasted only another seven months before breaking up completely.
The Bogert/Appice rhythm section then teamed up once again. This time with the legendary Jeff Beck. Beck, Bogert, and Appice was the new supergroup. Tim and Carmine had wanted to team up with Beck for a long time. Jeff had called them up to do a session with Stevie Wonder and were asked to join the Jeff Beck Group. They left Cactus and did a national tour with Beck.
Their rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition was an instant hit. Vanilla Fudge harmonies, provided by Tim and Carmine, were evident in Lady. BBA’s live album from Japan, which was coincidentally only released in Japan and is now a collectors item, displayed the intense energy they became known for. Ray Manzerek of The Doors described BBA as “one of the great power trios of all time.”
Ultimately, Tim dissolved his partnership with Beck and moved from New York to Los Angeles.
“I did nothing for six months. Just rode my motorcycle. Then I teamed up with Steve Perry for two years.” Tim met Steve at a rehearsal studio and they put a band together called Pieces.”
After that, Tim went to England to do one session and wound up staying for three and a half years. While there, he joined a band with Chris Stainton called Boxer. They recorded one album and toured England. 1979 found Tim back in California mainly living the life of a freelance musician working local clubs on a casual basis and doing his share of studio dates with the likes of Rod Stewart on his “Foolish Behaviour” album and Bo Diddley on his “20th Anniversary of Rock ‘N’ Roll album.
“After that I went back to Europe to live in Italy for seven months to do session work and tour.” Upon his return to Los Angeles, Tim joined Bobby and the Midnights with Billy Cobham and Bob Weir. That took him on another tour of the U.S. for a year and a half. The following year, Tim toured nationally with Rick Derringer.
Tim reunited with, Carmine, Mark Stein, and Vince Martell in 1983 for another Vanilla Fudge album on Atco records called Mystery . Mystery contained one of Tim’s original songs titled Don’t Stop Now.
Tim is constantly in synch with whatever drummer he is working with. Most bass players tune themselves in solely to the drummer’s bass drum. Not Tim. He’s aware of everything a drummer does. In one of his instructional videos, Tim actually teaches aspiring bass players how to mimic drum rudiments on the bass!
Tim Bogert’s unique combination of melodic ingenuity, and gutsy roaring speed, brought new dimensions to the role of the electric bass player back in 1967. No other bass player in rock history has been able to get your heart pounding so easily, yet turn around and hand you a line on a six string bass melodically sweeter than any Paul McCartney riff ever was. And diverse as it is, his style is instantly recognizable. Tim is bridging the gap between lead and bass guitars and breaking molds for electric bass players. He believes the bass guitar doesn’t need to be restricted to bottom end and rhythm work, and that bass players can do lead and chord work too, which adds a new dimension to blues, and to instrumental trios.
Tim was a member of the faculty of Musician’s Institute(BIT and VIT) in Hollywood. However, after eighteen years, Tim resigned from MI to relax a little, work on(and ride) his Harleys, and pursue new musical endeavors. People from around the world came to California to study with him at BIT, and this site gets many letters from former students that praise him.
The year 1999 was a big year for Tim Bogert. Most notably, Tim was inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame along with other bass icons on January 27th. Also in 1999, Tim recorded some tracks on Vince Martell’s first solo CD, Endless High. In 1999, Tim reunited with buddy Carmine Appice. Yes, the world famous Bogert/Appice rhythm section reunited in two incarnations. They joined with old friend Vince Martell for two shows as Vanilla Fudge with Bill Pascali on Hammond organ.
In December, Tim and Carmine toured Japan with Japanese guitar sensation Char often named as Japan’s “Jeff Beck”. They toured as Char, Bogert, Appice (CBA)!
Tim has performed over the years, to his credit, with Rod Stewart, Billy Cobham, Steve Perry, Bobby and the Midnights, Rick Derringer, Ronnie Laws, Boxer, and Ginger Baker and many more world class players and bands.
The year 2000 brought about another reunion of the Bogert/Appice rhythm section. This time, with none other than Rick Derringer! They put together a CD calle DBA… what else?
Back in 1998, Vanilla Fudge reformed with Vince Martell on guitar, Carmine Appice on drums, and Bill Pascali on Hammond. They toured for over five years until the band received an offer to tour with the Doors if all four original members would play. Mark Stein decided to return and in 2005 all four original members of Vanilla Fudge were touring once again, with the Doors.
Also in 2005, came the reunion of Cactus with Tim, Carmine, original guitarist Jim McCarty, with Jimmy Kunes replacing the late Rusty Day on vocals. Randy Pratt joined the band on harmonica. In August of 2005, Tim was involved in a serious motorcycle accident which left him unable to perform for a couple of years.
In August 2007, the all original Vanilla Fudge reunited again for a concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with Deep Purple, and continued to tour into 2008.
In 2010, resulting problems from the motorcycle accident forced Tim to reluctantly retire from touring. He is still doing session work locally in Simi Valley, California and over the Internet.
The legend will live on….
Visit the Tim Bogert website.