For those of us who are fans of live music, it seems that every week another familiar name in the music business moves on to that “Big Gig in the Sky”. If you are like me, you pause and reflect on the joy that music has brought into your life, the memories of a great live show or maybe where you were when you first heard a particular song. When Tim Bogert passed last Wednesday, it was much more personal for me since I am married to Tim’s cousin and one of his closest relatives, Joanne.
My memories of Tim go back to 1970 when I saw the Vanilla Fudge in Boston, but fast forward a decade later and when I met my future wife, Joanne, and I was to become part of the family. Tim’s father, who he was named after was one of seven children but he went by the nickname Tim. Tim was an only child, he formed a lifelong bond with two of his cousins, one of which was my wife Joanne. Joanne and her cousin would remain as close as one could with a famous musician who spent the better part of his life traveling all over the world playing everywhere from the Ed Sullivan Show to Buddakan.
Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Beck Bogert & Appice…
During his tenure with the Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Beck Bogert & Appice and others, he was regarded by musicians and fans alike as an innovator and master bass player. Although he didn’t get the recognition of players like Jack Bruce or John Entwistle, he was as highly regarded in the music community.
Tim also taught voice and bass at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles for many years.
Being a constant world traveler who relocated to California back in the early eighties, much of our contact with Tim was when he came home to play in the tri-state area, which happened often. We have so many great memories of B.B. Kings, the Westbury Music Fair, PNC Arts Center and even Club Bene’ where he played with the recently departed Leslie West. There were many backstage visits, dinners with band members and fun times at rehearsal studios. The one time that stands out the most was the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary Show at Madison Square Garden in 1988. It was an all-day event that showcased the stars of the label with the finale being the one off reunion of Led Zeppelin with Jason Bonham sitting behind the drums of his father. I was able to get one of the Sky Boxes from my Dad who worked at Chemical Bank and Tim got us two backstage passes. I said “you have to come up and party with us in the box” and his reply was “this is like my high school reunion and I have so many fellow musicians down here”. We did get to see him as well as meet a host of musicians, including Robert Plant, Phil Collins, and the Manhattan Transfer. A founding member, Tim Hauser, sang with a cousin of mine in the doo-wop group The Criterions, when they were classmates at St. Rose High School.
Tim was recognized for his contribution to rock history in 1999 by The Hollywood Rock Wall of Fame.
We did get to visit with him several times at his home in Simi Valley where he spent most of his time after a motorcycle accident hastened his retirement in 2009. He was replaced in both the Fudge and Cactus by Pete Bremy, a very talented bassist and singer who we became friends with when he became Tim’s bass tech in 2007. Pete had a rehearsal studio, and the Fudge used it prior to shows at that time. Pete has been active it the New Jersey scene for many years and played a number of times with the band Carnaby Street at the Keyport Summer Concert Series which I produced for 13 years.
Tim came from a family of bankers and through all the wild and tumultuous times he was prudent with his money, avoiding some of the pitfalls that bankrupted many of his contemporaries. He was so happy in 2017 when he could purchase his first new Corvette. We were supposed to visit him in early November but the COVID spike put an end to those plans. Joanne conversed with him on a weekly basis, but the two-year battle with cancer was wearing him out, and we knew we would not be able to see him in person again We did a “Zoom” call on Thanksgiving. Fortunately, we spoke with him on the day he died and thanked him for all the wonderful memories of a life lived to the fullest.
Tom Baldino, JSJBF President
You can read more about Tim in this recent Rolling Stones article.