When former Deep Purple/James Gang guitarist Tommy Bolin died in December 1976, he left behind a wealth of demos and outtakes.
When former Deep Purple/James Gang guitarist Tommy Bolin died in December 1976, he left behind a wealth of demos and outtakes. Countless rarities have appeared since the mid-'90s as part of the "Tommy Bolin Archives" series, but it appears as though the real meat and potatoes of unreleased Bolin tracks will soon arrive.
Bolin was one of the most versatile guitarists to emerge during the early '70s, but his career was cut short by a drug overdose after he had opened a show for Jeff Beck in Miami.
The artist's younger brother, Johnnie, has been working closely with producer Greg Hampton on outtakes from the recording sessions of Bolin's lone two solo releases, 1975's "Teaser" and 1976's "Private Eyes."
"We've found a lot of outtakes from that era, and they're recorded really well -- stuff that no one's ever heard," Johnnie tells Billboard.com. "A lot of the songs are from ['Teaser'] -- it's a different take or something. Same song, same day probably, but they're outtakes. Some nights when they were all wacky, they just played all night."
The forthcoming releases are currently dubbed "Master Series One, Two, and Three," and will be mixed in DVD 5.1/surround sound and with bonus video footage. A sample track can be heard at RealBolin.com.
Hampton describes the material as "The best performances of his career. The difference with this is that it's going to be all the things that no one has ever heard." He is particularly enthused about a version of "Teaser" he says "absolutely just surpasses by miles the original version on the original album," as well as such unreleased tracks as "Crazed Fandango," the instrumentals "Tommy Blows His Cookies" and "Kiefer Goes Cookoo" and alternate takes of "People People" and "Lotus."
Hampton has also worked to acquire a wealth of unpublished photos and footage of Bolin on Deep Purple's 1975 Japanese tour, and adds that he also located footage of Bolin and the James Gang that should yield enough usable material for a video montage. "We're trying to scrape through the best things that were done, because there wasn't a lot, unfortunately," he says.