Tommy Bolin’s Energy:
“Jazz Metal Fusion Blues” 1971 -1973
Mr. Zero’s PsychoGello Radio Show (#2-B July- 2017)
By: RLSchwinden aka MrZerr0
As August is approaching, it is time once again to honor my home town Hero Tommy R. Bolin (1 Aug 1951 – 4 Dec 1976) from 2740 Clark St. in Sioux City, Iowa. I remember hearing a Radio Show on Tommy Bolin in Aug ’86 on the local station KSEZ 97.9fm, where Tommy mentions that his favorite band that he was part of was ‘Energy’.
‘Energy’ well, they kind of, sound like Santana meets Pink Floyd, vastly varied, & very interesting music, however with no real commercial appeal, too soon for its time … (Pink Floyd fans would love this material). With the Guitar of Tommy Bolin & Drums of Bobby Berge (21 Jun 1948; Sioux Falls, SD) of ‘ZEPHYR’ & the Terry Kath (Chicago) style Vocals of Jeff Cook who also played Harmonica (April 1948; KS), Bolin & Cook played together in Denver in ‘American Standard’ in ’68, & the celestial Keyboard playing of Tommy Stephenson (21 Oct; Kansas City), Stephenson & Bolin met through Bolin’s long time friend John Bartle (also from Sioux City), & the rock bottom Bass lines of Stephenson’s Cousin Stanley Sheldon (15 Sep 1950; Ottwa KS). While this is the most well known line-up of the band the Original line-up was; Vocalist Gary Wilson (who was compared to James Brown in his stage performance) Bassist Kenny Passaerlli & Violinist Jeremy Steig & a later version had Max Gronenthal on Vocals & Keyboards.
BOBBY BERGE: “The first version of ‘ENERGY’ really was Tommy, myself, Jeremy Steig & Kenny Passerlli on Bass. Jeremy had an album on Capitol called ‘Energy’ & we backed him on that tour. I guess Tommy really liked the name so that’s what we came to be called, Jeremy (Steig) flat out says Tommy ripped off the name from him.”
‘Energy’ did not get a record deal back in ’72, however the Tommy Bolin Archives CD Label did release 5 CDs (NO Vinyl or Cassette) from 1996-2003 of the band’s music. Several of the songs ‘Energy’ wrote ended up being released through other bands Bolin ended up playing with, later on in his career. This is the track list for the CD that could have been the ‘Energy’ album back in 1972.
“Energy” CD 1999 Tommy Bolin Archives
“Red Skies”* (Vocal; Gary Wilson) (released: James Gang: Miami ’74)
“Got No Time For Trouble” (released: James Gang: Bang ’73)
“Limits”* (Vocal by: Stephenson)
“Eyes Of Blue”
“Dreamer” (released: Tommy Bolin: Teaser ’75)
“Naked Edge” (from the Film “Break On Through”)
Bobby Berge: “3 songs were recorded with (Vocalist) Gary Wilson at Jackson Sound* in Denver , Winter ’72 & the other 6 were with Cook at Western Cine Studios in Summer ’72 & the last one was a film soundtrack”
Back in the “olden days” there were radio shows that would broadcast live performances of bands, when they first released a record or on a big tour, sometimes when they were only starting out. TBA released a 2 CD set of 2 such radio broadcasts of the band, 1 from April & the other from October. Here is the set list for the October Show:
‘Radio Broadcasts’ CD 1998 TBA
KFML fm in Denver, CO.
October 1972 Set-list (Disc 2B)
Checkin Up On My Baby (Sonny Boy Williamson)
Loop Garoo (Dr. John)
Lady Luck (released: Deep Purple: Come Taste The Band ’75)
Dreamer (Teaser ’75)
Whiskey Headed Blues (Sonny boy Williamson)
Meat Shakin On Your Bones (Blind Boy Fuller)
Messin With The Kid (Junior Wells)
Boogie Chillin (John Lee Hooker)
There is a long time fan who now owns Bolin’s Original touring gear, used up until Dec ’76 on Tommy’s Hi Watt Amp Head stenciled in gold spray paint it says “Energy” a testament to Bolin’s love for this band, on the front of the head in white letters “The Kid” (some argue this is where Prince took the name for the character in “Purple Rain”) he played a “coffee brown” strat with a maple tele neck created by long time roadie Dave Brown. Bolin & Berge left ‘Zephyr’ in May ’71 & by November ’71, the original ‘Energy’ were opening for such acts as; John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Chuck Berry, Big Mama Thorton, Sugarcane Harris, It’s A Beautiful Day, King Crimson, Ten Years After, Mason Profit & Zero Ted, in fact my Dentist Dr. Ballard saw ‘Energy’ at USD at Lacotah Hall in ’72 ! Tommy Bolin Archives (CDs Only) released a “Live” taken from 2 such concerts.
‘Energy Live ’72’ CD 2003 TBA
Taken from 2 concerts; Tulagi, Boulder CO. 1972 & Sioux City, IA. in Dec 1972 at Rooftop Ballroom.
Rock Me Baby
Berge’s Drum Solo
Ostinada (J.C. Carrero)
I’m A Mover (Free: Rodgers- Fraser, they also covered “Walkin My Shadow” by: FREE)
Down Stretch (Jan Hammer from Jeremy Steig’s album “Energy”)
Prelude- Red Skies with Tommy Bolin on Vocals !!!
Bolin’s Guitar Solo
There is one out-take not on this CD, the song “Free Spirit” written by: Bolin- Cook
Johnnie Bolin: “I’ll never forget the address of The Rooftop. I was playing in group called ‘SAILING’. My brother was billed as ‘TOM BOLIN & ENERGY’ You know in the summer it was hotter than hell & in the winter it was colder than…but you know people came and no matter what they stayed, whether they were sweating or freezing they stayed for the bands”
‘Energy’ was together from roughly Fall ’71 to Spring ’73, although by this time Stephenson had left for Joe Walsh’s ‘Barnstorm’ & was replaced by native Nebraskan Max Carl Gronenthal (29 Jan 1950: who would later rejoin Bolin in ’76) & Bolin himself dissolved the band when he was asked to play on former Mahavishnu Orchestra Drummer Billy Cobham’s 1973 album ‘Spectrum’ in May ’73. Strangely, all of the members of the band found fame in their next projects…
Tommy Bolin went to ‘James Gang’ Aug ’73 to Aug ’74 for 2 Albums
Stanley Sheldon: Peter Frampton 1976 -80 for 3 Albums
Tom Stephenson: Barnstorm/Joe Walsh: ’73 for 2 Albums
Bobby Berge: Buddy Miles Express ’75 -76 for 2 Albums
Jeff Cook; Capricorn Records Label VP
After ‘James Gang’ Tommy would try to re-form ‘Energy’ with Berge, Cook, Sheldon & Russell Bizet on Drums & Archie Shelby on Percussion & Vocals (both also from Sioux City), throughout the end of ’74. TBA released a 2 CD set ‘Live Ebbets Field 1974’ CD 1996 TBA, as well as another 2 CD set of 2 & 1/2 hours of Studio Jams from Bolin, Sheldon & Berge held at the Glen Holly Studios in Hollywood, CA. titled ‘After Hours’ CD 2002 TBA, but alas ‘Energy’ was just not meant to be & never got off the ground, however these songs & sessions did lead to Bolin’s 1st Solo LP ‘Teaser’ released in Fall of ’75. Bolin & Stephenson were united briefly in early ’75 when the 2 recorded (ghost) sessions on 6 songs for the Canadian band ‘MOXY’s‘ 1st album, shortly before Bolin was asked to join ‘Deep Purple’.
Ending on a good note; 3 Members of ENERGY: Jeff Cook, Bobby Berge & Stanley Sheldon will be re-uniting @ The Annual Tommy Bolin-Fest in Sioux City, Iowa @ The Icky Nickel on Sat 5 Aug 2017 @ 7pm, performing many of the songs of ‘Energy’ Dean Christopher (a Bolin impersonator from NYC) will be filling in for Bolin. Be sure to tune in to my Bi-Weekly Radio Show “Mr. Zero’s PsychoGello Vinyl Radio Show” on WDGY 740am & 92.1fm & Streaming on 103.7, this week’s Show will cover 6 phases of Tommy Bolin’s Career.
See you on the other side …. MrZerr0
Mr. Zero’s *Est. 2009
1744 Lexington Ave. N.
Roseville, Mn. 55113