Watch as Nathan East tears his achilles tendon onstage with Toto while trying to show off for Verdine White

Nathan East tears his achilles tendon onstage with Toto
(Image credit: TOTO)

It was back in 2010 that top session bassist Nathan East bounded across the stage in order to impress his bass hero, Verdine White, but his performance with American rockers TOTO would become memorable for all the wrong reasons. “It was a double bill in Switzerland with Earth, Wind & Fire,” says Nathan. “During our set Verdine White was sat in the front row and, of course, with him being one of my biggest influences I started trying to show off.”

The incident was captured on camera by a member of the audience, and if you watch closely enough you can pinpoint the exact moment where Nathan’s tendon tears. “I was trying to let Verdine know that he’s the man!” East explains. “So I started running on the spot and doing this big high-step thing when all of a sudden it felt as if the stage had gone out from under me.” Naturally, East refused to let the injury hinder his bass playing. “We ended up doing one more song and when I came off stage I was like, ‘why does this still hurt?’” 

A seasoned pro, Nathan East's discography reads like a who’s who of all-time greats, from TOTO and Michael Jackson to Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton. “It’s been 40 years since I officially started in this town, and I’m still running from one studio to another, or jumping on a plane for a tour,” says East.

“To me, life is almost like a big huge collection of songs, where you can remember what point you were at in your life, who you were with, where you were; there’s no prescription to how it’s done, and even when it gets pretty gruelling I still love it. Besides, this is what I signed up for!”

And of the injury, East says, “I tore my achilles tendon trying to show off to Verdine White. Remind me not to do that again!”

For more info on Nathan East, visit nathaneast.com (opens in new tab).

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Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.