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Tim Bogert, bassist for Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and Beck, Bogert & Appice, dies aged 76

Beck, Bogert And Appice performing at the 'Rock At The Oval' festival, London, 16th September 1972
Beck, Bogert & Appice performing at the Rock at the Oval festival, London, September 16, 1972 (Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Tim Bogert, bassist for Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and the supergroup Beck, Bogert & Appice, has died at age 76.

The news was shared by drummer Carmine Appice, who played with Bogert in all three bands.

"My true friend Tim Bogert died today,” Appice wrote on his official Facebook page. “He was like a brother to me. He was my friend for over 50 years.

"Tim was a one of a kind bass player. He inspired many, many bass players worldwide," Appice continued. "He was as masterful at shredding as he was holding down a groove, and Tim introduced a new level of virtuosity into rock bass playing. 

"No one played like Tim. He created bass solos that drove audiences to a frenzy every time he played one. And he played a different solo every night. He was the last of the legendary '60s bass players.”

Bogert was born in New York City on August 27, 1944. He grew up playing multiple instruments but eventually landed on the electric bass. After playing in several bands, he co-founded the Pigeons in 1965. The band eventually changed its name to Vanilla Fudge.

As for where the name came from, Bogert told For Bass Players Only in 2010, “We had just gotten a recording contract from Atlantic Records and the name Pigeons was taken, so in a couple of hours we had to think of a new name. Mark’s [singer Mark Stein] cousin’s nickname was vanilla fudge – no, I don’t know why – and this name was picked and agreed to by everyone.  It had nothing to do with blue-eyed soul!”

During their initial run, Vanilla Fudge released five albums – Vanilla Fudge, The Beat Goes On, Renaissance, Near the Beginning and Rock & Roll, and made a name for themselves by fusing hard rock, blues and psychedelia into a heavy sonic stew, as exemplified by their sludgy 1967 take on the Supremes’ You Keep Me Hangin’ On

The band’s proto-metal sound – bolstered by Bogert’s massive, distorted Fender P-Bass tone – is regarded as having influenced everyone from Led Zeppelin (who once opened for the Fudge) and Yes to Uriah Heep and Deep Purple.

Vanilla Fudge broke up (for the first time) in 1970, and Bogert and Appice went on to form the more boogie-influenced hard-rock act Cactus. The short-lived band released four albums in three years, including their 1970 self-titled debut, which featured the track Let Me Swim – the song’s intro was later used as the basis for the beginning to Van Halen’s groundbreaking Eruption.

Following the release of 1972’s ‘Ot ‘n’ Sweaty, Bogert and Appice hooked up with Jeff Beck, who had just disbanded the Jeff Beck Group, to form the supergroup Beck, Bogert & Appice. The trio combined blues, metal, hard funk, soul and more in a wide-ranging and free-flowing sound, as heard on their 1973 self-titled debut and, even more so, in their explosive live performances.

Following the Beck, Bogert & Appice project, the bassist toured with the Jeff Beck Group, Bo Diddley and Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir’s side project Bobby and the Midnights. He played on albums for British band Boxer and guitarist Rick Derringer, and worked with former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee.

He also taught at the Musicians Institute in LA for almost 20 years, participated in reunions with both Vanilla Fudge and Cactus and continued to play with Appice – most recently in Hollywood Monsters, a supergroup that also included Deep Purple keyboardist Don Airey.

As for his influence on hard rock and heavy metal bass, Bogert told Vintage Guitar in 2005, “It’s very nice, as one gets older, to know that you made a dent. I like that, because as an older player, you don’t get to work a whole lot, so you take the accolades any place you can find them!”

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.