I first heard “Teaser” when Motley Crue covered it on the “Stairway to Heaven/Highway To Hell” compilation album for the Moscow Peace Festival.
This was back in 1989, and the writer of the song is T.Bolin.
Pre Internet era, it meant I had to go to the record shop and ask them if they have anything on T.Bolin. And they didn’t, unless I wanted to import it.
Fast forward another 10 years and I had picked up both solo albums via record fairs and second hand record shops.
The first thing that grabbed me is the funky sleazy riff and the wolf whistle slide guitar.
She sips gin from a teacup, wears those fancy clothes
And somebody always knows her no matter where she goes
She’ll talk to you in riddles that have no sense or rhyme
And if you ask her what she means, says she don’t got no time
“Teaser” showed me how influenced a young Nikki Sixx would have been by the lyrics.
Then the solo breakdown section kicks in where it’s just the bass and drums simulating an excited heartbeat at the beginning and it moves into a free form jazz fusion lead break.
Jeff Porcaro from Steely Dan and Toto fame played drums and Stanley Sheldon from Peter Frampton’s band played bass.
As I listened to the album over and over again, I found other gems in the instrumental “Homeward Strut”, with its James Gang Funk inspired verses and its unbelievable harmony lick that acts as a Chorus.
The piano ballad “Dreamer” with Glen Hughes singing the last verse (even though he is uncredited) and piano played by David Foster, the same David Foster that would go on to produce and compose songs for Whitney Houston, Michael Buble and many others.
You have the blues funk of “Savannah Woman” with Phil Collins providing percussion.
Side 2 doesn’t have the same impact as Side 1 but the closer “Lotus” makes up for it with its fusion of hard rock, blues, jazz, funk and synth orientated pop.
Similar in structure to “Teaser”, it has that unbelievable breakdown solo section, which closes the album.
And “Private Eyes”.
It didn’t have the star studded guests and it’s more focused on its mixture of groove, funk, jazz rock. Better songwriting.
And then it was over.
In 1975, Tommy Bolin released “Teaser” and “Come Taste the Band” with Deep Purple, and in 1976 he released “Private Eyes” in September. By December he was dead.
His music forever lives.