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Reader Spotlight: Tom Susala

Tom Susala

Meet Tom Susala, a bassist of nearly 36 years who has one of the funniest lines in a bio we’ve seen. And from what we can tell, a super down to earth guy.

Tom is the No Treble reader in the spotlight for the week of January 4th, 2016. Here’s his story…


I play bass guitar, I’m humble and lovable, I’m a pragmatist, a realist, an optimist, and a bassist-ist!

I’ve worked with some of Chicago’s finest and some of Chicago’s least professional musicians and learned something from each and every one of them. I’ve played music with: Glenn Davis, Joe Moss, Hubert Sumlin, Rockin’ Johnny Burgin, Beatnik Turtle, Little Mac Simmonds, Scott Dirks, Son Seals, Liz Mandeville, Odetta, Billy Dean, Pat Soul, Katherine Davis, Shirley King, Carl Snyder, Steve Freund, Mark Hannon, Jimmy Dawkins, Lurrie Bell, Dawn O’Keefe-Williams, Studebaker John and the Hawks, Blue Watusis, Brewer Phillips & Ted Harvey (from Hound Dog Taylor’s Band,) Dave Weld, Suzy Brack and New Jack Lords, Smokin’ Section, Hidden Colors, Scraps of Brass, Eddy Clearwater, Chuckleheads, Reflex, among others.


Pittsville, WI

Day gig:

I am retired

Years experience:

Almost 36 years

Bands & Gigs:

Right now I help run a jam session every Monday at a bar in Wisconsin Rapids.

I currently work with Maggie Aliotta and the Mighty Fine, and on a freelance basis in the Northern Illinois / Central – Southern Wisconsin area.

I am also available on a freelance basis for gigs and recording in the Northern Illinois / Central – Southern Wisconsin area.


  • Fender Vintage ’62 P-Bass Reissue
  • Peavey 300 watt combo amp w/15″ Black Wido speaker

Why I play the bass:

I’ve always wanted to play the bass since I first heard “Green Onions” on the radio! But my parents, in their wisdom, explained that if I take up guitar, I can learn chords and then I can accompany myself and won’t always be needing someone else to play along with to enjoy the instrument. So, I took up guitar and learned chords and eventually learned how chords were built relative to their scales – then, I learned to read music.

In 1980 I was offered a gig as a bass player with a band of friends who ran a bar around the corner from where I lived. So I bought a used P-Bass and a bass amp and never looked back.

My bass superpower/claim to fame:

My time, and my ability to groove SOLIDLY.

My influences:

Duck Dunn, first and foremost.

Jerry Jemmott, George Porter, Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, Ray Brown.


With Maggie Aliotta:

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I’m just thrilled to death that my last name was spelled correctly!!
I’ve been reading No Treble forever; it’s a great source of knowledge, insight and fellowship for bass players everywhere!!


He da man on the heavy bass!
–Sideway Glanz Ragnar–