In Memoriam: Remembering the Bassists We Lost in 2018
The end of the year always brings a time of reflection. With the incredible new music and artists we’ve enjoyed, we’ve also lost some of the best bassists in the world. These players changed the world with their music in their own way. They may be gone, but their memories will live on through their work.
Join us as we remember the bassists we lost in 2018.
Jim Rodford (January 20, 2018)
Rodford was best known as the bassist for his work with The Kinks, The Zombies, and Argent. After starting in a Skiffle band called Bluetones, he helped his cousin Rod Argent found the Zombies in 1961 by lending them equipment and coaching the group, though he declined to join the band. The Zombies split in 1968 when he joined his cousin in the band Argent, which scored hits with the songs “Hold Your Head Up” and “God Gave Rock & Roll To You.” Argent also broke up and Rodford joined The Kinks in 1976. He stayed in the band until 1996, after which he became a member of the reformed Zombies until his passing.
Craig MacGregor (February 9, 2018)
MacGregor began playing piano at 7 and also dabbled in trumpet and drums before becoming a bassist. He played in a band called Swan before getting the call to replace founding Foghat bassist Tony Stevens in 1976. He was first featured on the album Night Shift and recorded on five albums before quitting in 1982. He rejoined for stints in 1984 and 1986, finally taking the bass spot up for good in 2005.
Buell Neidlinger (March 16, 2018)
A child prodigy on the cello, Neidlinger switched to bass at 13 and became a student of Count Basie Orchestra bassist Walter Page. He would sub for Page, who is known as the father of the walking bass, in New York City where his career took off. Neidlinger worked with artists ranging from Cecil Taylor to Chuck Berry to Frank Sinatra. One of the hit songs he recorded on is Tony Bennett’s smash single “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
Peter “Mars” Cowling (March 20, 2018)
Cowling was an English bassist who got his start with The Syndicate in 1962. After runs in Gnidrolog and the Flying Hat Band, he became the original bassist in the Pat Travers Band, with whom he recorded “Snortin’ Whiskey”. He played with the guitarist on eight albums from 1976 to 1982 and would continue to work with Travers off and on the rest of his life.
Caleb Scofield (March 28, 2018)
Scofield was a pillar of the indie metal scene. He joined Cave In in 1998 and recorded on all five of their albums. He was also a member of Old Man Gloom, a metal supergroup formed by Aaron Turner of Isis and Santos Montano, and his own group Zozobra.
Wayne Secrest (June 2, 2018)
Secrest was a founding member of the Atlanta, Georgia band Confederate Railroad. The group started working as a bar band but was picked up as the backing band for country stars David Allan Coe and Johnny Paycheck. Secrest and the band’s debut album garnered six hit singles and was certified 2X Platinum.
Steve Soto (June 27, 2018)
Soto was a mainstay of the punk rock community. He formed the genre bending punk/surf band Agent Orange in 1970. Just a year later he quit to form The Adolescents, a band where he would remain the sole consistent member. He also played in a scores of other bands: Legal Weapon, Joyride, Manic Hispanic, 22 Jacks, and his solo project Steve Soto and the Twisted Hearts.
Alan Longmuir (July 2, 2018)
Alan Longmuir was a Scottish bassist who formed The Saxons with his brother Derek in 1966. The band quickly renamed themselves to The Bay City Rollers. They landed their first hit in 1971 with “Keep on Dancing”, but 1973’s “Remember” put them in them into the spotlight. After a string of hits, the band hit peak popularity with the song “Saturday Night.” The weight of fame and the music industry killed Longmuir’s love for the band. He quit soon after the 1976 mega-hit. He would return for a one-off reunion concert in 1999 as well as a 2014 show based on his life called “And I Ran With The Gang”.
Richard Swift (July 3, 2018)
Swift was a multi-instrumentalist and producer. He played drums in The Shins, but worked as the touring bassist for The Black Keys in 2014.
Garry Lowe (July 8, 2018)
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Lowe moved to Toronto, Canada in the ‘70s and became the go-to bassist for touring reggae artists in the area. He was also a founding member of Culture Shock before joining the rock/reggae band Big Sugar. He played with their band for their classic albums. Big Sugar broke up in 2003, during which time Lowe created Truth and Rights Revue, before reuniting in 2010.
Max Bennett (September 14, 2018)
As a member of the versatile and prolific session musicians later known as the Wrecking Crew, Max Bennett worked with an enormous range of artists. He got his first professional gig in 1949 with Herbie Fields and worked with Stan Kenton. Bennett moved to Los Angeles where he would record with Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, and many more. He formed the L.A. Express with Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, John Geurin, and Tom Scott.
In 1973. In more recent years he played with his band Private Reserve up until he passed at the age of 90.
George Hawkins, Jr. (October 26, 2018)
Hawkins was born and raised in California. He first shot to fame in 1976 when he joined the Loggins and Messina Band on their “Farewell” tour and 1977 album, Finale. Loggins then scooped the bassist up for his solo band, where he would spend the next five years. Hawkins was also involved with members of Fleetwood Mac and recorded on Mick Fleetwood’s project The Zoo as well as Lindsey Buckingham’s Law and Order and Christine McVie’s solo albums. His resumé includes credits with Al Jarreau, Billy Burnette, David Sanborn, Rickie Lee Jones, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs, and Dan Fogelberg.
Josh Fauver (November 2, 2018)
Fauver joined the Atlanta-based indie rock band Deerhunter in 2004 following the death of founding bassist Justin Bosworth. He played on six of the band’s releases before quitting in 2012 for personal reasons. Fauver also ran an indpendent label called Army of Bad Luck and played in the bands Electrosleep International, S.I.D.S., and Diet Cola.
Lucas Starr (December 7, 2018)
Starr played bass for Terminal before helping to found the band Oh, Sleeper in Forth Worth, Texas in 2005. He played on the first two records before leaving in 2011. He continued to work on music and music production through Royal Mercenaries.
Joe Osborn (December 14, 2018)
A native of Louisiana, Osborn moved to Las Vegas and joined Ricky Nelson’s band at 20 years old. He played on the smash hit “Travelin’ Man” and stayed in the band for several years before it broke up in 1964. He moved to Los Angeles and became a key member of the recording scene as a member the musicians that would become known as The Wrecking Crew. Osborn played on smash hits for Johnny Rivers (“Memphis”) The 5th Dimension (“Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”), The Mamas and the Papas (“California Dreamin’”), The Association (“Windy”), Simon and Garfunkel (“Bridge Over Troubled Water”), and many, many more. He also helped to discover The Carpenters and played on all their albums throughout their career. Osborn moved to Nashville in 1974 and played on 53 more number one hits on the country charts.
Arthur Maia (December 15, 2018)
Brazilian bass great Maia received a bass guitar as a gift at 15 years old. He went pro soon after and would go on to play with the top Brazilian artists like Ivan Lins, Luiz Melodia, and Márcio Montarroyos. He joined the band Cama de Gato in 1985 and recorded five albums with them. Outside of Brazil, Maia worked with superstars like Ernie Watts, Sheila E., Pat Metheny, Carlos Santana, George Benson, and more.