Tom Fowler (Frank Zappa, Ray Charles) Passes Away

07-07-2024 10:43 PM EDT

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Pin it Share on Reddit email this article

Tom Fowler (Frank Zappa, Ray Charles) Passes Away

Longtime Frank Zappa and Ray Charles bandmate Tom Fowler died earlier this month from complications of an aneurysm, according to a social media postings from his friends and colleagues. He was 73.

Former Zappa bass player Arthur Barrow shared via Facebook, "So sad to report another big loss in the Zappa community. Tom Fowler left us yesterday, July 2, 2024. He was a hero to me.

"The first time I heard Echidna's I almost fell over when he played the big 5/16 lick on the bass! I had no idea that a clumsy bass could do such a thing! He was an inspiration for me to buy a bass and start practicing. I have known him since about 1976. RIP old friend - missing you very much."

Music producer and engineer Tom Fowler shared, "Tom Fowler. One of the most creative, intelligent, and wackiest people I've ever met. Tom played bass on a half dozen Frank Zappa albums, and as well of the last 10 years with Ray Charles.

"I met Tom and his brother Walt when I was 20 years old. He and I remained friends forever, touring the world and making lots of incredible music. Tom passed away yesterday from complications of an aneurysm he suffered last week. He will be truly missed. Condolences to his wife Kai and the rest of his family."

In a birthday tribute to Tom back in June, the following tribute was shared via the Zappa First Facebook group, "Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Tom was one of 5 talented sons of famous music educator Dr. William Fowler and English teacher/writer Beatrice Fowler.

"Tom first started playing the violin at 6, picked up the stand up bass at 12 and after hearing Hendrix's and Zappa's music started playing electric bass at 16. When he was 17 he ran away and joined the group "It's A Beautiful Day" in 1971 and performed on 2 albums staying until 1973.

"Tom was with several bands in New York before moving to San Francisco performing with jazz bands playing more violin than bass when his brother Bruce called him; 'Bruce called me up and I auditioned for Frank and somehow I got the gig. I hadn't even been playing bass, but I guess he got sick of looking for a bass player. This was in 1973. The audition was very simple. He had me play a couple of odd muted things and groove for a while, and then he said 'OK, you're it'.', read more here.

Related Stories
Tom Fowler (Frank Zappa, Ray Charles) Passes Away

Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention's Whisky a Go Go, 1968 Now Available

Banned From Utopia Featuring Frank Zappa Alumni To Tour With The Paul Green Rock Academy

Moby Grape Icon Peter Lewis Releases 'Frank Zappa's Ghost'

Ultra Rare Frank Zappa Recordings Unearthed and Set For Release

More Zappa News