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Vanilla Fudge and Cactus bassist Tim Bogert dead at 76

Tim Bogert
(Image credit: Michael Putland / Getty Images)

Tim Bogert, who played bass with Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and the supergroup Beck, Bogert & Appice, has died at the age of 76.

The news was broken by drummer Carmine Appice, who played alongside Bogert in all three bands. Writing on Facebook, Appice said, "My true friend Tim Bogert died today. 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. 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.

"Tim was a very intelligent person. So intelligent that we would call him “Spock”. You could ask him anything and he would know something about it.

"I loved Tim like a brother. He will be missed very much in my life. I will miss calling him, cracking jokes together, talking music and remembering the great times we had together, and how we created kick-ass music together.

"Perhaps the only good thing about knowing someone close to you is suffering a serious illness, is you have an opportunity to tell them that you love them, and why you love them. I did that, a lot. I was touched to hear it said back to me. Nothing was left unsaid between us and I’m grateful for that. I highly recommend it.

"Rest in peace, my partner. I love you. See you on the other side."

A founding member of pioneering rockers Vanilla Fudge, Bogert played on the band's first five albums, Vanilla Fudge, The Beat Goes On, Renaissance, Near The Beginning and Rock & Roll. Having honed their performance on the Long Island circuit, they were a hard act to follow, as Jimi Hendrix, among others, discovered to his cost. 

"It was the fact that we played hard and audiences liked what we were doing," Bogert told Classic Rock. "So we would wear an audience out. They would be spent by the time the main act came on.”  

Vanilla Fudge disbanded in 1970 – they reformed multiple times with various lineups in the decades that followed – and Bogert and Appice formed Cactus. A genuine sex-and-drugs-and-rock'n'roll experience, they made Vanilla Fudge look like amateurs in the bad behaviour department. There were pot busts, nights in jail, and fistfights, and they wouldn't have had it any other way. 

"I’d like to say, for the record, how grateful I am for that,” Bogert told Classic Rock, tongue only slightly in cheek. 

Bogert also hooked up with Appice and guitarist Jeff Beck in the supergroup Beck, Bogert & Appice in 1972. Bursting with experimental zeal, they bridged the gap between the psychedelic age and a nebulous new era where metal, hard funk, soul and heavy blues could all co-exist in one glorious tumult.

“People thought we were as good as it gets,” Bogert remembered. “At the time, I did too. I thought this was going to be the best thing that ever happened to me. And for a short period of time it was."

In the following years Bogert toured with the Jeff Beck Group and Bo Diddley, hooked up with The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir in his side project Bobby And The Midnights, and joined British group Boxer for their second album, Absolutely

He continued to work with Appice: in CB&A with Japanese musician Char, and with Rick Derringer in DBA. More recently, the two played together with Hollywood Monsters, another supergroup, whose members also included current Deep Purple keyboardist Don Airey, and former Whitesnake bassist Neil Murray.

“It’s very nice, as one gets older, to know that you made a dent," Bogert told Vintage Guitar magazine during his fifth stint with the Vanilla Fudge in 2005. "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!"

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor of Classic Rock Magazine. Lapsed Kiwi, Eater, Pluviophile, Kitten Jesus. Spends much of free time visiting vile dictatorships. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.