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Senior Member
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 467
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 5:53 am:   Edit Post

I've never seen pictures or video footage showing Tom Fowler with his Alembic until I purchased the Zappa DVD 'A Token Of His Extreme' last week. Various internet sources don't seem to agree about this being a legit or semi-bootleg title, but it's really entertaining.

Picture quality is typical VHS to DVD (= not very good but acceptable), sound is pretty good but in stereo. The DVD contains three different (parts of) shows by Zappa & The Mothers from the mid-seventies, with Tom Fowler grooving and mime-dancing (!) with what seems to be a standard point bodied walnut Series I. His bass is prominent in the mix and among the highlights are two performances of the 'One Size Fits All' classic 'Inca Roads'. Highly recommended!

P.S. Unfortunately I can't capture and show screenshots...

Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1587
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 6:36 am:   Edit Post

Wilfred; thanks for this review! My initial search suggests that this is a PAL format DVD.
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 14
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 2:08 pm:   Edit Post

The only picture I have seen is on the back of Jean-Luc Ponty's Aurora album (1976). You can see about the upper third of the bass. The scan is not the best but the orginal was never very good and has faded some over the years.


Tom Fowler (cir. 1976)
Username: newuser

Post Number: 25
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, April 15, 2006 - 7:21 am:   Edit Post has this perhaps from the same "A Token Of His Extreme" video (listed here as being from the 8/27/74 KCET-TV show. More notes here) but it's Tom Fowler playing a Walnut SI on the '74 tour (George Duke, Chester Thompson), song is "Florentine Pogen". Watch for "Chester's go-rilla" (Chester is "menaced and groomed" by a roadie in a gorilla suit wielding a comb and clock), and Ruth Underwood on Duck Call.

Tom Fowler 1

Fowler 2
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 3624
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, April 15, 2006 - 8:18 am:   Edit Post

Cool!! Loved it!! Thanks!
Senior Member
Username: dadabass2001

Post Number: 560
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, April 15, 2006 - 10:28 am:   Edit Post

That's also on "The Dub Room Special" by FZ, which is available on DVD currently in the US (I got my copy from Tower Records). and features materiel from this show as well as from a 1980s show with different personnel.
Advanced Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 395
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Sunday, April 16, 2006 - 10:21 am:   Edit Post

Boy that brings back some memories. I always tried to catch Frank when he was in the Chicago area during this time period.

Username: paulman

Post Number: 27
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 3:32 pm:   Edit Post

Oh that's funny! I was just watching the "Dub Room" DVD and saw that bass...made me smile! (yes, that bass made me smile as much as the player). Frank was sooooo weird. Going to see Ahmet and Dewezil next month woo hoo!
Username: white_cloud

Post Number: 7
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 4:40 am:   Edit Post

Tom Fowler seemed to get around a bit in the seventies. He appears on bass on the Steve Hackett solo album "please dont touch" and is pictured on the Lp's inner sleeve with his Alembic! His neat plectrum technique is well demonstated on the track "racing in A"...nice one Tom!!
Intermediate Member
Username: elwoodblue

Post Number: 188
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 - 7:32 am:   Edit Post

Didn't he have a Series bass on the SNL performance with Zappa? ...the one that has green slime flowing over the audience monitors.

I occasionally find myself on ebay shopping for a crown PZM mic to strap to my head.

Advanced Member
Username: s_wood

Post Number: 256
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 - 7:05 pm:   Edit Post

Fowler was gone from FZ's band by mid-1975. The bass players (yes, there were 2!) on the SNL gig were Patrick O'Hearn and Arthur Barrow. Arthur played a Ripper, which means he's ok in my book :-)
Username: dparsons

Post Number: 6
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Friday, December 07, 2007 - 5:12 am:   Edit Post

That was the tour that had GENTAL GIANT.Frank was definitely out played.Had a friend that did sound on that tour and Frank wouldn`t let them use his sound board.GIANT used a used and beat board that Chicago used for a few tours.What a talented and not so known because everyone thought they copied Yes`s sound.WRONG.
Advanced Member
Username: s_wood

Post Number: 398
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, April 02, 2015 - 10:38 am:   Edit Post

Here's a cool pic of Tom Fowler with one of his two Alembics and Frank Zappa. As near as I can tell, Fowler had two Alembics... the zebrawood bass pictured at the top of this thread, and the plain brown (walnut?) bass used in the video clips.

Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 1475
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Saturday, April 04, 2015 - 5:55 am:   Edit Post

Cool pic. Thanks for sharing.
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 1495
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Saturday, April 04, 2015 - 8:53 am:   Edit Post

Yeah - that's a great shot! I really love Tom Fowler's playing with Zappa - he backs up Zappa's solos so well. Montana, I Am The Slime - I was just listening to Dirty Love the other night on headphones - it's not my favorite Zappa song but the studio version solo - both guitar & bass - kills!

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