TM Stevens Passed Away

The average listener didn’t have to be familiar with the name of TM Stevens to have heard and loved his highly original bass-playing. The American musician who passed away on March 10th at the age of 72 was present on such radio staples as “Living In America” by James Brown, “Unchain My Heart” by Joe Cocker and “The Best” by Tina Turner, and it was his instrument which supported the rhythm on such hits as “No Man’s Land” by Billy Joel and “Don’t Get Me Wrong” by THE PRETENDERS. A unique performer, Thomas Michael – that’s what “TM” stood for – seemed fearless, not afraid to record and grace the stage alongside fellow low-end legends Victor Wooten and Bootsy Collins or front jazz heroes THE HEADHUNTERS on tour, while exploring heavier possibilities with Steve Vai on “Sex & Religion” or, before the audience, with Carmine Appice and Pat Travers.

Fiercely proud of his ethnic legacy and taking it to the fore of his albums “Shocka Zooloo” and “Africans In The Snow” to mention but two platters, Stevens never shied away from infusing white music with funk, this scribe first getting to be aware of TM on “Black Night – Deep Purple Tribute According To New York” on which he rocked very hard in the company of kindred spirits whose number included Bernie Worrell and Joe Lynn Turner before appearing with the latter as a guest on “The Privilege Of Power” by RIOT. Not a lot of people are able to easily transition from soul sessions with Narada Michael Walden to bolstering Billy Squier’s pop riffs or shift between laying foundation for Darlene Love’s pipes and spicing up Taylor Dayne’s dance groove – TM Stevens could.

TM’s name remains on many a disc, yet, sadly, seven years ago Stevens was diagnosed with dementia and had to stop doing the thing he loved best. Loved by peers and respected by fans, the veteran is fondly remembered and will be missed.

March 12, 2024

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