Longtime Hall & Oates guitarist and former Saturday Night Live band member Thomas "T-Bone" Wolk has died of an apparent heart attack. Wolk was scheduled to play with H&O this week on Jimmy Fallon's 1st anniversary show. For those of you who have seen Hall and Oates in concert, you know the flamboyant Wolk. For those of you who haven't, here is how T-Bone is described on his website:
For those of you don't know, T-Bone Wolk is that guy with "the hat" who, among other activities, has been playing bass guitar with Daryl Hall and John Oates since 1981. He originally got the gig after playing bass on the first gold rap record, "These Are The Breaks", by Kurtis Blow in early 1981. This gave him the chance to audition for the Hall and Oates band; now 23 years later he is the resident musical director and often times co-producer of their records.
During the same period, Bone was the on-camera bassist with the Saturday Night Live house band. (1986-1992) He got that job through his long standing friendship with G.E. Smith, who was lead guitarist with Hall and Oates throughout the "Big 80's".
In those years, Tommy Mottola, (former Sony Music CEO) was managing not only Hall and Oates, but Carly Simon as well, which led T-Bone to his first coproducing job working on the title track of her Epic cd "Tired of Being Blonde", as well as signing on as music director/co-music producer of her acclaimed HBO Special "Live from Martha's Vineyard." Along the way he has played with an eclectic list of artists working as a sideman or co-producer. A small sampling goes something like this : Hall and Oates, Carly Simon, Shawn Colvin, Elvis Costello, Roseanne Cash, Cyndi Lauper, Harry Nilsson, Amanda Marshall, Grey Eye Glances, Paul Carrack, Diane Ziegler, Charlie Musselwhite, Jewel, Ivo, Jellyfish, Avril Lavigne, Billy Joel, Joe Pesci, Leslie Miller, John Eddie, Chynna Phillips, Eileen Ivers; well....it goes on and on. Most recently he's worked on records by a number of new artists just getting their music out there : N.Y. based Marianne Marino, Norway's M2M, "Americana" icon Emory Joseph, NY Yankees centerfielder Bernie Williams, Robert Hazard (he wrote Cyndi Lauper's huge hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun").
Here are statements from Daryl Hall and John Oates:
To say that I am shocked is the ultimate understatement. T-Bone was my musical brother and losing him is like losing my right hand. It's not if I will go on, but how. T-Bone was one of the most sensitive and good human beings that I have ever known. And, I can truly say that I loved him.
His character was pure and his unique and quirky personality touched everyone he encountered. His musical sensibility was peerless, any instrument that he touched resonated with a sensitivity and skill level that I have never experienced while playing with any other musician. He possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of styles and musical history which he referenced to support all the artists that he played with over the years. He became our band's musical director over time leading by example and by the deference and respect that everyone who played alongside him so rightfully accorded him. He made everyone he played with better. So many times when I'm working on a musical passage or part, I think to myself: "How would T-Bone play this" and aspire to his level every time I perform. To this day I always keep one of his "I Love Vermont" guitar picks with me where ever I go and know in my heart that starting today the Heavenly Band just got one of the greatest multi-instrumentalist of all time and that band will from this day forward sound better than they ever have before.
Picture courtesy of hallandoates.de