The roll call of outstanding bass players who came of age in Britain’s 1970s pub rock golden era, such as Nick Lowe, Norman Watt-Roy (Ian Dury & The Blockheads), Graham Maby (Joe Jackson Band) and Andrew Bodner (Graham Parker & The Rumour) to name a few, must include the amazing 2003 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bruce Thomas of Elvis Costello & the Attractions.
With a yen for American rhythm and blues, soul, and British rock ‘n’ roll Mr. Thomas absorbed the work of such elite bassists as James Jamerson, Sir Paul, Bill Wyman, Paul Samwell-Smith and Jack Bruce and forged it upon the new wave.
Utilizing a 1960s Fender Precision which he painted an awful shade of pink, Thomas was the driving force on all of Elvis’ early classics, serving in a dual role as a lead player and harmonic anchor.
To my ears, Bruce’s essential works are This Year’s Model (1978), Armed Forces (1979), Get Happy (1980), Imperial Bedroom (1982), Punch the Clock (1983), and Blood & Chocolate (1986).
Unfortunately Elvis and Bruce were oft at loggerheads, and Thomas was fired for good after a brief reunion in the mid-90s. The Bass Centre in London has honored Bruce Thomas with a Profile Bass which replicates his pink Fender.