Tom Semioli is a news, public relations copy-writer, editor, journalist, blogger, video producer, and bass player - but not necessarily in that order!
Among the shortlist of networks and media which have featured Tom's work include: ABC News, Al Jazzera, Allmusic.Com, Amplifier, Associated Press Television Network, BBC, Bloomberg TV, BON TV, CBS News, CCTV, CMT, CNBC, CNN, Counterpunch Deutsche Welle, ESPN, Euro News, Fox News, Ink 19, Interview, HuffPost, i24, ITV, Minor 7th, MSN, MTV, NBC News, NHK, NYC TV, PBS, RAI, Sky News, Shout New York, Spin, Rolling Stone, Telemundo, Thomson Reuters, Univision, Village Voice ZDF, VH-1, in addition to numerous independent and local media outlets worldwide.
A “greatest hits” of Tom’s rock journalism repertoire can be found on www.VinylManifesto.Com
Tom studied bass with Ron McClure, renowned for his work with Charles Lloyd, Blood Sweat and Tears, Quest, and Joe Henderson, among others. At the University of Miami, Tom majored in Communications, with a Studio Music and Jazz Instrumental Minor, with instructors extraordinaire Roy Vogt and Don Coffman. At UM, he also wrote and published a satirical underground newspaper “The 5th Floor Times.”
Following a Top-40 stint with future Grammy Award winning crooner Jon Secada, and graduation -Tom’s career on the bandstand and in the recording studio has exclusively been with original, singer-songwriter genre bands and artists – so don’t ask him to play standards or covers – he doesn’t know any and he’s not about to learn!
In the early ‘80s after a few musical treks traversing the United States in regions he would rather not elaborate on, Tom opted to make New York City his home base – save for five years in California. Tom prefers subway travel and the Mets to rednecks, broken down buses, vans, and planes ala Buddy Holly and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
In the early 1990s, Tom and his musical colleague Jon Burke owned and operated Countdown Rehearsal Studios in San Francisco. We have no idea where the money went but we sure had a real good time!
Among Tom’s favorite venues as a working bass player are/were The Bitter End, CBGB, 315 Bowery, The Mercury Lounge, The Pyramid Club, Gazzarri’s, Coney Island High, Whiskey A Go-Go, The Troubadour, The Bottom Line, Bowery Ballroom, Webster Hall/Ritz, Sidewalk, Brownies, The Roxy, The Rathskeller, Rockwood Music Hall, Stone Pony, Sanctuary, the original Knitting Factory on Leonard Street, The China Club, Tramps, The Limelight, Maxwell's, The Middle East, Paradise Rock Club, and The Viper Room.
If you see Tom playing at a club, send him a Dewar’s on the rocks – it helps him remember the changes!
After experimenting with extended range, fretless, and headless Steinberger basses, nowadays Tom plies his craft with either a customized ’76 Fender Precision which he purchased in ’77, a '76 MusicMan Stingray, or a 21st Century Fender Jazz.
Don’t seek out Tom’s name on sites with recording credits – he habitually uses aliases: Tommy Barrett, Tommy Thunder, Spontaneous, T.Bag Jade. Miami T…it started out as a joke and then he got carried away with it.
Tom’s preferred sound equipment is always whatever backline the venue has (especially Will Lee’s Late Night rig at The Bitter End).
Anyway, Tom maintains that the best bass systems are those with cigarette burns, beer stains, duct tape, missing knobs, melted hardware, torn upholstery, ripped cones, and a moderate buzz.
Tom’s current wife Leona is a jazz elitist who encourages her husband to “play more like Marcus Miller.”
Tom’s formative teen years were the 1970s – and he most reveres that golden age of the singer-songwriter: Ian Hunter, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Garland Jeffreys, Graham Parker, Jackson Browne, Sir Elton, Bruce, Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks, Rickie Lee Jones, Warren Zevon, Elvis Costello, and Bob Dylan to cite a few.
Tom’s approach to the instrument is that of a compositional player – he serves the singer, the song, and the soloist. Among his bass role models include Dee Murray, Carl Radle, George Murray, Willie Weeks, Bill Wyman, Lee Sklar, Kenny Passarelli, Kenny Aaronson, Fernando Saunders, Rob Stoner, Sir Paul, Tim Drummond, Mars Cowling, Boz Burrell, Norman Watt-Roy, Herbie Flowers, Bruce Thomas, and John Paul Jones – all masters of ensemble playing!
And then there’s Know Your Bass Player: The Documentary…
Thanks for reading ..and if you have any suggestions for bass players I've missed, please contact me!
Stay in the pocket!
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, @tomsemioli