By Thomas Semioli
In Memoriam: The axiom “don’t get too close to your heroes…” did not apply to my bass hero Jim Rodford. When we spoke on film at his local pub in St. Albans where The Kinks, Who, Beatles, and Stones, among others, all honed their craft back in the day, Jim shared insightful and untold stories about his career, the artists, and the era. As per my request, Jim was kind enough to dig his weathered Fender Mustang out of storage which can be heard on The Kinks and Argent classics. With my colleagues’ co-producer Mark Preston and cameraman Derek Hanlon, I bought Jim a pint or two to repay all those bass lessons from In Deep, Low Budget…. Godspeed to the great Jim Rodford!
If you’ve ever grooved to “Hold Your Head Up,” “Give The People What They Want” “God Gave Rock and Roll to You,” “Come Dancing,” “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman,” and “Destroyer” among other Argent and Kinks “Klassics,” please refer to James Walter Rodford, of St. Albans, Hertfordshire England. As a member of Mike Cotton Sound, Jim shared stages with The Beatles, The Who, The Animals, and The Kinks’ original line-up.
He was a founding member of the progressive pop powerhouse Argent (1969-76) and the longest tenured (1978-96) and most musically adept bassist The Kinks employed after the departure of Peter Quaife. With Argent, Rodford rendered adventurous counterpoint for the band’s legendary extended instrumental passages. With the Kinks, Jim underpinned Ray’s melodies and Dave’s riffs with inventive lines that facilitated the band’s commercial and artistic rebirth the moment he joined. Jim also appeared with The Kast-Off Kinks tribute band, wherein he replaced John Dalton whom he originally replaced in The Kinks back in the late 1970s!
The ageless Jim Rodford continued to ply his bass artistry on stage and on record with revamped line-ups of Argent, The Zombies, and the Colin Blunstone Band, among others until his passing in 2018.
Coda: I cited Jim Rodford (and John Dalton) in Eleven Bass Players Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Huffington Post in 2015: http://huff.to/1WPHSp6
And Jim was also mentioned in my Huffington Post interview with Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent The Zombies Still Got That Hunger for New York City: http://huff.to/1JQbpWe
Dig Jim Rodford in Know Your Bass Player on Film Season One 2014 – filmed at The Horn, in St. Albans UK https://bit.ly/2QuX6E7