A contemporary of the Beatles by way Liverpool ensembles such as The Big Three, which were managed by Brian Epstein on the recommendation of John Lennon, and The Merseybeats, the late John Gustafson was among the classic rock era’s most versatile and in-demand bassists / vocalists as a band member, session cat, and collaborator.
Gustafson excelled at plying inventive passages in a wide array of styles as evidenced by his work with the jazz-fusion incarnation of the Ian Gillan Band. John was also a groove master with Roxy Music, working the pocket on such seminal sides as Stranded (1973), Country Life (1974) and Siren (1975), including Ferry’s signature composition “Love is the Drug.”
An accomplished singer and solo recording artist, John was the voice of “Simon Zealotes” on the original Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) and rendered the vocals to “Watch Out for the Bat Now” for Roger Glover’s rock opera The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast (1974). Gustafson also anchored scores of seminal sides with Quartermass, Kevin Ayers, Ian Hunter, Rick Wakeman, Yvonne Elliman, Gordon Giltrap, Phil Manzanera, Steve Hackett, and Shawn Phillips, to cite a very, very select few.
Ian Hunter and The Rant Band bassist Paul Page: He did the bass track on “Lounge Lizard” from the 1st IH solo album. I’m still intrigued by it whenever it pops up on the set list and I actually borrowed elements from his version when we did the MTH version for the MTH ‘74 shows. It’s just so slippery and groovy.