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.
John Gustafson Sound & Vision…
The Merseybeats “I Think of You” https://youtu.be/xroTLNvW2D4
The Big Three “I Got It” https://youtu.be/X0sJ8tVsHm0
Jesus Christ Superstar “Poor Jerusalem” https://youtu.be/VYfAIt1spGo
Quartermass “One Blind Mice” https://youtu.be/dWyIoBzaPAg
Ian Gillan “Live at the Rainbow” 1977 https://youtu.be/p9oElP5QVpQ
Roxy Music “Love Is The Drug” https://youtu.be/LIMJAuKl9Ko
“Watch Out for the Bat” from Butterfly Ball live 1973 https://youtu.be/dhiHrtRl1bo
With Ray Fenwick “Tight White Shirt” on bass and vocals https://youtu.be/7r317_RwVQk
Ian Hunter “Lounge Lizard” https://youtu.be/lQ7Mm_TkJOE
Says Paul Page, Ian Hunter and The Rant Band bassist: 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.