Trevor Bolder (9 June 1950 – 21 May 2013) was an English rock musician, songwriter and record producer. He is best known for his long association with Uriah Heep and his tenure with The Spiders from Mars, the one-time backing band for David Bowie, although he also played alongside a variety of musicians from the early 1970s.
Bolder was born in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. His father was a trumpet player and other members of his family were also musicians. He played cornet in the school band and was active in his local R&B scene in the mid 1960s. Inspired by The Beatles, in 1964 he formed his first band with his brother and took up the bass guitar.
He first came to prominence in The Rats, which also featured fellow Hull musician Mick Ronson on lead guitar. In 1971 he was called in to replace Tony Visconti in David Bowie’s backing band, which would soon be known as the Spiders from Mars. He subsequently appeared in D. A. Pennebaker’s 1973 documentary and concert movie Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. He is name-checked as “Weird” (Bowie’s stage nickname for Bolder) in the song “Ziggy Stardust” in the lyrics “Ziggy played guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly, And The Spiders from Mars”. Bolder “never looked comfortable as a glam-rock mannequin, tottering behind Ziggy Stardust in platform boots and a rainbow-hued outfit of latex and glitter”.
Bolder’s bass (and occasional trumpet) work appeared on the studio albums Hunky Dory (1971), The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972), Aladdin Sane (1973), and Pin Ups (1973), the Spiders’ swan song with their leader. He went on to play on Ronson’s 1974 album Slaughter on 10th Avenue which made the British Top Ten.
In 1976 Bolder joined Uriah Heep, replacing John Wetton. He worked on the albums Firefly, Innocent Victim, Fallen Angel and Conquest, when the line-up that had recorded the latter disbanded, Bolder alone was left with Mick Box, guitarist, founder-member and legal owner of the band’s name. The attempt to put a new line-up together temporarily stalled and Bolder, needing to earn a living, accepted an offer in 1981 to join Wishbone Ash. Bolder had, coincidentally, again swapped places with John Wetton, becoming The Ash’s bass player for their 1982 album Twin Barrels Burning. It was another short-lived connection, as by 1983 he returned to the rhythm section with Uriah Heep, playing on the Head First tour (although Bob Daisley played on the album) and all albums since.
As well as his usual bass playing and backing vocal duties, Bolder also produced Heep’s 1991 album Different World.
In 2012 and early 2013, Bolder worked with Stevie ZeSuicide (Steve Roberts of the band U.K. Subs) as producer on singles “Wild Trash” (co-writer with ZeSuicide), “Lady Rocker” and a cover of “Ziggy Stardust”. Bolder also played on these tracks.
Bolder died in May 2013 at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham from cancer. He had undergone surgery for pancreatic cancer earlier that year.
With David Bowie
Hunky Dory (1971)
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
Aladdin Sane (1973)
Pin Ups (1973)
Ziggy Stardust – The Motion Picture (recorded live 1973, officially released 1983)
Santa Monica ’72 (recorded live 1972, officially released 1994)
With Dana Gillespie
Weren’t Born a Man
With Ken Hensley
From Time to Time
With Mick Ronson
Slaughter on 10th Avenue (1974)
Play Don’t Worry (1975)
With The Spiders from Mars
Spiders From Mars (1976)
With Uriah Heep
Innocent Victim (1977)
Fallen Angel (1978)
Live in Europe 1979 (1986) – recorded 1979
Live in Moscow (live, 1988)
Raging Silence (1989)
Different World (1991)
Sea of Light (1995)
Spellbinder (live, 1996)
Sonic Origami (1998)
Future Echoes of the Past (live, 2000)
Acoustically Driven (live, 2001)
Electrically Driven (live, 2001)
The Magician’s Birthday Party (live, 2002)
Live in the USA (2003)
Magic Night (live, 2004)
Wake the Sleeper (2008)
Into the Wild (2011)
With Wishbone Ash
Twin Barrels Burning (1982)