Sioux City exhibit honors local rock legend

An exhibit at the Sioux City Public Museum features the photos, instruments and personal memorabilia of a local rock legend. Museum curator Matt Anderson says the “Gypsy Soul” exhibit features guitarist Tommy Bolin, who was known for his solo session work and for playing with the James Gang and Deep Purple.

Anderson says Bolin was born in 1951 and taught himself to play the guitar and seem to have an aptitude for it.

Bolin went on to become one of the most talented and versatile hard rock guitarists to emerge during the first half of the 1970s. It started with him being asked to play on Billy Cobham’s Jazz Fusion album called “Spectrum.” Anderson says it was big step.

Bolin then replace Joe Walsh in the James Gang in 1973 and Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple in 1975. He released a solo album “Teaser” in 1975, while his 1976 album “Private Eyes” earned him opening concert slots with Peter Frampton, Jeff Beck, Rush and ZZ Top. His life and career were cut short by a drug overdose on December 4th of 1976. Many of the items on display are from the collection of Bolin’s brother Johnnie, who was the drummer in the original Tommy Bolin Band and went on to play with Black Oak Arkansas. The exhibit will be open through mid-August.

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