Classic Rocker Tom Fowler Dies of Aneurysm Complications

In addition to his stint with Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention, played bass for George Duke, Jean-Luc Ponty, Steve Hackett, Ray Charles, and more.

Legendary bass guitarist Tom Fowler has died. Fowler, best known as the bassist for Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention, passed away on Tuesday, July 2 "from complications of an aneurysm" he suffered a week prior, according to engineer and producer Dennis Moody. He was 73.

"Tom Fowler. One of the most creative, intelligent, and wackiest people I've ever met," Moody wrote in tribute to the classic rocker. "Tom played bass on a half dozen Frank Zappa albums, and as well of the last 10 years with Ray Charles. I met Tom and his brother Walt when I was 20 years old. He and I remained friends forever, touring the world and making lots of incredible music."

Moody went on to share the heartbreaking news that Fowler "passed away yesterday from complications of an aneurysm he suffered last week. He will be truly missed. Condolences to his wife Kai and the rest of his family."

(Photo: RB/Redferns/Getty Images)

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1951, Fowler's interest in music began at an early age when he picked up violin before switching to bass, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. He made his recording debut working with Zappa on 1973′s Over-Nite Sensation, which also featured his brother, Bruce Fowler, on the trombone. The musician played the bass for numerous Zappa albums throughout the rest of the '70s, including George Duke, Jean-Luc Ponty and Steve Hackett, until 1978′s Studio Tan.

Reacting to news of Fowler's death, Arthur Barrow, who was the bassist for Frank Zappa in the late '70s and early '80s, wrote in a Facebook tribute, "He was a hero to me. The first time I heard 'Echidna's [Arf (Of You)]' I almost fell over when he played the big 5/16 lick on the bass! I had no idea that a clumsy bass could do such a thing! He was an inspiration for me to buy a bass and start practicing. I have known him since about 1976. RIP old friend – missing you very much."

In addition to his stint with Zappa, Fowler played bass for several other artists throughout his decades-long career, including George Duke, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Steve Hackett. He also ayed with Ray Charles from 1993 to 2004, playing most of the bass in the 2004 biopic Ray. He was also the bassist Charles' final album, Genius Loves Company, which won the Grammy for Album Of The Year in 2005.