Tom Joined American Zen in San Diego when they were called LOTUS. Coyote's Lotus recorded at Richard O'Connor's recording studio in Bonita.
Tom's bass heroes at that time were, Jack Bruce of Cream, Felix Papallardi of Mountain, and Trevor Bolder of the early David Bowie albums.
"I and Steve, we've never had a music lesson. Our style is partly our inexperience. Sometimes I think of Steve as Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, and me, John Paul Jones, the bassist of Led Zeppelin. We just hunt for the groove of the song. We play a lot together, just me and Steve," Tom excitedly explains. "Just the two of us. We make it sound good and make sure that our accents are in the same place. I really listen to his kick drum."
For their first album, LEVEL 1 = Peace Of Mind, Tom plays his one and only bass, a 1959 Rickenbacker.
"When I bought this bass, it had the pickups ON TOP of the strings! Really! This was one of the first basses ever made by Rickenbacker. I took it to the Rickenbacker factory in Anaheim, California after I bought it in San Diego. They said that they thought it had been custom built for someone back in the late 50's. This bass is a 4000 model. Because it was one of their early prototypes, it has shorter stress rods in the neck than the new one do now. They told me to only put flatwound strings on it or the neck would rip off the body. I've always loved the Motown bass sound, so my Ricky with flatwounds became my trademark sound. It's really hard to tell it's actually a Rickenbacker bass."
Tom prefers to play with his fingers. "Another
advantage to playing flatwounds is that the strings don't chew up my fingers.
It's more sensual.. Perhaps that's what I'll call my style, 'sensual bass.'"