John Gustafson (musician)

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John Gustafson
John Gustafson cropped from Roxy Music - TopPop 1973 06.png
Background information
Birth name John Frederick Gustafson
Also known as Johnny Gustafson
Born (1942-08-08)8 August 1942
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died 12 September 2014(2014-09-12) (aged 72)
Genres Rock, hard rock, pop rock, beat, jazz-fusion, folk rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Bass guitar, vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1960s–2014
Associated acts Episode Six, Deep Purple, Roxy Music, The Merseybeats, Quatermass, Hard Stuff, Ian Gillan Band, The Big Three, Cass and the Casanovas, Mick Farren, John Du Cann

John Frederick Gustafson (8 August 1942 – 12 September 2014) was an English bass guitar player and singer, who had a lengthy recording and live performance career. During his career, he was a member of the bands The Big Three, Ian Gillan Band, Roxy Music and his own group, Quatermass, among others.


Born in Liverpool to a father of Swedish descent and mother of Irish descent,[1] he is known for his work with 1960s bands The Big Three and The Merseybeats, and for singing on the original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar as Simon Zealotes. He made an appearance on Roger Glover's The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast album track, "Watch Out for the Bat", as a vocalist. He is probably best known for playing bass guitar for several re-incarnations of the Ian Gillan Band and for his earlier participation in the progressive rock band, Quatermass. He also re-formed The Pirates, originally the backing band for Johnny Kidd.[2]

Gustafson was a member of Roxy Music for four years and performed on three studio albums. His final record with the band, Siren, included their only American hit single, "Love Is the Drug".[3]

He was bassist on several tracks for Flamenco guitarist Juan Martin's 1981 concept album, Picasso Portraits (Flamencovision CD FV 03, 1994) namely: Harlequin – 1918, Desire Caught By The Tail – 1943, The Aficionado – 1912 and Girls of Algiers – 1955. Also played on Kevin Ayers' album The Confessions of Dr Dream, 1974.

In 1983 he was in the group Rowdy which included Ray Fenwick and Billy Bremner.


As contributor

With The Big Three 
  • At The Cavern Decca EP (1963)
  • Resurrection Polydor (1973)
With The Merseybeats 
  • The Merseybeats Fontana (1964)
  • On Stage Fontana EP (1964)
  • I Think of You Fontana EP (1964)
  • Wishin' and Hopin' Fontana EP (1964)
  • The Merseybeats Greatest Hits Look (compilation album) (1977)
  • Beats and Ballads Edsel (compilation) (1982)
With Quatermass 
  • Quatermass Harvest (1970) Reissue Repertoire (1990) With Peter Robinson & Mick Underwood.
With Bullet / Hard Stuff 
  • "Hobo" / "Sinister Minister" – Single (1971) Purple Records (as Bullet)
  • Bulletproof Purple Records (1972)
  • Bolex Dementia Purple Records (1973)
  • The Entrance To Hell – different mix of Bulletproof (2010) (as Bullet)
With Ablution 
With Peter Robinson, Jayson Lindh, Jan Schaffer, Malando Gassama, Barry De Souza, Ola Brunkert.
  • Ablution CBS (1974)
With Various Artists 
  • Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1974) John Gustafson in the rhythm section.
With Roger Glover And Guests
  • The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper's Feast (1974) John vocals on Watch Out For The Bat.
With Shawn Phillips 
  • Furthermore (1974)
  • Rumplestiltskin's Resolve (1976)
With Roxy Music 
With Bryan Ferry 
  • Let's Stick Together (1976) John bass on Re-Make/Re-Model
With Ian Gillan Band 
With Gordon Giltrap 
  • The Peacock Party PVK (1981)
  • Live Electric (1981)
With The Pirates
  • Lights Out/I'm into Something Good EP (1986), with Mick Green and Frank Farley
  • Still Shakin Magnum/Thunderbolt (1988), with Mick Green and Geoff Britton
  • Live in Japan Thunderbolt (2001), with Mick Green and Les Sampson
With Joe Jammer 
  • Headway Angel Air (2015), recorded 1974 with Mitch Mitchell on drums

Solo album

  • Goose Grease Angel Air (1997)



  1. ^ Obituary, Independent newspaper.
  2. ^ John Gustafson Brief biography by Bruce Eder at Allmusic
  3. ^ "Bassist Gustafson dead at 72". Classic Rock. 14 September 2014. 

External links

  • Exclusive interview with John Gustafson, August 2007
  • The Musicians' Olympus: John Gustafson at the Wayback Machine (archived 27 October 2009)
  • Liner notes from re-release of Gustafson's 1975 album "Goose Grease"
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