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For more than 15 years—since he was a teenage bass phenom with hip-hop/funk-rock act Epileptic Disco—TOM APPLEMAN has been a tireless journeyman musician, playing onstage with everyone from the Drifters to Robbie Krieger of the Doors to the Aerosmith tribute band Draw the Line. He has toured Japan, celebrated Superbowl victories with Kid Rock and been fired by teeny-bopper star JoJo.
But Appleman generally played songs written by others, and he rarely sang except for back-up. Then last year, Appleman went through a bitter divorce. “When you’re with a woman for 13 years, then you’re by yourself, you pull out the keyboard, you pull out the guitar, and you write some songs,” he says. “That gets it off your chest.”
Appleman hadn’t written lyrics since high school. But once he started writing complete songs again, music and lyrics, he didn’t stop. Now he has 104 songs. “Most have to do with divorcing somebody and then meeting someone else—feeling a new love and also feeling the pain of the old one. And then just songs about life.” All were recorded in his home with Appleman singing and playing all parts—piano, electric piano, guitar, drums, and, of course, bass.
Best described as a mix of mellow pop and heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll, Appleman’s sound often evokes the best elements of well-written 1970s soft rock and R&B. His flawless, seemingly effortless musicianship blends charmingly with honest lyrics and raw, naked vocals.
“I’m doing this out of a need,” Appleman says. “After all the heartache and bullshit, this is the most natural thing to do. This is what I did when I was 16. Now I’m free again, what do I do? Well, I’m not gonna play with my wrestling figures! I’m gonna write songs like I did back then—but now I’m a lot better and I’ve been playing music for the last 15 years, and I know a little more about it. So you approach it at this stage and the product is pretty damn good!"