The Suffolk music scene is reeling from the news that one of its most popular figures – Tom Williams – has died at the age of 29. Tom was drummer with the hugely popular blues-rock trio Hot Tramp. He passed away in his sleep. It’s believed he had an epileptic fit.
I heard about his death while I was abroad on holiday and the news certainly knocked me for six, as it did everybody back home in Suffolk. A more likeable chap would be impossible to find, especially in the music business which has more than its fair share of people who have high opinions of themselves and their ability.
Tom was a grounded young man who always made a point of saying hello to me whenever he saw me. That was usually at a Hot Tramp gig, but from time to time I did bump into him in town and at other gigs and he was always very sociable.
Anyone who has witnessed Hot Tramp on stage will know just what a key component Tom was to their explosive sound. His rock solid style behind the kit gave singer/bassist Joshua Carr and guitarist Lewis Grey the perfect platform from which to work their magic.
A few years ago a good friend of mine who lives in Australia, Richard Fugelsang, was back in Ipswich and saw Hot Tramp opening for Dr Feelgood at Venue 77. He was blown away by their powerful set, commenting to me how much they reminded him of early Led Zeppelin. That was quite a compliment and it was one I wholeheartedly agreed with.
Tom’s drumming was nowhere near as busy as that of John Bonham but he certainly hit the skins very hard and knew the importance of fleshing out the overall sound when necessary. First and foremost on stage and in the studio Tom laid down the rhythm and that should be the top priority for every drummer. Sadly that isn’t always the case, but don’t get me started on that!
It was a privilege to have known and worked with Tom. He graced every stage he performed on and in a relatively short space of time he made a big impact on gig-goers and his fellow musicians.
All of us here at Grapevine extend our deepest sympathies to his family and many friends. This is not the time to speculate on the future of Hot Tramp but Josh and Lewis know their close friend is irreplaceable. Hopefully Josh and Lewis will continue to make music but for both of them life will never be quite the same again.