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Former Van Der Graaf Generator Bassist Nic Potter Passes Away

Nic Potter
Michael Putland

Nic Potter, former bassist for progressive rock band Van Der Graaf Generator, has died after suffering complications from pneumonia. He was 61.

Band leader Peter Hammill made the official announcement via his website this morning (Jan. 18), saying “I’m so sorry to have to announce that the great Nic Mozart passed away last night. Deeply, deeply missed.” Potter had reportedly been ill for some time.

Potter joined the band in the fall of 1969, as they began work on their second album, ‘The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other.’ Though only 18 years old at the time, Potter’s bass work added the perfect anchor for the group’s fluidly brilliant and experimental rock and roll. Potter had previously played with psychedelic band the Misunderstood, and was brought into Van Der Graaf by drummer Guy Evans.

He only stayed a short time, leaving the band in the summer of 1970 during the recording of their next album, ‘H to He, Who Am The Only One.’ “We did a lot of jamming, and it worked very well,” Potter states in the liner notes to the VDGG box set, going on to say they were “a very powerful unit, close to the edge even, and I was developing some different bass sounds then.”

After leaving the group, he joined Rare Bird, with whom he recorded a pair of LPs. Though no longer a member of Van Der Graaf, he continued to play on Hammill’s solo recordings and eventually returned to the band in 1977 to play on two more LPs. During the ’80s and ’90s he released a handful of solo albums and continued session work with Hammill and others, including Jeff Beck, Paul Kossoff and Chuck Berry.

“He was a natural talent driven by instinct and capable of working out instant bass lines out of material that the other players had already been rehearsing over and over” VDGG sax player David Jackson told Mju:zik magazine in 1998. In 2009, Potter began working on new solo material at Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason‘s studio with Mason engineering.

Next: See Other Rockers We've Lost in 2013

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