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KASIM SULTON : Top 15 Things He Wants You To Know
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, bass guitarist, keyboard player, musical director, father, baker, chief cook and bottle washer, and self-confessed taxi driver for his kids.
He's played with Hall and Oates, Meatloaf, Patti Smith, The New Cars, Bon Jovi, Mick Jagger, Celine Dion, Blue Oyster Cult, Todd Rundgren and as a member of Utopia.
You don't have to be a shrewd observer of life to know that this guy is something special. Based on his interviews here are 15 things you need to know about him.
His father is Arabic Turkish. Born in New York in 1955. His name is pronounced Kass-im Sult-on, although when you say it fast it sounds like Kazzim.
Here Comes My Inspiration
He picked up guitar after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. That did it for him. He knew what he was going to do. He didn't have to worry about going to school, getting a job or making a living, because he was going to become a rich and famous musician. Although he does emphasize finishing school if you want to follow in his footsteps.
Deface The Crowds
Despite stadium venues he has played on all over the world with Utopia and all the other artists he's accompanied, he loves nothing better than playing to an intimate crowd. Strumming his open-stringed compositions and singing in his saxophone smooth voice.
Kasim And The Bass Guitar
His big break came when he heard Todd Rundgren was having auditions for a new bass player to replace John Sieglar. Kasim auditioned and got the job. Along with Todd, Roger Powell and John Wilcox they became the Utopia line up that we all know and love.
Bat Out Of Hell
Kasim joined Todd and three other musicians in the studio and they recorded the entire music for the Bat Out Of Hell album. Astonishingly, Kasim never thought he would hear the record again. Little did he know then what a part Meatloaf would play in his career.
He was driving in his car listening to the radio about a year later when he heard Bat Out Of Hell being played and thought he was sure he played on this record. Shortly after it joined "Dark Side Of The Moon", "Rumours", and "Saturday Night Fever" to be one of the best selling albums of the seventies. Now it is regarded as one of the all-time classic albums.
Adventures In Utopia
He does have regrets with Utopia, not realizing what he had until it was gone. He feels it was Todd Rundgren's band. He had the feeling that people higher up didn't want Utopia to get too big, that they wanted to keep it in its place. It was a constant battle to get Todd's time. In the end the people wanted whatever it was Utopia gave them. It was what it was and it was great.
Utopia were, as opposed to being massively popular with the general public, were hugely respected amongst their peers. They were a musicians band and deservedly so. Each player was a totally accomplished musician. The playing was technically superb on record and live on stage. They sang complex harmonies, yet made it all sound easy to do. Ergo, once you are a fan you are always a fan.
He puts the respect he has amongst fellow musicians the reason why he has played with so many of them. He is credited on well over 100 different albums.
His favourite Utopia song that he sang on is from the album Oblivion called "I Will Wait".
In 2011 he lost his wife. They had been together since their teens. She was 54. He knew her better than he knew himself.
When pushed to dish the dirt on some of his celebrity companions he said:
"My mother told me, if I haven't got anything good to say. I shouldn't say anything at all."
Outside The USA
Beside playing in the country of his birth, he loves playing in Australia. He especially loves playing in Ireland due to their wild enthusiasm for anything they like.
On Stage With Meatloaf
On The Road
Kasim played on stage with Joan Jett as one of her Blackhearts for three and a half years. It was mostly guys who stood at front of the stage, which he wasn't keen on, as opposed to fans sleeping outside his hotel room when he toured with Utopia.
He has played with Meatloaf, The New Cars and Blue Oyster Cult. This is whilst he does his solo stuff and playing with Todd Rundgren. He certainly wasn't kidding when he said he was going to be a famous musician.
The Basement Tapes
He records his own tunes and plays the instruments himself. Hence it's a slow process to make an album, which he says he does in small snatches as opposed to completing one song then moving on to the next. He doesn't have a million dollar recording studio at his fingertips. Which is hard to believe when you hear the outcome of his finely polished tunes.
Set Me Free
Most people think that the Utopia song "Set Me Free" is about boy wanting out of a relationship with a girl. No, it's not. Remember this is Utopia. It's always a little more complex than that. The song is about Kasim wanting to be released from his record contract so he could pursue a solo career. Ironically it was Utopia's biggest record chartwise. The record company told him that he wasn't ready yet and in retrospect Kasim believes they were right.
The First Of The New Wave Riders
His advice to those who want to follow their dream and are just starting out. Firstly, finish school, care about your craft, be passionate, practise as much as you possibly can and write your own compositions. That last piece of advice is the most important of all.