Nebula have been one of my favorite bands for twenty-four years now, which, in typing that, is mind-blowing in of itself. I first got into them when 1999s To The Center was released, acquiring a promo copy from a friend who was a fellow musician, whose band, like Nebula, were signed to Sub Pop. After original bassist Mark Abshire departed, Nebula’s four-string duties were in flux, going through a few different bassists until they tabbed Tom Davies, a native of England, and a fixture of the UK stoner rock scene, to fill that spot.
Davies went on to be an integral member of the band, first appearing on 2006’s Apollo that was released by Liquor And Poker and recently reissued by their current label Heavy Psych Sounds. It was on the Apollo tour when I first encountered Davies, seeing Nebula live both in my hometown of Albuquerque, as well as taking a road trip with my now-wife to Denver to see them open for The Hellacopters.
Davies, in my brief interactions with him, came off as a super nice guy, as well as being a dedicated musician, and, in some ways, became a sort of glue that held the band together as they began to go off the rails a bit following the departure of co-founder and original drummer Ruben Romano, and the rumors of co-founder/vocalist/guitarist/riff-lord Eddie Glass’ hard-livin ways getting the best of him.
Davies, after relocating to Southern California, appeared on Nebula’s stellar, and often overlooked, 2009 Tee Pee Records released LP Heavy Psych, wherein they went on a decade long hiatus. Davies was an integral spark that led to Nebula’s reformation as the band recruited Mike Amster (Mondo Generator) on drums, and the band went on to release 2019’s wicked comeback album Holy Shit and 2022’s space-portal opening Transmission From Mothership Earth, both of which are were issued on Heavy Psych Sounds.
Transmissions From… was also recorded at Davies home studio in the California desert and is an album which also found itself in my top ten releases of 2022. Nebula then went on to tour the US, and Europe extensively on both releases, re-asserting their status as one of the genre’s very best and reaffirming their place as one of stoner and desert rocks original first-wave of bands.
In March of this year, it was made public that Davies had been diagnosed with Leukaemia. Davies received an outpouring of support from bands, and fans around the world, as a fundraiser was organized to help cover his medical and living expenses. As well, Ripple Music put together a compilation in his honor and by all accounts, Davies fought hard against the disease. However, as is sadly too often the case with cancer, he lost his fight against Leukaemia and sadly passed away earlier this week.
Davies was universally recognized as the nicest of guys, a hell of a musician, and an easy going, rock ‘n’ roll lifer, which, in my very brief interactions with him, I can certainly attest to. He was a pillar in the music scene we all love so much, spanning from his native England, all the way to Southern California. All of us at The Sleeping Shaman are heartbroken by his passing, leaving this mortal coil far too soon, and we offer our sincerest condolences to his family, his partner, his bandmates, and all his friends and fans around the world.
Rest in power and riffs Tom, thank you for all the music, and all you did for the scene. You will be greatly missed. Enjoy surfing the cosmos mate, and I can emphatically say fuck cancer.
Edit To Add
Since publishing, Michael Amster, on behalf of Tom’s partner Camille Marquez and his family, has set up an appeal to help cover the spiralling costs associated with his illness and untimely passing. If you can find it in your heart to help, no matter how big or small, they will be eternally grateful for your support and you can make a donation, as well as read more information on the appeal, over at GoFundMe.
Scribed by: Martin Williams