Former Blackheart 411: Kasim Sulton Interview

Kasim Sulton, May 2009. Photo from

Yesterday, December 8, was Kasim Sulton’s birthday. Happy Belated Birthday, Kasim!

Kasim played bass with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts between 1986 and 1990. He performed on the Good Music, Up Your Alley, and The Hit List albums, including the Grammy-nominated “I Hate Myself for Loving You” single. He also performed “She’s Lost You” with Joan on the Less Than Zero soundtrack.

Read more about Kasim after the jump.

Kasim was recently on tour with Todd Rundgren, and is currently playing his own solo gigs. The Hollywood Concerts Examiner interviewed him last week, before one of his Los Angeles concerts. Kasim has worked with many notable musicians besides Joan, including Utopia (with Todd Rundgren), Meat Loaf, Patti Smith, Mick Jagger, and many others. Phyllis Pollack talked with Kasim about his incredible career, working with Todd, his latest CD All Sides, and his signature Archer bass. Here’s a mention of Joan:

What is like transitioning from something like Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and then doing something more, let’s say complicated, like working on Dream Of Life with Patti Smith. Is there ever a transition period?

It’s never really that difficult to go from one thing to another. It’s just opening another book, that’s all.

Do you ever get emotionally attached to a project?

Sometimes, yeah. You know what you get more emotionally attached to? It’s tours. Like if you’re on the road. You’re living with the same people day in and day out, then you go back home. That’s a little weird sometimes. You’ve got an emotional attachment to twenty people you’ve been traveling with, weeks, months on end that you see every day.

Read the rest of the interview HERE. I really enjoyed this interview, because Phyllis Pollack is obviously a dedicated music fan. There’s a cool video with Kasim at the bottom of the interview where he talks about being backstage at a Todd Rundgren concert.

Kasim was the bassist on “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” which you all know is the song that initiated me into Jetthead-land. When I saw The Blackhearts play live for the first time in January of 1992, he had already left the band (and had been replaced by Kenny Aaronson). I’ve never seen Kasim play live, and I’ve always regretted it. Hopefully, he’ll swing by Pittsburgh again someday soon and I’ll get to experience one of his solo shows.

Kasim’s links:

Kasim’s official website
Kasim Sulton on MySpace
Kasim’s blog
Kasim Sulton Band on Facebook home page

Here are a few videos of Kasim before, during, and after his stint in The Blackhearts:

1. This is Kasim performing “Set Me Free,” the hit song that he wrote for Utopia in 1980:


2. For Kasim’s Blackheart days, I chose a fan-made video set to “Ridin’ with James Dean.” It’s one of my favorite songs off the Up Your Alley album, and it also has one of the most memorable bass lines:


3. And, finally, here is Kasim performing “Summer’s Gone” at a solo concert in Cleveland on October 17, 2009. I like that he talks to the crowd before the song:


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