Thomas Michael "T.M." Stevens

thomas stevens

July 28, 1951 ~ March 10, 2024

Born in: Bronx, NY
Resided in: Englewood, NJ

Thomas Michael Stevens
July 28, 1951 – March 10, 2024
Englewood, NJ

Thomas Michael Stevens (T.M. Stevens) passed away peacefully on March 10, 2024, after a long illness at the Actors Fund Home of Englewood, New Jersey.

World-famous bassist, songwriter, session player, and solo performer T.M. Stevens was born to Dorothy Stevens (d. 2007), who referred to her son as Mike, in the South Bronx of New York. At eleven, he became interested in playing music, sitting outside nightclubs to listen to the musicians perform and frequenting venues such as the Apollo Theater to listen to legends such as James Brown, eventually recording on Brown’s Billboard charting album Gravity.

T.M.’s single mother, Dorothy, raised him as best she could; however, she relied heavily on a constant maternal figure for T.M. from his birth, Thomisina Mayme Johnson Santiago, known to T.M. as “Aunt Buzzie.” Ms. Santiago was a close friend of T.M.’s mother when they both served state-side in the military. T.M. would go on to live with his Aunt Buzzie from his pre-teen years to his coming of age. While studying to be a Medical Lab technician at The Bronx Community College, T.M. was encouraged by a professor to do what he loved most – play and perform music. He practiced his musical craft by playing after-hours clubs around NYC, developing into a virtuoso bassist with a unique style encompassing funk, rock, jazz, and soul. T.M. was a highly-sought-after player and session musician and has recorded and toured with many artists, including James Brown, Nona Hendryx, Joe Cocker, The Pretenders, Cyndi Lauper, Little Steven, Tina Turner, Narada Michael Walden, Darlene Love, Stevie Salas, and Billy Joel, along with hundreds of album credits including session recordings with Miles Davis and performances with Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston and had become a fixture on many rock and metal tribute albums over the years. Describing his music styling as heavily influenced in his youth, including James Brown, Sly Stone, Larry Graham, P-Funk, and Hendrix, followed by the influences of Metallica, Living Colour, Bad Brains, Fishbone – bands that added the funk-inspiring him to incorporate those two elements in his way, releasing seven albums.

1978 was a pivotal year for TM Stevens as he concluded his Broadway orchestra run with the play “Your Arms Too Short to Box With God” and joined Miles Davis in the Columbia Records New York recording studio in March. Next came his first touring gig with John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu One Truth Band, followed by his touring with the Narada Michael Walden band. For the next five decades, T.M. traveled the world performing with the elite in music and as a headliner himself. T.M. was also known for his flamboyant fashion sense and persona fronting his metal funk band Shocka Zooloo. T.M. won the hearts of fans around the globe as both a teacher and mentor to new and established bass players and will be forever remembered as a virtuosic bass giant and deftly funky producer/singer with a huge, loving heart whose motto was “Forever Bass.”

Thomas Michael Stevens was preceded in death by his mother, Dorothy Stevens, and guardian, Thomisina (Buzzie) Johnson Santiago. He leaves to cherish his memory Aunt Buzzie’s nieces –  his childhood companions and fictive kin: Martine Dalton Jones (Kevin) of Grand Rapids, MI, Frances Dalton of Grand Rapids, MI, Barbara Dalton Harley (Raymond) of North Carolina, former wife Takako Walsh, his loving, long-time companion Carrie Beehan, numerous close friends, and musical peers, including B.J. Nelson, TC Tolliver (Doe), Narada Michael Walden, Will Calhoun, and caretaker Kevin Brennan, along with multitudes of his fans from around the world.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the charities below.

The T.M. Stevens Music Scholarship Fund

In the cherished memory of T.M. Stevens, in lieu of flowers, we extend a heartfelt invitation for you to contribute to the T.M. Stevens Bass Scholarship Fund, a tribute to T.M.’s enduring legacy and profound love for music and life. T.M.’s passion for nurturing talent will continue to resonate through this initiative, designed to support an aspiring bass player aged 12+ from the Bronx, New York—T.M.’s birthplace which always remained close to his heart. This scholarship isn’t just for financial support; it’s a beacon of hope and opportunity to foster the evolution and growth of the next generation of musicians. In supporting the scholarship fund you will be part of a broader vision to build this tribute into a nationwide program that champions talented young musicians who unfortunately lack the resources to take their artistry to the next level. Let’s keep the rhythm of T.M.’s life, joy, and love of music alive by empowering young artists to follow in his resonant footsteps.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Actors Fund Home situated at 155-175 West Hudson Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631 for their superb health care and supportive services in an environment filled with warmth, charm and excellent care-givers. Donations can be made via the following link:


Visiting: May 4, 2024 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 7024

Service: May 4, 2024 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 7024

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  1. This is just the beginning beloved T.M., your legacy will live on and inspire musicians, artists, friends and fans to shout your name loud and proud. Your motto was “Forever Bass” and so it shall be. You are a gift in our lives.

    • TM was a powerhouse and when I met him, as sweet as could be. Glad to have known him for ever so short a time. May his music live forever and in our hearts.

    • Loved jammin with you in the music building back in the day my friend..You were the only one to make those Bag-End speakers ROCK and sound like MONSTERS!!!…God rest your soul and thank you for your gifts you gave🙏🏾❤️🙏🏾

  2. Gonna miss our talks and our hangs brother!!… I’ll see you again!!!… I’ll be one of the singers in the band!.. Rest now King!

  3. Meeting TM in early 1978 NYC, through his friendship and work relationship with musician/music producer Narada Michael Walden, spanned a 45+ year friendship that followed the amazing career of the most charismatic bass player I have ever witnessed. I am honoured to have had the opportunities to see him perform in concerts worldwide, on Broadway, in the recording studios and in my homes. His great smile, raspy baritone voice and genuine love of life will never be forgotten.

  4. Dearest and most glorious TM we shall miss you but I know we shall see you again next n all your magnificence in that jam session in n the sky!
    So much love you gave to us all and we send it to you now too🙏🌷❤️

  5. God speed to Heaven TM where the ultimate band awaits you
    ……with great fondness,Nurse Julie Grano

    • I will never forget your huge personality, huge smile, huge musical footprint & energy dear TM. 🙏🏼♥️

  6. My heart is broken to hear of the passing of my friend and fellow bandmate, T.M. STEVENS. I only have wonderful and amazing memories of touring with TM on the Joe Cocker tour. He was always a STAR in his own right and masterful musician and entertainer. I will miss him greatly but will hold every memory I have a TM as treasure. Rest in Peace, my friend. I thank God for blessing my life with your presence.

  7. My friend, your shine was and remains greater than a thousand suns. Your uniqueness will continue to inspire and light the paths of many to come. Thank you for all the joy and laughter, stellar music contributions and for your deep recognition and love for all people.

  8. TM, my good ol’ friend… Has been a long time ago, when I met you on tour with Joe Cocker.
    I really miss you! The heavenly band got a great bass player!

  9. I am so heartbroken over the loss of TM!!

    TM, I am going to miss seeing your smiling face! I will miss your bigger-than-life personality and your energy! Till we meet again in eternity!

    Dr Brookenstein!

  10. I Ve had the chance to know TM while he was touring for his first solo album in France.
    I let a brilliant musician, a wonderful man and a very sweet person.
    His kindness, his humility and his joy have enlightened my life and you could not think about TM without thinking about his smile, his laughs, his positivity.
    He always showed pride for his origins and nothing will erase TM from my heart.
    He struck my mind because of his human touch at all time.
    He is missed and all his French fans will remember him. A true bass talented and hard worker musician. And a gentleman.
    You have always been a source of inspiration.

  11. The best. The absolute best. In music but also in heart and soul. I don’t think you even once went on a stage and “went through the motions”. You were having the time of your life EVERY night! It was such a pleasure knowing you and I’ll never forget all the times you snagged me onstage to put me on the spot. Or checked my thumb for calluses. 😂 Rest well, T. We love you. 🙏🏻

    • Tm Stevens wanted the greatest to ever do it. I’m gonna miss you brother. I’m glad that we had a chance to perform together as well as we become close friends. You’re in good hands with the Lord now, rest well, my brother.

  12. Will always remember our funky improvisation at Warwick, Germany. Someone so special can never be forgotten. A good heart has stopped beating, but a heart that has touched so many lives can’t help but live on in those it loved. In the hearts of those who loved you, you will always be there. Love your funky bass techniques. Your music will live on forever. Funky, energetic brother you’re ahead. Rest in peace TM.

  13. Carma and Adam from Gold Coast Australia.
    Thankyou for your music TM.
    Condolences to family and friends.

  14. TM was not only an Incredible Super Funky Super Stylistic Bass Player Singer and Artist True Original but a Wonderful and Amazing human. TM would always greet you warmly and include you in his funky world. He was always very personable would communicate well and was a man of great empathy and a dear friend who I used to see at decades of NAMM Shows. TM was a beautiful person. It made no difference if we had different hairstyles or played different instruments or whatever. TM was always there with pure love from his spirit. TM brought the world together through his spirit and music. He really did I experienced it many times with TM. I already missed TM before he passed since we havent seen him in California for years too long. I was asking about TM and then I read the devastating heartbreaking news of my beloved dear friend. I feel very blessed to have known TM and the light he shined into everyones lives. Its no surprise that his career credits read like a surreal fairytale of the most prominent musicians and entertainers ever James Brown, Miles Davis, Tina Turner, The Pretenders Whitney Houston etc etc including his own incredibly funky progressive metal soul rock. TM was the coolest cat out of all the cool cats. TM was the only kind of one of a kind. Miss you and Love you Forever TM You will never be forgotten my dear friend. Thank you!! for giving us your all and everything you brought to is

  15. Thank-You for all the beautiful, soulful, funky music and love you have blessed us with all these years TM!!✨🙌🏼🤩🙌🏼✨ You will live on forever in our hearts, minds, souls and ears…and now it’s time for you to show them how it’s done in Heaven!!🙏🏼🙇🏼💝 Peace Love and Prayers from Japan to TM with Love!!🙏🏼✝️💖💝

    • Dal primo momento che ti ho conosciuto ho capito che eri una persona speciale, non solo un bravo musicista.. La tua energia era travolgente, hai fatto sentire me ed Asia parte di una famiglia tutte le volte che venivi in Italia con la tua band.. Ti ricorderemo con tanto affetto ❤❤

  16. Dearest TM, you will always be the keeper of the bottom end flame. Your presence as an artist/musician will never be duplicated but more importantly your positivity, generosity, love of life and human spirit is greater. TY for everything and please Hug, Dan, Joe, Phil and James for all of us ❤️❤️

  17. Dal primo momento che ti ho conosciuto ho capito che eri una persona speciale, non solo un bravo musicista.. La tua energia era travolgente, hai fatto sentire me ed Asia parte di una famiglia tutte le volte che venivi in Italia con la tua band.. Ti ricorderemo con tanto affetto ❤❤

  18. Thank you TM for your compassion ,friendliness and joy . Bro you shared it like their was on tomorrow, Yeah very few artists have and live in this dimension of quality and love ,you lived it true to the music, passion and mission soldier. My first encounter with you at Frankfurt Music Messa Germany when you called me up on stage on your electrifying jamming. You remain unforgettable TM safe journey One Love .Kelvin 🙏🏾🌴❤️💥

    • Safe Transition, mighty Lovemuffy and fly free. You are always in my Heart, Uncle T! Thanx for being my Friend.
      Love, Chris

  19. T,

    Thank you for your friendship and mentorship. You were always kind, caring and selfless. Thank you for being a big influence and inspiration in my life. Jam on out until I get there my friend ❤️

  20. T.M., Each one of us has an expiration DATE. This is a FACT, but every now and then an individual comes along that has the ability to create DOUBT as to whether or not this is TRUE. Having known you for almost forty years, in my opinion YOU were one such person, truly ONE of a KIND. A HIGHLY CHARISMATIC, POSITIVE and ENERGETIC BASS VIRTUOSO. Although, it seems like yesterday, I will always remember the great times that you, Nate, Bob Black (R.I.P.) and myself spent on tour with Stacy Lattisaw many years ago. My heart is heavy, and I will miss you. Much LOVE & RESPECT my brother. I WILL see you on the other side. “Kirk Out…..Work Out”

  21. TM, you will always be In my heart. From your musical talents to your story telling you were amazing. I will always treasure the moments you would come see me in my office just to talk and then play with my phone camera. I am certain you adding a major amount of funk to Heaven’s Band.
    A kiss to each cheek.
    Love Donna

  22. I had the honor of interviewing T.M. numerous times for Bass Player magazine (including an analysis and transcription of his killer bass line on Narada’s “I Shoulda Loved Ya”). I saw him perform many times and got to know him pretty well. He was a towering figure in bass and life. Underneath the flamboyance and flashiness, you could feel the foundation, both in his playing and his persona. He was cutting edge but humble, and eternally cool. We will miss you, T.M. But rest assured you made quite a mark on this planet.

  23. Our beloved TM, a beautiful soul radiating joy and musical brilliance wherever he went. Many fond memories of our joining musical forces in the past, always filled with joy, love and divine funkiness!🙏💖🌌🎸👍

  24. Whenever I hear thunder, I know it’s you making the heavens a bit more funky. Thank you for being a friend for so many years, and for letting me tear it up on stage with you. You will always be one of the best bassists in the world, and the best I ever played with. And for offering THE best piece of advice ever: “People pay money to see the whites of your eyes, not the top of your head. Give them a show!” Yes sir! Rest easy, TM.

  25. The first time I saw you at your concert in Vienna, you hugged me after the concert and said to me “You give me the power”. I will never forget that. Rest in Shocka Zooloo Heaven Peter

  26. What a blessing to have known you dear T.M. – a friendship that began in 1979 when we recorded “The Dance Of Life” with Narada Michael Walden, not long after he and Anukampa Lisa moved to San Francisco. Recording, touring, and hanging together … all highlights in my life. Thank my dear friend. I will hold you in my heart forever ❤️🙏

  27. I have known TM for so many years, since the early 80s. We were both using Dean Markley strings and playing Spector basses and would always spend a fantastic time at the NAMM shows and related events.

    I always looked forward to getting together and having jam sessions at every opportunity even though we were both bass players. One of the most memorable was a jam that I organized for Kramer guitars back in 1986 when we shared a stage with Eddie Van Halen and Billy Idol And Randy Castillo. Sam, Kennison, and Dweezil Zappa came up to jam with us, and it was just terrific. Our paths crossed so many times within this crazy music business and TM was a glorious beacon of light and beauty and character. What a beautiful soul, and that soul lives on in my memory, and in my mind to this present day, and always.
    Love you and miss you TM. You really left your mark on this guy.

  28. I am heartbroken. TM was the first person I met when I moved from Phoenix to NYC, right off the turnip truck. We became tight and he took me in for a couple of years while I found my feet. We played, recorded, toured and he introduced me to his amazing musician friends and associates, who became family to this day. TM literally changed my life. I hope he’s the first one I meet in the next.

  29. With heartfelt sympathy and caring prayers for you, your family and friends; may the healing gifts of time, and the timeless love of God, carry you gently Home…. Keep the music 🎶 playing in Heaven. 💜

  30. Tmchan
    I’m so sad that you’re not here, I still can’t believe it.
    I am very appriciate for the many things you have told me. I will continue to share that your message about how much important the real grove music with the public.
    Rest in Peace.

  31. I will miss his presence, the rasp in his voice, his humility, his love.
    I’m glad to have known him since I was a kid.
    Failed health is heartbreaking, may we all remember to love
    while we can.
    So thankful for the funeral arrangements.

  32. TM, the kindest soul you could wish to meet, funky to the core, how blessed we were to know you, one in a million. Always in our hearts. Thank you for the music. Godbless TM💕see you on the other side.

  33. Thomas you were…. and always will be my Forever Love!!! the World came to know your greatness
    as you wanted…Mission Accomplished!! Your saying “keep the buck faith forever”…you did just that too.. You’ve performed with many, were loved by many more, and you will remain truly Unfreakin forgettable…
    RIP King

  34. TM – God bless and keep your soul. You were truly the “Bass in the Face -Shocka Zooloo Warrior”, a one in a million force to be reckoned with. You will be truly missed. I miss you ! My brother from another mother.🙏❤️🔥

  35. T, godspeed to you and we mere mortals will miss seeing you be the super hero in the flesh that you were. Playing in your band was an experience that i’ll remember till my dying days. Interestingly i’ve been contemplating the huge effect you had on the trajectory of my life since your passing. Thanks for introducing me to Buddy Miles and so many more things that i can’t list here. Sad to see you pass but glad you’re not suffering anymore.Peace my brother.

  36. I never met T.M..Nevertheless as a fellow bass player I have been influenced all my life, not only with his amazing pocket but his exuberance and I have him among other wonderful players to thank for his spirit and inspiration…Shaun Ward.(Bass player with Simply Red)
    Cheers T.M..

  37. My Brother he was my mentor my inspiration to be a better musician he will be in my heart his energy his smile I love my friend but God loved more you have your wings your spirit will live forever.

  38. My Dearist Brother TM Stevens, & Frind
    I will miss you, your voice, and big smile, your sound on the bass was bigger than life.
    Always the positive voice for change.
    Thank you for your contribution

    Oscar Deric Brown

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