Derek Forbes

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Derek Forbes
Born (1956-06-22) 22 June 1956 (age 59)
Origin Glasgow, Scotland
Genres Rock, post-punk, new wave, pop rock, alternative rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Bass guitar
Years active 1977–present
Associated acts Simple Minds, Propaganda, Oblivion Dust, XSM, Big Country

Derek Forbes (born 22 June 1956, Glasgow, Scotland) is a Scottish bassist, vocalist, and sometime guitarist, best known for his work with Simple Minds (with whom he joined forces in 1978, and began recording the early demos and forward into their 1979 debut album, Life in a Day until shortly after their 1985 hit, "Don't You (Forget About Me)").

He was dismissed from the band, apparently due to petty jealousy, as cited by Jim Kerr, who stated that it was a regrettable mistake, prior to the release of the global success of Once Upon a Time. Forbes has cited he wrote on 60% of the album, yet remained uncredited. Assuming he would quickly be asked to re-join the band, no legal action was taken.[citation needed] Forbes reunited with the band for a three year period, before and during the recording of Néapolis from 1995-1998 and, along with Mel Gaynor, were to find out a few days before the Kosovo show at Glasgow's SECC, that they both weren't included, much to the confusion of the fans, as they had been told that both Forbes and Gaynor were not available to play, but were onstage directly before the Minds went on. Forbes states that he has never left the band, and Forbes has cited that he wasn't happy with the final mix of the album. Forbes and Mel Gaynor appeared at the Scotland Rocks for Kosova in 1999 performing Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir", whilst Simple Minds also appeared on the bill with Mark Kerr on drums and Eddie Duffy on bass.

After Simple Minds, Forbes went on to play in number of other bands, including Propaganda (Germany) and Oblivion Dust (Japan). He also played in Fourgoodmen, a Scottish Supergroup between 2005-2007 and formed XSM, who were originally to consist of Forbes, MacNeil and McGee from the original Simple Minds line up. XSM recorded an albums worth of tracks, but Mick MacNeil didn't want to play 'Live', so Forbes and McGee took the band out, along with 'one Hit Wonder' Owen Paul (McGee), sibling of Brian McGee. The guitar and keyboard player roles were two fold, with Steven Curley ( version 1) on guitar, followed by Ant Seaman guitar (version2) and Gary O'Hagan keyboards ( version 1), and Andy Gall keyboards (version 2).

Forbes was voted 'Best Bass Player in the World' in 1982, and 'Best International Bass Player' in a music poll in Australia, the same year. Forbes was also voted 'Best Bass Player in UK '. Forbes is highly respected by his Peers, and fellow musicians, including Adam Clayton, Peter Hook, Nicky Wire, Tony Butler, Pino Palladino, JJ Burnell, Bruce Foxton, John Giblin, Malcolm Foster....and beyond...

In 2009, Forbes was voted 'Scotland's Greatest Ever Bassist' by the readers of Dear Scotland,[1] and his life and work is the subject of a biography in both print and film by writer/director Ethan Dettenmaier.

Forbes had his own Hollywood Radio Show on LA Talk Radio for two years , before joining Big Country, which,in turn, stopped production of his show 'May the Forbes be with you'

Forbes was a featured extra in the film 'This is not a love song'

Forbes was the bass player with Scottish band Big Country, replacing long standing Tony Butler who retired from the band, but left the band in 2015.


  1. ^ Vote for Scotland's Greatest Ever Guitarist, Dear Scotland, 9 December 2009

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