Nic Potter

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Nic Potter
Nic Potter.jpg
Nic Potter in 2007
Background information
Birth nameNic Potter
Also known asMozart
Born(1951-10-18)18 October 1951
Wiltshire, England
Died16 January 2013(2013-01-16) (aged 61)
London, England
Occupation(s)Bassist, composer
Instrument(s)Bass guitar, electric guitar
Years active1968–2013

Nic Potter (18 October 1951 – 16 January 2013) was a British bassist, composer and painter, best known for his work with the group Van der Graaf Generator in the 1970s.


Nic Potter was born in Wiltshire and left school at 15, originally to train in carpentry. His older sister Sally, is a well-known film director.[1] At the age of 16, he joined a late line-up of The Misunderstood, at the same time as drummer Guy Evans, who had joined from Van der Graaf Generator, then on a brief hiatus. When Van der Graaf decided to reform after the release The Aerosol Grey Machine, and earlier bassist Keith Ellis deciding to join Juicy Lucy instead, Evans recommended that Potter join as a replacement.[2]: 49 

Potter first appeared on the album The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other, also playing some electric guitar on a few tracks in addition to his usual bass. Halfway during the recording of the following album H to He, Who Am the Only One (1970), he left the group after recording three tracks ("Killer", "The Emperor in his War Room" and "Lost"). The remainder of the album's bass tracks were completed by organist Hugh Banton, who took over the bass lines on bass pedals in concert.

Potter remained in touch with the band, and in 1971, he played bass-guitar on Peter Hammill's first solo-album, Fool's Mate, on Colin Scot's album Colin Scot and with the band Magna Carta. In the 1970s he also played with Jeff Beck, Chuck Berry, Rare Bird and Steve Swindells. In 1973 he collaborated on The Long Hello project. His playing can also be heard on Peter Hammill's album Over (1977).

In 1977, after Hugh Banton and David Jackson had left Van der Graaf Generator, Potter was asked to re-join. He plays on both The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome (1977) and the double live-album Vital (1978). However, he was still uncomfortable with the dynamic of the band as he had been previously, stating "sometimes it felt like a cloud coming down – a very ominous feeling."[3] He was particularly concerned at a gig in Annecy, France where he claimed someone was trying to perform an exorcism of the band's music while on stage, and had to be helped back to the dressing room, feeling very shaken.[3]

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s Potter continued to record and tour with Peter Hammill, including being the bassist for the K-Group (from 1981–1985), and with the Tigers (in 1980) and Duncan Browne (in 1984). In 1983 he started a solo-career, and released a number of albums with mostly electronic music. In 1995 Potter produced and played the bass on the posthumous album Songs of Love and War by Duncan Browne. In 2008 Potter published the live album Live in Italy, together with many musicians like David Jackson and Tony Pagliuca (Le Orme).

All Potter's solo albums were published and remastered in 2009.

During the last two years of his life, Potter suffered from Pick's disease.[4] In January 2013, Potter was admitted to University College Hospital suffering from pneumonia.[5][6][7] He died there in the later hours of 16 January.[5][7][8]


Solo albums[edit]

  • Mountain Music (1983, LP, reissued on CD in 1993)
  • Sketches in Sound (1986, LP, reissued on CD in 1993)
  • Self Contained (1987, CD/LP)
  • Dreams in View 81–87 (1988, compilation CD, reissued in 1997)
  • The Blue Zone (1990, CD/LP)
  • The Blue Zone Party (1991, limited edition cassette tape) live on 29 May 1991 in London, The Dome
  • New Europe-Rainbow Colours (1992, CD)
  • Dreamworld (1997, CD)
  • Live in Italy (2008, CD) with a.o. David Jackson, Tolo Marton and Tony Pagliuca
  • All Contained (2009, CD) box set of remastered CD's of the Zom-Art catalogue

as member of The Misunderstood[edit]

  • Golden Glass (The Misunderstood) (1969)

as member of Van der Graaf Generator[edit]

as member of Rare Bird[edit]

  • Epic Forest (1972)
  • Somebody's Watching (1973)

as member of the Tigers[edit]

  • Savage Music (1980) [1]

with Peter Hammill[edit]

Other collaborations[edit]


  1. ^ "Profile : Sally Potter". The Guardian. London. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  2. ^ Christopulos, Jim; Smart, Phil (2005). Van der Graaf Generator – The Book. Phil and Jim publishers. ISBN 978-0955133701.
  3. ^ a b David Cavanagh (2002). "Run for Your Lives!". Mojo.
  4. ^ Sally Potter (22 January 2013). "Nic Potter obituary | Music |". Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Latest News". Sofa Sound. 17 January 2013. Archived from the original on 8 March 2013.
  6. ^ Phil Smart. "Stop Press". Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Former Van Der Graaf Generator Bassist Nic Potter Passes Away". Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Memories of Peter Hammill and Van der Graaf Generator – Nic Potter". Retrieved 22 January 2013.

External links[edit]