photo by Alan Benjamin
Born in Elkins Park, PA, Tom Hyatt’s love of music was nurtured by his six older brothers and sisters, as well as his father, Bud, who played bass in local big bands and also performed jazz standards on piano. Tom’s love music was stoked by Stevie Wonder’s infamous 1973 live performance of “Superstition” on Sesame Street. Encouraged to learn piano by his parents and taking some basic bass lessons from his father, brother, and sister, Tom began playing along with the likes of Queen, KISS, and the Kinks in the late ’70s—and further inspired in the early ’80s after hearing Rush, Iron Maiden, Yes, and Stanley Clarke, he developed an all-encompassing passion for electric bass. Through high school and college he pursued all available avenues to hone his skills, from heavy metal to blues to gospel to progressive.
In 1991, while home from spring break, and at the urging of friend Ritch Orysiek, Tom caught his first performance of echolyn (at Dewer’s Pub in Willow Grove, PA). Upon graduation, Tom was referred to Brett Kull, by friend Jon Karpowics, as a potential replacement for then-bassist Jesse Reyes, who had announced his departure—and ended up playing with echolyn from 1991 to 1995. After departing to pursue a career in lab science, Tom joined an original funk/metal band called Mighty OV to continue his development as a bass player.
Tom re-joined echolyn in 2002 and continued until 2018. In that same period Tom played in progressive metal band, The Others, with his former Mighty OV bandmates Cole Hoover and Mike Farrell. The Others lineup also included keyboardist Joe Cardillo. Tom met Tinyfish’s Simon Godfrey, through Simon’s (then fiancée) Stacy Hartung in 2014 and, after hearing Simon’s “Motherland” and Shineback’s “Rise Up Forgotten,” Tom urged Simon to form Valdez with former Others bandmate Joe Cardillo and drummer Scott Miller.
After a Valdez performance at RosFest 2018, Tom was approached to try out for Advent and joined the band toward the end of the year.