English author Dave Thompson has spent his entire working life writing biographies of other people, but is notoriously reluctant to write one for himself. Unlike the subjects of some of his best known books, he was neither raised by ferrets nor stolen from gypsies. He has never appeared on reality TV (although he did reach the semi finals of a UK pop quiz when he was sixteen), plays no musical instruments and he can’t dance, either.
However, he has written well over one hundred books in a career that is almost as old as U2’s… whom he saw in a club when they first moved to London, and memorably described as “okay, but they’ll never get any place.” Similar pronouncements published on the future prospects of Simply Red, Pearl Jam and Wang Chung (oh, and Curiosity Killed The Cat as well) probably explain why he has never been anointed a Pop Culture Nostradamus. Although the fact that he was around to pronounce gloomily on them in the first place might determine why he was recently described as “a veteran music journalist.”
Thompson was born in Bideford, Devon; raised in Hoo St Werburgh, Kent; and schooled in Bournemouth, Dorset. He gravitated to London in time to catch the last days of glam rock (and once had the trousers to prove it), and he remains convinced that “American Pie” was written by Fanny Farmer and is best played with Meatloaf. He lists his five favorite artists as old and obscure; his favorite album is whispered quietly and he would like to see Richard and Linda Thompson’s “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight” installed as the go-to song for the sad, sappy ending for every medical drama on TV.
Sylvain Sylvain, Kurt Cobain, Phil Collins, Alice Cooper, Joan Jett, David Bowie, John Travolta, Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne, Bob Marley, Roger Waters and the guy who sang that song in the jelly commercial are numbered among the myriad artists about whom Thompson has written books; he has contributed to the magazines Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Mojo and Melody Maker; and he was also regular guest on WXPN’s Highs in the Seventies show.
His non-musical output includes titles on The Rocky Horror Show, Robin Hood, Jack the Ripper, Doctor Who, The Twilight Zone, South Park and a number of numismatic and philatelic titles… which surprises anyone who knows him only for pop groups. In addition, a reprint of his novel To Major Tom debuted Foruli Books’ fiction line. And he once wrote a book called I Hate New Music. Because he often does.