All About….

PossumEnglish 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.”

Raised on rock, powered by punk, and still convinced that “American Pie” was written by Fanny Farmer and is best played with Meatloaf, Thompson 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.

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 makes regular guest appearances on WXPN’s Highs in the Seventies show.

His novel To Major Tom recently (2013) debuted Foruli Books’ fiction line. And he once wrote a book called I Hate New Music.  Because he does.

11 thoughts on “All About….

  1. Hi Dave 🙂 Great to see another rock nut is on wordpress. 🙂 Your work looks really interesting, even though I haven’t come across many of your titles myself. I’ll be sure to look harder in future. 😀

  2. Just finished Wall Of Pain. Great insights, but I find myself still determined to make a musical hero of the guy. Much looking forward to Ronnie’s UK tour.

  3. Any chance of a Pere Ubu biography some day? Somehow Wikipedia doesn’t quite fill out their story, and the ubuprojex web site is a bit scattered in its approach…
    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for something from you. Thanks for all your great work!

  4. Dave,

    I played Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like a Wheel backwards last week in iTunes (it was sorted by date added so last song was the first to play) and i (re)discovered You Can Close Your Eyes. I see you are quoted in Wikipedia:

    “According to music journalist Dave Thompson, producer Peter Asher, who produced both Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim and Ronstadt’s Heart Like a Wheel, reinvented the song for Ronstadt.[1] Thompson considers it a “highlight” of Heart Like a Wheel.[1]”

    I cannot agree more.. that album captured my imagination when it came out (i was born in 1964) and now i have made it my goal to master the piano arrangement that Peter Asher and Andrew Gold developed and do a cover in my home studio, playing all instruments and vocals. Found and purchased the sheet music online last night, though i’m not really a pianist.

    But of course this has led me to you and your oeuvre. Going to scan your book list and order a few from Amazon!

    Respectfully,

    Christopher Martin
    Redwood City, CA
    USA

    • I thought for a moment you played it literally backwards (the Satanic messages are in the title track by the way) – but glad you enjoyed it, and my words struck a chord. Good luck with the arrangement – I agree; it’s one of PA’s best.

      • Well Played, Dave!! Turn me on Dead Man!!!! BTW, the reason i got the sheet music is there are very nuanced chord voicings that normal chord charts and tabs out there do not get into! Thanks, and what book was that quote from, i need to get it!

      • It’s from “Hearts of Darkness: James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Cat Stevens, and the Unlikely Rise of the Singer-Songwriter” (published by Backbeat Books in 2012) – there’s a fair amount of early Linda in there, and Peter Asher too.

  5. Hey Dave,
    In your excellent Goldmine review of Wreckless Eric’s “amERICa” album, you mention that one of his records was in your opinion the best of it’s resoective decade.
    Just wondered which one you were referring to?
    (Catching up on Eric’s back catalogue before I see him play live at the weekend!)
    Thanks!
    Charles

  6. Dave
    Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply.
    II’ll try to check out the Len Bright Combo lp.
    (And the Captains Of Industry. Hopefully Fire! will reissue that too.)
    Basically, I need to get Eric’s full discography!
    All the best!
    Charles

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