Pete Thomas started life in Hillsborough, Sheffield and formed his first band in Hartley, Kent at age ten.
Having moved with his family to Seaford, Sussex Pete attended Lewes Priory School and the Sussex Music School. He played with several local bands, including the "Grobs", which built up a formidable reputation with one of the toughest audiences around -- the Newhaven Dockers.
Pete moved to London in 1972 and found a job in a West London drum shop. His big chance came when he joined Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers, a pub band playing country rock which is still remembered with great affection.
While playing with the Willis at the Roundhouse in 1974, Pete stepped in at short notice to back John Stewart, a former member of The Kingston Trio. Stewart was impressed with Pete's performance and offered him a job in California. A few weeks later, after Chilli Willi collapsed from sheer exhaustion, Pete accepted the offer.
Pete enjoyed the laid-back 70's Californian lifestyle, but also gained a huge range of experience and made many valuable contacts.
In 1977 Pete got a call from Jake Riviera, the co-founder of Stiff Records. Jake had just discovered Elvis Costello, and wanted Pete in the band he was forming to back Elvis. Pete returned to London, and The Attractions were formed.
Obviously, Elvis Costello And The Attractions were a massive sensation in the Punk and Post-Punk eras and a giant success.
Pete continued to work with Costelloand other bands on an occasional basis, but also teamed up with Attractions keyboardist Steve Nieve to form a studio band for the Jonathan Ross TV show. The Jonathan Ross Show attracted many famous singers and musicians, including Paul McCartney and Elton John; all of whom Pete backed on his drums.
Los Lobos and Beyond
Pete was in great demand for session work, much of it in the USA. Pete's work with Los Lobos and various Spanish singers produced a particular expertise in latin percussion styles. Other work involved artists like Sheryl Crow, Bonnle Raitt, Suzanne Vega, Ron Sexsmith and many others. Pete worked regularly with his old friend Mitchell Froom and in 1998 he found himself in Los Angeles recording with singer Vonda Shepard on a new album which Froom co-produced.
Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles...
Vonda Shepard’s worldwide TV exposure on the Ally McBeal show had moved her career into a higher gear, demanding a band of appropriately high calibre. Pete’s eclectic talents fulfilled the need exactly and he was offered a regular contract, so, in the spring of 1999 Pete moved back to LA with his family. His work with Vonda left him with some time to spare and before long he was back doing loads of session work with artists like Randy Newman and Tim McGraw.
As time passed Pete built up an increasing rapport with two other members of Vonda’s band, Val McCallum and Davey Faragher. Their mutual interest in older style country music led to the formation of Jackshit, an informal band which speedily built up a dedicated following on the LA club circuit and a reputation for being the best band in Los Angeles. They released their first CD in 2001. You can buy their CDs here.
Pete rejoined Steve Nieve, and with Davey Faragher onboard, they became "The Imposters" to back Elvis Costello for the album and tour for "When I Was Cruel."
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The world tour of for the show carried them through June to November of 2002.
On March 10th, 2003, the four original members of Elvis Costello and the Attractions
were formally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony in New York .
Throughout this decade Pete continued doing lots of session work with many famous artists, including Nancy Sinatra and Ashley Simpson. In 2004, Elvis Costello brought The Imposters to Sweet Tea Studios in Oxford, Mississippi to record "The Delivery Man." It was released in August and was promoted in a tour covering USA, Australia and Japan. The tour continued in 2005 with concerts in Europe, USA and South America.
Sessions, Tours and Film Work
After hurricane Katrina in 2005, The Imposters toured with Elvis to perform "The River in Reverse." A live DVD recording: "Hot as a Pistol: Keen as a Blade" with Emmylour Harris was released from the tour.
In March 2007 Pete and Davey joined Eddy Mitchell for a prolonged European tour, and then, as The Imposters, went back out on the road with Elvis Costello.
Pete did several big film projects as well, including _____ for Disney with Randy Newman. In 2008, Pete recorded "Momofuku" for Elvis, joined on several tracks by his daughter Tennessee, a fine drummer in her own right.
Release was timed to coincide with the start of a long US tour in which EC and the Imposters joined forces with The Police.
Jackshit continued to delight its many dedicated fans whenever the band members could get together.
In mid 2005 Jackshit visited Tulsa, Oklahoma and recorded a new album with producer Steve Ripley. "Jackshit Number 2" was released in mid 2006.
Pete continued to work on various projects with singer/songwriter Randy Newman, including the album "Harps and Angels" and the Disney animated film "The Princess and the Frog." The Pete/Tennessee drum duo was featured in Elvis's TV series "Spectacle." Other projects included two simultanious European #1 hits, with Fito and Fitipaldi in Spain and Marc Lavoine in France. Randy Newman's theme song for "Toy Story III," with Pete and Jackshit won an Oscar for "Best Film Music" in February of 2011.
Later that year Elvis Costello and the Imposters got together again for an international tour which revived the "Spinning Wheel" stage show which had so delighted fans in the past. The show went back on the road across the United States and Europe in April, 2012.
In 2013, the Arctic Monkey's drummer, Matt Helders, injured his hand. They were in the studio and asked Pete to fill in for an enjoyable ten days. Pete also had fun doing the Jake Bugg album Shangri-La. Pete has done more Spanish work playing on hits by David Bisball and Marlango. Most recently Pete was in the Billboard Top 20 playing on Lucinda Williams' new record "Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone."