Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas is the guitarist and bandleader of choice for many of the big blues names visiting from the U.S. He also has a number of critically acclaimed albums in his own right that are as varied as they are classy. If you have in interest in blues music that has a clear lineage from its 1950’s and 60’s roots you owe it to yourself to check Dave out.
By the late 60’s many of the blues bands were turning to more progressive, psychedelic sounds. One of the best known of the era was Blonde On Blonde. Dave joined them in 1969. The band toured extensively, sharing stages with Deep Purple, Genesis, Atomic Rooster, Marsha Hunt, Wishbone Ash, Barclay James Harvest, Steve Miller Band and many others. Blonde On Blonde had appeared at both of the Isle of Wight Festivals in 1968 and 1969 on the bill with Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix respectively and in 1971 they were once supported by Fleetwood Mac!
In the eighties Dave travelled to the U.S. and played in blues bars across New York, Chicago and San Francisco. On his return to London Dave formed the renowned Chicago style blues band The Diplomatics. They included in their ranks Charlie McCracken, the bass player from Rory
Gallagher’s Taste and harpist Laurie Garman who had recorded with Bob Marley and Freddie King. They were regular performers at the legendary Station Tavern, at that time Europe’s only 7 days a week blues venue and an early proving ground for artists like Otis Grand and Paul Lamb. The band stayed together for seven years and released one excellent Shotgun Blues album in 1999, a hard driving urban blues set.
Dave is in demand to back visiting musicians. In 2012 Lazy Lester was a recent example in a long series at Shake Down Blues. In recent years he has worked with SharBaby, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Cheryl Renee, Katherine Davies, Kathleen “KAT” Pearson-Thomas and Vernon Harrington at Shake Down promotion and festivals.
There is, of course, also the crack Dave Thomas Blues Band to run and organise as well as
supporting other artists on his own Blonde On Blonde record label. 2012 saw the release of the album Blue Eyed Blues and Blues In The House (a live concert originally recorded with Terry “Harmonica” Bean in 2009). 2013 has already seen the release of “Juke”, in collaboration with Hollywood award winner, Alabama-based SharBaby who, in 2012, was fully inducted into the American Blues Hall of Fame.
Whenever you read reviews of Dave’s recordings or Iive performances you will notice the same observations crop up again and again. Class, quality, authenticity and passion, His blues are real and deeply felt, never cluttered with over-elaborate notes or showmanship, just a genuine love for the music as it was meant to be heard and played. The real deal.