|Born||14 August 1948|
|Associated acts||Quiver, The Attractions, Elvis Costello|
Bruce Thomas (born 14 August 1948 in Stockton-on-Tees, England) is an English rock bass guitarist, best known as bassist for the Attractions;the band formed in 1977 to back Elvis Costello in concert and on record.
In addition to his work with the Attractions, Thomas has recorded with Billy Bragg, John Wesley Harding, Suzanne Vega, and Tasmin Archer.
Thomas has also been a nonfiction writer for several decades, and is the author of Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit (1994), a biography of the renowned martial artist and movie star, and The Body of Time (and the Energies of Being), ISBN 0-14-019301-4 (1991), a short book about metaphysics. Rough Notes, published in 2015, is both a memoir of his time with The Attractions and a documentary history of the British music scene of the 1970s.
Thomas attended Grangefield Grammar School in Stockton on Tees, and after leaving, worked as a trainee commercial-artist at the local Evening Gazette newspaper. He was playing bass in local bands at night, around his home town, and eventually joined the Roadrunners (with Paul Rodgers and Micky Moody). After Rodgers switched from playing bass to being their up-front singer, the band changed their name to The Wildflowers, and in late 1966 decided to quit their respective day-jobs and move to London. After achieving little success, the band eventually split.
Thomas remained in London, hooking up with Bitter Sweet and Bodast in the late 1960s and recording with Quiver, the Sutherland Brothers, Moonrider and Al Stewart in the early 1970s.
His inventive and highly melodic bass work with Costello brought Thomas his greatest fame. Between 1977 and 1987, Elvis Costello & The Attractions released nine record albums, including This Year's Model (1978), Punch the Clock (1983), and Blood & Chocolate (1986), and toured extensively.
During his tenure with the Attractions, Thomas used a wide variety of bass guitars. He at various times owned a selection of Fender Precisions, a Danelectro Longhorn and a Wal bass.
After Costello's initial split with the Attractions in 1987, Thomas recorded with such other artists as Billy Bragg, John Wesley Harding, and Suzanne Vega. In 1990, he released his first book The Big Wheel, a memoir in which the key characters are recognisable without ever being identified by name. Costello, for instance, is called "the singer." Apparently annoyed by his depiction in the book, Costello responded with the song "How To Be Dumb" on his album Mighty Like a Rose (1991).Costello has described his relationship with Thomas during this period as "pretty non-existent".
Despite this estrangement, Costello was persuaded by co-producer Mitchell Froom to invite Thomas to play on the album Brutal Youth (1994). Thomas was featured on five tracks of the album.The reunited Elvis Costello & the Attractions followed the album with a tour and another album All This Useless Beauty (1996). Toward the end of a second tour, Costello announced that he would be splitting with the group as soon as the tour was over. Elvis Costello & the Attractions played their final concert on 15 September 1996, in Nagoya, Japan.
Costello has said in interviews with a variety of publications, including the Rocky Mountain News , that the old animosity between himself and Thomas returned. Costello said that Thomas deliberately sabotaged some songs onstage, which was the breaking point. The other two Attractions, Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas (no relation to Bruce), have continued to tour and record with Costello as The Imposters, with Davey Faragher, formerly of Cracker, on bass. Bruce Thomas has said that he simply lost interest in playing with Costello. In an interview Thomas stated "no reformation is ever going to come about under my initiative – or under any other circumstances I can foresee."
In 2003, Thomas was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Elvis Costello and the Attractions.Thomas appeared onstage with Costello to accept the honour, but they did not perform together. Thomas's book On the Road... Again, the sequel to The Big Wheel, was published that same year.
Declan Patrick MacManus, OBE, known professionally as Elvis Costello, is an English post-punk singer-songwriter. He has won multiple awards in his career, including Grammy Awards in 1999 and 2020, and has twice been nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male Artist. In 2003, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Costello number 80 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
A bandleader is the leader of a music group such as a rock or pop group or jazz quartet. The term is most commonly used with a group that plays popular music as a small combo or a big band, such as one which plays jazz, blues, rhythm and blues or rock and roll music. Most bandleaders are also performers with their own band, either as singers or as instrumentalists, playing an instrument such as electric guitar, piano, or other instruments.
Armed Forces is the third studio album by British musician Elvis Costello, released in the UK by Radar Records and in the US by Columbia in 1979. It was his second album with the Attractions, and the first to officially credit the Attractions on the cover. The album had the working title Emotional Fascism.
Get Happy!! is a studio album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The fourth album by Elvis Costello, his third with the Attractions, it is notable for being a dramatic break in tone from Costello's three previous albums, and for being heavily influenced by R&B, ska and soul music. The cover art was intentionally designed to have a "retro" feel, to look like the cover of an old LP with ring wear on both front and back.
Trust is an album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It is Costello's fifth album, and fourth with the Attractions. It was also his fifth consecutive album produced by Nick Lowe, who handled production on all songs except "Big Sister's Clothes".
Blood & Chocolate is the eleventh studio album by the British rock singer and songwriter Elvis Costello, released in the United Kingdom as Demon Records XFIEND 80, and in the United States as Columbia 40518. After his previous album King of America with producer T-Bone Burnett and different musicians, this album reunited him with producer Nick Lowe and his usual backing group the Attractions. It peaked at No. 16 on the UK Albums Chart, and No. 84 on the Billboard 200. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In 2000 it was voted number 475 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.
King of America is the tenth studio album by the British rock singer and songwriter Elvis Costello, released in 1986. It peaked at No. 11 on the UK album chart, and at No. 39 on the Billboard 200. It was selected as one of Rolling Stone's top twenty albums of the year. In 2000 it was voted number 540 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.
The Attractions were an English backing band for the English new wave musician Elvis Costello between 1977 and 1986, and again from 1994 to 1996. They consisted of Steve Nieve, Bruce Thomas, and Pete Thomas (drums). They also released one album as an independent entity, without Costello, in 1980.
Steve Nieve is an English musician and composer. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Nieve has been a member of Elvis Costello and the Attractions, the Imposters and Madness. He has also experienced success as a prolific session musician, featured on a wide array of other artists' recordings.
Peter Michael Thomas is an English rock drummer best known for his collaboration with singer Elvis Costello, both as a member of his band "The Attractions", and with Costello as a solo artist. Besides his lengthy career as a studio musician and touring drummer, he has been a member of the band Squeeze during the 1990s and as a member of the supergroup Works Progress Administration during the early 2000s.
"Radio Radio" is a song written by Elvis Costello and performed by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The song originated as a Bruce Springsteen-inspired song called "Radio Soul" that Costello had written in 1974. In 1977, Costello reworked the song to feature a more aggressive arrangement and more direct, sarcastic lyrics that criticized the commercialism of English radio. Costello and the Attractions recorded the song around the time of his second album, This Year's Model.
"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" is a 1974 song written by English singer/songwriter Nick Lowe and subsequently covered by both Elvis Costello and Curtis Stigers.
Brutal Youth is an album by Elvis Costello released in 1994. This album contains the first recordings Costello made with his band the Attractions since Blood and Chocolate (1986). About half the album features a band consisting of Costello (guitar), Steve Nieve (keyboards) and Pete Thomas (drums) with Nick Lowe on bass. Costello himself plays bass on two tracks, and the complete Attractions line-up appears with Costello on tracks 3, 4, 6, 9 and 10.
Live at the El Mocambo is a 1993 live album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Recorded in March 1978 from a live radio broadcast by CHUM-FM, a tape of the broadcast was obtained by the Canadian division of CBS records and released as an exclusive Canadian promotional album in the same year. As the show's fame began to grow, it became heavily bootlegged. It was first legally made available with the release either as disc 4 of the 2½ Years box set or to US purchasers of the first three CDs, in exchange for tokens included in the CD packaging, directly from Rykodisc. The concert was reissued, as a mainstream release, on 29 September 2009 by Hip-O Records, with the same content of the 1978 promotional album.
Here Comes the Groom is an album released in January 1990 by folk-rock singer John Wesley Harding. Harding called the backing band the Good Liars, which included Pete Thomas and Bruce Thomas of the Attractions. Not surprisingly, Here Comes the Groom has a feel similar to classic Elvis Costello. Harding's articulate and biting vocal delivery, also reminiscent of Costello, retains a good dark sense of humor.
"Pump It Up" is a 1978 song by Elvis Costello. It originally appeared on Costello's second album This Year's Model, which was the first he recorded with the backing group the Attractions. Written as a sarcastic response to his time during the Stiffs Live Tour and inspired by "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Bob Dylan, "Pump It Up" features a stomping rhythm and sarcastic lyrics.
"Watching the Detectives" is a 1977 single by English singer-songwriter Elvis Costello. Inspired by the Clash and Bernard Herrmann, the song features a reggae beat and cynical lyrics.
Live Stiffs Live is a live album released in 1978 by Stiff Records. It compiles concert performances by several of the record label's artists recorded during the "Live Stiffs Tour", which ran from 3 October to 5 November 1977.
"(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea" is a song written by new wave musician Elvis Costello and recorded by Costello with his backing band the Attractions. The song appeared on Costello's 1978 second album, This Year's Model. Written by Costello while working as a computer programmer, the song was lyrically inspired by films Costello had been watching as well as childhood trips to Chelsea. Musically the song featured influence from bands such as the Who and the Kinks and is notable for Bruce Thomas's prominent bassline.
"13 Steps Lead Down" is a song written and performed by new wave musician Elvis Costello that was first released on his 1994 album Brutal Youth. Written quickly during a day-long session, the song features lyrics referencing El Escorial and the twelve-step recovery movement. The track is one of those on Brutal Youth that features the reunited Attractions, Costello's longtime backing band.