Tom Greenhalgh

Last updated

Tom Greenhalgh
Tom Greenhalgh.jpg
Greenhalgh in 2002
Background information
Born4 November 1956
Stockholm, Sweden
Genres Alt-Country, Rock and Roll, Punk rock
Years active1977–present
Labels Bloodshot Records
Associated acts Mekons, King Tommy's Velvet Runway

Thomas Charles Greenhalgh is a multimedia artist and singer-songwriter best known for his work with the Mekons.



He attended Sevenoaks School in Kent with future members of the Gang of Four (Andy Gill and Jon King) and the Mekons (Kevin Lycett and Mark White, whose father taught art at the school), and they spent "a lot of time in the art room."

After Sevenoaks, the five attended the University of Leeds, the birthplace of a number of punk bands. As students in the Fine Arts program, Greenhalgh, Lycett, White and Jon Langford formed the Mekons in 1976; they worked closely with the Gang of Four and the Delta 5, bands that included students from the same programme. In the politically charged atmosphere of the late 1970s, they participated in events such as Rock Against Racism.

While primarily credited as a guitarist in the early Mekons recordings, Greenhalgh's roles as lead singer and songwriter came to the forefront after the band regrouped and evolved stylistically in the 1980s.

Music and art

Tom Greenhalgh performing with the Mekons at the Hideout Inn in Chicago on 11 July 2015. Tom Greenhalgh performing with the Mekons at the Hideout on July 11, 2015.jpg
Tom Greenhalgh performing with the Mekons at the Hideout Inn in Chicago on 11 July 2015.

The Mekons have been known for their visual art projects as well as their music, the four main contributors being Greenhalgh, Langford, Lycett and Eric Bellis (Rico Bell). Each has a distinct style; Greenhalgh's work often incorporates elements of collage, painterly brushwork and unusual, flattened perspective. His illustration for the cover of The Curse of the Mekons and United is one of the band's most recognisable logos. The Mekons have held a number of gallery exhibitions, and have also participated in projects such as Art-Tube 01. While a member of the London-based music community, he participated in the music conference musicalliance (now known as modal), for which he set up the Mekons' art installation Untitled at the Spitz.

Along with Lycett, Greenhalgh has served as the primary web-master for Mekon-related sites such as the Wonderful World of the Mekons and OOOH! With fellow Mekon Lu Edmonds and others, Greenhalgh has also worked on Ellipsis's project for PORT: Navigating Digital Culture (1997).

Greenhalgh has taken part in a number of Mekons-related projects, many of which include Jon Langford. In 1985, he was The Three Johns' sound engineer for their first American tour; a recording of their Chicago performance has been released as Live in Chicago. As a member of the Jelly Bishops, he collaborated with Langford and John Hyatt, releasing the album Kings of Barstool Mountain (1988). He and Langford appear in Gary Lucas's 1993 video, "Skin the Rabbit," and they share song-writing credits for "On the Streets," featured on The Return of Rico Bell (1996). Greenhalgh has also performed on the Langford-organised Pine Valley Cosmonauts albums, contributing a cover of Hank Williams's "Angel of Death" to 2003's anti-death penalty benefit, The Executioner's Last Songs Vol. 2 & 3. His guitar (and Langford's vocals) can be heard on fellow-Mekon Sally Timms's "Corporal Chalkie" from her 2004 album, In the World of Him.

On 13 June 2007, Greenhalgh's new band King Tommy's Velvet Runway débuted in London. This band features Therese Daniell on keyboards and guitar, Tam McGibbon on banjo, John Langley on drums and Meiling Daniell-Greenhalgh on vocals and violin. The band's first album, Dance on the Volcano, saw a special limited edition release in 2007.

Independent projects

With Kevin Lycett, Steve Goulding, and John Gill, Greenhalgh has also been a member of Edward II and the Red Hot Polkas, appearing on Let's Polkasteady (1987) and Two Step to Heaven (1989). With Lycett and Robert Worby, he participated in Leeds Metropolitan University's A Christmas Pudding for Henry (1999) with the mecity multimedia project. Since around 1991, he and Worby have collaborated on Plate, recording yet-unreleased experimental electronic music. With fellow-Mekon Sarah Corina, he has recorded some songs on ukuleles and banjoleles, a sample ("Lowlands of Holland") of which was heard on ResonanceFM's Clear Spot in 2002, a program that also featured Lu Edmonds.

Greenhalgh produced Michelle Shocked's cover of the Beatles' "Lovely Rita" for the compilation Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father (1988). He also produced Mush's second album, Face in Space (1998). In 1998, he worked on a remix with the Knights of the Occasional Table. In 2000, Curve guitarist Alex Mitchell and he (as DJ Sparky Lightbourne and DJ Tommy Tomtom) appeared at the Foundry in Shoreditch.

At one time, Greenhalgh was also a part-time art instructor.

Intensely private and cheeky, Greenhalgh has managed to downplay his contributions to the art and music communities for much of his career. Following a move from his long-time residence in London to Somerset, he relocated to Hong Kong between 2003 and 2005, and is rumoured to have since returned to England.

Related Research Articles

Jon King English musician, singer of Gang of Four

Jonathan Michael King is an English singer, musician and founding member of the Leeds-based post-punk band Gang of Four. Except for periods when the group had disbanded, he remained a member until 2012.

Kevin Coyne English musician

Kevin Coyne was an English musician, singer, composer, film-maker, and a writer of lyrics, stories and poems. The "anti-star" was born in Derby, England, and died in his adopted home of Nuremberg, Germany.

Lu Edmonds English rock and folk musician

Robert David "Lu" Edmonds is an English rock and folk musician. He is currently, as of 2018, a vocalist and saz and cümbüş player in the Mekons and the lead guitarist for Public Image Limited. Edmonds reportedly plays electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, bouzouki, saz, cümbüs, oud, and drums, among other instruments.

Jon Langford Welsh musician

Jonathan Denis Langford is a Welsh musician and artist based in Chicago, Illinois, United States. He is one of the founders of punk band The Mekons, post-punk group The Three Johns, and alternative country ensembles The Waco Brothers and Pine Valley Cosmonauts. He has worked to campaign against the death penalty in Illinois.

Ida is an indie rock band from New York City. They are known for their three-part harmonies; sparse, minimal, often quiet arrangements; and their three singer-songwriters. Their music shows strong folk, pop, punk, world, R&B, and American roots music influences, but there are also avant garde and experimental aspects to their sound.

Bloodshot Records is an independent record label based in Chicago, Illinois that specializes in roots-infused indie rock, punk rock, and alternative country.

<i>The Mekons Rock n Roll</i> 1989 studio album by The Mekons

Released in 1989, The Mekons Rock 'n Roll is the eighth studio album by English rock band The Mekons. Pitchfork placed the album at number 97 on their list of the Top 100 Albums of the 1980s. In December 2007 the album was ranked number 97 in Blender (magazine)'s 100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums Ever. Decades later, critics still remembered it fondly.

Sally Timms musician

Sally Timms is an English singer and lyricist. Timms is best known for her long involvement with The Mekons whom she joined in 1985.

The Three Johns were a post-punk/indie rock band formed in 1981 in Leeds, originally consisting of guitarist Jon Langford, vocalist John Hyatt and bassist Phillip "John" Brennan, augmented by a drum machine.

The Waco Brothers Chicago, Illinois-based alternative country band

The Waco Brothers are an alternative country band based in Chicago, Illinois.

Pine Valley Cosmonauts (PVC) are a musical ensemble from Chicago, Illinois.

Roger Knox is an Australian country singer, known as the Black Elvis and the Koori King of Country.

The Mekons band

The Mekons are a British-American rock band. Formed in the late 1970s as an art collective, they are one of the longest-running and most prolific of the first-wave British punk rock bands. Through the years, the band's musical style has evolved, incorporating aspects of country music, folk music, alternative rock and occasional experiments with dub. They are known for their raucous live shows. The Mekons are often described as a post-punk or an alt-country band.

<i>Journey to the End of the Night</i> (Mekons album) 2000 studio album by The Mekons

Journey to the End of the Night is the 13th studio album by The Mekons. It was released on audio CD on 7 March 2000 by Quarterstick Records. The album was recorded in London at the MontiSound & Corina Studios and also in Chicago at the Stinkpole & Kingsize Sound Labs, it was then finally mixed and mastered by Kenny Sluiter in Kingside.

Barry Mills is an American film producer, director, writer, and voice actor. Mills grew up in Pine Mountain, Georgia.

Robert Worby is a London-based composer, sound artist, writer and broadcaster.

<i>Skull Orchard</i> 1998 studio album by Jon Langford

Skull Orchard is the debut solo album by Jon Langford, recorded in August 1997 and released on January 20, 1998 by Sugar Free Records, a Chicago-based label. Skull Orchard, described on its release in 1998 as Langford's most Welsh release ever, had two homonymically-linked themes: Wales and whales which came together in the "Youghal" track, about the filming of the 1956 movie Moby Dick in coastal Wales. In 2011 the album was re-recorded and re-issued with the title Skull Orchard Revisted by Langford backed by the Burlington Welsh Male Chorus, based in Toronto.

Rico Bell musician

Rico Bell is a UK and California based artist and musician best known for his work as a member of the British punk rock band the Mekons which he joined in 1983. A singer and multi-instrumentalist with the Mekons, Bell has also released three well-received solo recordings with the Chicago-based alternative country label, Bloodshot Records: The Return of Rico Bell (1995), Dark Side of the Mersey (1999) and Been a Long Time (2002).

KatJonBand was a collaborative musical project between Jon Langford and Kat Ex. After collaborating on and off for decades, Langford and Ex decided to write and record songs together in 2004 after Langford performed at one of the Ex's live shows in Amsterdam. They debuted the project in 2005, touring Germany and Austria, before recording 10 songs together and releasing them as KatJonBand's eponymous debut album in 2008.

<i>Me</i> (the Mekons album) 1998 studio album by The Mekons

Me is a studio album by the British-American experimental rock group the Mekons, released on May 19, 1998 on Quarterstick Records. It is noted for featuring greater use of electronic musical instruments than their previous work.