Pete Thomas (born 9 August 1954, Hillsborough, Sheffield, England) is best known as the longtime drummer for Elvis Costello. Tom Waits has referred to him as "one of the best rock drummers alive".
Following early work with Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers and John Stewart, Thomas was recruited as a member of Costello's backing band the Attractions in 1977. Elvis Costello & the Attractions would spend the next decade touring the world, and recording nine albums, from This Year's Model (1978) to Blood and Chocolate (1986).
Although Costello split with the Attractions between 1987 and 1993, he continued to work regularly with Thomas during this period. Thomas played drums on the albums Spike (1989), Mighty Like a Rose (1991), and Kojak Variety (recorded in 1990 but not released until 1995) and was a member of Costello's 1989-1991 touring band, The Rude 5.
Costello reunited with the Attractions for the albums Brutal Youth (1994) and All This Useless Beauty (1996).
In 2001 Costello recruited Thomas, Faragher, and fellow Attraction Steve Nieve to record the album that became When I Was Cruel (2002). Elvis Costello & the Imposters, as they were subsequently named, have gone on to tour extensively, and recorded the album The Delivery Man (2004). From 2008 until 2010 Thomas was a member of the house band for Elvis Costello's television program Spectacle: Elvis Costello with...
Thomas lives in Los Angeles, with his wife Judy. Their daughter Tennessee is drummer for the band the Like. In 2003 Pete Thomas was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Elvis Costello & the Attractions.
Over the years Pete Thomas has been an in demand session musician. Among his many credits include, drums for Graham Parker's 1991 album Struck By Lightning and 1992 album Burning Questions.
After Costello split with the Attractions for a second time, Thomas worked for the next few years primarily as a session drummer, recording with such artists as Suzanne Vega, Neil Finn, Vonda Shepard, Sheryl Crow, Fito Páez, Joaquín Sabina, Los Lobos, Wild Colonials, Matt Brown of 3 lb. Thrill, Wendy James and John Paul Jones.
In 1993 Thomas joined the band Squeeze for their album Some Fantastic Place replacing Gilson Lavis on drums, and for the tour in support of it. He was not a part of that band after the one album.
In 1994, Thomas was part of a trio that included vocalist/avant garde opera diva, Diamanda Galás, and former Led Zeppelin bassist/multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones, who recorded the album, The Sporting Life.
He also played on the Elliott Smith album, Figure 8 (DreamWorks) (2000) on the songs "Junk Bond Trader", "Wouldn't Mama Be Proud?" and "Can't Make A Sound".
Thomas currently plays local Los Angeles gigs with bassist Davey Faragher and guitarist Val McCallum, under the band name, Jackshit.
In 2006 Pete Thomas played drums on the album "Doomed To Make Choices" by Jason Karaban. He also plays drums on Karaban's album Sobriety Kills (2009) and Karaban's single "Succeed 101" (2009).
In 2008, he joined a new eight-piece supergroup, Works Progress Administration, with Sean Watkins (guitar), his sister Sara Watkins (fiddle), Glen Phillips (guitar, vocals), Benmont Tench (piano), Luke Bulla (fiddle), Greg Leisz (various), and Davey Faragher (bass). The group was due to release their debut album on 15 September 2009. Thomas played on Willy DeVille's Pistola album in 2008.
In June 2008 Thomas recorded for a Kina Grannis album. In 2009 Pete recorded for a Fito & Fitipaldis album titled Antes de que Cuente Diez.
In 2012, Thomas was the drummer on two national tours by artist Tammy Lang www.imdb.com/name/nm0485926; the "Chelsea Madchen" tour, in which the singer parodied Nico, of Velvet Underground fame, and her outing as subversive traditional country-and-western alter ego Tammy Faye Starlite. Violinist Lisa Germano also played on both tours, as did bandleader/guitarist Peter "Petey" Andrews. The band "played some of the best blues rock music I've heard in years," wrote Huffington Post music correspondent Wendy Block 1.
In 2013, Thomas appeared on Arctic Monkeys' album, AM, on the song "Mad Sounds". The band described him as "saving the day" when their usual drummer Matt Helders broke his hand after punching a wall while drunk during recording sessions for the album.
In October 2013 he appeared on "Later with Jools Holland" as drummer for Jake Bugg.
In 2014 Thomas played drums and percussion on most tracks of Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone for Lucinda Williams.
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