Teesside based songwriter & producer Steve Thompson has had a hell of a career in the music biz, from producing heavy metal bands Venom, Raven and Tygers of Pan Tang, to mainstream artists Sheena Easton, Elkie Brooks and Celine Dion recording his songs, plus working with Pete Waterman, Gus Dudgeon, and The Hollies.
Here he talks about his early influences and forming Bullfrog.
A BIT OF BULLY
Records I was fond of in the ‘60s were The Beach Boys. Brian Wilsons skill in making records was unbelievable. I used to listen to the radio and they were so far away like gods playing this music.
But the thing that got me into playing guitar was seeing everyday guys around town playing guitars, just ordinary people.
Like all kids in my town, I went straight from school into Consett Steel Works. With three other steelworkers we formed a band called Bullfrog and served two apprenticeships.
One of them by day working in the steelworks, the other by night playing the pubs and clubs of North East England. That was my first stab at the music industry.
Bullfrog supported a lot of bands like Vinegar Joe and Edgar Broughton. On October 10th 1974 I got a call from our manager to say there was a gig going that night supporting Wishbone Ash at Newcastle’s Odeon Cinema and could I get the band together.
When the call came in I had been dying my cream-coloured platform boots, I fancied green. But because I was in a rush, I turned out on stage that night with one green boot and the other still cream.
I’VE GOT A PLAN, MAN
When Bullfrog were in Island Studios in London our first producer was Roger Bain, he also produced Black Sabbath.
I was introduced to his friend and record producer, Gus Dudgeon of Elton John fame, later on I did a lot of work as a songwriter with Dudgeon.
The whole process of studio and song writing really intrigued me so I knew where I was headed. I wrote a few songs put them out and a guy called Dave Wood heard about me and found a slot at Impulse Studio in Wallsend.
Next up read Making Tracks #2, when Steve is producer at Impulse Studio in Wallsend, home to New Wave of British Heavy Metal label NEAT records, and crosses swords with metal maniacs Raven, Venom & Tygers of Pan Tang.
Steve’s latest album is available on Cherry Red www.thelongfade.xyz
For more details check the official site:
The Steve Thompson Band – Steve Thompson: Songwriter (steve-thompson.org.uk)
Interview by Alikivi from June 2017.