Welcome to the Interweb Pit Stop Filling Station for all things JJT. Here you will find links to all of the current projects John is associated with along with his complete bio below.
“Having John Thompson host a music business/songwriting seminar was the best thing our venue has done for our local community of aspiring and established artists. Thompson’s music business resume acts like a sonic swiss-army knife, each tool sharp and accessible from his years as a record store owner, venue manager, magazine editor, music critic, freelance writer, book author, record producer, and festival marketer. His current command of the publishing realm gives him the full driver's seat view of the past, present, and future of the music industry. At the same time, his personal experience as a songwriter and musician keeps his critiques and perspective grounded and legitimate. Each presentation was equal parts thoughtful, technical, accessible, and inspirational. I would highly recommend that any musician, songwriter, or music business entrepreneur take full advantage of the opportunity to download a day of his brain.” – Jeremy Gudauskas: Director of Ministry and Service, North Central College, Naperville IL
John J. Thompson has been causing trouble in the fringes of the alternative music underground since the mid 80s. He developed a passion for music, and art in general, that not only functioned at the highest levels artistically, but that struck a resonant chord of truth in his soul. Chasing that resonant chord has become his life’s work.
The chase began in earnest at the age of sixteen when, along with a friend from church, Thompson started his first band. That band, now known as The Wayside, has been performing around the country since 1989, and has released several albums. The Wayside, identified primarily as John and Michelle Thompson with a rotating cast of supporting musicians, remains active, playing churches, bars, festivals and theaters in the United States and occasionally overseas. They have also been frequently called upon to lead worship at churches, colleges and retreats and recently released their first collection of “Americana” hymns and Gospel songs called Spiritual Songs by The Wayside. Writing and performing original music was Thompson’s first love artistically. Turning other people on to great music came in a close second.
In 1989, at the age of 19, Thompson founded True Tunes Etc, in Wheaton Illinois. True Tunes was claimed by some to be the first honest-to-goodness record store that drew a laser-bead on music informed by faith and authenticity. True Tunes became “ground zero” for the emerging underground of faith-fueled modern music, eventually launching an internationally distributed magazine (True Tunes News) and mail-order company, and a concert venue (Upstairs At True Tunes) that one legendary punk rocker called “The CBGB’s of the church.” Upstairs hosted over 500 individual sets of music in under three years of operation, including performances by POD, Sixpence None The Richer, MxPx, Jars of Clay, Julie and Buddy Miller, Switchfoot, The 77s, The Call and too many more to list.
While the magazine grew to become the widest circulated alternative Christian music magazine in the world, and Upstairs became a destination for the most important bands touring, True Tunes changed ownership behind the scenes. Within months of the change the legendary True Tunes left the building. TrueTunes.com, the very successful internet home of True Tunes was launched. The ownership changed again and Thompson helmed the web site and mail-order business and helped the new owners launch an independent record label called, of course, True Tunes Records. Thompson left the staff of True Tunes in 2000.
Having been originally inspired to launch True Tunes at the Cornerstone Festival, Thompson quickly accepted an offer to join their staff in 2001. As Cornerstone’s “Marketing Coordinator” Thompson handled the re-building of CornerstoneFestival.com and introduced the concept of a “Promo DVD.” He also handled event planning, representing Cornerstone at conventions and other festivals, and handling ad sales and sponsorships, and directed the ambitious "Twentieth Birthday Bash" in 2003 and “Twenty Fifth Celebration” in 2008. Thompson remains involved with the Cornerstone Festival to this day. In 2003 he wrote and directed a 90 minute documentary DVD entitled Cornerstone Festival; Twenty Years and Counting.
Along the route, Thompson built a solid reputation as a music critic and feature writer. He served as CCM Magazine’s Rock News Editor for two years and contributed reviews and features to that magazine as well as HM Magazine, Christianity Today, Christian Musician, Prism Magazine, Inside Music, The Illinois Entertainer, The Syndicate, 7Ball, Breakaway and others. He wrote three cover stories for CCM between March 2006 and April 2007. He has been considered an expert source on the alternative Christian music underground and faith-fueled music in general by writers for Time Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and numerous other outlets. In 2001 he wrote his first full-length book, Raised By Wolves; The Story of Christian Rock and Roll for ECW Press out of Toronto Canada. The book has been called the definitive history of the Christian rock underground. He has been a featured speaker and teacher at various festivals and conferences and has spoken in front of literally thousands of youth on the subject of media awareness, the influential power of music and various aspects of the music industry and song writing.
Thompson produced an as-yet unreleased contemporary Children’s album that includes contributions by Matt Slocum (Sixpence None The Richer,) Phil Keaggy, Jeremy Camp, Phil Joel (Newsboys) and many other artists. He has produced several independent records ranging from adult alternative to hard-core rock. In 2004 he scored and recorded an original ballet entitled The Butterfly Princess for a Chicago area dance school. He launched Gyroscope Arts Inc in 2004 and provided consulting, marketing, production, composing, editing and writing services to Wycliffe Bible Translators, The Evangelical Alliance Mission, Gotee Records and more. Gyroscope has been the exclusive ad sales agency for HM Magazine and Cornerstone Festival and has produced audio and video projects for a variety of clients from missionary associations to independent artists. They have also created artist bios and promotional pieces for TobyMac, Newsboys, Wavorly, Derek Webb, Randy Stonehill and dozens more.
In 2007, along with his wife and four children, Thompson moved to Nashville, Tennessee after accepting the position of Creative Director at EMI CMG Music Publishing. In this capacity Thompson oversees Film and Television placements of songs published by EMI, as well as artist development, print music and archives. He also continues to oversee the operations of Gyroscope Arts, through which he executive produced a special Keith Green project, wrote historical liner notes for Phil Keaggy, EMI Gospel (the Grammy Award winning Oh Happy Day album,) and Star Song records and several articles for Christianity Today in 2009.
Thirty Three and a Third Podcast: http://www.videorocket.com/thirtythree/
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