(The "Official Bio") John J. Thompson has been causing trouble in the fringes of the alternative music underground since the mid 80s. Never satisfied with less than the best, Thompson 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 three critically acclaimed albums. The Wayside remains active, playing churches, bars, festivals and theaters. Writing and performing original music was Thompson’s first love artistically. After seeing the struggle and compromise that often followed artists who had to make a career out of their music, Thompson decided to find other means of financial remuneration.
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 later 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 new and 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. He remains a "contributing editor" to True Tunes, but left the staff 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. Thompson remains involved with the Cornerstone Festival to this day, and is anticipating the release of a 90 minute documentary DVD he wrote and directed 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 and others. 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 the mainstream publisher ECW Press out of Toronto Canada. The book has been called the definitive history of the Christian rock underground. Thompson has also served on the Grammy Awards Screening Committee for the last seven years and spent two years on the Chordant Distribution (EMI) Retailer Advisory Committee in the mid nineties. 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.
Thompson is currently finishing production on a contemporary Children’s album for Gotee Records (EMI) that includes contributions by Matt Slocum (Sixpence None The Richer,) Phil Keaggy, Phil Joel (Newsboys) and many other artists. The album is slated for release in 2006 and other production projects are currently being explored. 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. He is currently building a network of Artist Chaplains called Road Home Artists Chaplains (www.RoadHome.info
.) He is also doing extensive work as a "Cultural Apologist" for The Apologetics Group in Nashville. Thompson presents a live, digital, multi-media “seminar” entitled Shadows of the Supernatural that explores humanity’s lingering fascination with all things supernatural vis-à-vis our popular culture and the Bible. This presentation has been featured at theaters, colleges, churches and clubs as an evangelistic and thought-provoking outreach.
Thompson has also served as a pastor at The Warehouse Church in Aurora IL for the last nine years and has been a frequent worship leader at the church since 1989. He lives with his wife, Michelle and four children in Aurora Illinois and works frequently in both Nashville and the Chicago area.
The History of Modern Christian Music and Culture / Raised By Wolves
Media Influence and Awareness (Youth and Parent Groups)
The Music Industry
- Critique (Songwriting and Performance Workshops)
- Building Successful Independent Careers (Why NOT To Sign A Record Deal)
Pastoring Artists (www.RoadHome.info
The Role of the Church in Culture