John Thomas Interview
[Interview by VetPsychWars, 2002.]
tjk: Thank you for allowing me to ask you about Crash Wisdom.
jtt: It was a long time ago and because we played very few gigs and were
together for a relatively short time, remembering any details is kind of
tough, but I’ll try.
tjk: When did you join Crash Wisdom?
jtt: Hmm… it’s been a while. I believe I was in the band around late 1993
until mid-1994. I think there was a few months between the final gig we did
and when Michael moved from L.A. to Northern California. I remember talking
to her before she moved. I had just gotten off the road with Toni Childs in
August of 1994 and was telling her about that, since she and Toni knew each
other from years before. I *think* they may have even played together for a
while but I’m not sure.
tjk: Where did the name Crash Wisdom come from?
jtt: No idea on that one! You’d have to ask Michael!
tjk: How did the band come together?
jtt: Jonathan started working with Michael and then he suggested me to play
guitar. I then recommended Chris on drums. Michael pretty much put the band
tjk: Crash Wisdom was you, Michael, Jonathan Clark, and Chris Meyer?
jtt: That was the lineup for a little while. I believe we did a few gigs
just the four of us and then we went a little more “acoustic” using Korey
Mall on percussion instead of drums. There was also someone who played a
couple of tunes on mandolin but I can’t remember his name.
tjk: Is that Marty Ross?
jtt: Ah! Thank you! Marty was the mandolin player. Vicki Peterson also sang
backup and played tambourine.
tjk: You and Michael on guitar, you on harmonica, Jonathan on bass, and
Chris on drums… did you play lead guitar exclusively, did Michael, or
did it depend on the song?
jtt: Hmmm… you’re really hitting me with the $100,000 questions! I believe
I did most if not all the solos.
tjk: Who sang harmonies?
jtt: Jonathan and I sang the harmonies. Also, as I stated before, Vicki
came to a couple of gigs and sang as well.
tjk: Who contributed the songs?
jtt: Michael had written a lot of the songs we did before we all got
together. She even had some recorded with a full band although I don’t know
if she was calling it Crash Wisdom at the time. I was of the understanding
that Michael wrote or co-wrote most if not all of the original songs.
tjk: Was it usually the same set list?
jtt: I think we swapped some songs around for certain gigs but I can’t
remember the set lists. I found an old set list from these gigs about six
months ago and I think I threw it out so I can’t verify the titles for sure,
but Nickel Romeo, Bird of Prey, and Cover Girl sound correct.
tjk: Where did the band play?
jtt: I specifically remember a really fun gig at Molly Malones in the
Fairfax district of L.A. but I think we mostly played at the Genghis
tjk: What was it like playing at the Genghis?
jtt: I basically remember how small the stage was. It’s kind of a weird
shape; it’s like a parallelogram. I remember Vicki having to sing backups
and play tambourine with her back against the slanted wall. But, we did have
fun. Susanna and Debbi came to one of the shows so all of the Bangles were
in the audience one of those nights. You wouldn’t happen to have a recording of the show we did at Molly
tjk: I’m sorry, no. Do you have any photographs of the band?
jtt: I don’t believe there were any photos taken of the band; maybe some
audience pictures were taken but I’ve never seen them.
tjk: Are you in contact with any of the other band members?
jtt: I don’t see Jonathan that much. I bump into him probably once every two
years! Chris Meyer is my next-door neighbor so I see him all the time. I gig
with Korey Mall every once in a while as well. Jonathan was working with Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Glenn Frey, I think,for a few years. I think he was doing a lot of vocal sessions and producingbut I don’t know specifics.Chris stopped playing and went back to school for computers.
tjk: Anything you’d like to say about that time?
jtt: I would like to say that I had a lot of fun with that band. Michael is
a very sharp musician and it was great working with her.
tjk: Thanks for sharing your recollections. A lot of Bangles and Crash
Wisdom fans will appreciate it!
jtt: Just a little note shamelessly plugging a gig, the band I’m currently
working with, The Color Green, is booked to open (with two other bands) for
Creed at the Staples Center here in L.A. on May 19. Our website is up if
you’d be interested in details. It’s www.thecolorgreen.tv.
John Thomas is currently working with “The Color Green” in Los Angeles, California. (www.thecolorgreen.tv)