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Joe Thomas (producer)

Joe Thomas is an American producer and director with over 25 years of experience in the entertainment field.


Joe Thomas' career spans the music and television industries from his beginnings serving as a writer, engineer and producer in the audio realm to becoming studio owner and then a label president.

In the 1980s, he established River North Records, where recordings such as Billy Idol's "Mony Mony" were made. At the time it was the largest full service audio recording facility in Chicago. Other significant projects included cuts from Paul McCartney's Tripping the Live Fantastic and Elton John's Two Rooms. By 1991 Thomas was running River North Recorders as well as Platinum Entertainment, a subsidiary of PolyGram. As president of Platinum, Thomas recorded and/or produced the Beach Boys, Peter Cetera, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, and Alan Parsons, among others. The company was one of the fastest growing companies in 1996 according to Inc. Magazine. Platinum Entertainment went public in 1997. Thomas left Platinum in early 1997 and began producing and co-writing Brian Wilson's Imagination for Giant Records. He also served as musical director, co-producer and promoter of Wilson's first world tour.

Thomas began working in video in 2000. Forming Kurtis HD Partners with veteran Chicago television journalist Bill Kurtis, Thomas produced high definition hard news documentaries for several networks, including A&E, PBS, and NBC.

Thomas co-founded the production company HD Ready, LLC in 2001. Since then, he has directed and produced over 100 episodes of the television show Soundstage. The program features performances by today's hit artists. Episodes include, John Mayer, B.B. King, Kenny Chesney, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, John Fogerty, Counting Crows, Josh Groban, Jewel, and Robert Plant, among others.

Thomas has produced and directed several successful live performance DVDs. Fleetwood Mac: Live in Boston premiered at No. 2 on Billboard. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Live from Gatorville obtained platinum status and footage was used for the Peter Bogdanovich documentary and Sundance film festival film Runnin' Down A Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers A Film. Thomas also directed and HD Ready filmed Dave Matthews Band: Weekend on the Rocks, a four-night stint at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, which became one of the top selling DVDs of 2005.

Thomas directed and produced Bon Jovi for the November 2007 premier of A&E Network's television series, A&E Rocks. The expanded DVD version, Bon Jovi Lost Highway: The Concert, was released in November earning Platinum status in April 2008. Thomas also directed and produced the popular 2008 Thanksgiving special Faith Hill: Joy to the World.

Thomas, with his company HD Ready, has produced and directed over 113 hours of television, airing nationally on PBS, Palladia, CMT, Rave HD, and GAC, as well as internationally in over 20 countries.

In March 2009, Stevie Nicks released the album The Soundstage Sessions and the live DVD Live in Chicago. Thomas co-produced the CD and directed the DVD alongside Nicks and Waddy Wachtel.

In 2010, Sony Pictures released Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D, a concert film capturing Chesney's live performances from the 2009 Sun City Carnival Tour. Thomas directed and co-produced the 3D film with Chesney. In the same year, Thomas directed and produced Sugarland: The Incredible Machine, another concert film shot in 3D.

In 2012, Thomas, along with John Branca and Tony Dimitriades, helped orchestrate the 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour of The Beach Boys. The tour was named one of the top tours of 2012 by Billboard Magazine. This reunion marked the first time since 1965 that founding member Brian Wilson, along with Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks performed on a full tour together. In the same year, Thomas recorded and mixed The Beach Boys’ 29th studio album, That's Why God Made the Radio. He also co-wrote several songs on the album, which charted in its debut week at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 charts. This was the highest debut chart position for the band since the mid-1960s. The album was named one of the top records of the year by Rolling Stone Magazine.

2012 also marked the release of The Beach Boys: Doin’ It Again, an hour-long documentary about the band featuring new interviews, never-before-seen footage and new concert performances. Thomas directed and produced the special, which aired on PBS in July 2012 along with The Beach Boys Live in Concert: 50th Anniversary. The DVD was released in November 2012, with 21 live performances from The Beach Boys anniversary tour. Performances on the DVD include "Good Vibrations", "Wouldn’t It Be Nice", "Help Me Rhonda", and "Isn’t It Time".

Since Soundstage, Thomas has also directed and produced a string of new music concert specials airing on PBS called Front Row Center.

As of 2013, Thomas, along with Brian Wilson, is mixing a full-length concert CD featuring songs recorded during the 2012 Beach Boys Tour.


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