Peter Thoms was born in Melbourne, Australia and played in bands there before moving to Sydney to join the musical Hair. This was followed by session and club work while studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Re-locating to London in 1973 he established a career as a freelance trombone player. In 1974 he joined the eight-piece version of Landscape that became a five-piece the following year, with Peter radically extending the sound and role of the horn with electronic processing.
Outside Landscape, he joined Marvin Gaye’s final European tour and played in the Boomtown Rats brass section, including the 1985 Wembley Stadium performance for Live Aid.
Peter’s extensive session work includes records with Swing Out Sister, Thomas Dolby, The Beautiful South, Hothouse Flowers, John Lydon, Del Amitri, Tina Turner, Kylie Minogue, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Steel Pulse, Prefab Sprout, Status Quo, Everything But the Girl, The Style Council, Tracey Ullman, Curiosity Killed The Cat, Jimmy Somerville, The Creatures, Aswad, Ruby Turner and China Crisis. He took part in several Prince’s Trust concerts, backing artists such as Bryan Adams, the Bee Gees, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Boy George, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Level 42.
He was hired as arranger, player and contractor for the four-year run of the BBC’s The Rock Gospel Show. In 1986 Peter joined Pete Townshend’s Deep End band and in 1987 he became co-musical director and arranger for the long-running Channel 4 Black gospel music series People Get Ready. He co-composed Creation, a gospel TV special at Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury.
Peter has composed and recorded library music for companies such as De Wolfe Music and Universal Music and played on many TV ads including the trombone-playing Lurpak ‘butter man’ commercial. He recorded and toured extensively with Japanese pop icons Dreams Come True.
In 2001 Peter was elected to the P@MRA board, responsible for the distribution of broadcasting royalties to performers. In 2003 he was appointed Session Official at the Musicians’ Union, which involved regular contact with orchestras, studios, composers and producers, plus 30,000 union members. Peter stayed at the MU for 15 years, negotiating agreements with various industry bodies.
He retired from the MU in June 2018 and immediately re-activated his career as a performer. He took part in a Thomas Dolby concert reuniting the The Flat Earth 1984 album line-up, including a performance of ‘Hyperactive!’. In November 2020 he was elected director of PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd.) for a three-year term. He has composed and recorded albums for the North Star label including an album of New Orleans street jazz, a smooth jazz album with Noel Robinson and a Christmas album.
Peter performs regularly with the Hot Orange Big Band, arranging Landscape tunes such as ‘Nearly Normal’ for a large ensemble.
Read INFLUENCES – PETER THOMS
CHRIS HEATON BIOGRAPHY
RICHARD JAMES BURGESS BIOGRAPHY
ANDY PASK BIOGRAPHY
JOHN L. WALTERS BIOGRAPHY