Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thom Bishop, Chicago Songwriter

I recently searched the internet for Thom Bishop, a Chicago songwriter who was fairly active in the 70's and 80's. I heard him play on numerous occasions at clubs like Somebody Else's Troubles, Orphans, at Chicago Fest. Laura and I also heard him play one night at a little gay bar under the EL at Belmont(?) where I also performed on several occasions. That particular night was one of the coldest nights in Chicago History (something like -26) and I killed my transmission trying to drive that night. We all sat in the bar with our parkas on. Not sure how he managed to perform that night. He and I left Chicago at roughly the same time. He headed to LA, to pursue songwriting for movies and writing screenplays. He'd also written some musical theater pieces in Chicago.

He had pretty much vanished from the face of the earth (at least to non-friends and relatives), although he did release an album in the late 80's and another in the late 90's. Previous searches (not sure that I've tried in recent years) yielded very little, except a credit as the Music Director on a small film called American Reel.

On this most recent search, there was a link to a Wikipedia page for someone named Junior Burke. So I went to wikipedia and the mystery unravelled a bit. Thomas Burke Bishop Jr. had decided sometime in the 90's to become known as Junior Burke. Junior had recently released a CD (of old and new music - quite good, very well produced by Chicagoan Jim Tullio) and had published a novel in 2005 (the novel appears to be out of print, but used copies can be purchased through Amazon). He is also now the chair of the Kerouac Institute for Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. and is working on a second novel. Check him out at www.juniorburke.com .


  1. Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has proved your hard work and experience you have got in this field. Brilliant .i love it reading.


  2. Thanks a million for this! I have been humming "Mr Arthur's Place" for over 30 years, found TB's "Feed me a dream" album several years ago, and never could follow him after that, until now.