Joe Thomas (producer)

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Joe Thomas
Born 1956/1957 (age 59–60)
Residence Chicago, Illinois
Other names Buddy Love
Occupation Producer, director, businessman, musician, songwriter, wrestler
Years active 1984–present

Joe Thomas (born 1956/1957)[1] is an American producer, director, businessman, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter based in Chicago.[2] He is known for musical collaborations and subsequent lawsuits pertaining to musician-songwriter Brian Wilson, co-founder of the Beach Boys.[3] Thomas was also a wrestler formerly known under the name Buddy Love.[1]

Since the 2000s, he has produced and directed several live performance DVDs for artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Dave Matthews Band, Bon Jovi, and Stevie Nicks, in addition to directing over 100 episodes of the television show Soundstage.[citation needed]


In the 1980s, he established River North Records. At the time it was the largest full service audio recording facility in Chicago.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] Platinum Entertainment went public in 1997.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] In 1999, Wilson filed a suit against Thomas, seeking damages and a declaration which freed him to work on his next album without involvement from Thomas.[4] The suit was made after Thomas allegedly began to raise his industry profile and wrongfully enrich himself through his association with Wilson. Thomas reciprocated with a suit citing that Brian's wife and manager Melinda Ledbetter "schemed against and manipulated" him and Brian. The case was settled out of court.[5] According to AllMusic: "The live DVD productions that were eventually released after the partnership of Wilson and Thomas went south are apparently studied in some recording classes as examples of how performers can be edited out of a production, specifically Thomas and his frequent collaborator Steve Dahl."[3]

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. One year later, he co-founded the production company HD Ready, LLC.[citation needed]

In 2012, Thomas, along with John Branca and Tony Dimitriades, helped orchestrate the 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour of the Beach Boys.[citation needed] In the same year, Thomas co-wrote, recorded and mixed the Beach Boys' 29th studio album, That's Why God Made the Radio as well as directed and produced the hour-long television documentary The Beach Boys: Doin’ It Again.[citation needed] He returned to co-produce the Beach Boys' Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour, which was widely criticized for its autotuned vocals.[6][7] Thomas again co-produced Wilson's solo album No Pier Pressure (2015); in several reviews, Thomas' contributions were a significant object of criticism.[8][9][10][11][12] In 2015, Wilson denied using autotune in his work.[13]

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




  1. ^ a b Himmelsbach, Erik (July 12, 1998). "The Last Brother". The Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ Farinella, David John (April 1, 2007). "PBS' Soundstage Steps Into the Digital Age". Mix Online. 
  3. ^ a b Chadbourne, Eugene. "Joe Thomas". AllMusic. 
  4. ^ "Bad Vibrations: Brian Wilson Sues Collaborator". Rolling Stone. August 24, 1999. 
  5. ^ "Brian Wilson Settles Suit With Former Partner". Rolling Stone. July 18, 2000. 
  6. ^ Sherwin, Adam (July 15, 2013). "Picking up better vibrations? Beach Boys succumb to Auto-Tune for new album". The Independent. 
  7. ^ Uncut (August 19, 2013). "The Beach Boys Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour". Uncut. 
  8. ^ Hardmeyer, Casey (April 7, 2015). "Album review". Popmatters. 
  9. ^ Farrel, Carey (April 1, 2015). "Album review". Rebeat Mag. 
  10. ^ Bidini, Dave (April 9, 2015). "Record of the Month Club: Brian Wilson's latest album shows fleeting and frustrating flashes of genius". The National Post. 
  11. ^ Duncan, Chris (April 7, 2015). "Album review". The Daily Texan. 
  12. ^ Caffrey, Dan (April 8, 2015). "Album review". Consequence of Sound. 
  13. ^ Phillips, L. P. (June 24, 2015). "The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson Talks 'Love And Mercy'". CBS Local Media.