2016 - Individual Artist
Hal Thompson is a well-known and highly respected guitarist, singer, songwriter and teacher. Rock and roll music has been at the center of his life since the age of 12.
In 1977, he begin taking guitar lessons in Boone Iowa. He advanced quickly and while only an eighth grader, at the age of 13, he made the leap into a high school rock band, which went by the name of Nemesis. As lead guitarist and back up vocalist in 1979 at age 14, Hal played his first professional show with the band in the basement of the Methodist Church in the nearby town of Perry.
In 1985 when he moved to Minneapolis, Hal became the lead singer and lead guitarist of a band named Roller and began performing live in the Twin Cities area. Soon thereafter he joined the veteran road band Keystone and spent the next three years touring the upper Midwest and into Canada. It was during this time he began to hone his writing skills. When the band finally settled in Des Moines Hal once again found himself living on the farm, where he milked cows by day and played in a rock band by night.
A former chicken house became his studio where multi-track recording freed him to play all the parts of his original music. To the surprise of many he quit Keystone, which at the time was quite popular as a full-time cover band, to spend more time pursuing his original music.
He then joined the local group One Way, then Goin Jessie, and finally Toaster. The members of these groups became his lifelong friends. They played together and various incarnations for the next 25 years in central Iowa. Although they were still cover bands, they were part time, which gave Hal the freedom to focus on recording his own music.
Pushing himself and what little equipment he had to the limits, Hal single-handedly wrote performed and produced his first release which featured elaborate orchestrations of guitar and voice and an ambitious writing style that channeled his 70s influences such as Queen, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. A few years later his next release, Rock Guitar & The Mystery Of Existence, would be even wider in scope.
Through it all Hal has been unwavering in his pursuit of those lofty classic album rock qualities which all these decades later still appeal to the more thoughtful young listeners. The recent advances in digital video now find Hal striving to create a cinematic and theatrical presentation of Rock Guitar & The Mystery Of Existence, which will also feature songs from his upcoming musical production, which is his current work in progress.
In addition to his writing, producing and performing, Hal teaches guitar to young musicians at Rieman Music in Urbandale.