Tommy Eglin

2011 - Individual Artist

In 1958, on Isabella Street in Sioux City, a young Tommy Eglin sat at his bedroom window listening to a neighbor playing guitar in the back yard. The song was “Singin' the Blues.” That one night set in motion a life-long quest of his for playing guitar. He saved his money and at 13 was able to purchase a Silver Tone guitar from the Sears catalog. That guitar was his best friend and although there have been others over the years, that first guitar, weathered and worn, still holds its place in his studio.

From junior high through some college Tommy played any venue he could. Then in 1969, he was drafted and had to lay down his guitar.  Fortunately, he was able to pick it back up a few years later and play when he returned to college. In 1971, Tommy started playing full-time. Throughout the 70's he played with Cheateux out of Vermillion, SD,  Clown out of Minneapolis, MN and, he says, “numerous other bands I don't want to name but were ever so much fun!"

He created his own booking/promotion company, B-Sharp Productions, in 1973 which promoted a few acts such as James Gang at the Sioux City Auditorium and Muddy Waters at Westmar College in Le Mars.   The next year  his band Starfighter won the Battle of the Bands in Sioux City, which resulted in a free recording contract in Omaha NE. But he says his fondest memory of that band was when they opened for Edgar Winter at the Sioux City Auditorium; just being able to play for such a large crowd was a thrill.

His next band was Hot Shot and it was then that he and fellow band member, Rusty Gill, created a still ongoing Siouxland event which they simply called “Saturday in the Park.” While Rusty took charge of the entertainment side, Tommy handled all the legalities involved in getting it approved by the city, including meetings with the city manager. “Saturday in the Park has really grown up,” Tommy states, noting Santana headlined the event in July, 2010.

The 80's were a boom time for Tommy. His band Kid Death (& the Screamers) received free studio recording time in Lincoln, NE. He created his own recording label, Claiming Race Records and his own publishing company, LORD Hume (ASCAP). He recorded as Tommy Eglin multiple times at Sound Ideas in Sioux City, and was getting airplay throughout the Midwest. Tommy says, “The first time I heard one of my songs on the radio I was so shocked, it was pretty cool.  Actually, I was ecstatic.”

In 1985, Tommy received his first ASCAP royalty check and by 1986 was listed in Billboard Magazine as an up and coming artist to watch being compared to John Hiatt. All this prompted his move in 1987 to Baton Rouge, LA to do studio work and then on to Austin, TX in 1988 where he recorded at Congress House Records and Cedar Creek Studios. Tommy spent the next few years touring Texas and opening for acts like Kinky Friedman and Delbert McClinton.

In the early 90's, Tommy recorded at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, LA. John Staehely (Paul Rodgers, Spirit) and  Dony Wynn (Robert Palmer) sat in and Jeff Glixman ( Kansas , Kiss, Black Sabbath, Head East) produced. From there he took the recordings to the Hate Barge in Hollywood, CA, owned by Peter Aykroyd, for mastering.

In 1994 he was offered an in-house songwriting contract from Warner Brothers. Sadly in 1997, family obligations laid heavy on his heart and he laid down his guitar again. This time it was more than just a few years that passed but in 2009 he went back to playing and writing and in 2010 started working with other songwriters in the Austin area as well as doing his own studio work. He went back to performing at open mikes and won a free recording contract at Back 40 Studios in Austin. He was invited “back home” to Sioux City, for the 1st annual Rock-n-Roll Reunion concert by promoter and long-time friend, John Glaza, which completely exhilarated him.

With all of life's ups and downs Tommy has hung on to his love of music and states, “I am so thankful for all the support and financial backing I received from all those who invested in my career over the years, especially Al Staehely, my longtime business attorney, Mark Fortin, Edward E McCool III, Lou Murphy, George Larvick, Dick Matousek, Bill Pelchat and Dale Darnell-Sobolik as well as all the great musicians I have been fortunate enough to work with. In Memoriam, Tommy Bolin, Danny Matousek, George Norman, Scott Olson, Morey “Brad” Miller and David Fish.” When asked about future plans, Tommy answers, “All I know for sure is that as long as these hands can play, I'll never lay my guitar down again.”

The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum exists to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in Iowa by honoring achievements, educating youth and inspiring artists. Established in 1997, we are a501(c)(3) non-profit statewide organization with many areas of service.

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