band bio…

Nights on Venus began and grew out of a solo project I was working on in the summer of 2010 and made its first appearance in October of that year with the song “Perpetual.” I mentioned to someone casually at the time that I was going to call the new material I was recording ‘Nights on Venus’ because that’s kind of what it sounded like to me, but the origin of the NoV sound can actually be traced back to around 1995, when I was working on a cross between the ethereal keyboard stuff I’d been doing since the 80’s in various bands and surf guitar music.

Nights on Venus - the debut album (2011)
Nights on Venus – the debut album (2011)

The debut album, simply entitled Nights on Venus was released 8 months later in June, 2011 on my own record label, Excellent Sky Records. And then followed a second album in May, 2012 – In 4 the Evening – a slightly more uptempo, more diverse collection of songs that represented a major step forward. Atmospheric, dense, hypnotic, smooth, ethereal, and “brain-wavin” are words that have been used to describe the music of Nights on Venus. I just like to call it “ether rock,” all instrumentals so far.

"In 4 the Evening," the new album (no. 2)...
“In 4 the Evening,” the new album (no. 2)…

Instead of taking a break after In 4 the Evening, I went back into the studio and wrote and recorded 16 new tracks during the summer of 2012, 13 of which went on the 3rd album,  Another Day in Paradox. Another Day was released on June 18, 2013 and was another major step forward, moving into more pop-oriented ambient music. I currently live and work in Golden, Colorado and have a small recording studio…

"Another Day in Paradox" - 2013
“Another Day in Paradox” – 2013

And I am back in the studio now, working on the new Nights on Venus album – no. 4 – which will be entitled Perspective to be released in the fall of 2014, most likely November. All released albums are available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon mp3, Bandcamp, and the NoV website.

Two of my songs – “Paradise by the Lava Lamp” and “Agave Blues” can also be found on the Denver music compilation, This Ain’t No Cowtown, for the last two years, Volumes 4 and 5.5 released by John Baxter and Zeta Kaye House.

"This Ain't No Cowtown, V 5.0 and 5.5" - Artwork by Dara Pieper
“This Ain’t No Cowtown, V 5.0 and 5.5” – Artwork by Dara Pieper

craig c. thomas bio…

So who the hell am I and where did I come from? Well, the condensed version goes something like this:

I was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey and grew up in Dallas, Texas in a musical family… was classically trained on piano and pipe organ (! – my dad was a church organist), and I began writing original compositions/songs around the age of 10. Although Nights on Venus features no vocals at this point (except when doing covers live), I am a singer (baritone) and I’ve sung lead and backing vocals for various bands over the years. All that choir training…

"Untitled No. 3" (1989) - Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on canvas; 72" x 81", Private collection.
“Untitled No. 3″ (1989) – Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on canvas; 72″ x 81”, Available, for sale.

I am also a visual artist in painting and photography and went to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, graduating with a BFA in Fine Arts and then later, I studied at University of North Texas and earned my Master’s degree, also in Fine Arts in painting and photography. Bands during each of these times: The Fables (1978-’79) in Lubbock, and Texans Without Cattle (1986-’89) in Denton.

I am also an astrologer – have studied and worked in it for 38 years and have been doing charts for people and collective entities, such as businesses, sports teams, even countries, professionally since 1983. Astrology tends to be somewhat misunderstood in our modern day and age, but essentially it is: the interpretive art of a symbolic language used as a tool to gain better understanding of self, others, and the world we live in. It is not fortune-telling or a pseudo-science and is more of an ART than anything else, which means its meanings are somewhat subjective, even based on observed phenomena and tendencies, and based on the skill-level and relative consciousness of the person who is doing the interpretation. I am available for personal consultations – if interested, hit me up via e-mail.

"O Lazarus" (1990)  -  Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on canvas, 62" x 78", Private collection
“O Lazarus” (1990) – Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on canvas, 62″ x 78″, Private collection

Over the years I’ve lived in Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Santa Fe, and Denver playing in numerous bands – most notably with Bobby Frost and the Modern Poets (L.A.); Sound and the Furies and The Plan (Dallas); Kerouac Deadbeats and A Flock of Beagles (Denver).

In 1992 I realized a lifelong dream and finally moved to the mountains of Colorado, establishing Excellent Sky Gallery in Kittredge, just outside Denver, the first location of the gallery before it was eventually moved higher up to the town of Empire from 2003-2007. I also hosted the radio show “What You Might Have Missed – the High Church of Power Pop” as DJ on KYGT FM out of Idaho Springs from 2005-’07.

"Untitled No. 14" (1992) - Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on canvas, 32" x 48"; Private collection
“Untitled No. 14″ (1992) – Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on canvas, 32″ x 48”; Private collection

Over the course of my musical career, which has sort of run parallel with my career in art (while working day jobs pretty much the whole time), I’ve played keyboards in all styles from Classical to Jazz, New Wave to Blues, and Classic Rock to Reggae. I started playing guitar in the 80’s and other than a few lessons learning Buddy Holly songs, I’m pretty much self-taught; I started playing bass in the 90’s. Musical influences include: The Doors, Velvet Underground, Todd Rundgren, Roxy Music, The Cars, Steely Dan, The Church, Brian Eno, Thelonious Monk, Love Tractor, Sigur Ros, the Aqua Velvets, Link Wray, and surf music in general, among others…

"Scenic View" (2004) - Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on canvas; 40" x 50", Private collection.
“Scenic View” (2004) – Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on canvas; 40″ x 50″, Private collection.

For all you gearheads out there, equipment that I use (on a fairly regular basis): Propellerhead Reason software v 7.0 and Ableton Live mainly in a PC Windows 7 environment, using Intel Core 2 Duo 3.2 GHz processor, 4GB RAM, occasionally a laptop PC running Windows XP when performing live or recording remotely; other instruments used: Nord C1 combo organ, Roland Juno-G synthesizer, Behringer UMX490 keyboard controller, E-mu Morpheus and Roland JD-990 synth modules; a couple of Fender Stratocasters, Telecaster, and a Danelectro baritone guitar, Line 6 M13 effects modeler, and Hughes & Kettner and Fender Twin Reverb amps… (for recording I run direct to the interface); Hofner bass and Fender Jazz bass, all running through a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 firewire audio interface.

"Santa Fe Moon" (2000) - Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on Canvas; 36" x 48"; Private Collection
“Santa Fe Moon” (2000) – Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on Canvas; 36″ x 48″; Available, for sale.

Oh yeah, and KRK V6 and small JBL studio monitors.

2014... Abyss Lake from the top of Mt. Evans. Photo by Jon Kedrowski.
2014… Abyss Lake from the top of Mt. Evans. Photo by Jon Kedrowski.
Me.... At Marble Brewery, Santa Fe, June, 2012...
Me…. At Marble Brewery, Santa Fe, June, 2012…

updated 4/2014

2 thoughts on “about”

    1. Hey Mark, hi, how are you doing? I haven’t even been on my own blog for over a year and I just checked in ’cause we’re in stay-at-home mode and was revisiting it. Yes, the house at Cole & Blackburn with pre-fab Alamo in the backyard. Dallas… 1984. Good to hear from you and sorry I didn’t check in earlier.
      What are you up to now?

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