Question- What do record industry mogul David Foster and record producers Trevor Horn and Max Norman have in common with Queen's bass player John Deacon, Whitesnake's guitarist Bernie Marsden and goth punk pioneers Bauhaus?
Answer- they all began their recording careers at recording studios owned and run by Derek Tompkins.
Derek was born in 1925 and trained as a radar technician in the Army in the 1940s. During the 1950s he worked as a television repair man, marrying Mavis Dobson in 1957 and opening a shop selling TVs, electrical goods and hi-fi a year or so later. In around 1960 he took a drum kit in lieu of payment and taught himself to play. He then formed The Q Men, one of the most popular semi-pro groups in the area.
He started recording local groups in the back room of his shop before setting up a studio in his father-in-law's former factory. He built PA systems that were widely acknowledged as the best available at the time. Derek & Mavis also helped every weekend at his brother Brian's hugely popular Tin Hat music venue. The full story is told in 'Back Street Genius'.
The long anticipated follow-up called 'C-come and 'ave a Listen' begins in 1969. Derek set up a new studio in a converted fruit and veg warehouse in Wellingborough. Over the next fifteen years his Beck Studio gained an enviable reputation for the quality of its output which included a top ten single for the Barron Knights and earned him two silver discs.
'Come and 'ave a Listen' chronicles the highs and lows of the life of this remarkable man. If 'Back Street Genius' was about what Derek Tompkins did, this volume highlights who he was.
Sixteen times Grammy Award winner David Foster has kindly written the foreword. He has a special reason to remember Derek. His first foray into a recording studio was as a seventeen-year-old making his first overseas trip as a member of The Canadians. The band rehearsed at Derek's Shield studio, and Derek taught him the basics of recording. He rightly acknowledges that without Derek's input at the very beginning, his career might have been short-lived.