Bio

 

 Born on June 20, 1974 in Wilmington, DE, Tom’s musical life started at the age of three, when he began studying the Suzuki violin.  Soon, by the age of four or five, the violin lessons landed him some recitals as well as a few Saturday mall gigs, but around the age of 7, the violin was dumped.  Tom got his first guitar at the age of 9. 


Many teachers and rock bands later, Tom’s thirst for new music lead him from rock into jazz territory.  First came high school jazz band, then Delaware All-State jazz band, followed by 2 semesters as a high school student in a University of Delaware jazz combo.  With a small grasp of theory, a solid ear and an ability to fake his way through jazz standards, the next step was college.  Despite being awarded a decent scholarship at The Berklee College of Music, Tom opted to study at The University of Miami (known for it’s alumni, Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius). 


It was at the University of Miami that Tom began uncovering what would be his musical voice.  The late-night jam sessions evolved into gigs and recording sessions, most notably, the early Film Arts Revolution (F.A.R.) gigs at an on-campus bar.  Though he can’t take credit for the idea, Tom was involved very early on in this multimedia show involving student films and live, improvised film scores. 


Having grown tired of the South Florida music scene, Tom soon relocated to Manhattan to finish up his degree at The New School-Mannes College of Music.  It was in New York that Tom was able to immerse himself in the “downtown” music world.  Between studying bass and guitar with Reggie Workman, Vic Juris, David Fiuczinski and Kermit Driscoll, and numerous gigs sitting in with Steven Bernstein’s Sex Mob, Tom was finally able to comprehend the essence of the music he was striving to make. 


Fast-forward to the year 2000; the move to Philadelphia.  Within only a few months of moving to Philly, Tom was able to hook up with G. Calvin Weston.  As fate would have it, Calvin’s tour with the Lounge Lizards had been cancelled, spawning the creation and very first recording of G. Calvin Weston’s Big Tree; a band that Tom would perform, compose for and produce for several years to come.  Through this relationship with Calvin; he was introduced to Jamaaladeen Tacuma, whom he would replace on a tour of Europe and Africa in the band Groove Alla Turka in 2002. 


Naturally, a sort of rebirth of the F.A.R. concept would soon be back in slightly different form.  Without any resources in the film world, Tom decided to raid the shelves of T.L.A. video for the finest in B Movies, has-been T.V. shows and various instructional videos. Naturally, this provided a backdrop that was far more pop-culture oriented than any of the previous concepts.  The new concept, dubbed “The Mobile Pleasure Lounge” became a performance far more avant-garde, largely due to the musicians on board and the way the visuals were presented. 


It was through M.P.L. that Tom was able to form his “Doublewide Trio”, a double-trio (2 guitars, 2 basses and 2 drummers) featuring Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Calvin Weston, to be the house band for the first few performances. It was through The Mobile Pleasure Lounge and various other Philly-based improv collectives, Tom would get to perform with several other world-renowned musicians such as Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra and John Medeski of Medeski Martin and Wood


In 2005, Tom completed construction of his Northern Liberties, Philadelphia-based recording studio: Le Undercarriage. Not only did owning a studio open up countless production and engineering opportunities, it opened up touring ones as well.  In ‘05 Tom went to Europe as a bass player with Kelis, Japan as a guitarist/keyboardist/percussionist with Philly Hip-hop/reggae artist: Steph Pockets, traveled nationally with Ari Hest (Columbia records) and Tony C. and the Truth (Atlantic records). 


More recently, Tom has been seen performing with Jeffrey Iqbal (guitar), Frank Bey (bass), David Newman (guitar), Don McCloskey (guitar and bass), Jessie Baylin (guitar), Res (guitar), King Britt’s Sylk 130 and Back 2 Basics Band (bass and guitar) both locally and internationallyIn the studio, he worked on recordings for Atlantic recordsStax, Decca, Blue Note, Columbia, Hidden Beach, Hand Cuts records (Japan), worked as an engineer for G. Love and Special Sauce, and produced countless recordings including a collection of Fleetwood Mac songs with Res entitled: Refried Mac, David Newman's Love is Awake LP, tracks w/ Jaguar Wright and Brentwood Estates’ debut album, which featured Jimmy Luxury and G. Love. 

 

 

 

 

Contact

tomspiker@gmail.com

610.742.8277

Instagram

Instagram