John Michael Thomas (born December 3, 1949) is an American rock singer, best known as one of the lead vocalists of Jefferson Starship and Starship.
Thomas was born in Cairo, Georgia on December 3, 1949. He was inspired to pursue a career in music after travelling to Atlanta with longtime childhood friends Charles Connell and Tommy Verran to see a Beatles performance in 1965. Thomas, Connell, and Verran formed their first band together; Verran was the lead vocalist. They disbanded while attending different colleges, but later reformed in the early 1970s along with friend Bud Thomas as the Jets.
Thomas was the vocalist for the Lords of London, a garage band from Douglas, Georgia for a brief time, along with guitarist Billy Folsom, bassist Bob Hutchinson, keyboardist Billy Corbi, and drummer Troy Blasingame.
Elvin Bishop Group
While singing lead for the Jets in 1974, Thomas joined the Elvin Bishop Group as a backing vocalist and eventually made it to lead vocals. He sang lead vocals on the 1975 Elvin Bishop single “Silent Night” and the 1976 single “Spend Some Time,” but his best known achievement was singing on Elvin Bishop’s chart hit “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”, a #3 single in 1976.
Jefferson Starship & Starship
Thomas recorded the solo album As Long as You Love Me in 1976. After leaving the Elvin Bishop Group, he recorded three songs for the 1978 film Skateboard, which also featured a cameo by Jefferson Starship guitarist Craig Chaquico. In April 1979, Thomas was asked to join that group after the departure of Marty Balin and Grace Slick. In 1981 he recorded his second solo album, Alive Alone. Former Elvin Bishop Group drummer Donny Baldwin became drummer for Jefferson Starship two years later when Aynsley Dunbar left.
Thomas spent most of the early 1980s as the main vocalist of Jefferson Starship, performing several duets with Slick (who rejoined in 1981) and gaining greater influence in the band. After Paul Kantner left in 1984, Thomas was leader of the band. Kantner sued over the name of Jefferson Starship, and the settlement left the band with the name Starship. From 1985 until 1989 the band had three #1 hit songs. When Slick left again in 1988, Thomas sang all lead vocals. The 1989 “Love Among the Cannibals” tour was postponed after Baldwin attacked Thomas in a bar. The damage was such that it required facial reconstruction surgery. Baldwin resigned after the incident.
Starship featuring Mickey Thomas
Starship was let go by their record label RCA and became inactive in 1991. In early 1992, Mickey Thomas revived Starship as Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and touring has continued with this title. The band’s Loveless Fascination was released on September 17, 2013. The band performed at the Streamy Awards on September 8, 2014.
As Long as You Love Me (1976)
Alive Alone (1981)
Over the Edge (2004)
The Blues Masters Featuring Mickey Thomas (2010)
Elvin Bishop Group
Let It Flow (1974)
Juke Joint Jump (1975)
Struttin’ My Stuff (1975)
Hometown Boy Makes Good! (1976)
Raisin’ Hell (1977)
Freedom at Point Zero (1979)
Modern Times (1981)
Winds of Change (1982)
Nuclear Furniture (1984)
Knee Deep in the Hoopla (1985)
No Protection (1987)
Love Among the Cannibals (1989)
Loveless Fascination (2013)