While prolific guitar sideman Pete Thorn may refer to himself as a “guitar nerd” – his resume proves he’s anything but. His effortless, dynamic playing has landed him onstage alongside such legendary artists as Don Henley, Chris Cornell and Melissa Etheridge among others — and his debut solo CD Guitar Nerd garnered critical praise and landed on CD Baby’s top selling albums list.
In his late teens, the ambitious Edmonton native packed up his guitars and moved South of the (Canadian) border to attend Los Angeles’ famed Musician’s Institute. After graduation, he joined the LA-based band Surreal McCoys who signed with Sony Music Japan. While Surreal McCoys didn’t last, it was Thorn’s experience working with the band’s lead singer Frank Simes (who also worked with Don Henley, Mick Jagger, Warren Zevon and Stevie Nicks among others) that allowed the talented newcomer to make valuable inroads in the Los Angeles music industry that would pay off long-term.
In 1997, Thorn joined Sparkler (Giant Records) and also worked with Ami, Kevin Gilbert, and Laura Harding. From 1999-2001, he toured extensively throughout the US, Canada and Europe with several different artists including: Adam Cohen (Columbia Records); Blinker the Star (Dreamworks Records) and Evan and Jaron (Columbia Records) before joining Pop/Rock outfit Snapdragon (Straightline/Atlantic) and releasing The Family Jewels.
2001 found Thorn touring with singer/songwriter John Ondrasik’s Five For Fighting (Aware Records) and the following year, he joined Canadian Alternative Rock band Forty Foot Echo whose self-titled debut album featured the singles “Brand New Day” which was featured in the Disney film Freaky Friday and “Save Me” which was a Top 10 Rock Radio hit in Canada.
Adding even more credits to his resume, Thorn toured and recorded with Grammy™-winning, Columbia Records’ artist Robi Draco Rosa and in 2006 he toured with multi-platinum-selling singer/songwriter Jewel. In addition, he wrote and recorded tracks with Punk Rock diva Courtney Love – of which, several songs ended up on the 2010 Hole album, Nobody’s Daughter.
In 2006, Thorn started working regularly with famed producer Linda Perry, in her los Angeles-based Kung Fu Gardens recording studio. He played on tracks from a diverse range of artists, such as James Blunt, Daniel Powter, Alicia Keys, Pink, and many others. In 2007, the ultra-busy axman joined ex-Soundgarden/Audioslave vocalist Chris Cornell’s solo band and toured extensively in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and South America, in support of Carry On and Scream albums. He also contributed guitar tracks to Cornell’s 2008 “ Scream” album release. After which, in 2009, he joined Eagles’ founder, Don Henley’s solo touring band. In 2011, Thorn was asked to join Melissa Etheridge on her “Fearless Love” world tour. He continued with Etheridge until 2013, at which point he embarked on an extensive European tour with French superstar Mylene Farmer. And in 2014 and 2015, Peter joined Japanese rock icon Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi for multiple tours and an epic career highlight concert at Mt. Fuji, performing for over 100,000 fans on the biggest concert stage ever assembled in Japan!
In 2011, Thorn opted to step to the forefront and release his first solo album Guitar Nerd. it’s an instrumental guitar album with 10 tracks that showcase every sonic arrow in Thorn’s impressive quiver of guitar styles, sounds and techniques.
On the lead track, “Revenge of the Nerd,” Thorn infuses the Blues/Rock song with a sonic smorgasbord of precise playing, hammering, Wah-wah pedal, distortion, fast-tapping and melodic lines full of shreddy goodness. While on “Into the Ether,” Thorn showcases a clean, straightforward Stratocaster sound that emphasizes his dynamic finger-picking, beautiful arpeggios, David Gilmour-esque glissandos and an atmospheric sound that can only be described as effortless. Thorn’s musical range further extends on tracks like “Monster Movie” which features Punk-tinged, gritty Rock guitar solos and riffs that bring out the air guitar player in all of us.
Channeling his inner gear nerd, Thorn has taken to demonstrating guitar gear and accessories on his wildly popular Youtube channel (at this writing, 90,000 subscribers and growing rapidly). Pete’s videos have so far garnered more than 17 million views – proving there’s a lot of “guitar nerds” out there. But if a lifelong, unabashed passion for playing guitar in all its styles and permutations with some of the best artists in the world qualifies as “nerd” status…? Then Pete Thorn is, indeed, a fabulous guitar nerd.