With his new solo CD "The Unexplored Cosmos" released on April 23, 2002, Tom Hooper, (former Grapes of Wrath singer/songwriter) is taking his show on the road. Whether doing his own shows or opening up for other acts (recently Randy Bachman, 54 40 and Ron Sexsmith,) Tom performs his solo acoustic set to rave reviews.
"Tom had the crowd laughing and comfortable within moments of arriving on stage…. Easy going and harmonic guitar playing and harmonica melodies accompanied soulful vocals. He is vibrant and engaging as a performer, setting the listener at complete ease. His live vocals are also studio quality, which is a real treat!
— Naomi DeBruyn, Linnear Reflections, June 2002, (Opening for Randy Bachman, April 12th, 2002, Victoria.)
The first single off his new album "Cardboard Man" is currently receiving widespread airplay on the AC and CHR charts across Canada. With a career underscored by critical acclaim as well as commercial success, Hooper has to his credit top-10 hits and gold and platinum recordings. At 34, he has a remarkably lengthy and diverse recording career to his credit. It all began in bassist friendly giant's (Don Walchuck's) parents' basement in Kelowna. Along with brother Chris on drums, Tom (14 at the time) served as lead singer and guitarist for the punk band The Gentlemen of Horror.
After The Gentlemen Tom moved over to the bass and again with brother Chris joined up with friend Kevin Kane and formed the Grapes of Wrath in 1983. The Grapes went on to record and sell four albums and one e.p., two of which went platinum and one gold. Tom established himself as a platinum songwriter penning such top ten hits as "I Am Here" and" You May Be Right." The band split in '92.
In '93 Tom and brother Chris along with Grapes keyboardist Vince Jones soon formed Ginger. Though not as big commercially as the Grapes, Ginger produced two critically regarded albums and an e.p. before going their separate ways in '97.
1998 saw Tom and fellow former Grape man Kevin Kane set aside past differences and record another grapes album entitled "Field Trip." However their efforts became thwarted when their newly-formed record label Songcorp shocked the industry by going bankrupt just months after their formation. Tom meanwhile had been quietly playing solo acoustic shows around his home community on Salt Spring Island. "I had been playing music for so many years, but I'd never done my own solo show, and when I finally did it, I wondered why I didn't do this before. I love it."
It was the spring of 2001 that Tom decided to do the solo thing full time. In the fall of 2001 Tom signed with Toronto label Bullseye records and proceeded to record his first solo album "The Unexplored Cosmos" at Randy Bachman's studio The Barn and also in his own home studio The Trailer. Tom produced and played all the instruments except for some stellar drum tracks laid down by his brother Chris Hooper. Tom's acoustic set features songs that he wrote for the Grapes of Wrath, Ginger and his newest songs as well as his interpretations of favourite tunes from the past, Tom has as much fun as the audience and has been known to play marathon three-hour sets late into the night.