Lighting Designer and Tour Manager for famous
artistes and rock/pop bands, Mick Thornton,
completed a National Diploma in Graphic Design
at Bradford Art College in 1983.
The list of artists and bands that Mick has been
lighting designer, production or tour manager for
reads like a Who’s Who of music and includes The
Stone Roses, Smokey Robinson, PJ Harvey, Morrissey,
Englebert Humperdink, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath,
East 17, The Cure, Judas Priest, The Moody Blues,
Andrea Bocelli, The Libertines, Lulu, Gipsey Kings,
Sophie Ellis Bextor and Shayne Ward.
In 2003 Mick was nominated for Lighting Designer of the year at the Total Production Awards but was runner up along with the LDs for the Rolling Stones, Radiohead and Kylie Minogue.
“I have fond memories of my time at Bradford College from an educational and social point of view. There were some very talented individuals who have influenced my life to date. The Govs (Govinder Nasran, the artist) and the Koots (Rod Chambers who was doing a BA as a mature student at the ripe old age of 24. He is still painting, teaching part time and wowing everyone with his encyclopaedic understanding of spaghetti westerns. He has recently lectured at Edinburgh University on the subject!) of this world.
The person I feel I learned so much from was Lecturer, Brian Jocking. I just loved the way he worked and still have some of the photographs he took of Keith Richards on my office wall. He was kind to me and treated me with respect when I was a very young and naive16 year old.
I often wonder what direction my life would have run if I had continued my studies in graphic design. But I left College and met a very special guy named Robb Heaton, who was the drummer in a band called New Model Army. They were touring Europe in a mini bus and needed a light/crew guy. He said that he had seen me dancing at Pickwick’s and that I was artistic. A simple ‘do you fancy coming on tour and having a go?’ The following day I set off for Scandinavia, followed by Japan, I remember looking out of the airplane window with a large vodka and tonic and seeing the Great Wall of China and thinking not many people from my life would ever see this. Sentimental old dog! But a great experience.
And many more were to come my way, from watching Ozzy being coaxed on stage in Brazil to having breakfast with Alice Cooper in Germany and hearing his stories about the good bad old days. At 44 I have travelled around the world countless times with hundreds of acts and feel very fortunate to have met and worked with the people I still continue to respect and love. It has got harder being away now that I have a beautiful wife and son. I try and arrange as much design work (AutoCAD) and media server design which I work from home, but this year I am away about 8 months of the year.”
Photograph supplied by Mick Thornton