chester thompson

Drummer and percussionist Chester Thompson joined The Mothers in 1973. He recorded and toured with Frank Zappa until the end of 1974.
Later, he joined Weather Report and also recorded and performed with Genesis.


Not to be confused with keyboard player Chester Thompson (who recorded with Power of Tower, Santana, ...), although Chester did drum for Santana, while the other Chester played the keyboards...




selected discography

  o'donel levy: breeding of mind
    (1974, lp, usa, groove merchant records) - feat.chester thompson
  o'donel levy: dawn of a new day
    (1973, lp, usa, groove merchant records) - feat.chester thompson
  o'donel levy: hands of fire
    (1974, lp, usa, groove merchant records) - feat.chester thompson


zappa / mothers: roxy & elsewhere
   (1974, 2lp, usa, discreet)


frank zappa and the mothers of invention: one size fits all
   (1975, lp, usa, discreet)


zappa / beefheart / mothers: bongo fury
   (1975, lp, usa, discreet)
  air pocket: fly on
    (1976, lp, ??, ??) - feat. fowler brothers, albert wing, mike miller, chester thompson  //  reissued on cd in 2002

  weather report: black market
    (1976, lp, usa, cbs) - feat.chester thompson
  hermeto pascoal: slaves mass
    (1977, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  alphonso johnson: yesterday's dreams
    (1977, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  caldera: sky islands
    (1977, lp, usa, capitol)  - feat.chester thompson, ralph humphrey
  genesis: seconds out
    (1977, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson  


frank zappa: studio tan
   (1978, lp, usa, discreet)

  david pritchard: light year
    (1978, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  flora purim: everyday, everynight
    (1978, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  steve hackett: please don't touch!
    (1978, lp, usa, charisma) - feat.chester thompson  


frank zappa: sleep dirt
   (1979, lp, usa, discreet)

  freddie hubbard: love connection
    (1979, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  tony banks: curious feeling
    (1979, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  ahmad jamal: night song
    (1980, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  freddie hubbard: splash
    (1981, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  genesis: three sides live
    (1982, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  santana: beyond appearances
    (1984, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  genesis: mama tour live
    (1984, lp, usa, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  fowler brothers airpocket: hunter
    (1985, lp, usa, fossil records fbr 001) - feat. albert wing, chester thompson  //  reissued on cd in 1993

  rodney franklin: it takes two
    (1986,??, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  peter cetera: solitude / solitaire
    (1986,??, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  fowler brothers: breakfast for dinosaurs
(1988, cd, usa, fossil fbr 1002) - feat. albert wing, chester thompson, vinnie colaiuta, ike willis

51 frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.1
   (1988, 2cd, usa, ryko)


frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.2
   (1988, 2cd, usa, ryko)
  genesis: follow you follow me
    (1989,??, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  fire merchants: fire merchants
    (1989,??, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
54 frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.3
   (1989, 2cd, usa, ryko)
  richard souther: cross currents
    (1989,??, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson 
  bruce fowler: ants can count (2)
    (1990, cd, us, terra nova tnd-9002) - inside cover art by don van vliet  /  feat.
various zappa alumni
  phil collins: serious hits ... live!
    (1990, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  tom brooks: all nations worship
    (1991, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson


frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.4
   (1991, 2cd, usa, ryko)  
  frank zappa: piquantique
    (1991, cd, usa, rhino foo-eee records r2 70544)
  zappa / mothers: unmitigated audacity
    (1991, cd, usa, rhino foo-eee records r2 70540)
1 chester thompson: a joyful noise
    (1991, cd, usa, blue moon / moo records r2 79341) - feat.charles owens, walt fowler, steve fowler, bruce fowler and george duke
  steve fowler: the last blue sky
    (1992, cd, usa, fossil records) - feat.walt, bruce and tom fowler, albert wing, chester thompson and ed mann

  mark connor: all nations worship
    (1992, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  don moen: worship with don moen
    (1992, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  tom fowler: heartscapes
    (1992, cd, usa, fossil records) - feat. lots of zappa alumni

  tom brooks: lift him up
    (1992, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  genesis: genesis live: the way we walk
    (1992, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  steve fowler: the last blue sky  (2)
    (1992, cd, usa, fossil records) - feat.walt, bruce and tom fowler, albert wing, chester thompson and ed mann

  sonya jason: tigress
    (1993, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  george duke: muir woods suite
    (1993, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  bruce fowler: entropy (3)
   (1993, cd, us, fossil records fbr 1005) - feat.steve, tom & walt fowler, a.wing, ch.thompson, k.mcgettrick

  ron kenoly: god is able
    (1994, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  kathy troccoli: kathy troccoli
    (1994, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  rebecca st. james: rebecca st. james
    (1994, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  ron kenoly: lift him up with ron kenoly
    (1995, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson 
  ron kenoly: sing out
    (1995, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  beverly crawford: jesus, precious king
    (1995, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  larnelle harris: unbelievable love
    (1995, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  denny jiosa: moving pictures
    (1995, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson


frank zappa: the lost episodes
   (1996, cd, usa, ryko)
  neil diamond: tennessee moon
    (1996, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  billy & sarah gaines: come on back
    (1996, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  denny jiosa: inner voices
    (1996, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson


frank zappa: lšther
   (1996, 3cd, usa, ryko)


frank zappa: frank zappa plays the music of frank zappa
   (1996, cd, usa, barking pumpkin)

  duane eddy: ghostrider/great guitar hits
    (1996, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  denny jiosa: among friends
    (1999, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  napoleon murphy brock: balls  (1)
    (2002, cd, usa, nmb 3118) - feat.chester thompson, mike keneally, jerry outlaw

  weather report: live and unreleased
    (2002, 2cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson
  frank black: honeycomb
    (2004, cd, ??, ??) - feat.chester thompson


frank zappa: quaudiophiliac
    (2004, dvda, usa, dts entertainment 69286-01125-9-9)


frank zappa: the dub room special
    (2007, cd, usa, zappa records)


frank zappa: one shot deal
    (2008, cd, usa, zappa records)

  various artists: dc collection: vol.1 - the drummers of frank zappa
    (2009, dvd, usa, drum channel dc dvd) - feat. terry bozzio, ralph humphrey, chester thompson, chad wackerman & ruth underwood

drumchannel1.jpg (43421 bytes)

  weather report: live in berlin 1975
    (2011, cd & dvd, ??, ??) - feat. chester thompson
weatherreport_liveinberlin1975.jpg (18428 bytes)
  frank zappa: penguin in bondage - the little known history of the mothers of invention
    (2011, download, usa, zappa records)
fz_penguin2011dl.jpg (32087 bytes)
  billy sherwood: the fusion syndicate
    (2012, cd, usa, purple pyramid records) - feat. chad wackerman, chester thompson

sherwood_fusionsyndicate.jpg (37141 bytes)


frank zappa: a token of his extreme soundtrack
    (2013, cd, usa, zappa records)
fz_atohe_soundtrackcd.jpg (27662 bytes)
2 chester thompson trio: approved
    (2013, cd, usa, ??)


frank zappa & the mothers: roxy the movie
    (2015, cd+dvd, eu, eagle vision eagdv050)
fz_roxythemovie.jpg (36036 bytes)
  frank zappa & the mothers: roxy the movie
    (2015, dvd, eur, eagle vision)
zappa_roxy_dvd.jpg (54282 bytes)
  frank zappa & the mothers: roxy the movie
    (2015, blu-ray, eur, eagle vision)
zappa_roxy_br.jpg (43508 bytes)
3 chester thompson trio: simpler times
    (2015, cd, usa, ??)
4 chester thompson trio: steppin'
    (2019, cd, usa, ??)



  • chester thompson: instructinal video for drums
        (??,??, ??, starlicks master sessions)

    chester thompson: drums
    pee-wee hill: bass
    michiko hill: keyboard
    john goodsall: guitar

thompsonvideo.jpg (43371 bytes)

random notes

     From: unknown

After I purchased the new Neil Diamond cd, Tennessee Moon (please no hate mail), I noticed that Chester played on two of the tracks. Looks like he is moving on to bigger and better things..

Chester is now living and working in Nashville, TN. He does keep quite busy with doing sessions, but he does not rule out that he will be touring with Genesis after the new album comes out. He was replaced on the last PC solo tour by Ricky Lawson, who previously has worked for Michael Jackson, etc. 

Chester has played drums with Genesis, Phil Collins, and Weather Report.

     Chris Cawthray( sez:
Chester has been gone from Genesis and the Phil Collins touring bands for some
time now.  He has relocated to Nashville and is blessing Music City with his presence as both a studio and live drummer. I saw him some time ago on TV backing up new country female singer Martina McBride for a TV special.

     From: Naji Chmayssani (
It seems Phil Collins decided to hire Chester Thompson as a drummer after
hearing "Don't You ever wash that thing" on Roxy & Elsewhere.

     Jan van Kemenade sez:
Chester Thompson, Ian & Ruth Underwood play on Alphonso Johnson's Yesterday
Dream (FAQ only mentions Chester).

     Jan van Kemenade sez:
Chester Thompson plays on 1 track of Sky Islands by Caldera ('77), on an
other track of that same album : Ralph Humphrey on drums.

     Richard C Williams said:
Besides Genesis, He's been playing in a band called Fire Merchants with
Brand X guitarist John Goodsall

     Dave Lane responds to Richard:
That was just one album way back in '89.   More recently, he's played
with George Duke on some orchestral stuff of his... A live recording, "Muir Woods Suite", came out last year.

     From: Keith Buchanan (
Chester was recently seen in Indianapolis, In., playing keyboards for Carlos

     From: Tom Grose (
This has to be the OTHER Chester Thompson, who played organ, piano, clav
and synth for Tower of Power.

     From: Rick Weren (
In '85 Chester Thompson played on an album called R.O.A.R. It's on CBS and it
sucks! It's kind of a eighties latin-pop crap. Chester plays all kinds of electronic instruments on it, which asides from the latin percussion (played by amongst others Oresto Vilates) and a very white singer (Alex something) accounts for most of the music on the album. Like I said, it sucks. Oh man, does it suck!! It reminded me of the Miami Sound Machine, only with a guy singing.  That's pretty much it.

     From: "Weiss, Paul" (
Chester plays on the most recent release by Steve Hackett: Watcher of the
Skies, Genesis Revisited.  He only plays on 2 tracks, but it's real good.

Chester Thompson is on Steve Hackett's The Tokyo Tapes Live in Japan CD/Video.

     From: "Robinson, Leon, HMR/US" (
     Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 
I briefly talked to Chester Thompson backstage at one of a series of
concerts presenting the United States debut  of George Duke's orchestral piece "Muir Woods Suite".  He appeared with George Duke, Airto, Christian McBride, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.  He mentioned that he's currently living in Nashville doing studio work.  He also mentioned that he was scheduled to work with Phil Collins again soon.

     From: Brian Tannehill (
Chester was playing drums on the 1 hour abc special promotional hypathon
for disney's "tarzan"... june 1999...exquisite power-pop execution.

    From: Brandon
Chester Thompson plays drums on a forthcoming Frank Black album called "Honeycomb". A whole bunch of other storied musicians are on the album, although the only one I can remember off the top of my head is Steve Cropper of MG's and Blues Brothers fame.


Informants to this page:
- Ed Worcester, Charles Ulrich


frank zappa  / musicians timeline



 c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j   k   l   m 
 n   o   p   q   r   s   t   u   v   w   x   y   z
soundtracks various artists