Tom Simpson (born 7 January 1972) is a Scottish DJ and musician, best known as the keyboardist of Northern Irish alternative rock band Snow Patrol. He has been with Snow Patrol as a touring member since 1997 and became a permanent one in 2005. In 2007, he was arrested on drug charges, but was later acquitted.
Tom Simpson attended Monifieth High School in Angus, Scotland. He went to the art school in the University of Dundee, the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, and has a degree in drawing and painting.
He had no musical leanings as a youngster, and always had aspirations of being a scratch/mix DJ. He started deejaying when he was about 17, and used to run a few clubs in Dundee, in whose university Gary Lightbody studied at the time. Lightbody used to visit one of these clubs, and met Simpson one day, and the two ended up becoming friends. Simpson, at the time did not know Lightbody was in a band. However, one day, Lightbody invited him to the university to watch Snow Patrol (his band) play a concert. Simpson liked the band’s show, and felt they had “potential” and “a lot of soul”. Lightbody was relieved, and said that the band would like him to do synthesizers and turn table effects for their first album Songs for Polarbears. He did, and later got invited to go on tour with the band. He felt happy at the opportunity, as he was finding himself at “crossroads” in his own life. Since, he has been with Snow Patrol.
Simpson started to play keyboards in his late 20s, and in around 2006, finally took lessons in classical piano at the insistence of a friend. He finds the lessons interesting and challenging. He has said that after the years he was with Snow Patrol, he realized that he had become a musician, despite having no intentions to become so. He was declared an official member of the band when bassist Paul Wilson was recruited into the band, after founder Mark McClelland was fired. As a musician Tom Simpson plays piano, keyboards, a monitor mixer, and professional instrumental mixing of effects (recording music and application in live shows).
His previous experiences as a DJ included playing at The Spaceship, Skoolin’ and The Phat Clinic which were held at the old Coffee Bar at Duncan of Jordanstone College. His nights at The Spaceship were done in partnership with friends Nick DeCosemo and Anu Pillai (of the band Freeform Five), Lightbody and Roy Kerr. He still follows his passion as DJ in British clubs outside Snow Patrol, often in partnership with his friend and band mate Gary Lightbody under the moniker Snow Patrol DJs or SP DJs.
Simpson was accused of possessing Class A drugs in Glasgow in June 2006. He was arrested on 7 July 2007 in RAF Northolt, Middlesex, which put the band’s headlining set the next day (at T in the Park) in jeopardy. He was held at London’s Heathrow Airport, mere hours after the band played at Live Earth, which made him miss the Oxegen 2007 performance that night. The band had started searching for a replacement for Simpson, who however, was released in time to play at T in the Park. All changes against him and a friend were later dropped.
Tom Simpson lives with his long time girlfriend in Scotland. Outside of his passion for music he enjoys football, and video games, but although his occupation has brought him to public notice, he endeavors to maintain his privacy. He is a passionate collector of vinyl albums and keeps them all in a cottage he owns in Scotland. He is also a fan of The Shins, and calls their records “pure eloquence”.