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INTERVIEW WITH THOMAS IAN NICHOLAS OF THE THOMAS NICHOLAS BAND
Don't expect the Thomas Nicholas Band to drop a dubstep remix any time soon.
The LA-based rock band, fronted by actor Thomas Ian Nicholas, have no intentions to adapt their style for trends within the genre--rather making a point to bring solid rock-roots and influences to their music. Their self-titled EP [released March 2012] is refreshingly straight-forward and will no doubt be a catalyst for the band as they emerge from the Hollywood scene to some larger stages throughout the country and overseas.
I caught up with Thomas in between filming to talk about his band, plans to tour the U.K. this Fall and how Dave Grohl contributed to their latest EP...yes, Dave Grohl.
Paige/AR: When did you start seriously getting into music?
Thomas/TNB: This current inception of the music started in about 2007, when I was just about to release my album Without Warning, which is the first of four albums that I’ve released since that time. I don’t count the first three albums or the first, oh god—what is that like ten or twelve years of playing music? I mean, it takes a long time to get yourself to a place where you believe in the material enough to go on the road and spend your time and hard earned money.
Paige/AR: When did you release the latest album?
Thomas/TNB: The latest one came out in March 2012—its an EP and it’s the one that has a song on the soundtrack of American Reunion.
Paige/AR: Now, stepping back a little bit—when did you start playing out with bands, getting in the studio and really making music a serious project?
Thomas/TNB: I recorded my first demos when I was like 17 and then my first album that same year— like I said, no one will ever hear that one [laughts]. There are those who have heard it and that is it. I would say its one of those things where obviously I grew up listening to music-we all did. I think at first I started with what was in the car already, which was all the classic rock from my mom’s collection.
I didn’t think about starting to learn how to play the guitar or write music or have a band until, it was basically like ’94—when Kurt Cobain died. There was this kid in my grade in junior high and he was in a band—I don’t think they had a drummer, it was just him and a bass player—but when Kurt died he did a week of silence at school. He did not talk anywhere-the lunchroom, to any friends, in class, like got in so much trouble for it. And I remember just thinking to myself, he’s standing for something that I didn’t quite understand but I thought wow, that was cool—I wanna know more about music and being in bands and playing guitar because he’s standing for something. And its through music that I discovered that for myself and then standing up for what I believe in.
Paige/AR: Now is there a certain genre that you prefer to listen to and also how would you describe the music that you actually play?
Thomas/TNB: I definitely prefer listening to rock music and that’s definitely the genre that I play. There’s not that many rock bands really kickin’ around now—the new sound is definitely different. So, to keep in the basis of my Nirvana roots I always strive to sound like the Foo Fighters.
Paige/AR: So are you taking more of a modern rock approach with this project? It sounds like you have some ‘90s influences.
Thomas/TNB: I mean, I was listening to Wasting Light, the latest Foo Fighters record, incessantly while we were doing the latest EP. So much so that my producer, this guy named Damien Starkey who played bass in Puddle of Mudd, and I would have this saying in the studio when we would get stuck on a song. We would just be like “Ok, where do we go from here”, then we would just look at each other and say “Well, what would Grohl do?” So that’s how we got through the record—we just pretty much unbeknownst to him followed in the footsteps of Grohl.
Paige/AR: With your acting career and schedule how often do you get to play out with this band?
Thomas/TNB: I probably play about 80 shows a year balanced amongst doing films and recording albums.
Paige/AR: Do you like to separate the two or do you embrace the fact that people know you from films?
Thomas/TNB: I mean, it’s a little bit of both. I certainly strive to be the first actor-musician [laughs] that does both at the same time as opposed to leaving one to do the other. Of course, obviously people know me more from my acting career than they do for my music...yet. It’s one of those things where I think it opens up a lot of doors but I don’t let people flaunt it because I don’t think the two go hand-in-hand as far as live shows are concerned. But I definitely see that it opens up doors. I mean, as a DIY rock musician I have similar struggles as other DIY kids [laughs]. I’m sure there are probably people reading this article that are like “Whatever man, screw that guy. He’s an actor, he’s got it easy!” It’s like—yeah dude, I still have the same thing—I don’t have a record company throwing millions of dollars behind me, so…
Paige/AR: Yeah, I saw you even have a Kickstarter campaign for a U.K. tour…
Thomas/TNB: Yep. It got to the point where I was losing so much money going on the road and now that I have a kid it’s like, I can’t keep doing that. I was like, alright I either need a record deal or someone to fund it and then I just decided to start a Kickstarter campaign. I got a lot of flack for it but we ended up getting funded and now we’re going to the U.K. with the whole band in September for 11 shows in 11 days.
Paige/AR: That’s awesome. Are you just going out by yourselves or are you teaming up with any other bands?
Thomas/TNB: We’re going out by ourselves but we’ve got some friends that are in bands in the U.K. I’m going to talk to those bands about jumping on some dates throughout the tour—it’ll be like a mish-mosh of support acts.
Paige/AR: So is that what’s in store for the band this year—just get through that tour? Or do you have another album in the works?
Thomas/TNB: Definitely the U.K. tour is next on the horizon and my hope is that with the, as we’re calling it the "Turn It Up to 11 Tour”, that some opportunities arise for us because of this. I know that rock music is maybe more popular there right now than it is in the states. If I was to tour the states right now its like I’d need an acoustic guitar and a fiddle—and then I’d be set.
Paige/AR: Or a dubstep mix.
Thomas/TNB: Oh god...don’t even. NO dubstep mixes.
Paige/AR: So there will be no dubstep remixes of this album?
Thomas/TNB: No. [laughs] I mean, I’m always writing but I’m not sure when we’ll be stepping into the studio again. Probably at some point next year.
Paige/AR: For people who have no idea what to expect—how would you describe your live show?
Thomas/TNB: We definitely put it all on stage. We’re very excited about getting to do what we do and we sort of wear our hearts on our sleeves on stage I guess. It’s the type of show where if you wanna have a lot of fun—come hang out with us.
The band recently announced their dates for their Fall U.K. tour. Check them out at these locations or at their web site http://thomasiannicholas.com/
20-Sep, London, O2 Academy Islington
21-Sep, Cardiff, Globe,
22-Sep, Leicester, O2 Academy
23-Sep, Wrexham, Central Station
24-Sep, Liverpool, O2 Academy Liverpool
25-Sep, Darlington, Hub Venue
26-Sep - Manchester, NightnDay
27-Sep - Liverpool, the Cavern Club
28-Sep, Leeds, Radio Aire C4K
29-Sep, Bolton, Railway Venue
30-Sep, Bournemouth, OFS Bournemouth Academy