July 19, 2007

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Hey there food court
Plain White Ts play for fans at the mall
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

Chicago’s Plain White T’s will play a free concert Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua as part of their summer tour.

Plain White T’s single “Hey There Delilah” has been climbing up the Billboard’s Hot 100, ranking at number three at press time. Their latest album, Every Second Counts, released in 2006 (Hollywood Records), includes the chart-topping track as a bonus feature.

Plain White T’s is Tom Higgenson on guitar and lead vocals, Dave Tirio on guitar, Mike Retondo on bass and vocals, De’Mar Hamilton on drums and Tim Lopez on guitar and vocals.

Tirio, who started the band during his high school days with Higgenson, talks about the origins of the mall tour and some of the tracks on the album that people might not recognize as much as “Hey There Delilah.”

Everyone’s been describing you guys as a pop-punk band. Is that how you would describe Plain White T’s music?
I’d really like to just go more broad with it and just call it alternative, like in the mid to late ’90s all those bands that were just alternative bands. It’s this kind of melodic rock that fits into a theme of just focusing on songwriting. I think a lot of bands are actually getting more back into that these days. Even the bands that are more edgy are coming more into writing good, well-formatted songs with good melody.

So what is the idea behind the whole mall touring thing?
We usually do the Warped Tour or something but this summer we took a break from the tour and have been doing a lot of radio-sponsored shows. For whatever reason, MTV decided to sponsor a bunch Six Flags Theme Park shows so a lot of bands are doing that this summer [Plain White T’s included]. I think, kind of going off of all that, these mall shows came into play. But otherwise, I really don’t know where the idea came from. It sounds like a decent different idea — spend the summer riding rollercoasters and hanging out in malls — doesn’t sound too bad to us.

Have you guys performed at a mall before?
Well aside from doing a handful of them this summer, which I think they’ll actually be pretty sweet, we did one thing in a mall before. It was an outdoor mall in southern California, maybe more than a year ago. It was ridiculous. We didn’t really know what to expect from it but there was a sea of people and it was a really, really fun time. Maybe that’s why they thought it would be a good idea to do it again.

Aside from “Hey There Delilah” which tracks on the album do you like?
When you’re making a record, everyone kind of has their song that they champion. For me, that song was “Let Me Take You There.” Ever since I heard the acoustic demo I was totally all about it making it on the record. I had to fight pretty hard to convince everyone that it was working too. But some of the other guys’ favorites are “Friends Don’t Let Friends Dial Drunk” and “You and Me.”

It’s kind of weird, one of my other favorites is “So Damn Clever.” But when I first heard it, it was one of my least favorites and it’s just kind of grown on me. The first time we ever played it live, I thought it was the worst thing ever. It had no groove and was so flat. But I don’t know, some songs just take a while to find their own groove. Now, it’s one of my favorite songs to play, which I never would’ve thought would be the case.

Hey there Nashua
Who: Free concert with Plain White T’s and Jada from Boston
When: Sunday, July 22, from 12 to 6 p.m.
Where: Pheasant Lane Mall, 310 D.W. Hwy., Nashua
For more information: Music samples and more details about Plain White T’s are available at plainwhitets.com or myspace.com/plainwhitets. For more information on Jada, go to jadamusic.com or myspace.com/bostonsjadamusic