Tim Lopez of Plain White T's Talks "Wonders of the Younger" Tour, Interpreting "Rhythm of Love," Playlist and More
Tue, 18 Jan 2011 07:16:49
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There's a wonderful road ahead for Plain White T's.
On January 27th in Milwaukee, the band kicks off a headlining tour in support of their latest album, Wonders of the Younger. Parachute and MIGGS are along for the ride, and it promises to be the most memorable jaunt that the T's have ever done. There's a surprise around every hook and verse on Wonders of the Younger that'll no doubt make the live shows special. Lead-off single "Rhythm of Love" is an unforgettable pop gem that blends a whimsical rhythm with a chorus that flutters to the heavens and back. Plain White T's crafted a fantastical pop masterpiece that's going to make their tour a must-see this winter.
Tim Lopez of Plain White T's sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about the Wonders of the Younger tour, multiple interpretations of "Rhythm of Love," finding inspiration on the road, and so much more.
What's in store for the Wonders of the Younger tour?
More than any other record the T's have done, Wonders of the Younger is so visual. We're going to make an attempt at bringing that to the stage. I don't want to give away too much about the production that we're going to bring, but our band is typically very stripped down when it comes to a live performance. We get up there and do it like The E Street band. It's just the members of the band on stage, going for it, and rocking out. If there's any production, it's just a backdrop that says, "Plain White T's." We're going to step it up quite a bit this time and really put on a show. We're excited to get started on this. Thankfully, we're taking our time and making sure we're ready for this one.
Did you have a hand in picking Parachute on the bill?
Yeah! We get a chance to sit and listen to all of the bands that are submitted for a tour, and Parachute was for sure one of our favorites. We haven't met the guys yet. However, we have an online chat forum with fans that can tune in and Parachute, so we'll get a chance to see those guys before we actually get on the road.
You're singing on "Rhythm of Love." Is that a big change for the live show?
We're going to mix it up a little bit. There are songs that I've written for the band in the past that we had Tom [Higgenson, vocals] singing, and I think we're probably going to switch that now and I'll take lead vocals on those specific songs just to change it up. I'm definitely looking forward to it. The role of singing up front came with some pressure at first, and I'm just now starting to enjoy that position. Some of the first performances we did were late night TV for Jay Leno. When you're not used to that, there's a lot of anxiety that comes with it. We're learning as we go, but I'm starting to get really excited for tour and to see people's reactions, especially with the song at radio now. We're starting to see people singing it back to us.
How much do the songs change on stage?
A little bit…we're going to try to break stuff down and create musical transitions from song to song, extend outros to songs, and let the music breathe a little bit. We haven't done much of that before, but with the way Tom arranged the tracklisting, we were able to create these little music pieces. Most of them were written by Mike [Retondo, bass], and we're going to try to use those to expand the show. With the stage setup we've got, it's going to be a memorable show! We're going to really go through everything and work out how we want the scenes to change and everything.
Has the meaning of "Rhythm of Love" changed at all now that it's out there in the world?
Meaning-wise it's the same. I try to harness that emotion a little bit when we're playing it. I still wish I had the girl I wrote it for. It's easy to get up there and mentally sing that song for her. We've been in a lot of radio stations playing that song, and I'll have DJs come up to me and say, "It's cool you wrote a song about a one night stand!" I see how people can read into it so I'll play around with the meaning of the song. If we're doing an event, we'll talk about it as a more sexual song than it actually is [Laughs]. It's mainly just joking and morphing the meaning of it.
The album has that fantastical and youth vibe. That will definitely separate the tour.
Totally! Those songs were meant to evoke that emotion of reconnecting with your youth, and I think with the imagery we bring with the tour, it'll help people see the vision we had initially for these songs. If they haven't realized what we were doing, we're going to open people's eyes a little bit.
What are you listening to right now?
A little bit of Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. Today, I was listening to an older OK Go record and then Bruno Mars for the pop side of me. I've got classics I'm always going through. Tom Petty's Wildflowers is a staple for me. I'm also listening to what else is out there at radio as well as indie stuff. I've been listening to Margot & The Nuclear So and So's lately too.
Will you write more music on this tour?
At times, definitely! I like to write in hotel rooms. It's away from everybody. If we're touring with a band and something's inspiring that they're doing, that'll motivate you. It comes from all over the place. The tough thing about tour is it's hard to get really connected to someone else on tour. Relationships tend to be a large point of inspiration for me, obviously. They're sometimes difficult to find out there, but maybe we'll find that little mystery lady out there [Laughs].
And she'll inspire a couple good songs…
Let's hope, man! We need them. Otherwise life is dull [Laughs].
For Plain White T's tour dates, click here!
Check out our video interview with Tim and Tom about Wonders of the Younger here!
Will you be seeing Plain White T's on this upcoming tour?