OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): Where did you come up with such a clever name for your band?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: I actually had a little help from my parents. They didn't mean to help...they just named me. I plagiarized them. I decided to use my name because I'm a big fan of Bruce Springsteen and John Mayer. I thought I would follow in their footsteps instead of an actual band name.
So you were in a band when you were young and then you went solo. What make you want to start a band again?
Hmmmm...how do I explain that? I was seventeen when I started my first band, and I probably went through about five drummers. I put everything on hold for about five years while I directed a film. When I came out of that haze, I decided to make another album. I made an EP when I was 20-years-old but I didn't like the sound so I shelved it. In 2005, I decided I would give it another go, and I started writing some music that I really dug. I just went full- throttle on it. I toured solo acoustically and then slowly put together a band. Comradely of a band is fun, but sometimes it is hard to rally the troops.
What was the name of your very first band?
[Laughs.] I am not telling you that! You'll realize that my name has always been a part of my band names. It's always been an acronym, but that is as much as I will tell you. I mean, it's out there; you'll just have to Google it to find out. You have to think like a seventeen-year-old boy.
Ummm.... a seventeen-year-old boy? Now my mind is running fowl.
OK. That's thinking like us now. You have to think like a young adolescent. You'd have to think back to the age of innocence. My mom thought the name I chose was cool. If you Google me, it'll be in the Top 10.
I am up for the challenge! I read that you started writing music in high school. Are there any songs that you look back now and cringe at?
The first album that I put out definitely have some cringers. That is why I always call my 2008 album Without Warning "my first album." I don't really refer to my first three albums! I've technically released six albums, but I just don't talk about the first three. There are one or two songs that I would perform now from those albums, but I'm pretty sure my cousin wrote them.
What makes you more nervous, attending a movie premiere or performing a live show?
Neither. I don't get nervous for live shows. I just have fun. At a movie premiere, the film is complete--either people are going to like it or they're not. There isn't really anything I can do about it, so there is no point to being nervous! Speaking in front of crowd without my guitar makes me nervous. But if I have my guitar, I am all good!
So your guitar is kind of like your blankey?
[Laughs.] Yeah, I am like Linus with a guitar instead of a blanket.
What would you say is the main difference between movie and music groupies?
Boy! I don't know that I have any groupies? I think the main difference between the two is that music is more of an emotional connection to people and the movies don't really have the same emotional connection. If that makes any sense? You never really drive down the road and get a movie stuck in your head.
It makes perfect sense. You feel like people are singing to you personally, and in a movie you know they are acting.
Right. You're not really thinking: "Wow! they're acting just for me!"
Wait. So Brad Pitt didn't ride that horse in Legends of the Fall just for me?
No, no. He did. You can actually Google it. If you type in "Brad Pitt ride horse for Ali," then click "feeling lucky," and you'll find it. It's in the Top 10 searches.
I'd prefer to click images. I'm sure you get this question all of the time, but are there talks about another American Pie flick?
Yes. It's all over the net! They are currently writing American Pie 4 with the original cast. It's not official or anything, but it is being written. Whether or not it gets made is the question. I hope it happens because it would be fun. That's about all I know.
What about Rookie of the Year? Any sequel plans for that?
[Laughs.] Now that I am 30, I might be a little old for a sequel. I'm a big fan of East Bound and Down, so I thought it would be hilarious to reprise the role of Henry Rowengartner with a cameo on that show. There is a lot of comedy that can be mined out of that. It could go either way. Henry Rowengartner can be successful or a has-been. I don't really care; I just know there will be a lot of comedy.
I totally approve of that! Where is the next stop and what is the next move for the Thomas Nicholas Band?
Of course, La Cave on Friday. Then we have a couple of shows after that. The next one we have is at the Fender Museum
for a charity event. In March, I am performing 25 shows throughout Germany, Denmark and the Czech Republic.
So do you have your passport all ready to go?
I do! I am taking one of my bandmates with me. I think he's supposed to get his in the next few weeks. Hopefully! You can't just arrive to the airport and say, "No, no. I have one! It's just in the mail." We'll also be doing some summer touring--I'm looking for some festivals. I'll also be doing an acoustic version of "Heroes are Human." I'll just be touring, making music and movies!
The Thomas Nicholas Band will be at Le Cave in Costa Mesa this Friday, January 21st at 10:00. Admission is free so there are no excuses!! Le Cave is located at 1695 Irvine Avenue in Costa Mesa. (949) 646-7944 See you there!!