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Interview: Plain White T's - 01.20.07
 

Plain White T's - 01.20.07

Interviewed by
Plain White T's - 01.20.07These questions were sent out not long after their release of Every Second Counts. They were lost in the mail, and only recently recovered. So keep in mind the time period.

State who you are, and what you do in the band.

I'm Tom, and I'm the singer of the group.

What is the story behind the band name itself?

Well Plain White T's was the best name out of a bunch of really bad names that we thought of. We thought that in a way it stood for something classic, timeless, and always cool; which is also the kind of music we've always tried to make.

Who is your guys' greatest influence in music? Is there any musician or band you grew listening to that made you say to yourselves, "I want to do that."

The Beatles have been one of our biggest influences, but I think that all the music we hear influences us in some way. You know, you can find something good in a bad song if you give it a chance.

Do you feel that the Chicago scene was what helped you guys in the beginning? Do you guys still remember your roots in the city?

Well we grew up in the suburbs right outside of Chicago. Our scene was incredible in the suburbs and throughout the city. There were a handful of bands that would play around every weekend, and there were always a ton of people at the shows, because that was the cool thing to do. So the scene definitely helped us when we were still a local band. Then when we started touring, it was a whole
different story. The first few tours we did, there was nobody there. We'd be playing to bartenders. But the more we toured, the more fans we would get, and to this day each tour still gets better and better for us.

Do you guys still plan to play some of the classics off of 'Stop' and 'All That We Needed' in the upcoming tours?

I'm glad you call them classics! That's funny! Yes, we will definitely be playing some songs off of those records on our upcoming tours.

The song 'Hey There Delilah' is arguably your biggest hit to date. Some people were wondering if she was a real person. Also, have you noticed more crowds since the release of the EP?

Delilah is a real person. She was never a girlfriend, just an inspiration for this long distance love story. I think our crowds have been pretty consistently growing over the past 2 years, ever since the release of All That We Needed.

2006 has been a busy year for you guys, with the release of an EP and a brand new album, along with a lot of touring. Do you guys plan on taking a break anytime soon?

No! We were just off for a month so I'm definitely ready to get back on the road. We get a little time off here and there, that's enough for us.

How was your transition from Fearless Records to Hollywood Records?

It was a lot easier than you would think. We made Every Second Counts just like we made any of our other records, just with a bigger budget. There were no label people breathing down our necks, or telling us how to dress or act. It feels like we are still on an indie label that has a shitload of money behind them. And we still have our relationship with Fearless, so we get the best of both worlds.

How do you feel about being on the same record label as Hilary Duff and Jesse McCartney?

That's actually why we signed. Hilary I love you!!!

On the flipside, how do you feel about being on the same label as bands like Sparta?

Well, it's funny. We actually met Jesse McCartney a couple times, and he is a super nice guy. We met Aly and AJ and they love our record. We are all just playing music and loving it. We've never met Sparta.

What is the best thing about your new record label? Is there anything you miss from Fearless?

Knowing that the sky is the limit. Like I said, we still have a relationship with Fearless, so it's all good.

You guys recently recorded your fourth full length album "Every Second Counts" with Johnny K. How was that experience, and did he help guide you in the way you wanted to album to go?

Johnny was great because he let us do what we do. He was a fan of the band to begin with, so he was just able to take what we were already doing, and make it sound a little bigger and better.

What is the writing process like for The Plain White T's? Can you just come up with an entire song all at once? Or does it all come to you slowly?

Every song is a little different. Some songs will be written all atonce in a couple of hours, and some songs will take months. Sometimes I'll have a complete melody and spend weeks writing
the perfect lyrics. Sometimes a song will start with a lyric idea, and I'll have to write a melody to it. It's always different. There are no rules.

What is your favorite song off your new album? Is there a story behind this song that makes you like it so much?

I like them all. "Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk" is up there. Or maybe "Write You A Song". Every song has its story, but that's not why I like them, its just music. Everyone's going to have their favorites I guess.

Have you guys decided what your next single is going to be?

Not yet. What do YOU think it should be?

You guys have recently been compared with the likes of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. Do you think you can hold your spot in the mainstream with bands such as these?

I think our music is just as good if that's what you mean. It's not a competition, there's room out there for all of us.

You guys covered Blur on the "Punk Goes 90's" compilation that came out on Fearless. Are any of you big Blur fans, or do you just like the song? What do you think Damon Albarn would think of your cover?

Dave (our guitarist) and I are the Blur fans in the group. We saw them at the metro in Chicago a long time ago. Damon Albarn would probably be impressed at how close we came to sounding like their version, but he would probably hate my sorry attempt at a British accent.

What's your stand on the current state of downloading music? Do you encourage people to download your music?

I encourage people to download some songs, and if you like them go buy the record. Or come see us live and buy a shirt. Or play our songs for all of your friends so they'll go buy our record. There's nothing you can really do to stop people from downloading music, so you pretty much have to embrace it and look at it as that many more people being exposed to our music, and that many more people possibly liking us and buying the cd or a shirt or a concert ticket. It all evens out in the end I like to believe.

How was being on MTV's new Music Discover and Download?

It was cool. MTV is the shit, and getting played on it is even more the shit.

Do you guys have any experience (or secondhand experience) with Drunk Dialing?

It happens to me all the time, that's why I wrote a song about it.

What have you guys been listening to lately?

I love the Matches new record. The Beatles, Panic! at the Disco, Feist, Regina Spektor, the radio...

Any up and coming bands you think the world should know about?

Hell yes! Crash Boom Bang from Washington DC, The Kung Fu Girls from NY, Stacy Clark from California. You will be hearing from all of them by the end of 07.

What are your plans for 2007?

Tour.

It's your last show ever. What would be the finale?

That's the saddest thing I've ever heard.

Any final words (comments, concerns) to everyone out there reading on Absolutepunk?

Thank you very, very, very, very, very, very much.

Tim Lopez also answered the questions.

State who you are, and what you do in the band.

Tim Lopez and I play guitar and sing backup

What is the story behind the band name itself?

Tom and Dave are the only original members left in the band. Surprisingly enough, they'll tell you that there were much worse band names in the running when they agreed upon Plain White T's. As the story goes, they were looking at old album artwork and said that they noticed that a lot of there favorite singers were wearing PWT's. Springsteen and Michael Jackson were huge influences on Tom when he first started out and they were wearing them. So, I guess they figured the shirts wouldn't go out of style; maybe their band wouldn't either.

Who is your guys greatest influence in music? Is there any musician or band you grew listening to that made you be like "I want to do that".

I have always admired Tom Petty. He has this ability to take the most simple chord progressions and write incredible timeless songs over them. I also am a huge fan of Mike Cambell, who is the lead guitarist for Petty's band the Heartbreakers. He is probably one of my biggest influences.

Do you feel that the Chicago scene was what helped you guys in the beginning? Do you guys still remember your roots in the city?

I can't answer this question as accurately as the other guys could since I wasn't around in the beginning but I think that Chicago helped the band to build a certain confidence at home. I'm sure
they will always remember where they came from especially since Chicago has continued to be so supportive.

Do you guys still plan to play some of the classics off of 'Stop' and 'All That We Needed' in the upcoming tours?

Yeah, the upcoming U.S. headlining tour will be the first time that we have played hour long sets and we will be playing material from all three records.

The song 'Hey There Delilah' is arguably your biggest hit to date. Some people were wondering if she was a real person. Also, have you noticed more crowds since the release of the EP?

Delilah is very much a real person that Tom was inspired by. I have met her only once in New York at the Knitting Factory but she seemed worthy of the song. I don't know what to attribute that song's success to but I think that MySpace had a big part in its explosion.

2006 has been a busy year for you guys, with the release of an EP and a brand new album, along with a lot of touring. Do you guys plan on taking a break anytime soon?

Right now our one-month break is coming to an end and I am pretty sure that we will be touring this album into the ground. We don't have any more down time scheduled in the future.

Do you guys still plan to play some of the classics off of 'Stop' and 'All That We Needed' in the upcoming tours?

Yeah, the upcoming U.S. headlining tour will be the first time that we have played hour long sets and we will be playing material from all three records.

The song 'Hey There Delilah' is arguably your biggest hit to date. Some people were wondering if she was a real person. Also, have you noticed more crowds since the release of the EP?

Delilah is very much a real person that Tom was inspired by. I have met her only once in New York at the Knitting Factory but she seemed worthy of the song. I don't know what to attribute that song's success to but I think that MySpace had a big part in its explosion.

2006 has been a busy year for you guys, with the release of an EP and a brand new album, along with a lot of touring. Do you guys plan on taking a break anytime soon?

Right now our one-month break is coming to an end and I am pretty sure that we will be touring this album into the ground. We don't have any more down time scheduled in the future.

How was your transition from Fearless Records to Hollywood Records?

It was smooth. We didn't officially sign to Hollywood until we were in the studio recording this lates album. And once we had signed, they immediately began promoting the album, got us on modern rock radio across the country. We are extremely happy with our home at Hollywood.

How do you feel about being on the same record label as Hilary Duff and Jesse McCartney?

I rarely think about that fact but I know that Hollywood is doing really well right now as a label so don't have any complaints.

On the flipside, how do you feel about being on the same label as bands like Sparta?

I think that Hollywood is trying to broaden their spectrum of artists and Sparta was a step in the right direction. I really like that new Sparta record and think they'll do great things for the label.

What is the best thing about your new record label? Is there anything you miss from Fearless?

The best thing about Hollywood is our team of people who work with us. They are great friends of ours and I think that we have a mutual respect for each other. With fearless, I think we realize that they were a big part of building this band into what it is and we look back on those times and say it was a good place to be.

You guys recently recorded your fourth full length album "Every Second Counts" with Johnny K. How was that experience, and did he help guide you in the way you wanted to album to go?

Johnny was a pleasure to work with. I think that he is the first producer to see us for what we are and really was able to keep us focused. We were under pressure to finish the record before we left for Warped Tour and he really kept us together and I think that we got the final result we were all
looking for.

What is the writing process like for The Plain White T's? Can you just come up with an entire song all at once? Or does it all come to you slowly?

Tom does most of the writing and it varies. Sometimes he has a pretty complete idea and others need a lot of piecing together.

What is your favorite song off your new album? Is there a story behind this song that makes you like it so much?

My personal favorite is come back to me. Mainly because I think the song has a lot of potential to reach people but I also think that it's a great live track.

Have you guys decided what your next single is going to be?

Not yet, there are four songs in the running and I'm not sure who has the final say. It may even be a surprise to us.

You guys have recently been compared with the likes of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. Do you think you can hold your spot in the mainstream with bands such as these?

Yes.

You guys covered Blur on the "Punk Goes 90's" compilation that came out on Fearless. Are any of you big Blur fans or do you just like the song. What do you think Damon Albarn would think of your cover?

Dave is a huge blur fan. The cover was not really our take on the song. We just went in and tried to recreate a lot of the sounds. So I'm not sure what he would think.

What's your stand on the current state of downloading music? Do you encourage people to download your music?

If that is what it takes to get them out to our shows and to fall in love with the band, sure!

How was being on MTV's new Music Discover and Download?

Every bit of that type of publicity helps and it's usually a good time as well. I do however remember that it was particularly early when we shot that and I don't do well in the morning.

Do you guys have any experience (or secondhand experience) with Drunk Dialing?

I believe that we all do. For the most part we each have a lady in our lives that will call in the middle of the night wasted. It's never a good time to be stuck on a tour bus and listening to her drool on the other end of the line.

What have you guys been listening to lately?

I love the newest Taking Back Sunday record. I listen to it almost daily.

Any up and coming bands you think the world should know about?

Rock Kills Kid is a great new band. If you haven't heard them yet, they have a debut album out on reprise. Go pick it up!

What are your plans for 2007?

Non stop touring.

It's your last show ever. What would be the finale?

Our induction into the rock and roll hall of fame. (Yeah right!)

Any final words (comments, concerns) to everyone out there reading on Absolutepunk?

Yeah, the Plain white T's headlining tour will be coming soon to a city near you. Hopefully we'll see you all there.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 21
03:17 PM on 02/06/07
#2
caseyterrazas
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sweet. on tour with Dear and the Headlights this spring. exciting.
03:26 PM on 02/06/07
#3
lessthanbrian4
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they are right on crash boom bang, those guys will most likely blow up.
03:34 PM on 02/06/07
#4
ByelineCole
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Tims interview is listed twice.
04:17 PM on 02/06/07
#5
AdamWASFearless
The Rational Voice of AP.net
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These guys are so nice. I would really love to see them be the biggest band in the world.
04:30 PM on 02/06/07
#6
Silver Bullets
All you need is love.
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nice interview.
05:57 PM on 02/06/07
#7
jacnrh
Let's Go Oakland
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Crash Boom Bang is awesome, as are the PWTs.
Im excited to hear that stuff from Stop will be played. =)
06:02 PM on 02/06/07
#8
tonighttonight0
Rode the El Niņo
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awesome interview
09:02 PM on 02/06/07
#9
.Dylan
I'm a Gargoyle
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With the success of the song Hey There Delilah why did it not have more influence on the type of songs you wrote and recorded for Every Second Counts.


Somebody ask this question already. Fack.
10:18 PM on 02/06/07
sweetbeatdead<3
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With the success of the song Hey There Delilah why did it not have more influence on the type of songs you wrote and recorded for Every Second Counts.


Have you heard "I Will Write You A Song"
10:53 PM on 02/06/07
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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I love the Crash Boom Bang drop. I rec'd them about a month or two ago.
03:16 AM on 02/07/07
takingshots
wants Animal Collective!
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sweet interview, they both seems pretty down to earth
05:41 AM on 02/07/07
Chevy114
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They still seem nice I just wish I could like their stuff like I did with stop.
09:28 AM on 02/07/07
average_jane
poppunkjunkie.blogspot.co m
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love the crash boom bang name drop!
09:35 AM on 02/07/07
Aileen
Fatrick Plump no more
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tom produced both crash boom bang and the kung fu girls, hence the name drop.

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