Plain White T’s | Multi-Dimensional

“We do write cute love songs, but there’s a depth there that people kind of overlook.”



Tom Higgenson wants to clear something up – his band, Plain White T’s – is not a “cute” band. I asked him when I had a chance to interview him, a few weeks before his band is due to play at The Pageant. In response to what the biggest misconception about his band was, he answered, “I don’t think people take us seriously enough. People write us off as this cute band who writes these cute love songs.” He paused there, then continued, “We do write cute love songs, but there’s a depth there that people kind of overlook.”

The depth is obvious in their most recent release, Wonders of the Younger. The title track deals with the aching for youth that comes with finding yourself solidly in adulthood. Meanwhile, “Cirque Dans La Rue,” follows the theme that’s been represented on earlier albums of being an outsider – though in a more sprawling, haunting fashion than previously. The new album is the focus of the new tour, of course, but they do pull songs in from the previous five albums. When it comes to deciding on set lists, Tom says they fight like a married couple, but the rest of the band trusts him with creating the set lists, for the most part.

It’s obvious over the course of the conversation that while he and the band may have been at this for over 10 years – their first album was released in 2000 – they’re still doing what they love, even if the band members don’t always get along. When talking about touring and life on the road, he explained that before, “We used to tour in a van where we were basically just sitting upright next to everyone else in the band so you couldn’t escape.” They slept sitting up, crammed in with the other band members – if you weren’t on one of the four-hour shifts of driving or riding shot-gun. Deciding on food would lead to arguments over who wanted what, “And then whoever’s driving would be the asshole that would pass right by wherever we decided on.” Continuing speaking about the days of touring by van, he says “In those days we were a lot more heated, and got in a lot more arguments when we were so tight. But now that we have a bus and things and we have a little bunk to escape to, I think that kind of helps out a lot.”

One oddity that did come up over the course of our conversation is the fact that their music has been used on TV shows and in movies, but also…figure skating? Tom was aware of it because his parents texted him after they saw it, and in fact, their music has been used several times for skating performances. He seems rather humbled by the fact that the skater’s had chosen the band’s music to perform to. As he described the difference between that and their music showing up on a TV show, he said, “It’s cool in situations like that, with the figure skating thing, where it’s like these people are doing something that is very important to their lives and they choose one of our songs to put that to. That’s pretty crazy. | Teresa Montgomery

The Plain White T’s will be at The Pageant on April 13th with Parachute and Andy Grammer opening. Tickets are $20 in advance, and $23 DOS. 

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