Grammy-nominated pop rock band Plain White Ts will make a local stop Sunday for a free performance at Jefferson Pointe to promote their upcoming album.
The bands front man, Tom Higgenson, has penned the bands most swoon-worthy songs, Hey There Delilah and 1, 2, 3, 4. He says the bands new album deals with life and love – approaching lyrics with honesty and a capacity to relate to modern-day relationships.
I dont have good cheese gauge. I just kind of go for it. I let other people tell me if its cheesy. The band is always calling me out on stuff, Higgenson says by phone from his basement in Elmhurst, Ill.
The Plain White Ts were born in the suburban basement of Higgensons childhood home in the late 90s, thrashing out Green Day and Weezer covers on his fathers drum set and some old amps.
The fact is that Im really a romantic guy at heart. I believe every word. Thats what sets it apart. Im not being cheesy. Im trying to be sweet, romantic, or just trying to get the girl, he says.
Higgenson says a near-fatal car crash in 1999 spurred his honest storytelling. Only a couple years into the band, Higgenson swerved the groups van to avoid a collision with a car that cut him off on a highway. He says the van rolled multiple times, throwing him out of the vehicle. He broke several vertebrae in his back and suffered internal injuries.
That was definitely the moment where I realized that I should have died, but I didnt. I told myself, Im going to start writing these songs and put myself into them. Im really going to try to tell my story and use my songs as a little diary of things I went through. From that point on, people started to connect to the music.
The band released the Shouldve Gone to Bed EP in April, featuring four songs that will be on the bands upcoming fourth album on Hollywood Records this fall. The band reveals in its EP the same yearning for love and yet, a new outlook on life.
The EPs title song and first single, Shouldve Gone to Bed, tells the new-age story of what happens after too many drinks, a smartphone and loneliness brings the narrator a humiliating blow. With a three-year stretch from the last album, Wonders of the Younger, Higgenson says he approached this album with a clearer head.
Breaking up with my crazy ex helped. It is definitely a mind-clouding experience when youre in a relationship where you love this person and although there was a lot of right in it, a lot of it wasnt. Its really confusing, Higgenson says. Whenever you go through a breakup theres that cloudy period where you go, Shoot, What do I do now? Who am I? I am so used to being with this person, who am I on my own? There was a lot of time spent remembering the things that I love and the life I wanted to live and the person that I always wanted to be. Getting back to that wasnt easy, but I think Im doing good.
The upcoming album will feature a more prominent songwriting appearance from guitarist Tim Lopez that Higgenson says brings a new dimension to the bands music. Unlike Wonders of the Younger, in which the concept album presented a big, theatric production, Higgenson says the new album scales back for a more simple sound, reminiscent of the days in a basement.
Were writing more personal songs about life experiences, he says. The guitars feel live, they feel exciting. They feel like were in the room with you. Thats the vibe we wanted to capture on this album, strip it down, play hard and make it sound good.