2007_03_arts_nicole.jpgNicole Atkins is more than "just" a girl with a guitar. Her live shows are amongst the best we've seen - energetic, personable and with a sound so big there's little else to do but feel a part of the music. Tomorrow afternoon she'll take the stage at our show in Austin, and we suggest coming by if you're at SXSW. For New Yorkers staying in town, she'll be playing Bowery Ballroom on March 19th.

Listen: The Way It Is.mp3

We saw you play a long time ago at a small place on Avenue C, do you have any interesting stories from around that time - or starting out playing smaller clubs in the city?
well, speaking of avenue c, there was this one time two summers ago where we had a gig at the mercury lounge. like an asshole, i was on my phone when i parked my car that morning. i went along my way and before load in went to find my car. searched the whole lower east side and east village to no avail. i thought it was stolen because i thought i left it in my usual spot by delancy, so i reported it stolen. anyways, a month later the cops call me to tell me it had been found on avenue c with a shitload of tickets all over it and that the inside looked pretty trashed. looking back i'm pretty sure i just spaced it and forgot i parked on avenue c. hmmm.

What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
my first memories of living in nyc was when i first started going to the monday night anti folk open mics and ended up taking a room at these two songwriters named spencer and turner in bensonhurst. they called the place balloon heaven. turner and i shared the living room and had a sheet wall. it was mad sketchy. anyways, we all just went to this open mic every monday and got drunk at niagra while waiting to play. fun days.

What is your favorite place to drink in NYC, and what's the best night to go out?
well, if you want to get drunk on the early side, i like the 11th street pub between a & b. i also like HiFi on sunday nights. the royal oak in Brooklyn is also an excellent place to drink and the delancy rooftop is sweet as well. i think the best night to go out is any night other than a weekend night.

We heard that Johnny Greenwood came to your show this past CMJ...do tell!
yeah i found that out the next morning. i was like WHOAAAAAAA! hahaha. when i told my drummer, he got all embarrased bc he was wearing a radiohead t shirt. hahah. hey did you know johnny greenwood did the music for the "rock band" in the last harry potter movie?

Now it's time for some fill-in-the-blank action

"You know you've made it when…" your mom stops mailing you the classified ads from the asbury park press

"It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when…" i stop breathing

"I'll never forget the first time I…" played my first gig. it was in the cafeteria of st. rose high school in belmar nj. we all were pretty stoned and had this oil, food coloring light show going on and did "the end" from the doors for our encore. i was so out of it i screamed "mother i want to fuck you!!!!" right in the vice principals face and the place went wild. i had weekend detentions for way too long after that one. eww.

"I'll never forget the first time [insert another band member's name here]…" my guitarist dave hollinghurst and i were at this swedish pub quiz and kareoke. it was a bunch of old women and dave takes the mike and sings "just a jigalo" the van halen version. he had dance moves and everything. it was awesome.

Let's have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following (if you've got no discernable feelings, make something up that won't embarrass you in the morning)

Yankees
the south

Mets
the 80s

CBGB
lenny kaye

Britney
other peoples bikini bottoms

Pitchfork
hay

Blogs
the blob

Gentrification
asbury park

A few quickies on the music tip

What was the most played song on your iPod (or an equivalent music playing device) in the past week?
its a tie between "roscoe" from midlake and "regular john" from queens of the stone age

Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
oh man, this would be my all star orchestra band:

electric guitars: jonny marr and phil wandscher (jesse sykes and the sweet hereafter

peddle steel: santo and johnnie

acoustic guitar- bert jansch

bass- a young paul mccartney

drums- glen kotche (wilco)

keys- rick wright (pink floyd)

violin trio- andrew bird, gustav (dungen), that guy from the dirty three

flute- ian anderson

backup singers- josh homme, mark lanegan, the flamingos

lead singer- me

If you released a 7" what would you put on the cover?
i'd like to use this painting my friend neil did that is of victorian houses burning in the ocean.

What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
any and all wilco records.

If Josh Schwartz, creator of the OC, asked your band to perform on his (now defunct) tv show (as Modest Mouse, the Killers Tom Vek and the Walkmen have) would you?
why not?

And finally...What came first, the music or the misery?
hmmm, the music did, then the misery came, then the music got better. hahah so sad!