UNDER THE SCOPE: Singer Tom Higgenson of Plain White T’s tells all

by Staff

“Yes, Delilah is a real girl,” Tom Higgenson stated in a recent interview.

If you are familiar with the Grammy-nominated and Teen Choice Award-winning band, Plain White T’s, then you must be familiar with its hit single, “Hey There Delilah.”

In 2005, Higgenson and the band produced their first hit single, capturing a long-distance relationship between a boy, his guitar and a girl named Delilah. The song enthralls the essence of love and how a strum of the guitar can somehow express the strength behind living “a thousand miles away” from the one you love. Higgenson explained how Delilah is a beautiful girl but the song he dedicated to her was not enough to win her heart over, “and actually, she has a boyfriend,” Higgenson chuckled. Needless to say, her boyfriend does not have the song on his list of favorites, but Higgenson stated confidently, “that’s his problem.”

After “Hey There Delilah” was clearly loved by fans, Plain White T’s has continued to focus its lyrics around that four-letter word that makes its fans melt. Higgenson explained that because he doesn’t go to college, he can’t write about class, so, he writes about love.
If you listen to the band’s lyrics, there is a real lesson behind its work. It proves that love is a daily emotion, reminding the world about what we want, what we yearn for and oftentimes what we cannot get. Love does not always have a happy ending, and that’s what makes it unpredictable and edgy for us all.

The 2008 hit single, “1, 2, 3, 4” from the band’s newest album, “Big Bad World,” has hit the music industry hard, but the music video hits even harder. The black and white depiction of real love walking the streets of the band’s hometown of Chicago proves to viewers that true love does exist.

If you are curious as to why Plain White T’s does not have a sappy, love-related name, Higgenson explained how “a plain white T is a plain white T. We all have one, and they never go out of style.” Whether or not that was Higgenson’s way of saying Plain White T’s will be around for decades, it was a clever way of making a bold statement.

Plain white T-shirts were popular in the mid “50s and “60s, and because music from this era inspires the band, it chose a symbolic name from the “greaser style” they all love. Music legends such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, U2 and The Beatles are some of the few iconic artists who motivate the band to write and perform music that changes people’s outlook on life and touch their souls.

Plain White T’s is currently touring the nation on its “Three Part Harmony” tour. Higgenson explained that the low-budget tour did not stop the band from getting creative with its music.

“With a low production budget, we want to do all we can musically to make our concert something people talk about the next day,” he said. This three-part concert opens with rock beats, transitions to an acoustic melody series, and then ends in 25 minutes of pure music madness.

When asking him about rituals the band believes in before it hits the stage, he admitted it may not have any strange superstitions, but it does sit in one room together, 30 minutes before the concert starts, to share the energy and get pumped up, while Higgenson drinks a special Throat Coat tea. He said, “you can find the Throat Coat tea at Wal-Mart or something, it really works and makes you sing like an angel!”

Higgenson wants the future band members of any group trying to make it in the music industry to never give up. “Work you’re a** off, and as long as your band believes you are going to make it … it will all be worth it,” he said. You can find information about Plain White T’s via MySpace and Twitter for its schedule of future concerts nearest you.