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Nick Waterhouse


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9pm NICK WATERHOUSE! with Very Special Guests!! $15

April 12, 2013

GENERAL ADMISSION / NON-REFUNDABLE $15 tickets are available at ticketweb or P&H!

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Everything about Nick Waterhouse started with a single 45.

Actually, if you’re reading this, you understand that just about

EVERYTHING started with a single 45, and you understand that I’m writing

this and you’re reading this because we once heard a certain kind of

song on a certain kind of record made by a certain kind of person—some

genius and some lunatic, some lucky and some cursed and so many who only

existed for a few minutes with a microphone before them in some

hacked-together shack. Those were places that would have

more comfortably held a speakeasy or a bloodthirsty game of poker,

but which were instead reborn as recording studios. (But you could still

gamble—in a new way—and drink just the same.) At that kind of place, if

you could do it, you did it, and maybe you made it or maybe you just

made something to prove you were there. We’re still sorting through the

wreckage even now. There are those kinds of 45s waiting to see daylight

again in closets, barns and unpaid storage units across the belly of

America, and sometimes you’ll find one with the original owner’s name

markered across the label—a good sign, I’ve always felt, because that

means they wanted that record to belong to them forever.

So here we are with Nick Waterhouse, who signs his own name

across a righteous and exhilarating part of American music with this

debut LP, snapped together from sessions traded for rent money and

desperate favors and succeeding through strange luck, particular

personality and a vision that would not crack. When he made that first

45 by himself, he was hoping less to launch a musical career than to

bury the possibility with dignity. In his suburban hometown, there’d

never been music like this, and when he moved to the big city for

school, no one could be bothered to care about music like this. (Except

record-store owner Dick Vivian, whose 45s were sustenance and medicine,

and who’d later lend a lyric to this album.) So he recorded his song

simply to prove that he could record his song, and if anyone later ever

wondered who Nick Waterhouse was and what happened to him? Well—I mean,‘Welllllllllllllllllll …!’—then they could just listen:

“There’s some place that I’d rather be / it’s something been on my mind almost constantly / some place I don’t expect you to understand / people talk to me and I know they don’t comprehend / … / there’s someplace, I swear it’s not in my mind / but it’s somewhere I been trying so hard to find / some place, I know it’s not quite clear / a place I can only say that it’s not right here …”

Usually, the person who made this kind of record

disappears—that’s why we get reissues of “lost classics,” coming too

late for youth and vigor but just in time for the legacy or maybe the

eulogy. But you know that place Waterhouse is talking about and so do I,

and turns out there were more of us than anyone thought. That “Some

Place” 45 on his own label Pres—put together with something barely more

than a pick-up band of 20-something kids, with the exception of sax

player Ira Raibon, who’d actually been in some of those soul bands that

made lost classics and was cracking up happily at Waterhouse’s

precocious session direction—sold half its press in a single night in

the winter of 2010, and so made itself known to the people who needed to

know, in that quiet nighttime way certain records have done for

decades.

By mid-2011, he was signed to a label—after one last tussle with a

hustler in New York City, who almost stole a new session of Waterhouse’s

songs away from him, as certain hustlers have also done for decades.

And after three more swoops through engineer Mike McHugh’s studio the

Distillery, where of course powerful spirits are made, he’d found his

some place. Now in the first line of the first song on this album, he

can ask: “Have you ever / made the best of a bad situation?” Surely

plenty of people will remark upon how faithful Waterhouse is to the

sound of American music as it was in the days when Elvis Presley was on

an indie label, and surely that’s remarkable—but it’s the faith itself

more than the sound that makes this album for me. He’s right to call it Time’s All Gone because

the times don’t matter. In those shacks and studios and some places,

those singers gave everything—because they knew no other way to do

it. That’s what makes those certain 45s sound so certain. That’s what

Nick Waterhouse’s new album has, too: “The important thing to me was I

did everything myself,” he says. “On my own terms—the way I wanted.”

—Chris Ziegler, Los Angeles, CA

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