Monday, July 12, 2010

The Modern Suburbanite Interview: Franz Nicolay

Franz Nicolay is a man of many talents, indeed- the New England-raised, New York-based singer/songwriter/composer/author is a co-founder of Anti-Social Music, a member of the anarchist-cabaret troupe World/Inferno Friendship Society, a member of The Hold Steady from Separation Sunday through Stay Positive and its supporting tour, and a collaborator with Mischief Brew and Guignol. In addition to preparing for an upcoming wedding, he has contributed to The Bushwick Book Club and is readying a followup to Major General, his 2009 solo release.

"Jeff Penalty" (with Demander, from Major General)

Franz is presently on tour with Against Me!, playing keyboards and providing vocals. He took some time out of his (very, very busy) schedule to answer some questions for Modern Suburbanite.

You’ve achieved two very iconic things this summer: you’ve played The Tonight Show and you signed the Green Monster at Fenway. What is it like now that you’re a part of a couple of bona fide cultural institutions?

FN: I can pretty much hang it up now, huh? My favorite thing about the Fenway trip was noticing that the Sox bullpen has a Jolly Roger hung on the inside of the centerfield wall. I figure that's got to be a Papelbon thing. (Ed note: the Sox relievers have had a "pirate" theme, complete with flag and parrot. More in this ESPN column.) I got my hands on the ballpark organ, too - but it's a little electric job stuck in the corner of the corporate suite bar. He can't even watch the game, he has a little black-and-white TV screen. Typical. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010



Thanks to everyone who has been checking out the site. We had a tremendous number of visits on Tuesday, which I suspect came as a result of tweets by Bryan Lee O'Malley and Edgar Wright (O'Malley confirms that Wright sent him the link first.) Thank you to Bryan and Edgar and to Carla Gillis and Catriona Sturton of Plumtree for being so gracious.

If you were following my tweets during the day, you know that my brain pretty much fell out- there were over 1300 visitors from 45 different countries in one day, which was amazing.

I still don't know what it'll take to earn some love from West Virginia and Vermont. If anyone has suggestions, let me know. (Vermont, especially- I already enjoy your ice cream and maple syrup and think Dr. Dean has an impressive handshake. What more can I do?)

I'm working on the next feature right now, but it may be a couple of days. If you haven't already done so, please click the RSS subscription button or choose to "follow" via the Google Friend Connect option. Either way, you'll know as soon as the next post goes up.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ten Years After Splitting, Halifax's Plumtree Gets Their Closeup with 'Scott Pilgrim.'

Think about the crushes you had in your teens and early twenties. For even the boldest kid on the block, there was still some knockout who inspired stammering, knots in the stomach, or- in some cases- a fuzzed-up sugarbomb of a song that puts any crummy MASH note you wrote in study hall to shame.

For Carla Gillis, guitarist and vocalist for the now-defunct Haligonian rockers Plumtree, it was the latter.

“I was 19 or 20 when I wrote the lyrics to ‘Scott Pilgrim’ and in the throes of probably half a dozen crushes at the time,” Carla Gillis said. “There is one person who comes to mind because he was someone I’d liked for many years but, even at that, I think the lyrics came out of a general feeling of liking people but being afraid to act on those feelings.” The name itself was an inside joke among the band members- a friend named Scott Ingram had his name juxtaposed with another acquaintance named Philip Pilgrim.