Backstage with the Plain White T’s at Fall Fest 2018

The craziest show they ever played and the inspiration behind “Hey There Delilah”

Silvia Buonocore, Contributing Writer

The Plain White T’s performed at the University’s annual Fall Fest on Sept. 14. Students sang and danced along in the Gerhard Fieldhouse for the entirety of the concert. The band played songs from their new album, Parallel Universe, as well as fan favorites such as “1,2,3,4” and “Hey There Delilah.”

Tom Higgenson, the band’s lead singer, explained that they love performing at universities because “the people that love our music are usually teenagers and young 20-year-olds. The fan base stays young because the music connects with young people. The bouncy houses are fun, too!” 

The band is especially excited because of their new album. “We just want people to hear the new songs and love them,” Higgenson said. But of course, the band members mentioned that they love playing “Hey There Delilah” because the crowd gets so excited.

“Hey There Delilah” was written about a long-distance runner that Tom met one night and was instantly attracted to. Unfortunately, she had a boyfriend at the time. “All I knew is that she was pretty. The rest of the song I made up thinking, ‘If I were in a long distance relationship what would be the perfect thing to say?’” Higgenson said. He also said that while they are still friends to this day, they have not talked in a while.

The band’s name, the Plain White T’s, was created when the band members first started writing songs. They made a list of random potential names, with the Plain White T’s being one of them. “Then one day, I was flipping through a bunch of CDs and saw so many people wearing plain white tees. It was a sign,” Higgenson said. While Higgenson does not remember what the exact CDs were,  the band members were inspired by ’50s and ’60s music as well as artists such as “Loud Lucy, the Lemonheads, Smoking Popes, Weezer, and Green Day,” Tim Lopez, the lead guitarist, said.

While the concert at Fall Fest was very tame, Higgenson and Lopez talked about one of the craziest shows they ever played at the Reading and Leeds Festival in the United Kingdom. They were booked on “the same stage and the same day as Metallica, Slip Knot and other heavy metal bands,” Higgenson said. “So the crowd was very amped up that day. They throw stuff at you, it doesn’t matter who you are. It was a mix of playing a show and dodging stuff, but it was a super memorable show.” Lopez agreed with Higgenson, saying, “It was an intense show with a bunch of metalheads. They would pee in bottles and throw them at us.”

The Plain White T’s are on tour now to promote their new album with upcoming performances all over the United States. Prior to performing at the University, the band was recently in New York for a week where they “ate like kings at the coolest hipster restaurants,” Higgenson said. “De’Mar [the drummer] is a really good ‘Yelper’!” Aside from the fun and the food that the band enjoys on tour, Higgenson explained that, “Playing the show and having the crowd be into it [is the best part]. There really is no feeling like that.”

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