1.0 – What are your immediate plans for Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra? Finishing our next record: For The Baby Doll. Best one we’ve ever recorded.
2.0 – Many musicians talk about the song that put a spell on them as a youngster, was there one for you as well? So many songs over the years. But the first one was as a near toddler. My dad took me to a little diner called Ted G’s for a hamburger. In the booths were these little jukeboxes at each table you could toss a nickel in, punch a couple switches and hear a tune. I couldn’t read yet but pretended I could and hit a letter and a number I could figure out. Out came “Lucille” by Little Richard. Fixed my idea on the good life forever!
3.0 – What stuff got you off most when you first started playing guitar? Hendrix, Hendrix and more Hendrix.
4.0 – Are their triggers in your life today that lead you to write or is it more of an applied science of sorts? There’s little things, melodies and phases I collect for later. I only write when I feel it. Some come fast. Some sit around for years. Try not to push it out if I don’t have to.
5.0 – I imagine there were industry folks early on that wanted to put you in a tidy category or confine your direction, how did you deal with it? Never got into music to be pushed around. There was a time I thought people in the biz’s opinions were smarter than mine but it’s been proved wrong too many times to heed that anymore. As for changing things up record to record, NTO and I thrive on it. Probably wouldn’t have been able to hold the band together had we started repeating ourselves. These boys want an adventure.
6.0 – What artists do critics assume are the pillars of your musical influence? any they seem to often miss? As of late we’ve had some pretty accurate people writing about us. I think it’d be impossible to really nail down what influences anyone one of us, though. We listen to everything and it rolls around in our heads and hands and comes out the way it does. The list would be way to diverse and abstract to try and track down.
7.0 – As a Chicagoan, do you think the tradition of the Chicago blues has any role in your ethos or music? NTO is totally a regional band with Chi-town blues pocket. Our musical accent in our backbeat and have been told so by some really perceptive musicians from around the country. Do I hear it a lot in other bands in town outside of the blues? Not very often. Regional groove has begun to become a bit of an antique I guess.
8.0 – Is there a trick to reading an audience? No trick really. You can feel it though when you’re all in it at the same time. When the audience and the band all feel the moment together. It’s a pretty amazing thing and if there’s a trick to getting there, I don’t want to know what it is.
9.0 – With so much material to choose from, how do you approach writing set lists? We just try different things every time to keep it fun for ourselves. We try not to stick with one thing or another. I could probably be better at it. Some of my pals are the best set makers around. I try and learn from them.
10.0 – Suppose you are caught in a time-loop like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, what gig are you forced to re-live over and over again? Any of our shows with Alejandro Escovedo at Fitzgeralds. Best friend. Best club.