Headliner Magazine Issue 33

Page 18

Nick Perri

Sound of the Underground

NICK PERRI: SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND Nick Perri, lead singer and guitarist of Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves, was born to be a musician, and although he has fronted numerous bands throughout his life, Celestion speakers have been a constant throughout his career. Words Alice Gustafson

The very first song that Nick Perri wrote was awful, he says. “I’ll never forget the very first time I actually had a guitar in my hand – I wrote a song. And of course, it was absolutely terrible,” he laughs. “Rubbish, right? But I just kept doing it and doing it, and to this day one of my absolute favourite things to do is just to sit down and write a song.” Perri eventually mastered writing songs that were not rubbish, finding success as the lead singer and guitarist of Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves. Speaking to Headliner from his home in California during lockdown, he does not take his gift for granted: “It’s a really beautiful thing, and I’m grateful for it every day. It’s a gift. I feel like I’m able to tap into something that is perhaps beyond me, and that I’m able to bring something to life.” Perri doesn’t lock himself away and force

18 Headliner

himself to sit down and write songs, instead letting them come to him: “I feel like I’m a conduit. Whatever is going to come through, comes through, and I just get it out for what it is. I’ll decide later if it fits in with what I’m doing, and if it’s something worthy of pursuing for my own artistic thing. If it’s not, then sometimes I might give that song away to someone else, or send it to someone to use for a commercial. I just try to capture them when they come and then hold on, because I don’t know where they come from. Sometimes they just come!” Perri’s obsession with music started in the 90s when his aunt gave him cassette tapes of Pearl Jam’s Ten and AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. “It absolutely changed my entire life! And now, however many years later, I’m still on that path that was set in motion then,” he

recalls. “That was the turning point of my whole life. I immediately started playing guitar and started chasing this thing. I can’t really explain how it happened. I started playing guitar at age 12, and by age 15, I was gigging four or five nights a week, and by 16 I’m signing a multi-million dollar deal with Clive Davis – it happened really fast. And it is crazy. I call it joining the circus. I joined the circus at 16, and I’m still in the circus!” Holy Grail Tone Perri is a longtime Gibson user, and after years of using a complicated guitar rig, has stripped it right back to what he had when he first started: a Gibson Les Paul and an ES335 guitar, paired with a “really, really loud” old Marshall amp. “There’s a reason Gibson and Marshall became an iconic pairing; I call it the holy

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