Local Noise: The Nico Blues

The Nico Blues aren’t a blues band, and there‘s no one named Nico in the group. What they are, however, is a very unique, fast-rising band that aims to make The Nico Blues a household name.

“The band name comes from the lead singer of Blind Melon,“ explained Eric Goldberg, who sings, plays guitar and bass in the group.

“The band released only two albums before he died, the second of which is an album called Soup, which is incredible and completely underrated by every music critic ever. Anyway, his name was Shannon Hoon, and his favorite type of flower was a Nikko Blue. He named his daughter Nico Blue Hoon, and because he is from a great, underrated band, we decided to name ourselves The Nico Blues. Blind Melon had a profound effect on our musical pallet in high school, and because of his tragic death we decided to pay tribute to him in the form of our name. He had a very simple way of saying complex things.”

Eric is joined in the band by Evan Campbell; who also sings and plays guitar bass, Reed Adler; who plays guitar, Skylar Adler; who plays drums and doubles as the recording engineer, and Danny Goldberg; who plays guitar. And yes, as the similar surnames indicate, they truly are a band of brothers.

“It’s probably more helpful playing with two sets of brothers simply because we already hate each other, so it’s harder to break up,” Eric laughed. “We’re all brothers though, related or not.”

It’s hard to pin down the band musically, with songs that encapsulate a number of different styles.

“We’d describe our music simply as alternative rock,” Eric related. “Jokingly we’ll refer to it as ‘post-alternacore folk funk.’ We’re influenced by rock music from the 1950s to 2010, and we’ve been compared to bands as diverse as Fugazi, Pavement, the Grateful Dead and the Smashing Pumpkins. We consider ourselves rock connoisseurs.”

Indeed, they seem to have influences that vary widely as far as musical styles.

“We’re inspired by rock music from all decades,” he added. “Our biggest influences are Pavement, Grateful Dead, Early ‘90s Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Bob Dylan, Husker Du and Girls.”

That diversity has led to a CD that contains something for everyone.

“Honestly, our repertoire of songs is pretty diverse and as a result everyone has a different favorite,” Eric said. “Literally, each song on the new album has been named by at least one person as their favorite. That’s exactly what we want. I’d say personally my favorites are ‘Three’s A Crowd,’ ‘Adjust Accordingly’ and ‘Living Proof,’ but I like all of them.”

The way the songs come to fruition is also a varied process.

“It really depends,” Eric continued. “Either I bring a song, Ev brings a song, or we all jam it out as a band. If me or Ev bring a song to the band, everyone adds their own parts and helps develop it. Me and Evan write the lyrics. Usually I sing the songs I write, and Ev sings the songs he writes. We try to outdo ourselves with each new song and never write the same song twice. Some bands write one song over and over again for, like, three decades. We try to do the exact opposite of that.”

The album, like the band, also has a story concerning its unusual name.

“The name of the CD, Blame the Boredom, Blame the Basements, is a line from the band Lifter Puller,” Eric explained. “Lifter Puller was the first band from Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and Tad Kubler. We love those guys and the name fits the record perfectly. A basement is where we record and practice our music. Our entire musical lives and most of our social lives revolve around basements, so it’s the perfect name for the album.”

Besides recording, and the various basement activities, The Nico Blues want to play live as much as possible.

“Absolutely, we’re on a perpetual tour,” Eric said. “We aim to play at least one show a week, and we’ll be playing all over New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia in the upcoming months. We’ll play wherever and for whomever we can. From basements to high class clubs, we’ve played them all!”

The bands plans for the future are both simple and lofty at the same time.

“Our goals are to take over the world,” laughed Eric. “Honestly, we want to be able to play all over the U.S. for people every night. That’s our professional goal and I definitely think that’s attainable. A lot of people have different definitions of what success and ‘making it’ is in the music industry. Ours is simply to play for people every night, have a label release our music, and making a decent living doing it.”

“Anything that may come after achieving that would be beyond our control. Musically, our goal is to keep pushing ourselves to recording the best music we can. One thing about us is that we’re never satisfied with where we are musically and because of that we’re constantly pushing ourselves to write better songs, record the songs in a more groundbreaking way and become better musicians. We’re not a band that’s going to find a niche or a sound and be comfortable with doing the same thing for the next 20 years.”

The group has played for packed houses and empty rooms, and they see that experience is all part of the journey.

“We once played for no one, but the sound guy liked us so much, he wanted us back the next night,” Eric recalled. “The next day we played on a sidewalk in Boston in front of Nuggets Record store. We were literally singing for sidewalks and playing for empty bars and that experience produced the song ‘Three’s A Crowd.’ That song is meant to be an anthem for any DIY, indie band, and it’s about playing your heart out no matter how many people you’re playing for.”

You can download The Nico Blues’ album for free at thenicoblues.com or at thenicoblues.bandcamp.com. You can find out about upcoming appearances at myspace.com/thenicoblues.