CD Review: Thomas Nicholas Band “Security [EP]”

Thomas Nicholas Band
Security [EP]
Tracks: 4
Length: 13 minutes
Produced by Thomas Nicholas & Matt Kennedy

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Last summer, I caught a concert with Thomas Ian Nicholas here in Orlando, FL and being a fan of his earlier four albums, I remember hearing a few amazing new songs that were not yet released. During the show, Thom discussed exploring a more “indie rock” sound with these new songs and I have to admit, they are probably some of his best songs. Along with Thom on this album are three of the original members of The Graduate including Matt Kennedy, Tim Moore & Jared Wuestenberg. I hope Thom continues to explore this genre because these songs are absolutely amazing.

These songs were written by Thom and Caleb Turman (from the band TEAM*) and produced by Thom and Matt (from The Graduate). There are four tracks on this EP and each song is better than the one before it. “Security” is one hell of a catchy, powerful and all around fun as hell song. I can see this being a huge hit on the radio! I challenge you to listen to this song and not have it stuck in your head for days (especially the chorus). “Don’t Stop” has this real indie feel and features some great guitar work. Having heard these songs a few times live, they are quite different (but not in a bad way at all).

“Terrified” is my wife’s favorite track. This was the song that stuck out the most when we heard it live last summer. This track sounds the most different live than the produced studio version, in my opinion. I personally prefer it live but I still really dig this song since it is jam packed with energy. The last track “It’s Over” is a track that has really grown on me since first hearing it. After listening to it a few times, I love the constant beat behind it and the overall tone of the track. My main issue with this EP overall is the fact that it is an EP, I want more songs and I can’t wait to see what Thom and his band comes up with next.

“SECURITY EP” is now available on iTunes (for ONLY $3.96)
You can also order a CD directly from the band’s webstore.

Concert Review: Thomas Nicholas Band, Mulligan’s Pub – Celebration, FL

Thomas Nicholas Band
Mulligan’s Pub
Celebration, FL
April 23, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

You might recognize Thomas Ian Nicholas from his film roles in the “American Pie” films or the baseball classic “Rookie of the Year”, but he is also a singer/songwriter and has a band, TNB aka Thomas Nicholas Band. I had the privilege of meeting Thom back in 2010 and have become friends over the years. I never really knew he was into music until that time, I was just a fan of his films. Let’s just say that besides being a talented actor…this guy can fucking sing! I have been to tons of concerts and I really haven’t had an experience like when I go to one of Thom’s shows. He not only sings songs from his five albums, he also does a ton of amazing (and spot on) covers. He just got finished touring the UK and if you can get a chance to catch one of his shows, you will not be sorry.

At this particular show, it was a stripped down acoustic solo act but he had such presence behind him that it felt far from a one-man show. Throughout the show he used a looper pedal to add to his songs and I can’t even tell you how amazing it was. I first saw him live last summer and I was blown away then with his performance. This time we brought some friends along and when he looped his guitar and voice on songs like “Security”, our friends literally whipped around to us and were flipping out. He literally sounds like he has a whole band along with him and if you just walked in from outside you would have thought the same.

I am a big believer in inspiration behind music and really getting into a song when listening and you can tell when Thom is up there jamming that he also escapes into his music. With songs like “Heroes Are Human” and “Terrified”, there is so much heart poured out into these songs. His vocal range is really impressive as well especially on his covers of Tom Petty’s “Free Falling”, Weezer’s “Say it Ain’t So” and (my favorite) Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”. Thom if you are reading this bro, you need to get these recorded! This guy also has the endurance of a bull (even while drinking) playing for for nearly three hours with only a short break. I am not just saying this either as a friend, I literally will go out of my way just to catch a show of Thom’s because he is such a talent artist and his shows leave you pumped.

Blu-ray Review “Odd Thomas”

Actors: Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe, Addison Timlin
Directors: Stephen Sommers
Rated: Unrated
DVD Release Date: March 25, 2014
Run Time: 96 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

“Odd Thomas” is based on Dean Koontz’s novel of the same name. It is directed, written and co-produced by Stephen Sommers, aka the director of “The Mummy” and “Van Helsing”. It stars the fantastic Anton Yelchin (“Fright Night”, “Star Trek”) and Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man”). Where the hell did this film come from? And I also thought to myself why didn’t this film get a bigger release? Then I saw it. It is very ambitious and quite visual but also lacking that big-budget success factor. I call this a one-timer. But if you are a hardcore fan of the book, this is very true and will let you satisfied.

Official Premise: Small-town fry cook Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) is an ordinary guy with a paranormal secret: he sees dead people, everywhere. When a creepy stranger shows-up with an entourage of ghostly bodachs – predators who feed on pain and portend mass destruction – Odd knows that his town is in serious trouble. Teaming up with his sweetheart Stormy (Addison Timlin) and the local sheriff (Willem Dafoe), Odd plunges into an epic battle of good vs evil to try to stop a disaster of apocalyptic proportions.

Since this is from director of “The Mummy”, you would expect that this would be very visual effects heavy and in fact it actually is. The film packs some great VFX and the 1080p transfer support it very well. The film is also quite dark yet it still is very sharp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track also works well with the jumps and the creepy/yet action packed score. There are no special features included, which just blows my mind and screams LAZY to be honest. A featurette on the visual effects alone would have been great.

Blu-ray Review “Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway – The Movie”

Voices of: David Bedella, Jonathan Forbes, Teresa Gallagher, Bob Golding
Directed by: David Baas
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Lyons / Hit Ent.
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Run Time: 62 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

It’s been a while since the last time I watched this series. In fact it was back in with the theatrical film “Thomas and the Magic Railroad”, which I actually saw in theaters. But now having a 15 month old child of my own, I have been reintroduced into the world of “Thomas & Friends”. “Thomas & Friends” is currently the number one preschool toy license in the US and only getting more popular! “Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway” is an all-new CG animated epic movie adventure that is sure to have fans of all ages yelling “ALL ABOARD!” Fans of the show will also be excited for the introduction of four new engines and one new destination on the Island of Sodor. This film is not only entertaining but it also very educational. A must for all “Thomas & Friends” fans!

Official Premise: Join Thomas & Friends as they embark on a legendary movie adventure! The steam team’s quest begins when a special guest arrives on Sodor with a big surprise and important jobs for Thomas, Percy and James. The engines meet new friends and discover suits of armor; coats of arms and legends of long-ago heroes. Then their bravery is put to the test when their new friend Stephen goes missing. Will Thomas find him in time? Will the engines discover the truth about the Island of Sodor’s biggest mystery? It’s a crusade of knightly proportions for Thomas & Friends in this epic movie!

“Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway” pulls into the station in a very cool Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack. The 1080p transfer is very crisp for this CGI animated film. The DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 track works very well with the film’s music, which will have kids singing along. The colors in the film are vibrant and very warm. The kids are going to love this and the series has never looked better. In terms of special features, I was pretty impressed since there is a bunch of fun extras for the kiddies. We have two interactive games including “The Search for the Lost Crown” and “Guess Who? Puzzles. There are also three Karaoke Music Videos included for the following songs: “It’s Gonna Be a Great Day”, “Searching Everywhere” and “Working Together!”

Oleander’s Thomas Flowers talks about latest album “Something Beautiful”

Thomas Flowers is the lead vocalist for the group Oleander. The group burst on to the scene in the mid nineties with their hit song “Why I’m Here”. In 2004 the group went on an unofficial hiatus while Flowers and the rest of the band worked on other projects. On April 16th the band is set to release their first studio album in 10 years titled “Something Beautiful” and Media Mikes was able to talk with Thomas recently about the bands time off and the new album.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about why the band decided to take such a long break between albums?
Thomas Flowers: The band broke away from our obligations regarding the music industry but we never broke up as a band. We wanted to take time off as we all enjoy being home so much. We just kept extending that time off. At the same time we felt we were giving ourselves the opportunities to create some life experiences that we could then draw upon when we decided to switch back in to band mode. That break gave us a nice body of experiences that we could draw on. For me as a lyricist the break was very good. When we stepped back in to things the reason was to just get back in there as a band and play and have fun. Within 15 minutes we had the start of the song “Daylight”. It was at that point that we knew we had something going. There was a lot of excitement during those sessions and it was great to get back to what made us want to play music in the first place.

AL: What has it been like working on the new album?
TF: The creative process from start to finish was probably the easiest and most enjoyable album we have put together. We had zero pressure and all the time in the world to work on this record and we took advantage of that. We wanted to make sure that we all were completely satisfied with every aspect of each song. When you hear this album I think people will really understand what I am talking about. We spent as much time with each particular track as we felt necessary. This was something that we were never really able to do before due to limited budgets and specific time lines.

AL: Was it difficult in anyway going back in to the studio after such an extended break?
TF: No. It all felt very natural. The studio and rehearsal room is an environment that we thrive in. For me the most enjoyable part of the record cycle is the writing and recording process. Even under the stress that comes with doing an album I still feel very comfortable being in the studio working. That’s really where the creative process is.

AL: Is the material that makes up the new album songs you have had for awhile or did these songs come out of just jamming together again?
TF: It was all stuff that came from getting back together. Certainly we all would have separate ideas but then we would collaborate. We have gotten to the point as a band where we are very collaborative and work quite well together. Everybody contributed to each song. This was something that we always kind of strived for as we wanted the songs to reflect each of us. Musically we really came together as a band.

AL: What made you choose “Something Beautiful” as the album’s first single?
TF: Our job is defined by writing and recording the songs that we feel are the best ones we come up with. Once that is done we take the finished project to our label. From there they give us feedback as to what they think might be the best song to release. It came down to the songs “Never Too Late” and “Something Beautiful”. They felt “Something Beautiful” had a little bit more potential impact with radio. We liked both songs so we were happy choosing either one.

AL: What type of tour plans do you guys have in the works?
TF: We have a few dates scheduled in Texas at some festivals where we will be playing with Bush. After that we come back home and get ready for our album release party in Sacramento. In May we will be playing at “Rock on the Range” in Ohio. We plan to be very busy touring this year but we want to make sure that we are smart about how we do it. For years we travelled all over racking up expenses. This time around we want to be more conscientious about how we do things. The days of jumping in a van and playing for a case of beer have long since passed. (Laughs)

AL: Looking back on your career thus far how do you think the band has changed since things first took off for you?
TF: Comparatively we were kids when we wrote and released “February Sun”. We were very fortunate that the album had such an impact on radio and listeners. At the start outside of playing live we were clueless about the industry. We learned a lot over the 10 years we were active and stepping back in to the game now we feel we are more mature and savvy when it comes to not only what is expected of us but also what options are available to us today. We are more aware of the things that help make revenue for the band and not just for the label. Social media is another big change. I wish it was something we had back in the day. When we were first started the only social media you had was touring. That was again limited to the people who came to the shows night to night and when we left the venue we were out of sight out of mind. Social media is a great opportunity for us to connect with our fans and potential fans. We are pretty aggressive with updates and answering people’s requests as it not only puts us in touch with fans that have followed the band for some time and it also opens us up to new listeners.


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Megan Thomas Bradner talks about producing “Iron Man: Rise of Technovore”

Megan Thomas Bradner is the director of development and production at Marvel Animation. She has worked on TV shows like “Iron Man: Armored Adventures”, the “Marvel Anime” series and also producing the new feature film “Iron Man: Rise of Technovore”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Megan about the film and also the Marvel Universe.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role on the film “Iron Man: Rise of Technovore”?
Megan Thomas Bradner: I am the director of development and production at Marvel Animation. I have been with the Marvel Anime almost since the beginning. I came on after it was premiered at Comic-Con and I have worked on all of the TV series since then.

MG: Having produced “Iron Man: Armored Adventures” and the “Marvel Anime” TV series; how did this feature film differ?
MTB: I appreciate that we have a little more time with the feature than we did with the TV series shows. With the TV series, we were under the gun.  When we worked on the animes they were all around the same time as each other. “Iron Man” was done around the same time as “Wolverine” and X-Men” was done around the same
time as “Blade”. With the feature, we had time to sit down and talk about the story and which characters we wanted to use.

MG: Do you think we could expect more feature films based on the Marvel Animes?
MTB: We love the Marvel Universe. I am a big fan myself. I would love to return to the anime series. We are currently seeing what is going to happen with that. But we also would love to do another movie. We had such a great experience on “Technovore”, so I would love to do it again!

MG: I think we need more Norman Reedus as “The Punisher”?
MTB: He was great. We are all big “The Walking Dead” fans and we thought that we would never be able to get him. But luckily he is a fan himself, so that was a pretty cool opportunity. I was able to watch in the recording booth and get to see him turn into The Punisher right before our eyes. So that was super cool.

MG: What is your favorite aspect about working with the “Iron Man” franchise?
MTB: The aspect that is so attractive about Iron Man is that he is that human character that you can identity with. He is not perfect. He is this guy, who had to built this suit around him in order to protect him since he has this damaged heart. He recognized that he has done something wrong (in the beginning) and tries to change. I think we can all relate to that.

MG: In the world Marvel universe, who is your all-time favorite character?
MTB: I would have to go with Jean Grey from X-Men. In this film “Technovore”, I am a big Pepper Potts fan. I would love one day to get her in the armor…maybe in the future.

The Dude Designs’ Thomas Hodge talks creating art for the horror genre

Thomas Hodge is the man behind The Dude Designs ( He is a
freelance film poster art director, designer and illustrator for such films as “Hobo With a Shotgun”, “The Innkeepers”, “Fathers Day!”, Arrow Video Covers: “Savage Streets”, “Jaguar Lives” and many others. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Thomas about his work and his love for the horror genre.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your got started with The Dude Designs?
Thomas Hodge: It was creative frustration and a passion for film. I’ve been in the design industry for over twelve years now, going through all types of design from corporate business to in-store promo for toys & DVD’s, general design agencies and have spent quite a few years in and out the games industry, creating key art for packaging etc. Creatively I felt I was always held back from producing something which would standout. so I rediscovered my love of old video cover art and that sent the old cogs grinding and i started experimenting more with styles and design to tap into that classic vain, in a market i felt was running dry creatively.  I suppose the initial inspiration was for an intoxicated night at the midnight movies screening of the grindhouse film. I was over there with a bunch of mates and they had silly draw a grindhouse poster so I entered my drunken scrawl for a poster of DUDE! Which I then later worked up into one of my early video cover experiments:

MG: How did you get involved doing film posters and DVD/Blu-ray covers?
TH: Like I said I started experimenting creating flyers for midnight movies night. It’s easier to start the wheels in motion design wise (I find) if you have a purpose, so doing the flyers on the side gave me that initial push (i was still working full time creatively) but it made me experiment with my passion of film as the medium, if you will. Creating the blog then gave me a platform to get this work out there for people to see. So from there I then was starting an art project creating old video nasty covers really getting wrapped up in all the little design niches that I loved, I was still working more with photographic imagery so to really capture that inspiration essence which excited me about this type of art I needed to push it further, and I worked on a self project titled Cannon (a mock 70 crime action drama based on my love of “Death Wish” and 70s Italian crime cinema) then I tackled a competition for Empire Film Mag in the UK and the response was great, with that style and my other work at Sony I picked up the arrow covers. Still wanting to push it further I saw the release of “Hobo “loved it and contacted the guys about creating a poster, they said sure love to see what you can do, i worked my nuts off on that. they loved it so much they brought it and used it… the rest as they say is history, but I’m still trying to push my style and work further with each project, I’m aiming for world domination of bust!

MG: Your work is a breath of fresh air from all the lame (giant heads) Hollywood posters, tell us about your influence?
TH: EVERYTHING from my childhood to adolescence, video rental shop shelves. Artist wise Graham Humphrey’s work form films like “Evil Dead”, “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “The Return of The Lliving Dead”, “Spookies”, “The Stuff”… man the list goes on. Enzo Sciotti, who is an amazing Italian poster artist from the 70’s and 80’s. Frant Frazetta for his use of form and figures is just incredible!  Even the more minimal work of Stephen Frankfurt has influenced me. All the greats which seem to have been forgotten about and over looked, good design has been excluded from commercial (I’m not talking about ‘limited edition’ screen prints) film posters for far too long now. The responsibility of that doesn’t come down to the designers either it’s the distributors who feel dumb is best to sell. My work has been swapped out for some appalling designs on DVD releases; did you SEE what they did to the Innkeepers in the UK? I’m always searching out new inspiration trying to push the envelope.

MG: How much freedom do you have when working on a project?
TH: Again it depends on the client, I usually try to get a lot though, why higher me else? If you’re going to pay me I will promise to deliver the best god damn poster design I can to appropriately promote your film to an audience. A lot of the time they will request a montage style poster, so that will be the framework but I like to experiment and try to sell other styles in to. At the end of the day I’m trying to get people trusting in what I do creatively and I sell myself more as a creative director of these projects. Working with directors directly gives the most freedom I find, they trust you and it usually forms the best relationships. I don’t do design by committee been there done that.

MG: What do you enjoy most about working in the horror genre?
TH: The fantasy element, it gives you that fun visual hook to play with. You can let your imagination run wild; I wish people would make more rubber monster films again. I feel I make as many twisted action flick as horror though.

MG: What is your favorite 80’s horror films? Current horror film?
TH: Oh man, how longs a piece of string? Er…. I honestly can’t say. I love them all for their 80’s cheesy. More modern is easier as there’s a lot less on the list (excluding all the ones i worked on as I don’t want to be seen showing favoritism) “Wendigo”, “Last Winter”, “I Can See You”, “Session 9”, “Pontypool”, “28 Days later”, “Altered”, “The Objective”, “Let The Right One In (Swedish)” and “Insidious” (that’s quite a mainstream one for me) stood out for me.

MG: How do you approach a project like the design for “They Live” Blu-ray?
TH: Well I look at what the films message is, visually how its approach and style, setting are. Then work on a visual which reflects those messages to the viewer. it’s an 80s action extravaganza combined with social commentary, staring one of the greatest wrestlers ever. So that’s what I drew! I was so enamored in the film in my head I was trying to produce a piece which had almost religious iconography undertones and Piper with Keith where latter day saints standing against adversity! Crazy shit hey, at first you may see big guns but if you look deeper there are messages. It doesn’t need to be like a minimal to be clever!

MG: What other projects do you have planned upcoming?
TH: We two corking (actually four) posters yet to get released for “Almost Human”, “Wake Before I Die” (bit of a change of gear on that one so see how people react, that’s always fun!). Then I got another poster for “Would You Rather” (which has a classic flavor) and a big fun monster one for “Hypothermia”, if they release it.

Midnight Red’s Thomas Augusto talks music with Media Mikes

Thomas Augusto is a member of the pop group Midnight Red. The group has recently released a new single titled “Hell Yeah” and Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Thomas about the single and the groups plans for the summer.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the formation of the group?
Thomas Augusto: I first met Eric Secharia about 5 or 6 years ago. He at the time was living in California and I was living in Texas. Eric had started to put a group together with Anthony Ladao and they called me to join them. From there we found Colton Rudloff by searching “kid that can sing” on YouTube and, from there we had found Joey Diggs through a mutual producer. That was pretty much the formation of Midnight Red.

AL: What was it like when you all first got together in the same room for the first time?
TA: I think we were all measuring each other up. There was definitely no tension but we were trying to figure out what each other was about. We had actually met Colton and Joey on the exact same day. We took some time to get to know each other but once we were Midnight Red things were effortless.Everything blended together well and it seemed meant to be.

AL: What is the group’s writing process like?
TA:  There is a mixture. Some of the things we write on our own and some of it is written as a group. Anthony is a very talented producer who makes some great beats. We usually will just bring all of our ideas together and go from there.

AL: Can you tell us about the new single “Hell Yeah”?
TA: We recorded “Hell yeah” in Paris with Red One. It was just a blast! It’s a really cool song that we all like. The song fuses several genres in to one. There are some huge pop elements in the song along with dance elements and hip-hop elements. There is a guitar riff in the song that almost reminds me of Red Hot Chili Peppers.

AL: How did the idea for the song come about?
TA: “Hell yeah” was actually created by Red One and his team. We first heard the instrumental portion of the track before it was even done being made. There was a portion of the chorus done but when we heard it we just started exchanging ideas.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands EP?
TA: The EP is currently available on ITunes and was something we put out to help promote us out on the roadduring our tour with New Kids on the Block and The Backstreet Boys. We worked with Red One on that as well and it was a really fun project. We recorded it in Los Angeles and performed a number of the songs while we were out on that tour. The EP gives fan a taste of what they can expect from the full length album.

AL: What are the bands plans for the rest of this year?
TA: The full length album will be out towards the end of this year. We also will be touring and doing a lot of radio promotion.

Concert Review: Thomas Dolby “Time Capsule Tour” Ridgefield, CT

Thomas Dolby
“Time Capsule Tour”
The Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT
March 31, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“I keep hearing about artists who have made a big comeback album after 2 years. Try two decades.”

Yes, indeed: it’s been 20 years since Thomas Dolby released his last disc comprised of original material, 1992’s “Astronauts & Heretics”. And it’s been 30 years since the release of his signature hit song, “She Blinded Me With Science”, in 1982.

None of the elapsed decades seemed to make any difference whatsoever at the Ridgefield Playhouse stop of Thomas’ appropriately-named “Time Capsule” tour, though. Throughout the entire show, Dolby more than adequately proved that his abilities as both a musician and a songwriter have not diminished one iota over the course of time that he’s been largely absent from the music scene. And he’s still one hell of a storyteller, both in terms of lyrics and between-song recollections and anecdotes that are full of his distinct British wit and accessible sophistication.

Even though Dolby may be dismissed by most as an 80’s one-hit-wonder, his musical catalog has always showcased a myriad of musical styles and influences – all of which he handles with a degree of mastery that makes each foray its own wonderful little aural journey. The cross-section of songs played in Ridgefield readily displayed this as Dolby bounced from quiet piano ballads (“Love is a Loaded Pistol”) to ethereal jazz crooning (“The Flat Earth”) and even some toe-tappin’ knee-slapping country bluegrass (“The Toad Lickers”).

Unlike his one-man “Sole Inhabitant” tour in 2006 in which he surrounded himself on three sides with an array of techogadgetry and delivered songs entirely synthesized, Dolby brought along a backing band this time around. Comprised of drummer Matt Hector and guitarist Kevin Armstrong (with occasional appearances by opening act bluegrass musicians Aaron Jonah Lewis and Ben Belcher), his musical entourage added the right level of instrumentation to Dolby’s songs – never overpowering the maestro’s keyboards but never slipping too far into the background as to become irrelevant.

The 110-minute, 16-song set concert touched upon all of five of his studio releases, including his most-recent release, “A Map of the Floating City”. There was even time for one mega-obscurity: 1986’s collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto, “Field Work”, a song that had never appeared on a Dolby album until the 2009 reissue of his debut disc, “The Golden Age of Wireless”. And, of course, a little bit of “Science” was thrown in for good measure.

It’s refreshing to have Dolby back on the scene performing music that’s every bit as powerful as it was decades ago as well as new material that easily matches the caliber of his earlier work. In a day and age that seems to produce so few virtuoso musicians, Dolby’s “Time Capsule” is a pill that, when taken, reminds us how rich and rewarding pop music can be when prescribed by someone as gifted as he genuinely is. One can only hope that Thomas doesn’t go on another multi-year sabbatical. I’m going to need a refill sooner than that.

To read Dave’s interview with Thomas Dolby, please click here.
To read Dave’s review of Thomas Dolby’s “A Map of the Floating City”, please click here.

For more information about Thomas Dolby, visit

Thomas Ian Nicholas talks about “American Reunion”

Thomas Ian Nicholas is currently appearing in the 4th film in the “American Pie” series, “American Reunion”. This film marks the complete return of the original cast from the first film. Thomas also is currently touring with his band, TNB. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Thomas again about “American Reunion” and also his music.

Mike Gencarelli: What was it like the first day when you got to set and the entire group was there?
Thomas Ian Nichols: Filming is always like a jumbled group of actors and it’s something you don’t have any control over. The first time that we got together was prior to shooting. We did some table readings and screen tests that everyone was at. When I first walked into the room it was a trip. On one hand I had thought I matured as I am married now and had a child on the way. As soon as I walked into that room I reverted back to my youth. We started talking and during the table read it felt like no time had passed at all. It was very surreal.

MG: Was there any particular highlights for you from filming?
TIN: Each film has been subsequently more fun to make. I think each time we know each other a little more and we have history together. The first film we were kids and I was just happy to have a job. The second film was a giant party, and the third film was just a big celebration. This film being 10 years later and also the first one to be shot on location was just nuts! All the other films were shot in Los Angeles so at the end of the day we would all just go home. When you are on location you are away from your friends and family. We spent a lot of time just hanging out.

MG: Can you tell us about how your character Kevin has been up to?
TIN: I had never really considered a reunion. Jon and Hayden I think chose wisely for Kevin. He is doing what we would expect him to be doing. He has gotten married and moved on from Vickie. He has kept in touch with everybody and is working as an architect. Kevin is also a good cook and there is a line in the film about him being Jim’s favorite house wife. Kevin acts as the ring leader to bring everyone back together again.

MG: What does this film bring new to the table?
TIN: I think what it brings new is also what it brings old. Jon and Hayden are really big fans of the original film and the franchise. They really sought out to capture the heart of the first movie. When I first saw the film I thought they achieved that and so much more. I kind of consider “American Reunion” to be the perfect sequel to the first movie.

MG: Can you tell us about your song on the soundtrack?
TIN: I have tried to pitch songs to be on all of the “American Pie” films. This time I recorded a song that I knew was going to be on the soundtrack already and pitched the idea to Jon and Hayden. I ended up playing the wrap party for the film which was something I had never done before. After hearing me they asked to include one of my songs on the album. They didn’t use the cover I did of “Laid” as they chose to go with the original James version. They ended up going with an original song of mine that is off my new album titled “My Generation”.

MG: Can you tell us about the “American Reunion” college tour?
TIN: During the month of February I traveled around to 20 different colleges playing concerts and promoting the movie. I wanted to make sure that the next generation was aware of the film so I came up with this idea to spread the word.

MG: What other projects do you have planned?
TIN: My new album will be coming out so I plan to be out supporting that. As far as films “The Chicago 8” where I play Abbie Hoffman should be coming out hopefully later this year. I also have a few other projects I am working on. I am always keeping busy.

The Sole Inhabitant Returns: An Interview with Thomas Dolby

Quick:  Who is Thomas Dolby?

If you said “The ‘She Blinded Me with Science’ dude”, you’re probably in a vast majority.   But, as Dolby’s long-time fans know, he’s far more than just being the artist responsible for the irresistibly catchy song that propelled him to the top of the charts and made him a staple of MTV’s golden era.   In addition to a being technological pioneer both inside and outside of the recording studio, Thomas’ musical career boasts a body of innovative work that includes five albums, the most recent of which – “A Map of the Floating City” – is his first since 1992.  It’s a triumphant return and one that hopefully marks the beginning of an equally prolific stage for him as a singer, songwriter and performer.

In talking with Thomas, he touched upon the things that drove him to create new music, reflected back on experiences from early on in his career, and how he’s seen the music industry and new talent evolve into the modern era.  We even had a chance to Cher our views on a certain vocal effect.

Dave Picton:  “The Map of the Floating City” is your first new album of studio material in 20 years. What made you want to return to creating and releasing new music after all of that time?
Thomas Dolby:  I suppose I just had some new songs that I wanted to get out.  You know, they say often with an artist’s first album, that you’ve had 20 years of life experience to draw from and, with your second album, you’ve had six months of airport lounges and hotel bars. [laughs] I felt that I’d had another 20 years of life experience to draw from.  I had a lot of good ideas and things that I wanted to express.

DP:  “Map” certainly wound up being quite autobiographical in nature.   What influenced that approach?
TD:  Well, I think the biggest influence on me, really, is my environment.  I think especially that moving and becoming displaced and that feeling of dislocation is a strong sort of catalyst of new songs for me.  So that sort of explains the map and the three continents reflecting three places that I’ve lived.  There’s “Urbanoia” and it clearly shows that I’m not a city person.  In “Amerikana”, the aggregate of me living in the States was a really good one.  I’m drawn to indigenous American music because we don’t really have indigenous music here in the UK.  That may sound strange to say, but I tend to charitably think of us being very original and innovative and so on, but in fact what we’re really good at is sort of plundering musical styles from elsewhere in the world and putting a cool sort of wrap on them and re-exploiting them.  A sort of musical imperialism, you know?  [laughs]  So, with the “Amerikana” section, it was sort of a nod in the direction of roots and old-time American music but with a unique sort of British tint to it.  And then “Oceanea” was really about coming home to England and feeling very comfortable in the environment here.  I live in a tiny village on the coast where my mum’s side of the family is from.  She never had the chance to meet my family.  She would have been very proud to see them back here growing up and learning to love it the way she did.

DP:  Jumping back to the notion of combining musical styles and using them in your music, what things were you listening to at the beginning that made you want to go into music and stuff you continue to listen to throughout your career?
TD:  Fairly diverse and eclectic music. I was always more into individuals with a unique voice and rock and roll band music.

DP:  Any one in particular?
TD:   When I was a teenager, David Bowie was a big influence.  Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison were big influences.  These are all wide varieties of different styles of music but what they all have in common is a unique lyrical voice.  The music that they made with the arrangements they created and the production and so on all served to tell a story.  They all wrote songs that you could have sat down and sung on the piano and they still would have made sense.

DP:  Is there a favorite genre that you like to settle into and work with or are all of them pretty comfortable and enjoyable to work with?
TD:  Well, what I enjoy most is working with a genre that I’m not too familiar with because it’s an exploration.  I tend to steer clear of styles that I’m too fluent in because there’s less randomness to it.  It’s more predictable.  So I find it stimulating to work in a new style.

DP:  If I snagged your iPod and pressed “random”, what artists would I hear?  Would you be one of them?
TD:  Well, inevitably, there’s a few of mine on there because I need to take them with me to listen to all sorts of rough mixes and things like that.  But, besides that, you would hear Iggy Pop.  Bjork.  Dan Hicks. T-Rex.  Marvin Gaye.  Trentemøller.  Athlete.  Venus Hum.  BT.  And some of the others I mentioned earlier.

DP:  You embraced technology from the very beginning of your career.  A great many things have happened in that realm since your first album, “The Golden Age of Wireless”.  Has evolving technology changed the way you approach writing music and what do you think the effect of it has been on music in general?
TD:  I think that the main difference is that D.I.Y. music has become possible.  You couldn’t do anything yourself in 1980.  You needed somebody to fund you to go into a studio, which is very expensive and is the only place to make a high-quality recording.  You also needed somebody with distribution power or else the public would never get to hear what you made.  So there was sort of this obstacle course that you needed to get through before you ever got in front of an audience.   Many people that were very talented didn’t make it through those hurdles.  Today, there’s absolutely nothing to stop you getting out in front of the audience without any outside help at all.  For a few hundred bucks, you can have a recording studio on your laptop and services that, without any investment up front, will help you distribute your music.  This is great news for talented youngsters because all talented youngsters believe “Well, as soon as the world hears me, they’re going to fall in love with me and I’ll be a mega-star!”  But, back in my day, we were actually kidding ourselves.  We first needed the industry to fall in love with us.  That has very wide implications.  The first is that it’s a very healthy thing for the music itself because, back then, if you sat down to write a song, you were worried whether or not you can get a cassette to the A&R man or, even if you weren’t really signed, would the marketing department and the promotion guys really go for it? Is radio going to play it?  Is retail going to stock it?  You were concerned about all of those things and they preyed on your mind when you wrote a song. Or at least they did on mine.

DP:   Was this phenomenon one that was relevant to you in the period between “Golden Age” and your second album, “The Flat Earth”?
TD:  I think it was relevant to me to an extent because there was a lot of pressure on me to repeat the formula that had made “She Blinded Me with Science” successful.  In industry terms, the textbook thing to have done would have been to have trotted out another half-dozen quirky synth-pop hits with gimmicky videos and those people would have told me “Then, Thomas…you can gradually turn people around to your more personal intimate music.”  [laughs]  But I’m impatient.  I had a lot more depth in me and I wanted to jump right on to the more important stuff.  This didn’t sit too well with the industry.  There was friction there and it was ultimately disappointing, really, that the industry couldn’t get behind my more personal material especially when it turned out that, over the years, when the internet emerged and so on, you could get more feedback from the fans other than just record sales.  You could actually hear what they thought of one song or another and what they appreciated about your music and how they found out about it and so on.  Suddenly the internet enabled the audience to feed back to the creator and it turned out that – big surprise – songs that they were really into were not “She Blinded Me with Science” or “Hyperactive!”.  The songs that they were into were “Screen Kiss” and “Budapest by Blimp” and “I Love You, Goodbye” which are my favorite songs as well.  It was hard for me during the 80’s to persuade my record label that they should put some weight behind those and I partly have myself to blame for that because they’d seen me make a lot of money with “She Blinded Me with Science” and they felt “Well, why can’t you just do that?”

DP:  Was the inclusion of “Hyperactive!” on “Flat Earth” sort of fulfilling of that end of the bargain to an extent?  It certainly seemed to be a song that was out of place with the rest of the songs on that album.
TD:  You know, I don’t want to give you the impression that I despise the poppy side to what I do.  I mean, I like the spectrum of things that I do.  Even on the new album, something like “Toad Lickers” which is clearly a little bit tongue-in-cheek and a little ironic, is lot more frivolous than the more meaty material on the album.  So I do enjoy it.  There’s a side of my nature that wants to do those kinds of things as well as the other ones.  But I guess with a song like that there is a distraction.  It’s impossible for someone with a record label mentality or a radio mentality to see the wood for the trees, really.  You know, I’d go into my company’s office at the time of the “Flat Earth” album and they’d say “Oh, Thomas! You wouldn’t believe it!  All of the secretaries here are in love with ‘Screen Kiss’ and they’re all humming it and playing it and saying what a beautiful song it is!” and I’m going “Great!  Are we going to go with it as a single?”  “No…we’re looking for something more like ‘Hyperactive!’ or ‘She Blinded Me with Science’.”  So the good news is that these days you don’t have to be accountable like that to anybody else other than your audience.  As an example, the first song off of the new album that we promoted at all was “Oceanea” and there’s no beat to it.  It’s kind of radio catastrophe. [laughs]  But, at the same time, I’d seen the reaction of my audience to that song that it had the deepest affect on people.   And I thought “Well, you put your best foot forward”, you know? That’s what you go with.

DP:  For “Map of the Floating City”, did you put out a couple of songs, get the fan feedback and then say to yourself “Oh, I was going to go in this direction but this is an interesting idea, I think I’ll go in a different direction” or were the songs already in the can?  And to what extent does the interaction with your audience play into when you’re starting to write and compose songs?
TD:  I wouldn’t say that it affects me directly.  I think that I do it for a couple of reasons partly because I like the moral support that I get, both from the audience and the making of the music as well.  I feel that, rather than working in a void, there’s an active audience out there that’s ever eager to get a hold of my new material.  I tend to work on my own and just bring in other musicians for specific tasks so it’s not like there’s a core group of us that sit down every day to press on with the album.  So I miss that camaraderie but what I gain by having a tight loop with the audience is that I can sneak stuff out in a fairly stealthy way and get feedback from it.  Invariably they’re pleased with what I do, but every now and then something doesn’t get as good of a reaction as I had hoped and it sort of makes me go “Hmm…I wonder what they’re not seeing in this.”  So I think it definitely influences me but it doesn’t radically change the choices that I make in terms of the songs themselves and the way that they’re arranged and presented.  I’ll give you an example: on the original demo for the song “Oceanea”, I used a processing effect on the voice in the first verse which involved heavily compressing and filtering the vocal and keening certain syllables.  It’s kind of what AutoTune does in an automated way but I was sort of doing it manually. I did it that way specifically as an experiment because I thought that it gave it a certain vulnerability.  Because of that, I got some backlash from people that said “Eeewww…I hate AutoTune!  I’ve hated it ever since Cher!”

DP:  Well, I hate to say it Thomas, but I was one of those people.  I wrote a review of “Map of the Floating City” that you wound up commenting on specifically in regards to that track and AutoTune.
TD:  Oh, OK.  Well it doesn’t bother me that people have those reactions.  As you noticed, despite that, I didn’t change it.  I stuck to my guns on it and I’m still glad that I did.  I perform the song live now and I miss that effect, not just because I can’t sing it in tune [laughs] but because it has a certain innocence about it.  Unfortunately, it pushed the wrong buttons for some people because they have a built-in prejudice about AutoTune and the flavor that brings to music and, in my case, it was a very deliberate thing.

DP:  One of the things I pointed out in our online dialog was that, to me anyways, there seems to be a difference between the song “Oceanea” as released on the EP and then what followed on the “Map of the Floating City” album.  I listened to the two versions quite a few times and it certainly seemed to me that on the EP version, the effect fades out after the first verse and, after that, it’s pretty much devoid of any vocal effect whereas the version that appears on “Map” has it throughout.
TD:  Well, since that discussion with you, I haven’t gone back and listened to both but, to the best of my memory, it’s the exact same vocal in the first verse on the EP and on the album.  I don’t remember changing or altering it further.  It could be that the rest of the mix around it changes your perception of it, but I believe it’s basically the same vocal.

DP:  Over the course of your career, you’ve done a fair amount of work on film soundtracks such as “Gothic”, “Howard the Duck” and “The Gate to the Mind’s Eye”.  Is that something you could foresee doing more of in the future?
TD:  I would consider doing it in the future.  I had mixed results with it.  “Gothic” is slightly in the news at the moment because of Ken Russell dying the other day and because people are looking retrospectively at his work.  It turns out that “Gothic” was quite a popular one and a lot of people single out my score as being something unique about that film. I really enjoyed working one-on-one with him.  In the other cases, it was more of a committee decision, you know, and it’s a bit disappointing that as a composer on a movie, you’re kind of relatively genial on the totem pole.  You’re sort of down there with the lighting guys and things like that, so if something is required to change for the sake of the movie, there’s no question that the composer has to sort of swallow it.  This was quite hard for me because I put a lot of love in everything that I do and nothing I do is throw-away.  So if, for example, a scene is cut, and I lose a piece of music that took me days to come up with and it’s not going to get used in the movie and yet the studio owns the copyright and therefore I can’t use it anywhere else, that’s a bit disappointing.  But you’re expected to just sort of expect that because you’re part of a larger team.  So I think that the right situation for somebody like me in film is when you get to work with one of the few actual auteurs that are out there.  I think a good example is Danny Elfman and his work with Tim Burton where very early on they established a relationship and Tim Burton became valued for his the individuality of his films and the fact that he has a single-minded vision that Danny’s music definitely was a major component in.   He’s done great great work but I wish we all could have as cushy a ride on a movie.

DP:  You recently remastered and reissued “The Golden Age of Wireless” and “The Flat Earth” as expanded editions that really fleshed out those two works for those who had heard them when they were initially released and serve as a great introduction for those who only know “Science”.  Are any other items in your backcatalog slated to get a similar treatment?
TD:  Well, not really.  There’s not a lot of wastage in what I do so there’s very few outtakes and demos and things like that.  I’ve got something that I’m interested in reworking which is when I put together my band, the Lost Toy People, in ’87-ish we went out on tour before we ever went into the studio to make the “Aliens Ate My Buick” album.  We did some sort of basement tapes which were straight to two-track tape.  We were pretty hot at the time because we had been touring, so the songs had a certain rawness about them that I thought was really interesting.  I also have quite a lot of video footage of us on that tour.  I’m quite tempted to remaster those tapes and piece it together – although it would be a bit of a cheat to use visuals from the tour and those tapes – and create a lost LTP basement tape type of recording.

DP:  Throughout your career, you’ve been able to have a wide variety of high-profile musicians including the likes of Mark Knopfler, Jerry Garcia and Eddie Van Halen as session musicians on your albums.  Is there any one of them that you’ve most enjoyed working with?  And are there any out there that you’d like to work with at some point in the future?
TD:   Well, I love working with other musicians.  It’s interesting that very often with guitar, which is not my instrument, I’ll have a song and think of a certain guitarist and imagine how they’d fit right in.  Interestingly with both Jerry Garcia and Eddie Van Halen, when I first started working with them, they picked up their guitars and tried to sound like Thomas Dolby which is not what I wanted at all. [laughs]  I just wanted them to be themselves so I could see the way they could fit in with what I was doing.  I’d say the exception to that rule amongst the guitar heroes that I’ve worked with was Mark Knopfler who actually listened to the song very hard from start to finish and then picked up a guitar and played me take after take all of which were just gorgeous.  He just said “As long as you want to keep winding the tape back, I’m happy to give you another one.”  So I winded up with like 15 or 16 different takes and it was very hard to choose between them because each one was unique and different.  He never played the same thing twice and all of it seemed like a really good expression of the feeling of the song.

DP:  When you work with other musicians, do you bring them in and actually work with them in person or are they working remote with the raw mix that you’ve provided them with and they, in turn, send their track over to you?
TD:  With the three that we’ve discussed, I worked with them in person but for quite a few of the guests on the new album, I wasn’t there.  Imogen Heap just recorded some jaw harp for me and sent me over a sample.  Regina Spektor I met once only when she did the TED conference a couple of years ago.  I just sent her the tapes and suggestions for her lines in English and she translated them into Russian and just sent me back some recordings.  Ditto with Natalie MacMaster, the Cape Breton fiddle player that plays on the album.  Uh, with Ethel and with my horn section, I went and recorded them in person because there’s a lot of arranging that had to get done on the fly.

DP:  Now that “Map of the Floating City” has been released, are you planning on any sort of live tour to support it?
TD:  Yeah, we’re trying to put a tour together for the spring.  Sort including South by Southwest and Cochella.  Where are you?

DP:  I’m on the east coast, Connecticut specifically.
TD:  Right.  I think we’ll be coming through something like the end of March.

DP:  I saw you a few years back at BB King’s Blues Club in New York City when you played there and it was a great show.
TD:  Oh yes, I enjoyed that.  Was that with a horn section or just me?

DP:  Just you. Will the new tour be a solo one as well?
TD:  I’ll have a small band with me.  As soon as things are firmed up, I’ll be posting the tour information on my website.  I look forward to seeing you there.

DP:  And I certainly look forward to being there.  It’s been a pleasure talking with you, Thomas.
TD:  Thanks.  Same here.   See you soon, my friend.

  For more information about Thomas Dolby and upcoming tour information,

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CD Review: Thomas Dolby “A Map of the Floating City”

Thomas Dolby
“A Map of the Floating City” (single-CD edition)
Lost Toy People Records
Producer: Thomas Dolby

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“She Blinded Me With Science”.  It’s a song that is included on so many greatest hits of the 80’s compilations that one could easily view Thomas Dolby as being the definitive MTV one-hit wonder boy in an era known for flash-in-the-pan artists.  But to know Dolby only for “Science” is to ignore a career that includes five albums that consistently explored a broad range of musical styles and thematic content .  And then, after 1992’s “Astronauts and Heretics”, he effectively disappeared.

“A Map of the Floating City” – Dolby’s first album of original material in 20 years – finds him once again refusing to be tied down to any one genre of music.  And, for the most part, it works so well that it’s hard to believe he’s been absent for so long.  On it, he combines two of his innate abilities – instrumental virtuosity in a wide variety of genres and superlative storytelling .  Biographical in nature, the album itself is comprised of three musical novellas: “Urbanoia”, “Amerikana” and “Oceanea” and while the album as a whole is cohesive as a complete work, the mood varies as each of its chapters unfold.

The four songs that comprise “Urbanoia” are easily the most brash.  The opener, “Nothing New Under the Sun”, with its staccato snippet lyrics, anchoring drum line and guitar accentuation, is as close as “Floating City” gets to including a straightforward rocker.  Although not mind-blowing, it’s a solid track that serves to whet the palate.  Similar in its simplicity, “A Jealous Thing Called Love” plays as an upbeat version of “I Scare Myself”, a Dan Hicks crooner classic that Dolby covered on 1984’s “The Flat Earth”.

But not everything that Dolby touches turns into sonic gold.  “Spice Train” is the City’s most synth-laden resident.  It’s fun but by the time the ever-clever Dolby tries to prevent the track from succumbing to being a mere piece of danceteria fart-funk fluff by infusing it with wafting eastern-derived musical strains, it’s been derailed by its own popish simplemindedness.  “Evil Twin Brother” is basically Sting’s “An Englishman in New York” after it’s been seduced by the dark side.  Edgy and occasionally dissonant, it’s the first track where we hear Dolby’s unflappable ability to tell a vivid story through simple imagery but the herky-jerky alternating musical dynamics are so jarring that the song itself winds up being the album’s weakest link.

The mid-section of the album demonstrates Dolby’s ability to roll the dice by working in multiple musical genres and repeatedly coming up a winner – although, lyrically, he always seems to bet on black within “Amerikana” as the stories always have a somber tone either consistently throughout or as a sudden turnaround at the song’s end (in the case of “Love is a Loaded Pistol”, said weapon winds up being an actual firearm).   Even “The Toad Lickers”, a country/bluegrass romp that would make any good ole’ boy jingle and jangle his spurs, can be seen as a biting satire of pugnacious backwoods culture.  The epic “17 Hills”, featuring guest guitarist Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, finds everything that works well within the boundaries of “Floating City” in perfect harmony.  Playing like an everyman drama in three acts, Dolby’s songwriting talents in tandem with his ability to evoke emotion through music have never been better displayed than within this lover’s tale of a jailbreak gone wrong.  It’s a story so engrossing it would even cause the ever-esteemed master of melancholy, Richard Thompson, to shed a tear.

“A Map of the Floating City”s final destination is the often tranquil “Oceanea”.  In the sub-section’s title track, Dolby creates an atmosphere so lush and soothing that one cannot help wanting to stay there longer than its short three-minute runtime allows even if his lead vocal is drenched in the most overused and annoying vocal effect in recent memory, Auto-Tune – something that was not true of the track when it was included on the “Oceanea” EP that was released earlier this year.  Why the track has been modified in this way for the full-length album is as mysterious as the Bermuda Triangle.  It’s still a great song, though, and the guest vocals by Eddi Reader send it soaring.

The remaining tracks, “To the Lifeboats” and the Brazilian-flared “Simone”, are fine examples of Dolby’s ability to generate great music in a myriad of styles.  The mid-section of “Lifeboats” rocks out so hard with power chords and fuzzbox vocals that it’s easy to visualize Dolby himself clad in heavy metal garb while a small Stonehenge monument slowly descends into his recording studio.  But in its closing third, the song settles into the quieter aural landscape that makes the album such a worthwhile journey.  The roads through Dolby’s “Floating City” aren’t completely devoid of potholes but when it truly sails, it’s poetry in motion.

“A Map of the Floating City” will be released on October 25th, 2011.
For more information about Thomas Dolby, visit


Thomas Dolby Prepares First New Studio Album in 20 Years


Guest artists include Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor,

 Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley and Imogen Heap

Release follows conclusion of groundbreaking transmedia game

LONDON, U.K. — Thomas Dolby, the iconic ’80s star whose smash hits “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive” helped define the MTV generation/revolution, will break his 20-year silence with a new release later this year titled A Map of the Floating City. The album, featuring appearances by special guest artists Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley, Imogen Heap and Eddi Reader, will be available on October 25, 2011 on Lost Toy People Records as a regular and hi-res download, as a physical CD, and in a special Deluxe Edition featuring a second disc of instrumentals and bonus tracks.
The five-time Grammy®-nominated British artist quit the music business in the early ’90s and spent many years in Silicon Valley, where his tech company Beatnik Inc. created the ringtone synthesizer embedded in more than three billion mobile phones shipped by Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and others. Now retired from Beatnik, Dolby has returned to his native U.K. and is busy recording an album of brand new songs in a renewable energy-powered studio he built aboard a 1930s lifeboat in the garden of his beach house on England’s North Sea coast.

Of the album, which is divided into three parts, Dolby says, “The new songs are organic and very personal. A Map of the Floating City is a travelogue across three imaginary continents: In Amerikana I’m reflecting with affection on the years I spent living in the U.S.A., and my fascination with its roots music. Urbanoia is a dark place, a little unsettling . . . I’m not a city person. And in Oceanea I return to my natural home on the windswept coastline.”

“I marvel at the new landscape of the music business — distribution via the Internet and recording technologies I barely dreamed of when I started out,” he continues. “But this album does not sound electronic at all. I have zero desire to add to the myriad of machine-based, synth-driven grooves out there. The Net has made a music career approachable for thousands of bands — but I hear too few single-minded voices among them, so I’m returning to what I do best, which is write songs, tell stories.”

To help tell his stories, Dolby has enlisted an impressive cast of guest musicians. Legendary guitarist Mark Knopfler helps drive the epic “17 Hills,” a song about a pair of hapless lovers and a jailbreak. Natalie MacMaster, the Cape Breton fiddler, adds spice to two songs. Scottish singer Eddi Reader takes a front seat on the ethereal “Oceanea.” Bruce Woolley (Camera Club) plays theremin. And Regina Spektor has a cameo as an East European waitress on “Evil Twin Brother.”

The innovative transmedia game The Floating City <>, co-created by Dolby and based on his song catalog all the way back to the 1980s, is currently in full swing and is proving highly addictive for thousands of regular players. The winning “tribe” will be treated to a private concert performance of the new album in its entirety. Thomas Dolby will shortly announce a string of concert dates in the U.S. and U.K. in support of the album.


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Thomas Dolby Announces U.S. Solo Performance Dates


October shows in seven U.S. cities include appearance at L.A.’s

 Grammy Museum and showcase clubs.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Thomas Dolby, the Grammy™-nominated British musician and tech entrepreneur, has announced an October seven-city U.S. mini-tour.

These solo performances will take the form of a 60-minute lecture about his new social networking transmedia game, The Floating City, interspersed with live songs from his upcoming album (A Map of the Floating City, due out October 25 on Lost Toy People Records through Redeye Distribution), as well as a few timeless classics.

The trip will take the artist from coast to coast, with live appearances in Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Most are club venues, though some live radio and TV shows are included. A list of cities and venues appears below.

At each show, Dolby will tell the story behind the recording of the new album on his solar-powered lifeboat, with an impressive array of guests including Mark Knopfler, Imogen Heap and Regina Spektor. He will also give his personal account of the groundbreaking Floating City game, which he describes as “a Dieselpunk dystopia . . . weary survivors of a global climate catastrophe bartering and trading to stay alive in the face of techno-piracy and mutant squid attacks!”

More than five thousand players played the online game, forming into nine “tribes” and competing for the grand prize — a free private concert by Dolby and his band from his new album.

Along the way they explored a fictional world based on characters and places in Thomas’ lyrics going all the way back to 1980; and discovered downloadable MP3 files of his songs, including sneak previews of works from his upcoming album.

Dolby will retell the player-created stories that unfolded during the 12 weeks of gameplay, highlighting key characters’ profiles, and the “patent applications” they filed to protect themselves against the unpredictable freak events reported by The Floating City Gazette. And he’ll share behind-the-scenes insights into the production process, which took place over the course of an eight-month period using a team of developers in different time zones who never met face to face.

November will see a full live concert tour of the U.K. by Thomas and his band, and a theater/performing arts center tour of the USA will follow in early 2012, along with selected festival dates later in the year.

Prior to The Floating City game and the new album A Map of the Floating City, Dolby is known for his hits “She Blinded Me with Science,” “Hyperactive,” “Europa” and “Airhead.” He also wrote Lene Lovich’s “New Toy” and Whodini’s “Magic Wand.” He is presently musical director of the TED Conference.


solo lecture/performance

THE FLOATING CITY: A Dieselpunk Dystopia

new album coming Oct 25th


Mon., Oct. 3   WASHINGTON D.C. Sirius XM The Loft

Wed., Oct. 5   NEW YORK, NY 92 Y Tribeca

Fri. Oct. 7   CHICAGO  Martyrs’

Mon., Oct. 10   SEATTLE, WA Triple Door

Wed., Oct. 12  PORTLAND, OR  KINK-FM Concert

Thurs., Oct. 13   SAN FRANCISCO, CA  Bimbo’s 365 Club

Fri,. Oct. 14   LOS ANGELES, CA Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Mon,. Oct. 17   LOS ANGELES, CA  Grammy Museum


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The Enchanting Family Film Arrives On DVD October 11 From Vivendi Entertainment and Nasser Entertainment

DVD Includes Limited Edition Thomas Kinkade Painting And 3 Free Holiday Music Downloads

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA – Expect the unexpected and witness a sweet Christmas miracle in the heartwarming family drama Christmas Lodge presented by renowned artist Thomas Kinkade and arriving on DVD October 11 from Vivendi Entertainment and Nassar Entertainment. During the happiest times of her life, Mary (Erin Karpluk, “Life Unexpected”), a historical preservationist, spent the holidays with her family at the Christmas Lodge, a once beautiful but now dilapidated old country inn. After her family abandoned their tradition and spent many years apart, Mary’s ailing grandfather has one wish…to reunite the family and spend one more Christmas at the lodge. Desperate to make his dream come true, Mary leaves the big city to renovate the property. Jack (Michael Shanks, Red Riding Hood), the Christmas Lodge owner, also dreams of bringing the property back to its former glory but is struggling to get the project off the ground. Putting their faith in each other, Mary and Jack join forces to work together to fix up the lodge just in time for Christmas, and find love along the way.

With original songs by acclaimed musician, and co-star, Victoria Banks, Christmas Lodge is the perfect hopeful movie to watch with the family to kick off the holiday season. The DOVE approved DVD includes a free limited edition Thomas Kinkade painting and three free holiday music downloads at the suggested retail price of $14.93.

Thomas Kinkade presents Christmas Lodge: a place where a heart-warming past and loving future meet for one remarkable group of people. During a weekend trip to the mountains, Mary (Erin Karpluk) finds herself at the now- dilapidated lodge where she spent the holidays with her family growing up. She becomes determined to restore the building to its former glory. Inspired by her grandfather and guided by her grandmother in heaven, Mary throws herself into the project, and during the process finds herself drawn to Jack (Michael Shanks), a handsome man who loves the lodge as much as she does. Historically unlucky in love, this chance encounter allows Mary to renew her faith in life and discover her one true love. For an uplifting story about the importance of faith, family and the true holiday spirit, go to the Christmas Lodge.