Nick Perri Talks The Underground Thieves, His 20-Year Career, And “Feeling Good”

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The famed guitarist and emerging singer-songwriter, Nick Perri, announced the release of his debut full-length album with his new band, The Underground Thieves. After spending the first half of his thirty years on stage with the likes of Aerosmith, Van Halen, Velvet Revolver, ZZ Top, Motley Crue, and Foo Fighters, the artist returns to original music.

Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves will drop Sun Via on August 14. Ahead of the record, Perri premieres a video for his current radio single, “Feeling Good,” today on American Songwriter.

“I got signed at a very young age,” Perri explained the extensive experience he garnered in a short amount of time. “I call it joining the circus. One day, I’m in a shirt and tie at an all-boys conservative school, the next minute I’m in Japan on tour,” he laughed. “I’m a young guy still, but I’ve been doing this for a long time. Through my musical journey, I’ve discovered myself along the way, like most do if you’re open and searching. And I think all artists are searching for something, whether on a deeper or an outward level.”

The rockstar was signed at 16 to the Philadelphia-based blues-rock group, Silvertide. Formed in 2001, the band quickly gained a foothold in the millennium rock scene. As a founding member, Perri wrote or co-wrote three songs that went top 20, one going top 10. He remembers the formative phase as a “trial by fire kind of situation,” giving him the confidence he needed to make a career of his talent.

“As I progressed in life and went from one band to another, people were tapping me for my guitar skills more often than not. So I ended up going out and playing music for other people, which again I’m grateful for,” he shared, leading him to a turning point. “Ultimately all roads have always led me back to my own thing, writing and playing my own songs.”

“People thought I was crazy,” he continued, “like ‘why would you leave an arena tour with these big artists to go play at 500 seat club?’ It’s because in the 500 seat club, they’re my songs. That means something to me on a fundamentally deeper level.”

He had the honor of sharing the stage with Perry Farrell for a year, playing Jane’s Addiction’s songs he grew up on. This stint was part of a decade-long period of writing, touring, and performing with countless other internationally successful artists, including his sister Christina.

After a tiresome run, the artist brought his work closer to home. He found success with several syncs and became one of the new faces of Gibson Guitars in 2019. The bulk of decisions Perri made in his life were based around the desire to be his own artist. When he turned 30, his first child was born, solidifying this direction.

“I said I’ve had enough of this,” he recalled. “I’ve been signed so many times, I’ve had a lot of great opportunities. But a lot of things have gone sideways, and I want to do it my way.

He spent the next two and a half years making this upcoming record. “I put everything I ever learned into it. The album is everything that I’ve wanted to do or say artistically all this time,” he announced. Perri, who has been in the record-making business for many years, explained, “everything else was a dress rehearsal, and this is now the start of the show. This is where the next 30 years of my career starts.”

The songwriter penned the lead single from his upcoming record, “Feeling Good,” two years ago amidst a challenging moment, both personally and professionally. Though it pre-dates the pandemic and pandemonium facing the world, the lyrics speak to the current state of things. It’s melodically buoyant, bringing light to the darkness of the last several months. The anthemic single, released in mid-June, has hit radio in a way that suggests its timely delivery in the broader context.

“I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel to find the positivity and motivation I needed to move forward,” admitted the artist of the creative process. “I wrote the song as almost a pep talk to myself not to give up and focus on what I had. To find the silver lining in my own life at that moment.”

The music video premiering today brings the song to life, sharing a cheerful moment as an offering of hope. The production process ranks among the most fun Perri has had with video in his career. Filmed ahead of quarantine, the electrifying visual emanates the joy of community.

Videographer Austin Bauman captured the video in one continuous shot, something Perri has always desired to attempt. Channeling his Saturday Night Fever John Travolta, Perri struts through familiar neighborhood streets, showing the world just how good feeling good feels. One by one, a cast of close friends joins in on his march. Bauman shot the footage from a hoverboard with a boombox strapped to his side. He was moving backward, keeping a head-on shot of the expanding ensemble.

“I’m well aware of the heaviness of the situation we’re in,” he noted. “I’m aware of the trying times that people all over the world are going through,” adding, “I’m living through it with everyone. It’s okay to simultaneously be conscious of what is going on in the world while allowing yourself even five minutes a day to take a walk or do something with a family member. Just allow yourself to feel good.”

The massaging speaks to the warming nature of the upcoming album. The dynamic collection displays the breadth of talent he possesses as a musician. Specifically, Perri is eager to exhibit his skills as a songwriter. He feels the strength of his craft most in track two, “I Want You.” 

“Something about the way the story came together, and the way the melody fits in with the chord changes – it’s just the uplifting vibe. It makes me feel something. And I think as a songwriter, and as an artist, I’m always looking for that. To me, that’s the best thing about music.”

The artist continued, “when I put on one of my favorite records, it’s the feeling that we get more than a genre or a specific element of something. We define our favorite experiences by the feeling. I look for that when I listen and write, and hope that it reciprocates,” he offered.

“I can’t predict or manipulate what feeling it will give someone else will be. That’s up to the listener,” he explained. “But to pass my own test, everything on the record had to make me feel something real within my gut,” added Perri. “I Want You’ does it for me.”

From Side B, Perri is proud to share “Daughters and Sons.” Lyrically, it is one of the more sad songs of the set. But he feels the message is essential as it pertains to mortality and family.

“I do think the overall take away from the album is uplifting. But, it’s got its moods – ups and downs, peaks and valleys,” he expressed about the impending release. “Hopefully, it will make somebody feel something and provide a pleasurable listening experience. That would make me happy.”

Take an exclusive look at Nick Perri’s timely video delivery for “Feeling Good” below.
Pre-save Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves debut, Sun Via, before August 14.

Photo credit: Derek Brad

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