The one time I could’ve seen the Exploding Hearts was when they played with the Buzzcocks at Berbati’s. I never have had good luck with opening bands, so my friends and I just sat in the bar and chatted over beer and spanikopita. When we finally decided that we should go and enjoy the show, the Hearts had already finished their set while the lamest excuse for an opening band, Billy Talent, was in the act of defiling the stage.
The Buzzcocks would end righting all of Talent’s wrongs, but all my friends said I had missed an excellent set by the Hearts. “Oh well, I’m sure I’ll catch them again another time,” I said.
Around three weeks later, fate caught up with The Exploding Hearts: three of the band’s members died in a car accident upon returning from a show in San Francisco. They left one posthumous album, Guitar Romantic, which became legendary and was named Maximumrocknroll’s Album of the Year for 2002.
From the ashes of the Exploding Hearts rose The Nice Boys featuring surviving Heart Terry Six and members of Portland punk mainstay’s The Riffs. The Nice Boys play glamorous power-pop that is sure to get the rocker ladies of Portland swooning. While those familiar with The Riffs may expect a sound rooted in a typical ’77 punk vein, The Nice Boys have a sound that is more rooted in Cheap Trick and ’60s pop. And unlike The Riffs who were known for yelling/chanting out the lyrics, the Nice Boys actually sing! And of course die-hard Hearts’ fan won’t be disappointed either. I managed to do a little chatting with Terry Six recently and have since decided he truly is a nice boy.
I know you guys have been kicking around in the Portland area for a while now. How long have you been playing?
Terry: As The Nice Boys, almost a year this summer, but kicking around is a good way to put it. In general, since I was 14. My first show was with The Queers.
Have there been any fans of The Riffs or The Exploding Hearts that have voiced disappointment, or do people generally like the direction you’re going?
T: I really haven’t heard anything but great and positive things about what we’re doing now. A lot of people come out on their Monday nights to see us. So that’s reassuring.
Is there one of you that writes most of the songs, or is it more by consensus?
T: Gabe (guitar/vocals) and I nerd out the most together, we work really well and joke around and shit. Colin (bass) likes to work on songs alone and the final product is mind blowing.
Tell me about your new single.
T: Yeah, it’s a funny, really long story. Maybe we’ll get into that in the next interview. But the single is titled “You Won’t See Me Anymore,” and the B-side is “Lipstick Love” on Discourage Records.
Are you planning a full-length anytime soon?
T: We are in the process of mixing the Nice Boys LP. Everything sounds genius.
You’re about to start a California Tour. Would you say that you already have a following down there because of past projects? Or is the tour more to make ones?
T: I know that The Riffs have a lot of fans down there, as for the Hearts, I really don’t know, we never got that far.
If there were one song that was the definitive power-pop song, what would it be?
T: I really want to give you a joke answer like “Donkey Rides a Penny a Glass” because I can’t really narrow it down to one quintessential song, but I’ll tell you that I’ve been listening to Dwight Twilley’s “Lookin’ For the Magic” a lot.