Interviews: Nick Andrea & The Verdict

Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Nic Andrea, the mastermind behind Nic Andrea & the Verdict, an innovative project that includes a concept album, a film, and a music video! Nic shares about the album's creation, its underlying themes, and the short film that accompanies it.

1. Congrats on the release of Jimi Come Home!!! This concept album is a wild ride and we’re going to get into it. But first, how are you celebrating?

We are throwing a cast party on October 28 to celebrate the album and pre-screen the film! The hard part is over and it’s time to take a deep breath and “smell the roses”!

2. What’s one thing about the album that you think, if people knew, would change their perception of the album and help them better understand it?

The genesis of the story came from a true event that genuinely impacted the people who were witness to it. There was an actual guy named Jimi who played guitar and one day, without explanation, cut himself off from all who knew him. This fact gives the film its authenticity and lays the foundation for the conjectural chapters that follow which ask “Why?”

3. What’s the best live show you’ve ever experienced and how has it influenced your live shows?

August 31, 1989, Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia- the opening night of The Rolling Stones’ Steel Wheels tour. I was a poor college kid who barely had enough gas money after buying the very best ticket I could afford. The Stones were in their mid-40s so they were at the peak of their prowess armed with a wealth of experience. They opened us with the iconic rocker “Start Me Up” and the audience lost it from the opening moments. Jagger’s showmanship, right down to the animated expressions and the finger-wagging influenced me. He helped me understand the difference between being a musician and being an entertainer. The music is always important but the impact is lost if you do not bring the audience along for the ride. If you watch the My Felony music video, you will see some of his influences in the performance.

4. Alright, let’s dive into the album. Concept albums often require a strong thematic thread throughout. How did you ensure this was the case with Jimi Come Home?

The story’s authenticity serves as the foundation and we built the story on top. The use of the short narrative dialogue tracks in between the songs sets the stage for telling the tragic tale of a lost soul. Because I do not know what troubled the real Jimi, I picked songs that explored issues that affect many of us, such as family and relationship problems. I knew early on that we were on to something because it all flowed naturally, we did not need to manufacture the theme- it simply “blossomed.”

5. Are there any tracks that didn’t make the cut (and why?)

Yes. “Whiskey Whispers” explores the terror someone experiences who is trapped in the throes of addiction. I thought that the song might supply one of the issues that caused the Jimi character to escape from the real world. However, the thing with alcoholism is that it is a problem of such a magnitude that it would have overwhelmed the other more nuanced underlying issues. I didn’t want people to conclude, “Ah, he’s a drunk, that explains it.” We did end up using the track on our debut album earlier this year- A Night at the Wrecking Yard, Pt. 1.

6. Talk to me about the accompanying short film of the same name. How did that come about?

Over the last four years, I’ve done a dozen music videos so I am clearly enamored with the marriage of music and imagery. Regardless, when you have a concept album, individual, unconnected music videos simply will not do. The solution is to make a film! It had to be more than simply stringing four music videos together. To this end, I was fortunate to have talented people around me to help develop the script and the services of a magnificent and accomplished actress (Bonnie Root, Cold Case) to execute the project on a professional level.

7. I’m going to ask you the same thing about the film that I asked about the song. What’s one thing about the film that you think, if people knew, would change their perception of it and help them better understand it?

The grainy footage in the opening of the film, with a band rehearsing, is actual cell phone footage from 2017 of the actual band that Jimi left. That seems like a small detail but it symbolizes the realism that gave birth to the imaginary story which follows. That is the film in a nutshell. There is nothing contrived about Jimi Come Home.

8. What do you hope people walk away from this film and music feeling?

Introspective. We all have the desire sometimes to escape the real world and we process it in different ways. Many of us, myself included, use music for this very purpose. Most of us do not choose the most direct path that Jimi chose- literal escape. But as the narrative dialogue at the end of the movie concludes, “There’s a little Jimi in all of us.”

9. What legacy do you hope to leave?

I was someone who gave everything I had, emotion, energy, money, and time, to create music for no motive other than the desire to entertain people.

10. Is there anything else you would like to add?

I appreciate the chance to talk about the album and the film. There are many great releases coming out all the time so I never take for granted opportunities such as this one!

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