The BEST Nancy Atlas Interview Ever

As we all get ready to celebrate Dan’s Best of the Best 2013 with Nancy Atlas and Gene Casey taking the stage at Suffolk Theater for the inaugural—and sold out!—Dan’s Papers “The BEST” Concert on November 15, Atlas shares her thoughts on the best things about her career, her fans and the East End.

Best rock legend, living or dead, you’d want to perform with…

Tom Petty at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Yes. That would do me just fine thank
you very much. And since we are dreaming lets just have Emmy Lou Harris come out and sing a song with me. That would be divine.

Best story of onstage embarrassment…

Talkhouse, sold out show, July 4th weekend. My long blond hair piece fell off my bun and attached itself to the back of my belt thus making me look like I had a horse tail. It didn’t help that I was turning around and shaking my ass without knowing it. Good times.

The best thing about playing music for a living…

That I did it. I had a lot of options in my youth as far as what to be and I made the right decision, because as hard as it is sometimes I have no regrets.

The best thing about East End audiences…
They are passionate and loyal. I also believe they love where they live, so that in turn makes them pretty damn happy. They are a festive bunch—great dancers, free spirits, and they know how to let loose and kick back a few. When you want to try out a slower tune, they also have that New York savvy to take it in. I truly love my supporters.

Best impromptu performance you ever gave…

This past summer I was playing a show at Gosman’s, and there was a couple that came up to me and started to tell me that they had driven all the way from Rocky Point just for my show and to hear me play “Wild Horses.” I was five songs into the show when the skies opened up and unleashed a relentless freak rainstorm. It hadn’t been on the radar—just a cell that popped up and poured buckets of rain for 20 minutes straight. My entire PA got drenched and the band’s equipment got hammered.

I was pretty upset, as it was on course to be my biggest show ever there and everyone ran away, plus I had major damage to thousands of dollars worth of gear. Most people scattered for their cars, but when I looked out after the rain stopped, there was that couple, still in their lawn chairs, drenched. I had Johnny grab my soaked Gibson acoustic, and I went over to them and played it open air, then went back up and started wrapping up my destroyed gear.

Then, of course there was also that time I played on a rooftop in the south of France, naked, but the “Wild Horses” story is much better.

Best guest star you’ve worked with…

Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He is an absolute animal. When he sits in on drums, I truly have to pull my belt in a notch tighter. He is a friend but also just a true inspiration. He raises the bar of the entire band whenever we are lucky enough to have him onstage with us. A truly great guy, to boot. I adore him.

Best fan…

My best fan past away last year very unexpectedly. Her name was M.J. Vineburg and the reason she was our best fan is that she had this magnificent spirit
about her. Always smiling. Always a ray of sun. I miss her very much and a part of my live shows definitely went with her as I still look for her from time to time in the audience.

Best advice you never took…

Probably moving to Nashville. A rep from Arista told me I should have moved to Nashville about 10 years ago, and while Nashville has always been hot, it has exploded in the last three to five years. It would have been nice to have some street time/cred in that town before this recent wave hit.

Best pre-show ritual…

Sleep.

Best East End venue to play a show…

Hands down The Stephen Talkhouse

Best performance you ever gave…

It would have to be at the Stephen Talkhouse—and I don’t mean to sound arrogant about this, but there have been so many fabulous, hot, sweaty, tunnel of love shows there where time just stands still. It’s been a real gift to have that venue in my life.

Song that gets you the best response in concert…

“East End Run” or “Wild Horses”

Best rock concert you ever went to…

Springsteen. Backstage passes. Helicopter. Enough said. WOW.

Best way to spend winter on the East End…

To dig in deep and embrace it. I’m definitely a country mouse. I love to chuck on my winter boots and take long walks on the park trails. It’s truly magical to be the first footprints in a trail while watching the ocean with gulls overhead. I’ve gone clamming in January and then go buy a great bottle of wine. Come home freezing cold and make the best meal all warm and cozy with the fire cackling. I find that the winter is also the best time to create or in my case, write. The blood moves slower and I’m able to think clearly.

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