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From an Eagle to Gold: An Interview With Golden Suits' Fred Nicolaus

Golden Suits is the solo project of one Fred Nicolaus, who is best known for his work in the band Department of Eagles. His debut album as Golden Suits (name lifted from a John Cheever story) was released last month. 

His debut album is getting pretty good reviews so far. And in order to make it, he went through a lot. And, of course, read a lot of Cheever. The album itself has a poppy, melodic 1970s folk vibe to it. It's pleasant to listen to.

Golden Suits will be playing a free show at the Sail Inn tonight @ 9 p.m. I strongly recommend going.

I asked him a few questions via email recently. Here are his responses (some of which are fairly ... interesting; you will see what I mean). Thanks Fred!


UC: What's the reception been like for your debut album?
GS: It's been good so far - it's kind of hard to say what it's been because it's only been out a month or so.  I feel like I'll have a better answer in a year or so when I can look back fondly/resentfully on the whole thing.

UC: What made you gravitate toward John Cheever so strongly? (I'm a big fan of his work as well)
GS: Oh cool!  Nice to come across another Cheever fan.  It was a couple of things. One is his writing style...his skill at combining formal, almost stiff prose with surreal images and borderline spiritual stuff.  I also think because I grew up in California in the Bay Area, there was a kind of exotic glamour to Cheever's world - gin and tonics in Nantucket and so forth.

UC: How does Golden Suits differ from your work in Department of Eagles?
GS: Well I think the kind of songs I wrote are sort of the same. But because Daniel (Rossen) took the lead on a lot of DOE production stuff, the final result is different. I think it's poppier and more 'straight' than DOE because that's where my instincts go.

UC: What's been the best part of  your tour so far?
GS: Two things. One was playing the songs live for the first time for friends and family in Brooklyn. Two is coming up with band nicknames. Thus far we've got 'Riffs,' 'Criminal' and 'Denim.' 

UC: What can people expect if they see you at the Sail Inn on Friday?
GS: We've decided internally in the band that it's going to be the most outré show of the tour.  So I'm not sure I know myself...impromptu Vampire Weekend covers?  Noise jams? New nicknames? (hmmm....)

UC: Is there anything you'd like to add?
GS: We saw a guy do heroin at the pool at a La Quinta Inn in Houston.  In Atlanta, I slept in a dog's bed because there was no more couch space. Tour is weird.

Dog beds look comfortable. I don't blame him. Here's his Facebook page, and here's a link to more info on tonight's show.

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