His music: Ben Nichols, 34, made a name for himself as the front man of the Little Rock pop-punk outfit Red Forty. On this side of the Mississippi, the gravelly-voiced singer played in the short-lived punk band Vegas Thunder before co-founding Lucero with guitarist Brian Venable in 1998. Within two years, Lucero had recorded an independent release, The Attic Tapes, and began touring at a hectic pace. After stints on local labels, Lucero inked a four-album deal with the Universal Music Group. Lucero recently toured with Irish punk icons the Pogues.
In $5 Cover: Nichols portrays a character who’s largely true-to-life: a fun-seeking, hard-living Memphis musician. Romance ignites while Nichols is on stage at the Young Avenue Deli, and spins out of control at the West Memphis Speedway. Featured songs: “San Francisco,” “A Dangerous Thing.”
In $5 Cover Amplified: Nichols, a fatalistic, romantically minded songwriter, eschews his dream of “a little piece of land, a cabin, and a nice, settled life” for a rocker’s life on the road.
On Memphis music: “It’s not a bad gig, because I get to drink in a different bar every day, which isn’t the healthiest lifestyle, but it’s one I enjoy.”
Latest news: Nichols’ debut solo effort, The Last Pale Light in the West, a stark, acoustic retelling of Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian,” was released in January. Lucero is recording a new full-length, slated for a fall 2009 release.