Plain White T’s talk Slam Dunk and the dream of getting Troye Sivan for the ‘Hey There Delilah’ TV show

The band also remember that time they got bottled by Slipknot fans.

Plain White T’s Tom Higgenson has discussed the band’s hit ‘Hey There Delilah’ being made into a TV show, ahead of a live return to the UK this summer for Slam Dunk Festival.

The Illinois group were added to the dual event’s line-up last week, joining the likes of All Time LowBullet For My ValentineNOFXGallows, and more.

Speaking exclusively to NME following the announcement, Higgenson said that the band are “excited to bring [their new] songs over to the UK” for the first time in May, having aimed to perform their 2018 LP ‘Parallel Universe’ across the pond.

“The album just came out in August and one of our goals was to get back overseas and be able to play some shows,” he said. “So this is like the first time we’ve been able to do that, it’s like, ‘Alright, we’re getting there, we’re checkin’ off our boxes and making our goals happen’. It should be really fun.”

Plain White T's

Plain White T’s Tom Higgenson

After saying that he attended Slam Dunk 2018 as a punter, the frontman shared “one of the craziest stories” from a previous appearance at Reading & Leeds, where the band got pelted with bottles by angry Slipknot fans.

“They asked us if we wanted to headline a small stage or play like in the middle of the day on the main stage,” Higgenson remembered. “We were like, ‘Dude, we gotta play main stage – how badass is that?’ And it was like Metallica, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold… Plain White T’s.

“So it was announced that Slipknot wasn’t gonna be playing and so the whole crowd was pissed off. And then we go on, and we’re already a little bit of a sore thumb in that line-up. We hit the first chord and there’s like one bottle that flies in the air right at me and I just catch it, and the crowd were like, ‘Yeeaaah!’ And then all of a sudden the song starts up and I feel like 20,000 people all threw something at the stage.”

He continued: “It was so fun but we were scared for our lives. It was fun to play the whole set kinda like dodging stuff – it’s a crazy ass memory. When we did ‘Delilah’, the crowd split up to do the wall of death thing. It was the biggest mosh we ever had for ‘Delilah’, let’s just say that.”

Speaking of ‘Hey There Delilah’, the last we heard was that it’s been adapted for a TV series. What’s the latest on that?

“Yeah, I’ve teamed up with a really really talented producer and a writer that I met through doing a song for the Spongebob musical that was on Broadway,” replied Higgenson. “Through that, I was able to meet a lot of cool people that I’ve never really [met] and I’ve never dabbled into that kinda thing before: Broadway, musicals, TV. It’s like a new world for me.

“‘Hey There Delilah’ is such a great song and story, everybody loves it, like why don’t we try to make that into something for like a TV thing or a 5-episode Netflix thing or whatever?”

Revealing that the project is still in development, Higgenson said that it’s not been confirmed what will happen or what format it will be released in.

“It’s just like a really cool idea and something I’m excited about because I’m a huge film buff. I love movies almost as much as I love music,” the frontman said. “I just actually read today that Alanis Morissette is doing ‘Jagged Little Pill’ as a musical and that’s one of my favourite albums ever – I love that album. So I was like, ‘Holy shit,’ almost like, ‘We should maybe do ‘Hey There Delilah’ as a musical’.

“I dunno, it just made me think anything’s possible. There are so many opportunities and you just have to be creative with it and come up with something that’s super cool.”

Plain White T’s perform live

Asked if he was aiming for Netflix as a platform for the series, Higgenson replied: “Not necessarily. It just seems like that style of show is kinda becoming more and more of the norm or just more popular. It’s badass how [Netflix] came out and pretty much changed everything; changed the way people watch movies, change the format.

“I’m super excited about the ‘choose your own adventure’ Black Mirror [Bandersnatch]. I haven’t watched that yet, but man that is such a kick-ass idea. I’m waiting to have a moment to be able to sit down and enjoy that.”

So we could see a ‘choose your own Plain White T’s adventure’?

“Oh shit, yes! Do we choose main stage or do we headline the side stage? Do you dodge the bottle, catch it, or let it fall?”

After saying that the upcoming show’s plot is “pretty much all laid out” by the song’s “relatable” narrative, Higgenson told NME: “So you already have an outline of the story, it’s [just] about filling in the gaps and making it almost like a modern fairytale love story kinda thing; have a couple of twists and turns that you don’t expect. As it evolves, we’ll spend more time on it and just develop it even more.”

The frontman said that he plans to remain “super involved” in the project as it progresses.

“Obviously it’s like my baby or my intellectual property or whatever you call it,” he went on. “So I feel like [the producers and writers] have a lot of respect for my opinions on it, and obviously, I have a respect for them because I’m kinda living in their world. So it’s definitely a mutual thing where both sides really help each other, I think.”

Discussing the series’ potential cast, Higgenson said: “I have no clue yet [laughs]. I don’t even know how that works. If I had like a dream cast? You know who I think is really cool… I love Troye Sivan (Boy Erased). His new album [‘Bloom‘] is so badass, I really love that. I think he would be cool to play the lead.”

Troye Sivan boy erased struck a chord

Troye Sivan

With a “dream” to pen new material for the show, Higgenson said it’s still being decided whether it will be set in the mid-’00s – featuring artists such as Fall Out Boy and other classic tracks from that era. “Maybe we do both,” he added.

“Maybe we’ll have some of those songs peppered in and then I write a couple of new ones as well.”