Musician Nick Waterhouse Really Wanted to Be an Archeologist


Musician Nick Waterhouse Really Wanted to Be an Archeologist

Our humble SXSW contributors, Kaplan (left) and Pettengill. Photo by Paddy Wilkins.

Nick Waterhouse looks like Buddy Holly stepped into a Bill Cunningham photograph. He is well put together, and so is the music. He’s in R&B and soul junkie that likes his clothing to fit as tight as his horn section sounds. We met up with the 26-year-old California native in Austin last week, and called up our pal Akeen, who brought along his trusty pedicab and took Waterhouse for a quick spin.

What is the oldest possession that you are carrying with you?

I got this watch from 1961, it’s a Hamilton. Based on the engraving it was for someone who was driving a bus for the San Diego Public Transportation system.

What is your most important piece of equipment?

My ears.

Describe the last sunrise you saw.

That was probably driving somewhere in New Mexico on the way out here. I thought I was getting tunnel vision. We had about 18 hours of driving, and I just got back from Europe before I came here. It was psychedelic.

What is the first piece of visual art that pops into your head.

I forget the painter’s name, he’s from San Francisco, mid-fifties. Clifford Still. Giant Canvas, 16 ft tall, big blotch of red.

Who was your hero at age 5?

Indiana Jones. I wanted to be an archeologist, I guess I am now.

What were your obsessions at 17? And what are your obsessions now?

It’s actually been pretty consistent, age seventeen was kind of the start. It was American music, collecting R&B and soul records and reading as much as I could about it.  I had bought Peter Guralnik Sweet Soul Music at age 17,  and the Stax records box set, so that fucked me up good. And now I’m 26 and I’m much further down the line, but pretty much in the same spot.