Hollywood life working out for Nick Waterhouse 

click to enlarge Nick Waterhouse
  • Courtesy photo
  • SoCal native and former San Francisco resident Nick Waterhouse returns to the Bay Area to play songs from his new album “Holly.”
Retro-hip R&B guitarist Nick Waterhouse still considers himself a San Franciscan at heart. It’s where he went to college and launched a recording career with his 2012 debut, “Time’s All Gone.” Yet the Santa Ana native has a brown spider to blame for his recent relocation to Los Angeles. He was visiting Tinseltown for a few days when he was bitten, landing him in the hospital for a month. “My foot swelled up to the size of a softball,” says the singer, who had given up his San Francisco apartment for a pending European tour. Once he recovered, he stayed put. The move paid off. He just issued his second bluesy CD, “Holly,” and is splashed across a Lexus CT Hybrid TV commercial, soundtracked by his song “Live a Full Life.”

How did you land that Lexus ad? Well, there’s a man who sits in an office in Santa Monica somewhere, and his job is to look for younger artists that he thinks will make young people like things. And then — through some weird alchemy of handshakes, smiling faces and finally maybe 5 percent of actually liking the music — he suggests you to a multi-national car company. And they send you the offer, and my manager writes back and says. “We’ll only do it if you let him get four seconds of screen time.” And that’s the magic part that I don’t really understand, because somebody agreed to that!

Commercials rarely name the musical talent. But yours has you, playing live, plus a huge row of your posters. Yeah! You don’t have to shazam this one! We really took the reins. I feel like I got one over. I don’t know how, but it happened. But that’s how I feel about everything that my music ends up in. Like, I made that song in a converted garage, recorded it in mono. So I didn’t exactly have an advertisement in mind in which I would be starring. But it was really nice, because they weren’t like, “Yeah, you’re gonna drive the car and look happy!”

What other surreal things have happened in L.A.? I got scenes with Rooney Mara, Val Kilmer and Michael Fassbender for a new Terrence Malick movie that’s not out yet. I might just get edited out, but I did shoot a lot of dialogue. And I’m watching Terrence Malick from a few feet away, directing, and I’m just thinking “What … who ... how did this even happen?” Oh, and John Doe from X was in it, too, and he had heard of me! That was another moment where I’m like “What world am I in now?”


Nick Waterhouse

Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $21

Contact: (415) 885-0750, www.slimspresents.com

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Tom Lanham

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