Son’s success, persistence, source of pride for poppa

Local attorney Joe Nicholson, center, poses with sons Blaine, left, who’s a captain in the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and Nathan, right, who is lead singer for the band The Boxer Rebellion.

Local attorney Joe Nicholson, center, poses with sons Blaine, left, who’s a captain in the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and Nathan, right, who is lead singer for the band The Boxer Rebellion.

Sometimes sons don’t follow their dad’s advice.

Maryville attorney Joe Nicholson couldn’t be happier that his son Nathan followed his own path.

Nathan Nicholson is lead singer of the London-based group The Boxer Rebellion Band, which will play at the Clayton Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 12, as part of their U.S. tour.

Like most fathers, Joe was happy his son was furthering his education at Florida State University and wanted him to stay put.

“Nathan decided to spend a year in London where Florida State has a campus in the fall of 2000. Basically he was in college over there and was, for lack of a better term, pursuing his music around town,” Joe Nicholson said.

Joe said his son stayed in school another year and sold shoes to make ends meet. “Now this company where Nathan sold shoes actually has provided some of his clothing as advertising,” Joe Nicholson said.

Joe said he thought Nathan would eventually give up the music and pursue a more conventional career.

“I think my reaction was, ‘This too shall pass.’ When he kept working at it, I kept saying, ‘Why don’t you finish out at Florida State? But he persisted, saying, ‘I’m going to keep giving this a shot.’ Finally I realized his dream was OK with me,” the proud father said. “It took me a while to let go of what Daddies typically do.”

The band’s inclusion in the Drew Barrymore movie, “Going the Distance” was also an eye-opener for the family.

“I was really surprised how much they actually were in the movie,” said Joe. “When he told me, I thought it would be a 2-or-3 second blip. They were on the screen for a while, and they had three songs on the sound track. Then they were the subject of a discussion in the movie between the couple played by Drew Barrymore and Justin Long,” Joe Nichols said. “Molly and I are just so excited for Nathan.”

Still in his father role, Joe said he has seen the movie and thought it was funny.

“Some of the language was a little heavy for my taste,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not a prude, but … We went with group of folks who have been our friends since Nathan was a child to the first showing at the Regal Riviera.”

For Nathan and The Boxer Rebellion, “overnight success,” wasn’t overnight. Nathan and the band have combined hard work with being in the right place at the right time, said Joe.

Joe said the band was playing at the famous “Troubadour” restaurant in Hollywood when people involved in the movie project heard about them and heard them play. “They carried their impression back to the director or producer,” Joe said. “The band had already gone on to New York to play, and she went to New York, heard them play and said, ‘Those are the guys I want to be the band in the movie.’

“They just happened to be in the right place, but they have put almost nine and half years of work into being where they were.”

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