Nine Days’ story is ‘out of a movie’

West Valley View Executive Editor


Nine Days vocalist/guitarist John Hampson calls his band a “classic example of a one-hit wonder” — and he means that lovingly.

“That two-year stretch is something right out of a movie,” Hampson said. “There’s no sadness to it at all. It’s an amazing accomplishment to have had a song and a record that made it big. Still, all these years later, we can go out and play shows. People know that song and the record. There’s nothing sad about it. That’s great.”

Nine Days will play a career-spanning set at the Goodyear Lakeside Music Festival on Saturday, April 13. The show will offer a glimpse of Nine Days’ 25th anniversary tour in 2025. The Long Island, New York, band’s jaunt was originally planned as a 20th anniversary celebration.

“Long story short, go back four years ago, it was the 20th anniversary of ‘The Madding Crowd,’” he said of the album that spawned “Absolutely.” “Then COVID shut the whole world
down. We missed it. It took a couple of years for things to get going again. Now we’re doing all this prep for next year’s 25th anniversary. We’re getting back out there and performing a lot of that album. We put out a bunch of albums after that. We’re really just celebrating that record through next year.”

When Hampson thinks back about “The Madding Crowd,” he does so fondly. He said Nine Days’ subsequent records are just as good.

“Honestly, ‘The Madding Crowd’ is a really fantastic record,” he said. “We just kept doing our thing and making records. For the most part, we’re a band that has a sound. I’m not saying we’re like Queen and have this unique thing. If you like ‘Story of a Girl’ or ‘The Madding Crowd,’ you’re going to like our other records.”

The music has evolved, however. Hampson said that growth is evident within the lyrics. “You just grow up,” he explained.

“You have different life experiences. You’re drawing from different things. Lyrically, the songs have evolved. I don’t know if I could write ‘Story of a Girl’ now. We’re just a pop band in a way, but our songs are always grounded in our lives, the things that we were experiencing. They’re real in the sense that they weren’t manufactured songs. They’re drawn from reality.”

Hampson’s recipe worked — and he learned such during a graduate class, “Music and the Brain,” he took at Long Island’s Stony Brook College about 10 years after “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” hit the charts. “One of the units covered was about ‘earworms,’” he said.

“No one had any idea I was a songwriter. We read a check- list of criteria for earworms. I couldn’t believe how many of them ‘Story of a Girl’ checked. It wasn’t intentional. It’s just something that happens.” Among the items on the checklist were that it starts with a chorus, has a resolution and tension to it, starts and stops, and has a slight hiccup before the last chorus. “I remember thinking, ‘This is fascinating. I can see, scientifically, why this song caught so many people’s attention. I think it was the perfect combination of melody, starts and stops, and rhythm. Definitely ear candy.”

For more, please see the published works of CHRISTINA FUOCO-KARASINSKI (West Valley View Executive Editor)