Warren Thomas has lived more lives than most of us.
For example, currently he is living with a “transgender” dog—Woody the wiener dog. How did that happen? Well, long story short, Thomas and his roommate found this lil pup on the side of the road with a boner that would not go away. He needed an expensive operation so they took the pup to Mexico to get it done, but Tijuana can be a strange place and poor Woody lost his woody—completely. They just chopped the whole thing off. Now, Woody is alive and kicking and probably one of the happiest pups alive, with a whole new femme-attitude. (Hear the full story on the Discover Corner podcast!)
Now, with one of Thomas’s many lives, he ended up in a band called The Abigails, and they’ve got melodies so tragic that they make you feel like you’ve got nothing to lose.
Their sound is an infusion of obscure old-school country music tunes that came straight from the hazy deserts and dusty storms of the wild wild west and the dark “fuck it” undertones that punk rock is so solid at providing. He’s self-proclaimed his music as “satanic outlaw country” and “debauched Zen from the country-fried spiral pits of satanical wonderlust,” and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Thomas had been playing percussion for The Growlers for a while, then back in 2011 he started to feel a little lost due to some personal happenstances. So he partnered with his childhood friend, Kyle Mullarky (who has recently produced the newest album by The Allah-Las and works in-studio with The Growlers) and thus The Abigails was created.
Though Thomas is the front man, The Abigails have had a revolving group of people participating. Currently, there has been a solid group of band members sticking around. It’s now comprised of Jared Henderson and Jono Sember playing the solemn guitar melodies, William Evans keeping the vibes low on the bass, and Jacob Fosdick providing that fast and outlawed country drumming.
The recordings that are currently released are a combined creative effort of the two bff’s—Mullarky and Thomas. Mullarky would write the music and Thomas would deliver the lyrics. Nowadays, the band has become more of Thomas’ baby. He tells BTRtoday that his writing process usual entails playing his guitar and letting the lyrics flow into the melody on their own.
“Not to sound like a hippy, but it just kind of like all of a sudden you’re like, ‘I know this song,’ and I wake up and I just have this song fully figured out, with the lyrics and the chords,” Thomas confesses. “Now I’m just playing the guitar and it just kind of comes to life.”
Thomas enjoyed having a collaborative musical experience with Mullarky, but he expresses that there are difficulties that come with that sort of technique. “You’re a bit limited as to what you can totally do, because you’re writing your lyrics and your vocal patterns based on somebody’s else’s idea,” he says.
As a child he was constantly listening to the radio and became enamored with music. Eventually, he fell for the charms and rebellious ways of punk rock, which explains the chaos detected in the vibes of his music. However, being born in New Jersey and then taken straight to the west coast, it’s difficult to immediately understand where his outlaw-country and bluesy muses developed.
“One thing that I think you can kind of notice in similarities between punk music and country music, is usually it’s very verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo and there’s this very standard songwriting process in that—I think that has always registered with me,” he describes about his own style. “What I’m really into is obscure music, and there’s definitely tons of that in country music.”
Thomas confesses that he likes to “nerd out” on discovering all types of obscure music in an array of genres and that he’s constantly falling into black holes of music discovery. “I’m very much into untangling webs of music,” he explains.
The Abigails last full-length album “Tundra” came out in 2014 on Burger Records. Each track provides heartbreaking imagery that seems to swim out of the song like a snake slithering out of a lake—you can’t help but picture each story he sings.
Artwork courtesy of Burger Records.
Tracks like “Story of Pain,” “No Jesus,” and “The One Who Let Me Go” expose the dark side of love that we’ve all experienced, yet Thomas sings it in a way that makes you feel hurt like never before, and you can’t get enough of it. In the track “No Jesus” he sings with such passion, “it’s the end of the night, is it the end of me and you? Well, you say you don’t like Jesus, well I don’t like him too! Wish that was enough to save what we have…” although Thomas admits he is not a religious man and never really has been; using religious rhetoric is the best tactic to express the intimacy and harshness of what he’s feeling in his heart.
“I think that biblical imagery can really say something,” he expresses. “Like when you want to get the point across about how affected by something you are, the ultimate good and evil, hurt and love, those are metaphors that I often use and something that just comes natural to me.” He adds that many musicians that he respects and is influenced by also tend to use that same imagery. For instance, old school punkers like Nick Cave, from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and Jeffrey Lee Pierce from The Gun Club, often talk about heaven and hell, angels and demons, and stories of Jesus and Satan to portray the tragedy or absurdity of the track’s subject.
Currently, Thomas is working on new material for The Abigails to soon release a full-length album and hit the road—he states that he has around 35/40 songs currently that are ripe for the picking. So, make sure to follow The Abigails on all their handy social media outlets (Facebook, Bandcamp, Instagram) to stay up-to-date on what’s coming out next and where they’re headed!