Adult Books Is the Product of Nick Winfrey Becoming Older and Wiser

After years of playing in Southern California punk bands, singer and guitarist Nick Winfrey eventually found himself writing lyrics and music that were much less aggressive. Time and experience had softened him. He immediately shared this new musical vision with his old high-school friends Daniel Quintanilla and M.M. Sina, and soon Adult Books was formed. Though the group took its name from the title of a song by the punk band X, Winfrey insists Adult Books is closer to postpunk. If he and his bandmates are trying to imitate anyone, he says, it's Morrissey and the Smiths. "I just saw him play, and even with his health problems, he's still a great performer. I like for music to have hooks. I want ours to be meaningful and connect to audiences on an emotional level."

It's something Winfrey says he failed to do with his old bands. Adult Books' first full-length album, Running From the Blows, is due out March 4, and Winfrey can rest easy knowing he did something right with this one. It's a laid-back, catchy affair, even if Winfrey says it was inspired by somber moods. "The music comes from a dark place. I'm not inspired when I'm happy. Some of the songs were written three years ago; others were written while we were recording. Most of it was looking back at past relationships."

But even though the songs drew upon dark inspiration, Winfrey sticks humor within the album's 11 tracks. "Silver Lake Goths" is about hanging out with fake goths in an L.A. hipster neighborhood. Humor was a tool he liked to use on the album to soften the darker tones.

Though one of Adult Books' previous EPs had the same cover as Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Winfrey — an avid reader who counts J.D. Salinger, Virginia Woolf, W.H. Auden, and Kerouac as his favorite authors — says if there's any theme to their cover art, it's one of male bonding. "One had Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady; our other EP had guys mountain-climbing. This one has two '80s skinheads showing each other matching tattoos, sharing a bygone era of punk."

Adult Books' Tuesday appearance at Kill Your Idol will be the band's first South Florida show. "I went to Miami once for a cousin's wedding, but I don't know anything about the city's music scene," Winfrey says. "We'll try to bring lots of songs, lots of fun, and lots of energy."

Adult Books with The Gun Hoes, Dénudés, Johnny Mile & the Kilometers, and Period Bomb. 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, at Kill Your Idol, 222 Española Way, Miami Beach; 305-672-1852; Admission is free. Ages 21 and up.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novels, The End of the Century and Yo-Yo, are available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland