By Jon Bream.HHit maker is serious about his part-time solo career, taking to the runway as well as the stage. Who would you rather see in concert Sunday: Taylor Swift in Minneapolis or in St. ? “I would go see me,” said Thomas. C’mon, dude. Lighten up. She’s hot, and you’re .
Thomas, 37, rock’s squarest star, has a reputation for taking things seriously. He’s serious about songwriting. Maybe that’s why tunes he’s written — whether for , Willie Nelson, Santana (remember “Smooth”?) or whoever — have accounted for 80 million albums sold and 19 Top 10 singles.
He’s serious about his solo career while is “in between albums.” This year, he’s delivered his second solo album (“Cradlesong”), undertaken his second solo tour (that’s why he’s at Xcel Center on Sunday) and released a live DVD of his 2005-06 debut solo trek.
“Her Diamonds,” the first hit from “Cradlesong,” was inspired by a serious topic, but you won’t know it from the vague lyrics.
“The song is about empathy,” he explained before elaborating. “It’s about my wife’s auto-immune disease. It’s a low-grade form of lupus. She’s lost part of her hair, had a mini-stroke. She has her good and bad days. When you go through this, you become resilient.”
Now we know why he passionately sings: “Her tears like diamonds on the floor/ And her diamonds bring me down/ ‘Cause I can’t help her now.”
Thomas offered the song to when the group was recording its last album, “Exile on Mainstream.” But the band rejected it. That’s why he has a solo career. With four songwriters in MB20, there’s just not enough room for this prolific writer.
Even though he has one of the most-heard voices on radio, he is aggressively pursuing other avenues for promoting his solo career. Thomas tweets actively (even during interviews) and stars in Bloomingdale’s ads for its Lyric Culture fashion line, along with the Beatles, Rolling Stones and David Bowie.
“In this day and age, you need new ways to market without feeling compromised,” said Thomas, who has been married to a model, , for 10 years. “I can be a clothes horse. I got to do my first modeling job” for the catalog.
Don’t worry, he won’t leave his day job for modeling. He’s too serious.
Pictures © Stephen Lovekin