(CBS) For a long time, Matt Nathanson has been grouped in with the "sensitive singer/songwriter" crowd. His chart-topping hit from 2008, "Come On Get Higher," is light-hearted, bubbly song about the exchange of love. Or, in Nathanson's words, it's "sort of about banging." Nathanson and his band played the Blue Cross Blue Shield Performance Stage in Chicago on Friday morning and are touring after the July release of Last Of The Great Pretenders, Nathanson's 10th studio album. The album is a statement of identity for Nathanson, who is trying to reclaim who he feels he is, not who audiences have pegged him to be—specifically with the "sensitive" label. "The sensitive singer-songwriter thing makes me kind of want to throw up," Nathanson said. "I sort of got lumped into these people I couldn't really relate to. … It wasn't really me." Nathanson grew up with KISS and Iron Maiden, the Indigo Girls and Tracy Chapman, and essentially all music except that of the sensitive sing-songwriter. He admits his naivety into thinking a single facet of his being couldn't define him on the stage, but he doesn't worry about that so much anymore. The Last Of The Great Pretenders is his return to a relaxed state of fun, carefree creation. "'Come On Get Higher' was sort of a big song, so once that happened I sort of subconsciously started editing out anything but the pretty words and the nice things, and that sucks, that's not what art's about," Nathanson said. "With this record I kind of relaxed… not managed who I am to people, but just actually being who I am. "This record is the first time when we really just played. We just wrote songs. No subconscious agenda, and anytime the agenda would show up, I'd kind of just duct tape its mouth and throw it in the trunk of the car." One of the songs, "Kinks Shirt," is about a waitress he fell in love with and imagined what their time together would have been like (and she was actually wearing a Van Halen shirt, but it made for a more complicated title). The song garnered the attention of comedian/director/Kinks fan Bob Goldthwait, who directed a pretty interesting music video.
Nathanson is playing a sold out show tonight at the Riviera, and those attending might get a chance to see Nathanson and the band bust out a performance of White Snakes, "Highway To Hell," or more recently, Prince's "Little Red Corvette."
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