Can't slow down The All-American Rejects
Stars and Stripes August 17, 2009
Last weekend, nestled between 10 stages and more than 200 bands, The All-American Rejects rocked Japan’s Summer Sonic concert series in Tokyo and Osaka.
The band — Tyson Ritter, Nick Wheeler, Mike Kennerty and Chris Gaylor — is reveling in the success of its third album, 2008’s "When the World Comes Down."
The band shows no signs of slowing as it kicks off a worldwide tour. The Rejects took time to perform for nearly 4,000 Yokosuka sailors and their families Tuesday evening.
But first, on Tuesday morning at Yokosuka, the band members sat down with Stars and Stripes.
How did you guys end up playing at Yokosuka?
Tyson: I’m not sure how the arrangements were made. But someone from the base contacted our people to make it work out, and I’m glad we’re here.
You guys just wrapped up Summer Sonic. How do the crowds in Japan compare to those in the United States?
Tyson: Japanese crowds are completely amazing. They’re militant and aggressive, and they don’t stop rocking until we stop playing. The Japanese definitely come to party no matter who’s playing. But in America, there’s a lot more individualism and people come to see that one specific band they like and seem to save their energy for them.
The band’s kicking off a 30-plus-city, around-the-world tour. How do you guys keep up the stamina to play night after night in different time zones?
Tyson: I’d like to say that we’re just really good boys, but lots of drugs and alcohol definitely help out the system.
Nick: It’s one of those things where if you just accept the fact that you’re always going to be tired, you’ll be fine.
Any pre-concert rituals that keep you focused?
Tyson: Warm-ups for an hour, some stretches, maybe some calisthenics. I get out of breath pretty easily on stage when I don’t do something before.
With the big social media movements through MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, how have those types of sites helped you guys stay in touch with your fans?
Tyson: I think it’s freaked me out a little bit, I’ve enjoyed it a bit too much and have been a bit too honest with the fans. I think you have to learn how to talk to your fans when you have a direct line of contact; it’s really dangerous. Sometimes you forget that your fan base varies in age and sometimes skew towards a younger demographic, so you can’t really write (expletive) every other word on your Twitter account can you?
You guys are always getting the chance to tour with a variety of bands from around the world. Any favorite bands to play alongside and party with?
Tyson: Motion City Soundtrack is great, and soon we’re going to be touring with Blink-182 off and on for their reunion tour. … Those guys are so humble. Overall though, we’re really reclusive in a sense that we pride ourselves on our show so much that we have exclusivity to the people that work with us. We’re elitists in the sense that we don’t want any distractions for our goal each night, which is one hour’s worth of rock.
Nick: We’re definitely homebodies on the road. People were asking us if we went out partying in Tokyo, and we we’re like, no, we went to the hotel bar.
Last year, you guys were inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. What was it like to get that type of recognition from your home state?
Mike: It was amazing. Now we’re up on the wall with people like Woody Guthrie and Color Me Badd. It was such a great honor and unexpected. We got a key to the city of Muskogee, and their 19-year-old mayor named Oct. 8 All-American Rejects Day in the city.
What’s the focus of the band right now; any goals you’re still hoping to achieve?
Tyson: A gold Grammy would be really nice before I’m 30. That’s what I really want in the future — our next record to make us step out and glow in the Grammy light.
Do you guys still hope to be rocking out when you’re 50?
Tyson: As long as I can still hit the notes, that’s what I’m always telling the guys. "Hey guys, when I can’t hit the notes, do you not mind if we just don’t do this anymore?" But I think we’ll find a way to make it work. It’s all we know how to do. If it ended today, I’d probably have to go and join the military, so I could go somewhere and get out of the area. I’m so used to being gone.
Any last message you want to send out to the troops?
Tyson: People have different opinions about the military, but we support our troops no matter what. That’s the reason we’re here. This show is the only way we can give back to people who are gone so long to support and preserve our freedom. Tonight we’re going to play for an hour, and maybe for that hour, people who work their asses off every day can lose themselves in the show and rock out.