Tyson Ritter, in a few mere motions, slipped off his artfully ripped t-shirt in front of 15 people and slipped on a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, all for the sake of being "twinsies," to match my last-ditch gray digs. He bounced on the balls of his feet between questions and smoothed his long hair during our interview at this year's 2012 Sundance Film Festival, cunningly throwing in a phrase like "bag of d*cks" with his philosophizing on his band's varietal fanbase.
Like their frontman, the All-American Rejects are kind of all over the place. The quartet has been finished with their newest album "Kids in the Street" for a year, and in between have been "finagling" with their record label Interscope and their core listeners, lining up dates with Warped Tour and mulling how to depart from the traditional album release cycle and the alt-pop mold.
"We're melodic, we have a pop orientation," Ritter tells me of "Kids," "but this record... has a story in it."
That completely autobiographical narrative is based on Ritter's escape from native Oklahoma to Los Angeles where he "drowned myself in excess and poisonous women." It's a reflection on a dying "candle of naivete," a process of aging that sounds like any fan of the band will have had to endure.
Because it's been four years since AAR's big hit "Gives You Hell." They had a trio of hits from their 2005 album "Move Along," including its title track. In all, it's almost been ten years since the band shined off their first, self-titled album. Fans who were 15 are now 25. A small, pop-rock generation has grown into the group, which is a little heart-stopping for Ritter.
But the latest music video for "Kids in the Street" single "Beekeeper's Daughter" has a little something for everybody who likes everything. This buoyant track takes out all the stops for a street parade, a handful of little Lucifers, dancing thieves and flexible construction workers. It's a little like Ritter himself, if you think about it: what is going on in that head of his?
Check out the video interview above and the "Beekeeper's" video below. "Kids in the Street" is due on March 26.