(Welcome to the latest installment of "Ten Minutes With....," an occasional interview with an artist hat I spend 10 minutes with and then present an almost verbatim transcript of the conversation...or in this case, I veered from the Q&A format).
As the All American Rejects get ready to hit the road in support of their first No. 1 song, "Gives You Hell," frontman Tyson Ritter is undeniably excited, but with that high comes a low. "Being away from loved ones is the hardest part," he says. "Every dollar you get can't make up for the time away from your family. It's the sacrifice all along. The sweetest is so sweet and the bitter is so bitter."
Not that you'll ever hear him complain. He and his bandmates Nick Wheeler, Mike Kennerty and Chris Gaylor know they are the lucky ones and that when it comes to living in the touring bubble, "the fact is you live in a completely abstract reality," Ritter says. It's a world where your schedule is planned for you, the world waits for you and the boring chores of daily life are taken are of by someone else.
The "I Wanna Rock" tour starts April 4 in Tempe (Ariz.) Beach Park and will feature many songs from their current CD, "When the World Comes Down," as well as such past hits as "Swing, Swing," "Move Along," and "Dirty Little Secret." Supporting All American Rejects on the theater outing will be Shiny Toy Guns on all dates. Three acts, Ace Enders , Vedera and Upwelling will trade off for the opening slot. All tickets are $28.50. The band deliberately kept the prices low in order to stay competitive in the recessionary economy. "We've always had a cheap ticket," Ritter says. "I don't know who prices this shit out, all I know is would I pay it? People need to fall in love with your band."
So much for the so-called glamorous rock star life. "We sleep in the bus like glorified carnies," Ritter says. In fact, he says, there's no putting on airs for these Oklahoma boys. "I'm only a ‘rock star' for an hour a night [on stage]. Then I put on my polka dot shirt and get in my comfy pants. We're just surrounded by Oklahoma until we die. As long as you have four dudes around you and you live in a bus, it's Oklahoma."
It helps to be touring behind a hit CD and song. "You can't tour a shit record," he says. "Make sure you're not touring on something that has no legs, make sure it's worth it." He says he sees bands now, "There's no passion into it, they talk about making it. They need to talk about really making [a good record. [Otherwise], you're going to be so far into debut, your parents are going to cry. Make sure you get good before you go and buy the van."
Even then, it's not easy to make money on the road. Ritter says AAR has never made money from ticket sales because they would put so much back into the production of the shows
Ritter revels in the fact that AAR isn't trendy, they aren't the act the "hip" kids are listening to and he couldn't care less. "We're not a lifestyle band like My Chemical Romance or Fall Out Boy, you live if you look like them. We're a Midwestern band that call ourselves All American Rejects because we never fit in anywhere and a lot of kids feel like rejects too. I know we're going to be able to play for 3,000 people for the next five years no matter what. That's indescribable. We have really great [fans]."