Rejects rock out the
By Megan O'Toole
|LOOK AT US -
DO WE LOOK EMO TO YOU? The All-American Rejects take a break from
the pop-rock world to pose for a pic.
They may call themselves
rejects, but Oklahoma's pop-rock quartet The All-American Rejects are
gaining ground as America's newest pop sensations.
After releasing their self-titled debut on the independent Doghouse label
late last year, the Rejects recently re-released the album with Dreamworks
"We just want to get our music into as many hands as possible,"
vocalist Tyson Ritter says.
"An indie label can get out maybe 3,000 copies [of a record] in six
months; with a major label, it's more like 300,000."
Close on the heels of their new major label deal is the Rejects' first
headlining tour, which kicked off in Toronto last Sunday.
"We're just starting to get the kinks out of our set," Ritter
admits. "It's really cool to have the kids right there, listening
to everything we say. [Playing a live show] is like being one big heart,
us and the crowd."
Though fans and critics have compared The All-American Rejects' sound
both live and in the studio to all things emo, Ritter emphatically
refutes any association with the genre.
"We're not an emo band; we play rock music. We have a good time onstage
instead of screaming and telling people to cry," Ritter asserts.
"We want to totally set ourselves apart from emo the crappiest
genre ever made. It makes people sad, and we don't want to do that."
These are tough claims to defend for a vocalist who specializes in songs
about heartbreak, tears and the never-ending quest for love.
"I was just being myself," Ritter explains as he discusses lyrics
from the band's first album lyrics inspired by relationship troubles.
"I didn't want to try to be someone else. When I wrote those songs
I was 17 and in a relationship, and it sucked."
Ritter's brand of heartbroken lyrics can certainly be exemplified in the
band's first single, "Swing, Swing," which juxtaposes Ritter's
gloomy words with an energetic, peppy beat. The band has also completed
a video for "Swing, Swing" their first video ever.
"It was so much fun," Ritter enthuses about the videomaking
process. "We were freaked out. We got up there and we only shot for
a day. They had a trailer for us and shit. I asked for a cigarette and
they brought me a carton. We had never experienced anything like that
The video features The All-American Rejects rocking out in a California
"It was the neatest, cleanest junkyard I've ever seen; there was
all this weird shit everywhere," Ritter recalls. "It reminded
me of being 'back in the woods' back in Oklahoma. That's why we
chose the place."
The Rejects also had the opportunity to work with Marco Siega, who has
directed videos for such mainstream acts as Blink 182 and Papa Roach.
"Marco really cared what we thought," Ritter notes. "We
had total input in telling him what we wanted [in the video]."
Like the majority of the Rejects' songs, "Swing, Swing" is extremely
"We believe in songs that hit, songs that hook you in," Ritter
says. "We try to write every song like it's going to sell our record.
We want kids to sing again."
In addition to energizing crowds across North America, the Rejects have
proven their devotion to the music by inking themselves: the band recently
got matching All-American Rejects tattoos.
"When we debuted at 25 on the Billboard chart, we just freaked out,"
Ritter explains. "Our lives were changed forever, and we knew we
could never sit behind a desk and work nine to five. [The tattoos] show
our commitment to this lifestyle, forever. I'll never regret getting it."