ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Rejects prove they're American
By Lori Mastronardi
Gazette file photo
VERITABLE COLLAGE OF REJECT-ISM. Clockwise from top left:
Rejects, Rejects, Rejects and — you
guessed it — more Rejects.
The All American Rejects battled their way into the spotlight
last year, armed with dynamic pop rock beats, lyrics soaked
in teenage angst and bittersweet boyish good looks.
Although definitely skilled in the realm of pop rock, these
Rejects merely need to sit pretty in order to draw an ample
crowd of admirers; however, their fans usually consist of hungry
Guitarist Mike Kennerty recognizes the band just can't seem
to shake their poster-boy Tiger Beat image.
"There are definitely a lot of 13-year-old girls that
love looking at us guys, so I'm sure that helps our records," Kennerty
admits. "But it kind of sucks to think about that -I mean,
it's a reality and it doesn't hurt, I guess." The All
American Rejects have received coverage in outlets ranging
from Rolling Stone to Teen People and have mixed reactions
regarding the latter.
"It's definitely not the route we would have chosen first
hand, but I guess it's what you have to do, especially when
you get on a major label -you have to go every route you can
for exposure," Kennerty adds.
Seventeen Magazine delved into the very essence of celebrity
talent. An online poll revealed that readers agreed the band
was blessed with heavenly hair -but only after Heath Ledger
and Ashton Kutsher.
"Maybe Ashton [has better hair], but I don't like the
curly hair of Heath Ledger." After hesitating slightly,
Mike continues, "I'm just joking, you know." If not
a cluster of mesmerized mini-chicks, what kind of crowd would
the band like to attract?
"Normal fans would be cool -not screaming girls who just
want to look at you. People who care about the music more." So,
after a slight detour through the band's roots, we're back
to the music. Tyson Ritter (vocals/bass), Nick Wheeler (guitars/keyboard/programming),
Mike Kennerty (guitar) and Chris Gaylor (drums) are The All
American Rejects. Not surprisingly, these Rejects receive more
pleasure from record labels than teen-targeted publications.
Kennerty recounts a time when the band realized they would
permeate areas outside of their hometown of Stillwater, Oklahoma.
"When we were on Doghouse Records, that was like huge
for us," Kennerty recalls. "Because we were all fans
of that label so we knew we'd have at least some sort of little
fan base, because that label has a fan base. So at the time
that was like giant; we were so stoked." The Rejects have
been on tour for the last year and a half to promote their
self-titled debut album. The follow-up record will stray from
the current themes of twisted hearts and second chances.
"Tyson writes all the lyrics," Kennerty notes. "And
lately the new songs are about different subjects. The first
record was written when all that he pretty much had in his
life was his relationship that lasted a year and a half, so
every song spanned out of that. Now that we've been touring
a lot he doesn't really have relationship stuff to write about." To
follow the success of "Swing, Swing," the band expects
to release a new single for "Time Stand Still," an
equally addictive track.
"After that, I think in January we're going to take off
and write and record in February or March, hopefully have the
new records out by summer," Kennerty says. "It's
been going awesome."
Kennerty also revels in his opportunity to seamlessly blend
the usually conflicting areas of work and play. "Just
being able to live off playing music is the best thing ever.
That was my dream; to be able to do it is amazing. And I'm
really proud of that." Do the Rejects ever worry about
falling into the cluttered pile of one-hit wonders and short-lived
"It's going to fade sometime; whether it's sooner or
later we're prepared for that. We never expected this in the
first place, so it's kind of easier to let go of, I think."
The All American Rejects are currently on tour. Sep. 30 marked
the release of Live From Oklahoma: The Too Bad for Hell DVD.
Recorded in Stillwater, the DVD features 10 tracks from their
debut album, as well as videos for "Swing, Swing" and "The