All-American Rejects seek 'World' acceptance
By Mitchell Peters
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - About two months before the release of his band's third studio album, "When the World Comes Down," All-American Rejects singer/bassist Tyson Ritter is spending most of his free time drinking beer and engaging in kite-flying wars on the beaches of Northern Florida.
"I've been getting completely hammered and enjoying myself," Ritter says from his home in Destin, Florida. "I'm 24 and I know I'm not going to be able to do this s--t when I'm 50. Sometimes you've got to live."
The All-American Rejects frontman has reason to enjoy his time off. In the two years since the release of its 2005 album, "Move Along," which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 2 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, AAR was often on the road. The band had slots on the Vans Warped tour and was a supporting act for Fall Out Boy in arenas.
The rock band's 80 weeks of nonstop touring didn't come without drawbacks. "We had a sweet run," Ritter says, but "we were burned, man, it was crazy. Just imagine living the same day ... for two years."
When it came to writing material for "When the World Comes Down" (due December 16 via Interscope), AAR -- comprising Ritter, drummer Chris Gaylor, guitarists Nick Wheeler and Mike Kennerty -- took advice from Interscope senior vice president of A&R Jeff Sosnow, who suggested traveling to various U.S. cities for songwriting inspiration. As a result, Ritter and Wheeler spent the better part of 2007 holding songwriting sessions in rural Georgia, Vancouver and San Francisco, as well as during a cross-country bus trip.
"These locations helped us be distracted from the task at hand," Ritter says. "We'd literally imprison ourselves wherever we were. I'd sit there all day with a piano, and Nick would sit there all day with a computer. That's kind of how we would make music."
Although "Move Along" went double platinum and spent 97 weeks on the chart, spawning such hits as "Dirty Litte Secret" and "It Ends Tonight," Ritter and Wheeler felt the need to create something even greater. "Last time it seemed like there was this need to survive, and this time there was a need to defeat our last creation," he says.
The new album's first single, "Gives You Hell," a foot-stomping rock anthem with gang vocals reminiscent of Queen's "We Will Rock You," debuted in late September via a mobile campaign where fans could text a special code to obtain it. The song also has been licensed to Fox Sports for use during NFL TV promos. A demo version of AAR's "The Real World" also appears on the soundtrack to "Madden 09."
On other fronts, Ritter played the role of a teen heartthrob in the summer comedy film "House Bunny," which featured a demo version of new AAR song "I Wanna." His striking good looks helped the singer add modeling to his resume after appearing in a recent Hugo Boss campaign.
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