I had the pleasure of doing my 20 questions interview segment with Tyson Ritter of All American Rejects! Find out why cat's freak him out, about his love affair with NYC, 5 things he can't live without and their upcoming tour!
You guys just released your new single 'Beekeeper's Daughter', does this song set the mood for your upcoming album?
'Beekeepers...' is a song that grabs a polaroid of a moment when I was going through what I now refer to as my "lost weekend" in sunny California. When we set out to write our new record Kids In The Street, I didn't know where my head was at really. 'Beekeepers Daughter' is about this insensitive version of myself that had been run over so much that I had a complete disconnect to the world and in turn, your gender Ms Audrey. I think it sets the tone of the record because it's a bombastic catchy tune that opens the gauntlet of sonic departures on this record, yet it still feels like the Rejects.
I saw you had a sweet cameo in your video of Wayne Newton, how did that come about?
Our director Isaac Rentz had a great treatment when he approached our band, and I think that when I wrapped my warped perspective around it (involving devils, barber shop quartet with socket less eyes, hipster fights, and yes, Wayne Newton) he really vibed what I wanted out of this video. I call it our kitchen sink video and Wayne Newton was that kitchen sink. I remember getting the call the night before saying he was in and I felt like Christmas and Halloween were married in the same moment. Check that off of the ol' wish list.
What was the main inspiration behind the new record?
Kids In The Street is lyrically inspired by the last three years of my life and the quarter life crisis of sorts that started it all. I moved to Los Angeles and seeing too many sunrises i guess i lost myself. I decided the escape my Hollywood hurricane and found peace and drive in the sweet lovin' arms of New York City. That place helped me get my head together and I owe my record to her comforting embrace. This record I feel is our first as a band that actually holds up as a whole record as opposed to just a collection of music that seems to be cohesively palatable. When we gathered all the material we'd composed, I noticed there was an underlying theme there. There was a tale of excess, sex, apology, and ultimately self-discovery through reflection. Kids In The Street is the song that puts you back in those moments where you still were burning the last bit of that candle of naivety and had yet to switch to that giant candle of cynicism we all as adults burn till the grave. I found myself in that reflection. Not to say that this record is weighted solely on melancholy anchors, it has a lot of fun air to it as well. Peaks and valleys and by the end, a bit of a baptism. birth to death. kitty to tiger kind of growth. Now I'm just rambling.
Are you guys planning a tour for this spring/summer? If so is it USA or does whole world get to see you?
We are planning on taking the world on by storm starting on the release date March 26th. A full united states assault will commence and we will be playing most major cities for sure. Following that, we join forces with Blink-182 and take on the Euro! Those guys are great to run with and they always have such a lovely crowd to share. following that we are back at the states for a fall tour with some sweet bands that you'll love to watch us with... We couldn't be more excited to go back out and play for our fans who've been by our side for a decade now. jesus, writing that makes my joints ache. Did I take my vitamins today?...
Do you prefer to be touring and out on the road, or home recording and living the "normal" life?
I've been home for two weeks between this last little tour we did and am waiting to go to the UK for promo next week, and honestly, it's driving me mad. I can't stand being anywhere for more than 12 days i've found out, and to me, there's no place like road. I gave up "normal" living when i jumped in that van when I was 17 and got a goodbye and good luck bible from my mother. We musicians are a hopeless breed that feast on the vibrance and thrill of our congregation and starve in the domesticated grind. I love going on writing trips however. I can't really create in my own space, but when you put me in a secluded cabin in the woods with some good reading material, somehow I can let it flow. I remember when my guitarist Nick and I took off to this great cottage in the wood of Maine... It had been 3 days and I thought I was all dried up creatively. My well seemed to filled with sand. But the night i made this declaration I just poured three songs out like I was 17 in my trailer house again. Sometimes when you watch the paint dry you notice that you're still moving the brush.
You get to travel all the time for your job, Is there one place you haven't gone that you would love to?
A happy marriage to life can not be without first lifting the veil of travel. I am fortunate to have spun around the world many times and in doing so realize that music is the true universal language. I am so fond of Spain. The people there, the culture, the dancing in kitchens. Just a comfortable pillow on this lumpy mattress of a world... If I don't get to Brazil soon I'm going to cut my pinkie off.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I'm pretty good with my hands I suppose. I was always a tinker and could trouble-shoot any problem when the van would break down between gigs. My dad is a 20+ year mechanic and the school bus would drop me off at his shop every day. I spent most days under there with him. I guess that's the main reason I still drive the van we toured in since '99. I can still work on her if she breaks down since she's a pre-computer car. She's like caddy girl repellant in Los Angeles, any girl that can't dig her gets a quick oust. So, I guess really my hidden talent is my van?
Any plans to further pursue acting?
I got into music first and foremost because I loved being on a stage. My grandmother took me to musicals as a child and that was the concrete that poured my foundation to music in general. I do intend to pursue acting, but when i can really focus on it to give the art it's true respect. I put all that on hold to make this record and if I do take a real swing at it, I'll shut off the music valve for a spell to take a crack at it properly...
I recently became bi-coastal and left L.A. for the east coast, where I'm much happier. I know working in the industry requires you to be out there for a good amount of time? Thoughts on the City of Angles?
I can't say that I loathe and despise the actual city of Lost Angeles, but I do think that there are quite a few shadows in that town that can blot out the sun. I have made peace with it and truly think it has a lot to offer. There's amazing topography that can leave you walking hills for hours and that's really what I think makes the town shine. The museums are top-notch. There's an artistic community that is bigger than even NYC. Here's the catch - there's no TRUE communal feel like there is in a city you can walk everywhere in. I love New York. I had an affair with that city and if i was alone walking or stooping with friends it was constantly feeding my soul. New York is where the soup is cooked, Los Angeles is where the soup is eaten and criticized. Too many spoons for me in LA
Five things you can't live without?
Are you crafty? Do you make anything in spare time?
I recently made this kick ass (if I say so myself) picnic table out of these massive slabs of wood. I brought them all together with a ton of these fat lag bolts that look like they belong on a pirate ship. really crude craftsmanship, but all my friends and i made cattle brands with our initials on it and seared our place settings at the table. Im proud as hell of it.. My pops even said i did a good job...I also got a sewing machine for my birthday last year and have really taken to altering my threads. For a tall guy with no ass, it comes in handy for sure.
Night owl or early bird?
NIGHT OWL with insomnia. I'll sleep when they put me in the ground i suppose.
Mona Lisa or Lisa Simpson?
What's your favorite band / music at the moment?
My favorite music of the moment is Count Baise. His band is so damn tight and when i put one of his records on in the house, everyone just really vibes one another. That and some Guess Who really sets me in place for the night. Maybe some ELO. Lennon. Bowie...
Give us 5 facts about you people may not know.
If I did that, I'd not have 5 things....
Taken or single?
Single as a priest, just not as holy.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Okla-mex food. Not that tex-mex shit, huge difference. Texas messed the cuisine all up. That or deli sandies, i got addicted to the late night deli in NYC...
Cats or dogs? Do you have any pets?
Cat people freak me out, especially if you are an adult male with one. Stay away from me. I like to keep fresh flowers in the house, I count those as pets. I play music for them and they play theirs for me, it's nice arrangement. Does that count as a pun?
I saw the images of you rocking some of the Coco De Coeur shirts form my line and looking super good while doing it, do you do a lot of modeling? Is this something you like to pursue?
I love your Coco De Coeur! Them threads are like wearing a compliment... I've had this dumb luck of getting some sweet modeling jobs over the years... My first shoot was for Earl Jeans with Gisele which was half nuts enough, but Patrick Demarchelier was the photographer too! It was a bit daunting for me to say the least... After that I did some stuff with Penguin which led to Hugo Boss which was a trip. Terry Richardson was shooting and Laura Stone was my counterpart. Once again, surreal... It's a fun dance you have with photographers. I see the artistry in it when i remember watching Laura move in front of a camera. Aphrodite, Venus, statuesque kind of power.
How would you describe your personal style, Where do you pull your inspiration from?
My personal style I like to consider a technicolor onion. I've worn so many different things over the years and I think I always will. My view on style is that as long as I still feel like me in what I'm wearing, then it's real. I really always loved Iggy Pop and David Bowie's bravery, and Marc Bolan's absurdity. YOU must wear the clothes, not them you, right?
What is one lesson you've learned in life that you'd wish to tell the world?
I think the whole "life is short" mindset is just for the birds. Life is LONG. I
realized that when I recognized that I'm just 27 and have only scratched the surface on my musical boundaries. Take a risk... In short - Change is the only constant in life, embrace it.