With a hit debut record, an MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best New Artist and a stint on the Vans Warped Tour already under their belts, the All-American Rejects have quickly risen through the pop-punk ranks.
“We didn’t plan on this happening. We were just in my bedroom writing songs and recording demos and just doing it for ourselves,” said guitarist Nick Wheeler.
Despite their newfound success, the Rejects remain true to their humble roots. “We’re just four kids from Oklahoma, so we’re doing our thing,” Wheeler said. But not even a major-label deal with DreamWorks Records could spoil their innate politeness and humility. “We don’t consider it selling out. We’re just doing exactly what we want to do. You’ve got to look out for what’s best for your band,” said drummer Chris Gaylor.
Lead singer Tyson Ritter agrees: “We just wanted to get as much music as possible out to as many ears as possible.”
With a relentless touring schedule including a spot on the Warped Tour and upcoming tours of Europe and Japan already planned, the Rejects are doing just that.
The band’s hard work has paid off, earning them an MTV Video Music Awards nomination for their first single, “Swing, Swing.” While the Rejects will be touring Europe at the time of the VMAs, they’re not dismayed by missing the ceremony. “I know we’re not going to win, because we’re going up against 50 Cent. It’s cool to be nominated, but if I know I’m not going to win, can’t I stay in Amsterdam?” Gaylor said.
Unfortunately, they haven’t found much time to work on a follow-up record, but it’s not for lack of effort. “When you’re on the road all day, every day, everything you do revolves around the half hour on stage playing, and I don’t think there should be anything to distract you from that,” said Wheeler.
By the end of the year, the Rejects hope to find time to work on a new record by year’s end. “We’re truckin’ until December and then we’ll finish writing the second record and hopefully get it out by next Spring,” Ritter said.
When it comes to recording, the group take advantage of recent advances in studio technology, including the music software ProTools, while making sure to maintain a level of punk rawness. “You can get really great guitar tones on ProTools, but we did all the bass to tape, vocals to tape. But we’re not going to abuse it. You can’t tweak your vocals. That’s fucked up,” Ritter explained.
In spite of their hectic schedule, the Rejects remain focused. “It’s tough to put everything into your show and then everything into an album and keep your momentum at the same time. You’ve got to make a dent and then keep it going, keep the momentum,” Wheeler said.