Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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Interview with: Mike Kennerty of All-American Rejects

Posted: 27 Oct 2009 08:00 AM PDT

While on break in the UK, the guitarist, , of Oklahoma Top 40 Rockers All-American Rejects took some time to chat with Bethany about the current tour, Tyson’s injury and more.

Bethany, PopWreckoning: Let's start here. You all are touring in Europe at this moment. How is that going?
, All-American Rejects: It is going great. We've been here for about four shows now and they've all been insane. The crowds over here are awesome so it has all been a blast.
PW: Are European crowds really different than the fans you have back in the states?
MK: They, lately, they seem to go a little crazier than American crowds. American crowds have become a little tame lately it seems, so it is fun to come over here and still be all hot and sweaty and wild. mike

PW: Now you guys, these are some of your first shows since Tyson's injury. What kind of happened there? How did fans react when they found out that Tyson was in the hospital for five days?
MK: He had an infection in his leg and it just got bad. We tried to power through some shows, but ended up having to get it taken care of. We canceled some shows and yeah, coming back, these are some of the first shows we've done and luckily, we were afraid he wasn't going to be able to do some of these shows. It turns out he heals quick. I don't think anyone here can tell the difference. He has been rocking it out regardless. The fans are all really nice and very supportive and understanding about the shows that we've had to cancel. We very rarely ever have to do it, so when we do, it is when it matters.
PW: It seemed like when that happened, there were tons of internet rumors that kind of just got away from what was really going on. Did you have any reactions as you were reading these rumors?
MK: I hadn't heard them? What were they?
PW: Oh things like, a massive tumor had to be removed.
MK: Haha. That one comes from…that was Ty's kind of own rumor he started. A few shows before we started to cancel, he was playing with a knee brace on and he would make up things on stage just to be entertaining and that was one of them. It was funny. He says a bunch of shit on stage every night and nothing ever gets out until that one thing and that one just kind of spread. But yeah, no tumors.

PW: Now with the shows you had to cancel, you were on the Blink-182 tour. What was it like to be on one of the biggest tours of the summer? It seemed like everyone was just talking about that.
MK: It was great and a great line of bands. It was a blast and great to have it. Unfortunately, it had to be cut short, which wasn't fun, but we still got to do a few weeks of it. We got to live it up and experience what it was like to tour with a band of that caliber. It was cool.
PW: Next, you guys are coming back to tour the states with Taking Back Sunday, who was also on the Blink tour. What can fans expect to be different this time around when it is just you and Taking Back?
MK: I think it will be a more aggressive show. Of all the bands that were on the Blink tour, us and Taking Back are the two that were definitely, you know, tear it up the most live and put our hearts into it live. I think the people just need to be prepared for lots of energy and lots of people just screaming in their faces. That's what both of our bands bring.

PW: Sounds great. Can you tell me a little about Edmond Records? You just put out an album by a group called the Upwelling, right? Is this everybody in the band that is involved or?
MK: It is just me and Tyson. It started off a few years ago. I produced a record for a guy named Ben Weasel and I wanted to put it out. We put that out and the Upwelling is a band that we're friends with and we've taken out on tour a few times. When it came time for them to do their first record, we just begged and pleaded with them to just come with us and take a chance on our label. They did and we put that out. It's a great record and things are going great. They're actually in the UK with us right now, so it is good times.
PW: Awesome. What are some of the future projects that Edmond has coming up?
MK: There's a band called the that are from Oklahoma as well that we've been friends with and have also taken out as well. We're kind of taking it slow. A lot of people start these labels and just kind of hull out bands that sound just like them and capitalize on that. We're not into doing that. We just want to help out friends when we can and take it in more as a hobby than an alternate source of income. We just want to help find great music.

PW: Great. Tell me a little about your involvement with Tck Tck Tck and the Climate Change Project?
MK: (whispers) I don't know anything about that.
PW: Haha.
MK: What is it?
PW: Your band, er, Tyson was recently in a promo for it.
MK: I don't know. I'm a bad band dude right now.

PW: No worries. We'll move on to the next question. Let's do something fun. You just fill in the blank. You just released a video for "I Wanna." So today, you wanna…
MK: Oh shit. Today I wanna go see a movie because it is a day off and there's nothing else to do and being in Europe, everything is so expensive. Even a movie is expensive, but it is the cheapest thing to do, but there's an early bus call. So I can't. That's what I really wanna go do.
PW: What movie would you see?
MK: “Zombieland.”
PW: It is funny. You should try and see that.
MK: Awesome. Can't do it today. Next day off.

PW: It is nearing the end of 2009 and the close of a decade. For that entire 'naught' decade, you guys have been a band and producing music. What has changed for you over this decade and what have you learned as a band?
MK: Well, obviously, our whole lives have changed. We've somehow stumbled into this success that we never expected, but are incredibly stoked on. As people, we've tried to remain the same. We come from Oklahoma, which is pretty humble territory. Our family wouldn't let us get a big head even if we wanted to. The main thing, we've watched a lot of other bands and other people kind of come up and let their egos grow unchecked. We've watched them get cut down to size because of that. If anything, we've learned keeping yourself in check is very important and not letting everything build up like egos and not getting to feeling like your better than everything, because you're not. I think that has kind of helped us last as long as we have. We don't take ourselves as seriously…we don't demand that of other people. That's all that matters.

PW: That is good advice for bands just starting off. What's next for you guys with the new decade?
MK: We'll probably start working on a new album and see where that takes us and hopefully keep this train moving.
PW: Have you already started working on some songs?
MK: Very small pieces. Nothing full on yet. We usually wait to get off the road and clear our heads a little bit and then start buckling down and getting stuff going.
PW: So no sneak peeks on this upcoming tour?
MK: No, unfortunately not.

PW: So for a final question, continuing this last decade trend, what would you say are your best of the 'naughts' looking back over the past ten years. Your favorite song or memory of the last ten years?
MK: Oh man. That's a tough one. I don't even know. So many experiences, it is hard to break it down when I think about it. There are so many good times that I've had and they're associated with music and movies, so trying to pick one thing is pretty tough. I will say right now with this tour we're doing in the UK with the Upwelling and American Steel, we're having an amazing time and I love both bands. It is just really great and it got me thinking when we had this tour a few years ago like in 2003 when we brought and Motion City Soundtrack. That was like one of the funnest tours that I've ever had and it got me reminiscing on that. That was one of the best times of my life, those three weeks we were over here. Such an amazing, fun tour. That would be one of my favorite things ever.
PW: Those guys are so much fun. Both bands.
MK: Totally.
PW: Well I know it is your day off, so I'll let you go have some fun and relax, but I appreciate you speaking with me. Those were great answers. Thank you.
MK: Thanks so much.
PW: Have a good day.
MK: Talk to you later. Bye.

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Bite Sized Reviews

Posted: 27 Oct 2009 07:00 AM PDT

Here at PopWreckoning, we've officially hit a level of mail that makes it impossible for us to give full reviews to every band. However, this does not mean we believe that these bands shouldn't be granted some for of press. It simply means we have to scale it down a bit. Therefore, we have opted to create a feature called Bite Size Reviews, which shall appear several times a week. This feature will contain 5 reviews each under 100 words and links to the albums website, MySpace page or label. We believe this is the best use of our mail and hope you too enjoy the reviews. They are as follows:

ThaoKnow Better Learn Faster thao

With a 33-second intro of a chain gang chant, complete with handclap poignancy, you'll expect a jumper and a revolutionary from albums past. Well, let's just say that the Thermals split they did earlier in the year for Record Store Day was a preemptive move, since you have a little of the Thermals pop persistent throughout. Maybe even edging out their Alterna-Folk ground that was evident on We Brave Bee Stings And All. Social-mixer-and-mix-tape-friendly, with even a few tracks to dance to, like "Easy" and "Body." "Fixed It!", however, is a song made for Wednesday night group karaoke.

website | myspace | @ First Unitarian Church | @ Electric Factory | @ Terminal 5 | interview with | @ Liberty Hall


Lucero1372 Overton Park

This album should be taken with a box of tissues, as Lucero rounds a hill of ragged southern blues to its repertoire. Word is, that this record sounds more like Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers and Tennessee, but those slower unrefined drawls bring on an even stronger Memphis soul, with a seriously smoky edge. True, that "What Are You Willing To Lose" maintains that upbeat organ choir uprising, but the album is a toying game between emotions—rebellious cries both amorous and longing. At least with Tennessee the instruments were creative and full, whereas 1372 just sounds like you're outside a motorcycle rebel dive bar or a truck stop diner.

website | myspace



begins by playing a little with your mind. The first track, "Latitudes For Centuries" sounds a bit like a Broadway warm-up, with an echo of ethereal vocals overpowering an introduction of piano. From there, it's anyone's guess. True to its history, the play-through sounds like it was a one-man (Charlie Salas-Humara) act that gathered a partner and a brand new direction. This adventure is just that, less electrical and more dancy-melodic. "Control Yr Ships" will quickly be an album favorite—the echo-ey voices returning with definite vociferous and keys presence. "Springwater" gets a bit too Dirty Projectors for me in a short chorus, but what's left off the record is sincerely intelligent fun.

website | myspace | @ berbati’s pan


FinkSort of a Revolution

This is technically an artist doing the a.k.a. deal, whose real name is Fin Greenall, and whose day job is songwriter, producer, and DJ. A Sort of Revolution is masterfully crafted, from the writing to the production, and given his resume we're not very surprised. The fourth album strings along Greenall's beautiful rhythm and blues voice in matching syncopation with intensely focused acoustic guitar plucking. Simply speaking, a record made for chilling out with a slicker vibe. This definitely isn't folk, so take that you acoustic demographic. And in a flawless addition to his already stellar collection of full-lengths, you'll be happy to know that it was a John Legend collaboration that set this record to a new tier of awesome.

website | myspace

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