All-American Rejects on surprising anthems
April, 20, 2012
By Dave Wilson | ESPN.com
Nick Wheeler, the guitarist from the All-American Rejects, admits he wasn't the biggest sports fan growing up. That hasn't stopped his band's music from becoming quite popular at sporting events.
"We know we can write a catchy song, but some of these songs are great anthems. We've gotten lucky. I'm just stoked that sports fans like our band," he said with a laugh. "Because that wasn't the case in high school."
One of the band's most popular songs, "Gives You Hell," has popped up in its fair share of stadiums.
"It’s a great middle finger for everybody, whether it's a girlfriend or an opposing sports team," Wheeler said. "Something connects there, and we're really fortunate that it does."
The band released its fourth studio album, "Kids in the Street," on March 26. They released a video for the song of the same title this week.
"We've been working on this thing for over two years now, and we're excited to finally put it out there," Wheeler said of the album. "It's a theme. We've never had a theme on an album before. We were kind of cursed last time, a blessing and a curse. "Gives You Hell" did a lot of great things. But we were kind of cursed that the song was bigger than the record. We wanted to create an experience. I think we did that with [the new album].
"The title track is reflecting upon the time when you were the most pure -- right before you graduated, or before you got a real job. And you actually had to start caring. When you're just another kid, a speck, and it doesn't feel that way. You feel, I don't know... alive. Just those small, pure moments. We named the record after it. It was just that special."
With more of the "catchy songs" on the way with this album, we'll likely be hearing more of the Rejects' tunes on stadium PAs or in baseball players' at-bat music. But Wheeler, who grew up in Stillwater, Okla., and is an Oklahoma State fan, still has one favorite place where he heard one of their songs.
"My ex-girlfriend went to [Oklahoma], so that was always funny when OSU played OU. One day, I was out on tour, and the OU marching band played "Dirty Little Secret"at halftime, and she sent me a video from her phone. I geeked out a little bit. It was great," he said. "When you do this, and you've heard your songs on the radio, and you see your songs pop up on TV, it's not like you become numb to it, but there are still odd situations. That's when you know you're breaking into a culture. When a marching band plays one of your songs, you know just a little more that you've made it."