EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS' Chris Gaylor on New Album: "Buy it or Steal it, Just as Long as You Feel it"
Published: February 21, 2012 - 6:29am
I recently had a chance to speak with All-American Rejects' drummer Chris Gaylor about the band's upcoming album 'Kids in The Street', which hits stores March 27th. We also reflected on the video for 'Beekeeper's Daughter', Wayne Newton's cameo and much more.
The All-American Rejects are prepped to launch their fourth studio album 'Kids in The Street' on March 27th. Their current single 'Beekeeper's Daughter' features an eclectic music video of the band performing on a parade float on the same set in which the classic movie Back to The Future was filmed. There's also a cameo of legendary crooner Wayne Newton amongst the chaos. I caught up with drummer Chris Gaylor to talk about the upcoming record in detail, his thoughts on internet piracy becoming acceptable and much more.
Keven: The new album is finally coming out in March and I'm just curious why the long delay after you finished recording it last year?
Chris: We just wanted to make sure we had the timing right for this record. We also really wanted to work hard on the artistic concept of the record, the album art and overall vibe of the record. So when it does come out, it's the best that it could possibly be.
Keven: I've heard the record has more of a narrative structure so do you guys consider it to be a concept album?
Chris: I wouldn't consider it so much as a concept album but it does have a narrative to it. It's not a concept album like 'Tommy' or something like that. We didn't go so far down the rabbit hole to do it as a concept album but I think you'll pick up the narrative as you listen to it.
Keven: How is it different from your previous albums then because of the narrative structure?
Chris: I think a big reason as to why it's different is because we used this producer Greg Wells. He taught us to ease up a bit and not be so constrictive in the studio. It was more freeing creatively. There was a lot more spontaneity and if you ever listen to demos from this record as opposed to the finished songs, there's a big difference.
Keven: Would you consider this record to be the strangest album of your career then?
Chris: I don't know if I'd say strange, but we're definitely expanding and growing as musicians and as a band. All of our records have been different from one another. We're all late 20's, early 30's. We're not gonna make the same record we made when we were 19 years old and if we did that would be terrible (laughing).
Keven: Do you consider this album to be the most important of your career and not necessarily a make or break record, but something to prove that you can stand the test of time?
Chris: Yeah… I think so. We've always just been one of those bands that were compared to whoever the contemporaries were at the time. We've outlasted every band we've been compared to. Make or break – I don't know, I like to consider every album a make or break album because you should never rest on your Loral's and go "Oh we've made it, we're cool now let's just half-ass it". You summed it up very well; I hope this proves that we can stand the test of time. If being around for 10 years doesn't, then I hope this does. (laughing).
Keven: You've mentioned before that you were disturbed at how so many bands in the social media era are getting signed to labels before they've put in hard work on the road, do you feel that's still the case or is it worse now?
Chris: I think it's weird when you hear about bands that get signed before they play their first show. I come from a different era and a different time period. I think bands are still working hard but working in a different way. As opposed to having to go fly in for different shows or mail their demos off to a label; they're on a computer working hard to get their band's name out there.
Keven: Do you feel pressure to compete with those artists who are big on YouTube?
Chris: I would never want to have a competitive attitude about competing with another band. I think the most pressure that we have as a band is the pressure that we put on ourselves to do as well as we possibly can.
Keven: Now that so many people are stealing music online, do you think it's important for the albums to sell a ton of copies, or do you just bust your ass on the road to make a living?
Chris: I'm the kind of guy who likes a physical album. I like getting the artwork with it and the layout. I think its part of the record. But…apparently millions of people don't agree so maybe I'm the one who's wrong here. (laughing). It doesn't really bother me that people are downloading music. You can buy it or you can steal it, just as long as you feel it. As long as people are still coming to shows and supporting the band then it doesn't really matter where they get their music from.
Keven: Neil Young recently stated that "Piracy is the new radio" – which I find to be a bold statement coming from an artist of that era.
Chris: Yeah, but it makes sense if you think about it. I mean think of the 50's and early 60's. A lot of artists didn't put out full albums they just put out singles. In a really weird way it's almost coming back to that time period where people aren't buying full records online but they're buying singles like crazy. To me it doesn't matter as long as people still like going to shows and hearing live music.
Keven: True, but like you said 'Kids in The Street' has that narrative so people should still go out and get that full album experience right?
Chris: They don't necessarily have to buy it but I would like people to download the whole record. We worked really hard on it so I'd like people to listen to the whole thing as opposed to getting one song. I mean, do they have to buy it?.... Eh. (laughing). But I would like them to hear the whole thing.
Keven: In the 'Beekeeper's Daughter' music video, what was it like playing on that crazy Bee float and what the hell was Wayne Newton doing there?
Chris: (laughing) You saw him! All I can think of was Vegas Vacation every time I talked to him. The director Issac Rentz came up with a treatment for the parade, choreography and we were just throwing paint at the walls like "let's have a hipster dance fight or a bunch of guys in flannel with beards, we'll have Wayne Newton in the video, just go with the chaos of the whole thing". Issac actually got Wayne Newton (laughing) to show up. So that was a surprise for us. He was an awesome guy, a gentleman. It was a pleasure having him there.
Keven: It was crazy seeing Wayne Newton in the video and I feel like I haven't seen him in forever.
Chris: We all know danke schoen and that's a motherf***er of a hit back in the day. He invited us out to his home in Nevada and hopefully one day we will get to take him up on that offer.
Keven: That would be awesome and yet so strange at the same.
Chris: You know what else was really strange, the whole set that we used was actually the same set that they used for Hill Valley in Back to The Future. The clock tower and everything and that was definitely one of the big movies from my generation so it was crazy. Wayne Newton's here and we're filming a video in Hill Valley – this is awesome. (laughing).
Keven: You're going to be hitting the road in the UK this summer with Blink-182, do you know those guys at all?
Chris: We did hang out with them a little bit and unfortunately when we toured with them before we had to cut it short because Tyson got really sick but we are happy to go back out with them again. We're gonna have a blast.
Keven: It seems like they're a different band now compared to the old days, what are you guys like on tour, do you party or keep to yourselves?
Chris: We don't really party a lot, I mean we hang out but we're not these big debaucherous party animals. We like to hang out and have a couple beers but we're not that band who has naked chicks on a bus and a pound of blow. The 80's are over (laughing). We're not that kind of band. We started making music because we weren't cool enough to go to the party and it's always kind of just stuck with us.