All-American Rejects have spent the past few months getting ready to headline the Warped Tour, prepping a new album and embracing their deep love of classic arena and pop music from the '60s and '70s. "If there's one thing the band loves collectively, it's Neil Diamond and fucking Queen," says frontman Tyson Ritter. "I just turned 26 and I've realized that this is the time when all the greats like the Beatles and the Doors and Janis made their best records."
Inspired by some of rock & roll's icons, Ritter says the follow-up to 2008's When the World Comes Down, which featured the radio smash "Gives You Hell," will veer far beyond emo-pop. "As a band, we put something different out all the time," he says. "If we've taken baby steps before, this will be our rocket ship to Mars." He adds, "We're not writing scream-out, barky, pop-rock."
So far, the Rejects have sketched out 20 tracks and finely tuned three: "Bleed Into Your Mind," "Beekeeper's Daughter" and a ballad titled "After You." "We definitely have nice walls," says Ritter. "Now we're just looking for that solid foundation." Lyrical inspiration is coming from Ritter's recent realization that he's spent the majority of his young adulthood working the record-tour-record grind. "You wake up one day and you realize you're not a kid anymore," he says. "Living with record cycles, you get frozen in time. It was almost four months to the day that I woke up and was like, 'Well, "Gives You Hell" is over.' "