When the All-American Rejects hit New York this week to open a pair of Bon Jovi shows at Madison Square Garden, it was the Oklahoma quartet's first gigs at the famed venue but their eighth with the New Jersey rockers. "We count every one," singer-bassist Tyson Ritter joked. "Touring with Bon Jovi is a lot like touring with a circus," he says. "It takes two days to set up a circus before it can perform."
Though their own show hasn't hit big-top levels just yet, Ritter, guitarists Nick Wheeler and Mike Kennerty and drummer Chris Gaylor added some flare of their own by debuting a new track on this tour, their first major outing since entering a recording studio in February to record the follow-up to 2005's double-platinum Move Along. Ritter describes the track, called "Mona Lisa," as "an acoustic song that we've turned into a full-band production of an acoustic song," adding the Rejects intend to record it live in the studio — a first for the band.
Another first for the band is their upcoming "Body By Milk" ad, which features the lanky members of the All-American Rejects touting milk as "one drink we won't reject" (see it for the first time in next week's issue of Rolling Stone). But national campaigns aside, the band's focus remains their upcoming third LP, expected this November.
The still-untitled record is "a year and a half of writing reflecting on the last three years of our lives," Wheeler says. "We don't like to be the band that squeezes in writing between things just to hurry up and get the album out." Though the band has already recorded 10 tracks, they haven't stopped thinking of new ideas — including a possible collaboration with Southern folk-pop sisters the Pierces on the tentatively titled "Another Heart Calls," which Ritter calls "our little 'Time After Time,' with a lot more energy." Other contenders for the album include the quirky "Give You Hell" and the piano-driven "Fallin' Apart" with what Ritter describes as "T. Rex women on the chorus."
The album was recorded at Barefoot Studios in Hollywood, home base for producer Eric Valentine (Maroon 5, Queens of the Stone Age), who got the band accustomed to working 12-hour days. "It was great because we could all live at this house right between the Roxy and the Whiskey, right behind Sunset Boulevard. That was the most Hollywood rock star thing," jokes Wheeler, "without Hollywood rock stars in the house."