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AWOLNATION Working With Steve Perry

'I'd like to push myself and get better,' Aaron Bruno says of his new material

Aaron Bruno of AWOLNATION performs in Hollywood.
Christopher Polk/2013 Getty Images for Clear Channel
December 19, 2013 3:55 PM ET

When you have a smash single like AWOLNATION's "Sail," a lot of options become available.

"There are a couple of people I have up my sleeve," frontman Aaron Bruno tells Rolling Stone about who he's working with on the band's next album"There are a couple of massive surprises that could happen." Though he is initially reluctant to divulge names, he does give an obvious clue: "I can say, 'Don't Stop Believing.'"

See Where Steve Perry Ranks on Our List of the 100 Greatest Singers

He's talking about former Journey frontman Steve Perry, who hasn't appeared on a record since the mid-2000s. "We became friends," he explains. "It feels weird for me to talk about – I feel like I'm bragging about how this legend likes the music I've written. But he asked for my number. He reached out to me." 

The follow-up to the band's breakthrough debut, Megalithic Symphony, is taking shape as a much more introspective collection of songs. "The first record was really about more world issues and the discovery of the reality of how stuff works and how we are as humans," he says. "But this one seems to be a little bit more reflective, more about human relationships."

Bruno says he has nine songs done already, including "Kooks Everywhere!!!" and "Hollow Moon." "I got a lot of music in me," he says. "We were touring for three years, so I had a lot of time to spend alone on that bus and think about the way I wanted to make the record and grow, hopefully, into another dimension. I'd like to push myself and get better."

 

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“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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