Nate Ruess definitely earned his vacation days – and he was determined to use 'em all. So much so that it basically took the combined powers of Bruce Springsteen, the NCAA and his bandmates in fun. to lure him down to Dallas for a performance at the Final Four.
And even after agreeing to do the show, he still managed to miss his flight. Seems like this was one vacation he didn't want to end.
"After doing this for three-straight years, I've been thrilled about getting some time off. So my feeling for the Final Four show was kind of like, 'Gosh, I can't believe we gotta do this,'" he told Rolling Stone. "It's always weird going back … the same thing used to happen when I'd go away on tour. When I'd come home, my girlfriend and I would have to spend a week getting used to each other again."
It didn't take quite as long for Ruess to reconnect with guitarist Jack Antonoff and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost; after all, they'd spent almost three years on the road together, touring in support of fun.'s breakout Some Nights album. And at several points during that Final Four show, it was apparent that the reunion had succeeded in lifting Ruess' spirits ("We need to fucking come out of retirement," he joked to the crowd), noteworthy because singer is the first to admit that he's definitely been enjoying his time out of the spotlight.
"I've been golfing a lot," he laughed. "But once I saw everybody, I just felt good. That's about as sincere as it gets. But it also showed me that less is more. Between me, Andrew and Jack, we're the kind of people who think anything worth doing is also worth overdoing, so I want to find a balance."
Striking that balance begins with the follow-up to Some Nights, which Ruess is currently writing – tentatively. Because now, whether he likes it or not, he's aware that these new songs will have stand the test of time and stand up to repeated plays on the road.
"It's moving. There's an apprehension at first, because I don't want this thing to move too fast, because I want to be able to enjoy being at home," Ruess explained. "And with this album – and after being on the road for a few years – you can't help but think of how each song is gonna fit. You start thinking about what you're gonna want to play, and what you're gonna want to say."
And to that end, while he's aware that the success of Some Nights has raised his band's profile exponentially, Ruess said he's less interested re-creating that record and more taken by the idea of documenting this very unique point in his life, which, needless to say, is quite different from the last time he sat down to write a fun. album.
"It's weird to talk about this, but it is interesting when you look at a song like 'Some Nights.' I remember when writing it, the thought was, 'No one’s gonna understand this. This isn't gonna happen. And this is the last chance, and then I gotta go get a real job,'" he said. "The first song on this new album is like the opposite of that, lyrically. You know, 'You got what you wished for. What the fuck are you wishing for now?'"
Still, he's taking any and all pressure in stride. Like he said, over the past three years, Ruess has had plenty of life experiences, and he's survived them all. His break may be coming to an end, and the business of following-up Some Nights just beginning, but Ruess is rested and ready to get back to work. Vacations can't last forever, after all.
"I look at Some Nights and some of the things that I feel like I did wrong on that, and I look at other albums that I’ve done in the past as a lyricist and not only do I want to maintain a certain level, I want to exceed it," he said. "The pain for me in songwriting is always putting lyrics to things. And so hopefully I’ve got enough firepower. I’ve definitely had enough shit go down in the last few years."