Song of the Week Videos

Song of the Week: “Bye Bye Bye”

Remember that catchy chorus and those impeccable dance moves? Who doesn’t? This week’s song of the week, *NSync’s “Bye Bye Bye” is dedicated to my best friend since 6th grade, Ansela. She’ll be getting married this weekend and then moving to Texas, so it’s a bit bittersweet for everyone.

We grew up knowing each and every lyric to *NSync and Backstreet Boys tunes and forever debated who was the better boy band. We went to our first concert together, (BSB – I was the hugest BSB fan) and second concert (*NSync – Ansela LOVED them). We even used to fantasize about which member we would marry, she loved Lance of *NSync and my favorite was Brian of BSB. I’ve already said more than enough to embarrass us both, so go ahead and watch the video below. Enjoy!


Song of the Week

Song of the Week: “East Coast Anthem”

Whenever I’m in D.C. I find myself singing Good Charlotte’s song “East Coast Anthem.” Especially the opening lines, “Walking on the streets of D.C./On the east coast where I live.” I’m headed to D.C. for my friend Sarah’s wedding this weekend and you can bet I’ll be screaming those words as soon as I get there.

I was OBSESSED with Good Charlotte in high school, even convinced I’d marry Benji (haha…some things never change). That is definitely a post for another day. For now, enjoy some old school Good Charlotte footage, circa 1999.

Cut to 2:20 for their live performance of “East Coast Anthem.”


Remember their song, “Hold On?” Such a powerful video.


This was my favorite…”Movin’ On.” I think I need to write a post of my crazy encounters with Good Charlotte. Next week maybe…what do you think?



Blast From the Past: Q&A with Colbie Caillat

Tomorrow I will interview Colbie Caillat in Hoboken when she performs at a special event for VH1 Save the Music. The California-based singer-songwriter is an ambassador for VH1 Save the Music and has collaborated and won two Grammy’s for her songs with Taylor Swift and Jason Mraz. Her sophomore album, Breakthrough has received rave reviews and was also nominated for a Grammy.

I chatted with Caillat just about two years ago before her US summer tour began with John Mayer. To listen to Colbie talk about how her life has changed, writing songs in the bathroom and advice from John Mayer click here. For advice from Colbie to aspiring musicians, MySpace and why she thinks “Bubbly” is such a hit, click here. Feel free to read the full interview below and check out her MySpace to catch her on tour this summer. Stay tuned for my interview tomorrow in the upcoming week!

It’s been just about a year since your debut album came out. How has life changed for you?
So much. A year and a half ago I was just working at a tanning salon and I was recording my album. Now, I’ve been to . . . I can’t even count how many different countries playing my music all over the word, living on a tour bus. It’s a lot different, but it’s fun.

Did you ever imagine MySpace would have had such a huge impact on your career?
Not at all. No, I had no idea. I didn’t even know what MySpace really was or could do. My friend made the page for me and told me about it and he helped me upload my songs and everything so I had no idea.

How did the whole process on getting your record deal come about?
Well, because I was on MySpace and was eventually on the top of the unsigned artist chart. I was No.1 and I was easily noticed by people and the record labels would notice me easily and that’s how they found me and then offered me a record deal.

You pretty much had your songs written before the record deal happened, right? Did you have a certain concept for the album?
Oh yeah, the whole thing was written. The label came into it a month and a half after we were already into recording the album. I wrote these songs and every time we’d go into the studio we’d add instruments up until when we felt like they were complete. I just wanted the music to sound good, laid-back and really pretty and uplifting and sunny and that was the concept I guess.

I read that you write songs in your bathroom.
Yeah. I do. [Laughs]. It sounds good in there. Usually when I was at home in my bathroom, I felt like no one could hear me because I was in my own little world. It echoes in there so it makes your voice sound pretty and your guitar has some reverb on it. And now, on tour, being in my hotel room I go into the bathroom and close the door because if I sing really loud, people can hear me down the hall. It’s my comfort zone.

Do you remember the first time you heard “Bubbly” on the radio?
Yeah. Well, the first time I heard it I didn’t really count it because we were on our way to that radio station. But the first time I heard it randomly, I was back home on a little break from tour and my family and I, we went out to lunch at this restaurant we always go to. Halfway through lunch, we were outside and “Bubbly” came on and my family of course started freaking out. My mom got up and started dancing. It was really exciting.

Are you tired of playing “Bubbly” yet?
There are times when I am. Usually it’s for TV performances because I get so, so nervous on TV that I always mess up the song and then I just dread singing it the next time. Lately, we just went back on tour a week ago, so now I’m actually excited to sing it again. I just need little breaks from it.

You’re starting up a summer tour with John Mayer, you must be so excited!
Yeah. I’m kind of freaking out. [Laughs].

Has he given you any words of wisdom about the music industry?
Yeah, he has. I met him six months ago and we were talking. I told him I have stage fright and lots of fears. So he just told me to have fun up onstage and not worry because anything you do up there, people laugh at. Even if you mess up they kind of appreciate it more. As far as making decisions, like business decisions, he just said to do what you feel and go with your gut so I do that and it works.

Has your stage fright gotten better over the past year?
It has gotten a little better, but it’s honestly different depending on the situation. If it’s not as big of a deal TV show I’m fine. If it’s Leno or The Today Show I freak out completely where I cry right before I go on. I do vocal warm-ups with my band before and breathing techniques and I have to remember to smile. Sometimes, depending what time of day it is, I will have a cocktail before I go onstage just to calm me down a little bit.

Your debut album, Coco, is approaching it’s year mark later this month. Are you working on another album?
Well, the third single comes out in August for “The Little Things.” We just shot the music video for that in Hawaii a couple weeks ago. But yeah, I’m working on the next album. I’ve been writing for the past year and we’ve already recorded some of the songs. We’re not recording the full album until January and it won’t come out until next summer so we have a while to work on it still.

I know you worked with Jason Mraz on his most recent album. Are you hoping to collaborate with anyone on your next album?
I’m not sure. We haven’t talked about it for my album. I’ve done a song on Taylor Swift’s new album and Jason’s album and then a couple artists from different countries. I’m not sure about doing any on mine yet, but I would like to for sure.

Your fans have been included a lot on your MySpace, often picking the next single you release. Are you planning on continuing this for the new album?
That’s what I’m trying to figure out how to happen. I definitely want that, but I’m not allowed to put the songs up on MySpace. So now I’m trying to see, maybe having my band learn all the songs first and then we’ll start playing them randomly at shows, but that’s still not the best way to do it so I’m trying to figure out a way to do that.

Your songs were taken off of MySpace for a while.
There was some disagreement with MySpace and Universal. So everyone from Universal had to take either their songs off or put shorter clips. I was trying to fight that because as much as I want to respect my label, MySpace was what got me started and my fans, I felt like that was being disrespectful to them. There was a lot of negotiation, so I was able to put my original demos up for the meantime until the lawsuit passed.

What is your advice to aspiring musicians and singer-songwriters?
I would defin

itely recommend learning your c
raft, whatever it is. Take vocal lessons if you sing or piano lessons or guitar lessons, whatever instrument you want to play. Practice all the time because I didn’t and I wish I would have more now. I can play guitar and I can play up onstage, but I’m not a great guitar player so it kind of makes me nervous. So if you just practice your craft well so that you just have it in the bag. Write your own songs that mean something to you and just be in control of your career. As far as MySpace, make your page look all cute and post bulletins, keeping people involved in what you’re doing. That’s mainly the best thing, to keep them involved.

Do you have a favorite song on the album?
My favorite is “One Fine Wire.” Every time I hear that one come on I just like the melody and the music behind it, it’s just very uplifting. I wrote that song about my stage fright and how to overcome it, so that song just means a lot to me.

With MySpace, do you feel it’s more important to get fans that way rather than TV show appearances?
Well, it’s just different. My MySpace fans are the original ones that know everything about me. They know when I had all my original pictures up of me playing guitar in the bathroom, they were the ones from the beginning that heard all the demos. They’re different kind of fans than the ones that see me on TV. They [TV fans] become more of, I guess the screaming fans and the MySpace fans are the ones that are like, “I want to say that I’ve been listening to you forever.” They’re both different, but they’re both appreciated.

Why do you feel “Bubbly” has had so much success?
I think it’s because the song is about love. Well, it’s about having a crush on someone and all the things that I wrote about in that song, everyone has either experienced before, they’re feeling it right now or they’re dying to fall in love or have a relationship. I think by people being able to relate to a song, I think that’s what does it.

What would you be doing right now if it wasn’t for the music?
I was really into photography, so I would have tried something for that or I would have gone to school for interior design. I had fun with that, I was going to school for that a couple years ago. Otherwise, I’d still be singing and writing songs, maybe for other people.

If you haven’t yet, to listen my interviews with Colbie click here for part one and here for the second half of the interview. Check out Colbie’s MySpace for more info. on upcoming tour dates and music!


Blast From the Past: Q&A with Kris Roe of The Ataris

This past weekend I stumbled on my journal from college. Curious to see if my thoughts and passions had changed over the years, I picked it up and started reading. I was quickly taken back in time to my senior year of college while interning at JANE Magazine and later MTV News.

I’m glad to report the feelings of excitement haven’t faded when it comes to interviewing some of my favorite bands and discovering new artists. I came across one entry that particularly struck me. It was spring semester of my senior year and I was covering Rutgers’ annual Springfest concert with my friend and colleague Monica Rozenfeld. The Ataris were playing and I was determined to get an interview with frontman Kris Roe. I already had questions prepared, but never heard back from management so I decided to take matters into my own hands and just ask around.

After a few attempts we ran into a band member who said he’d talk to Kris about an interview. Kris gave us the green light and five minutes later we were in the boys locker room, sitting on the floor and chatting with him. I still remember the feeling of pure excitement walking out of the locker room after having asked one of my favorite bands everything I wanted to know. That night I wrote about my experience:

“This is exactly what I want to do with my life. Find & interview & write about bands — get their real life answers to questions! That’s my dream.”

Four years later, I’m glad its the same dream. You can read an excerpt from my interview here on Rutgers’ Daily Targum Web site, and I’ll paste it below as well.

When was the last time you performed? What happened with your old drummer?
October of 2004, we played our last show in Florida, some random show we flew down to do for Halloween. I just remember it was one of those things that we didn’t know if it would be our last show as that band. It was me, John, Mike and our old drummer Chris. It came at a point where the band felt like it was very limited.

I didn’t enjoy playing music with our drummer anymore. He really wanted different things from me. He wanted to be the hugest rock band in the world, whereas I just wanted to get in a van and play shows with my friends and have fun. I didn’t really feel like we had a friendship bond anymore. And our bass player went off the deep end and got involved in things that I wasn’t so proud of. I hated seeing my friends succumb to those things, and it’s like tough love. I had to be like, you know, this band’s here for you if you want it, but you’ve got to sort your life out first. A year went by and I never talked to him, so obviously he chose the other elements over me and over this band, and it happens.

What is to be expected of your new CD released in July? Is the sound similar to your previous record?
It’s completely different. At first it sounds like a different band. Musically its way more um, ah, I don’t really know. There are seven people in the band, there’s three guitars, cello, keyboards, and we got a new drummer and a new bass player. It’s more dreamy, spacey, like a big wall of sound. It’s more akin to all the British bands, like Radiohead, Muse, Snow Patrol, and Doves. We came to a point where I don’t really feel the music we were creating was the music I listen to and the music that I wanted to represent me. I think that we just kind of had to step outside ourselves and be like, you know what do we really want to do and what do we feel feels really honest. And we just started writing a bunch of songs and eventually after two years off with a year of writing, rehearsing, and recording, the record just kind of wrote itself.

Where do you get your inspiration for your songs?
Lyrically, this album is like a story about questioning yourself. There’s a lot of existentialist thought in it, about how in life there is so much more out there. It’s my question of myself asking what is out there in this world and what is beyond this world. The title of the album is Welcome the Night and it’s based on this concept that to me, everything in this earth and this planet is in transit and everything prior to our lives and after our lives is darkness.

Is there any venue or audience that you hated playing for?
Usually, it’s all pretty good, as long as people keep an open mind and don’t like to shout for stupid songs. Occasionally, you’ll get the one random punker guy. I’ve learned to ignore them. Back in the early days I would get kind of irate and stupid. I broke my hand getting in a fight with a kid because he threw some shit at me, and I never did that shit again. Just don’t let people get to you. One time in Australia I got pegged in the head with a bottle and I was like fuck it I’m just gonna keep playing because I knew it was the night of some Australian soccer championship. I knew it was some crazy, pissed off soccer fan and I knew he could kick me to shreds. So I was, like, I’m just gonna deal with it. If you don’t call attention to it usually people will just go on about their business.

How is it playing for a student crowd?
Playing colleges is always a good opportunity to bring your music to people that sometimes wouldn’t often get the chance to hear it. Because usually when you’re so absorbed with studying and probably a lot of partying I would assume as well, the music seems to take a secondary position in your life. Whereas a nerd like me, all I do is listen to music and pretty much sleep in all day and play music.

Is it a lot different from Warped Tour and headlining shows?
Yeah, I just feel the crowds are a little bit more narrow-minded [at Warped Tour]. I think that Warped Tour is more of a young audience and they already have their mind made up a bit more, whereas at colleges are a little bit more collective and willing to listen to more different and daring things.

Related Links:
Q&A; with Kris Roe of the Ataris: Part 1
Q&A; with Kris Roe of the Ataris: Part 2
The Ataris’ “Blue Skies, Broken Hearts” Acoustic Tour Hits New Jersey
Song of the Week: “Boys of Summer”


Blast From the Past: Q&A with Colbie Caillat

Yesterday singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat released her sophomore album, Breakthrough, and it’s already making a wave. Debuting No. 1 on iTunes, Breakthrough is sure to top previous chart-topper, Coco. Not to mention, current single “Fallin’ For You” can be heard on airwaves everywhere. The perfect album to end your summer, Breakthrough promises the Californian songstress will be around for quite some time.

I’ll write a full review in the upcoming days, but I figured you might be interested in listening to my interview with Colbie from last year. To listen to Colbie talk about how her life has changed in the past year, writing songs in the bathroom and John Mayer click here. For advice from Colbie to aspiring musicians, MySpace and why she thinks “Bubbly” is such a hit, click here.

To read the full transcription click here. Be sure to visit Colbie’s MySpace to listen to tracks off Breakthrough.


Blast From the Past: What A Sugar Rush!

I just stumbled upon one of my old show reviews featured in the entertainment section of my daily college newspaper. Intertwined was my interview with Sugarcult guitarist Marko DeSantis that I wrote about yesterday. You can read the article here, where it was originally published or below. What do you think? Has my writing progressed at all over the years? Curious to know what your take is.

With a new album out, a new tour, and a new sound, Sugarcult continues to keep things fresh.

Annie Reuter
Targum Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sugarcult’s latest album Lights Out gives fans a different sound than they’re used to. Guitarist Marko DeSantis describes it as loud and sexy, dealing with “escapism and the guilty pleasures people indulge in that bring temporary happiness but are ultimately self destructive; casual sex, drugs, pop-culture.”

The band has just wrapped up the first leg of its Lights Out Fall 2006 Tour with opening acts The Spill Canvas, Halifax, Maxeen, and So They Say.

Sugarcult played an hour set of 15 songs at Starland Ballroom in Sayerville. Their first song, “Lights Out,” got the crowd pumping. One of the crowd favorites included their radio hit, “Memory” while many in attendance could be heard singing and seen crowd surfing throughout most of the concert.

“It’s very good to be back here at the Starland Ballroom,” said lead singer Tim Pagnotta.

Perhaps the best guitar sound of the night came from Sugarcult’s performance of “Los Angeles,” one of the deeper songs from the band’s new album which talks of casual sex.

DeSantis explained how each of their records stands up on their own.

“We don’t want to be redundant and puke up the same old same old,” DeSantis said. “On Lights Out, we broke new sonic ground, we nearly killed ourselves in the studio trying to make sure the music and lyrics were the best they could be.”

While some songs on the album deal with casual sex and guilty pleasures, other songs sound like anti-radio anthems.

On the song “Explode”, Sugarcult sings, “The radio is here to stay/Turn it off and walk away.”

“I guess after five years of doing this professionally we’ve had our hearts broken enough times to see that there’s a reason it’s called the ‘music business’ and not the ‘music friends,'” DeSantis said. “It’s all so political, but at the same time we can look on the bright side and be happy that good music is getting a fair shake: the White Stripes, the Killers, U2, Tool. It’s just sad when places like Philadelphia and New York City don’t even have a station that plays rock music anymore.”

So where does DeSantis and others find out about new music if they don’t listen to the radio?

“Growing up it was all about going to shows, word of mouth, mix-tapes, magazines, hanging out in indie record shops and digging through the racks,” he said. “Today it’s not much different, but things like iTunes, websites and file sharing just make it easier to get turned on to stuff. My favorite way to discover a band is to see them play live and unexpectedly be blown away by undeniable greatness.”

DeSantis explained that he likes bands that are “rooted in the tradition of rock n roll, but update it and push it forward.”

The energy by the end of Sugarcult’s set was intense. As they played their last song for the night, “Bouncing Off The Walls,” singer Pagnotta told the crowd, “I wanna hear you bouncing off the damn walls!”

So does Sugarcult ever get tired of performing some of the same songs over and over again?

“Not really, because you’re feeding off the energy of the crowd, and it’s either a new song or an old song that brings back fond memories of the old days. Hearing 1,000 people scream along to a song we wrote six years ago in a tiny practice space in our hometown when nobody cared about us is always a thrill,” DeSantis said.

With the start of a second leg of their fall tour, DeSantis also wants to play in all the countries Sugarcult hasn’t yet been to.

His plans for the future: “Basically keep making good music, becoming a better band, and chasing new adventures… Fuck it, while we’re at it, why not sell a million records too!”

For more on Sugarcult, be sure to visit them on MySpace.


Blast From the Past: What’s Your Get-Ready Song?

I completely forgot about this quiz I put together last year for It’s more geared to girls prepping for prom, but could be relevant to getting ready for Valentine’s Day today perhaps? If you’re in the mood to take a quiz and find out what your “get-ready” song is click here. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Blast From the Past: Meeting Patrick Swayze

Nearly three years ago, while writing for my college paper — Rutgers University’s Daily Targum — I was assigned to cover a heart disease event at one of the local hospitals. None other than Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze would be making an appearance and talking about the disease, as it hit close to home for him having both his father and grandmother die from heart disease.

In addition to the assignment of attending the event, I was also asked to write a preview to bring awareness to the campus and surrounding communities. After speaking with one of the organizers I found out the event was sold-out; not a huge surprise given the notoriety of Swayze. I knew I had to start the article with something extremely catchy, but intros were always my weakness. While brainstorming with some roommates it hit me — possibly the most famous line from Dirty Dancing was in the final scene when Swayze goes up to Baby’s parents and says, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” So, why not turn that around to heart disease since he’s been a major advocate for promoting education of the disease? Alas, that’s where — still to this day — my favorite intro comes in: Patrick Swayze doesn’t put heart disease in the corner.

The day’s event was a huge success with well over 600 people attending. I was struck with how down to earth and comical Swayze was throughout the day — even grabbing one of the announcers to dance with him. At one point the press was ushered over to him for a quick Q&A.; I remember being so incredibly nervous introducing myself and shaking his hand (I’m talking to Patrick Swayze!!??) but he was so humble and politely asked how I was while answering all of my questions honestly and sincerely.

Below I’ll include my full write-up of the event as well as Barbara Walters most recent interview with Swayze. For those of you out of the loop, Swayze is currently battling with pancreatic cancer. Walters interview last week was his first public interview since being diagnosed with cancer over a year ago. An extremely moving interview, it’s really remarkable to see his positive outlook on life and his conviction to beat the odds and survive until they find a cure.

February 27, 2006

Patrick Swayze Promotes Heart Awareness
By Annie Reuter

Patrick Swayze doesn’t just want you to have the time of your life; he wants to make sure it lasts.

On Saturday at the third annual Day of Dance for Heart Health at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Swayze — star of Dirty Dancing — was on hand to inform women about protecting themselves against heart disease.

“I know so many women take care of their families and not themselves,” Swayze said. “To me, if we start this concept of taking care of ourselves we might take care of the planet. If we don’t, we’ll never break the vicious cycle [of heart disease].”

For many who attended the event, heart disease struck close to home. Swayze was no exception. He said his father died from heart disease at a very young age, leaving much of the responsibility of taking care of the family on him. His grandmother also died from heart disease.

“When it’s so curable, why should women die?” Swayze asked. “It’s so easily fixable.”

More than 600 people swarmed the Arline & Henry Schwartzman Courtyard of RWJ Saturday afternoon in an effort to learn about heart disease and prevention.

Marianne Balay, assistant vice president of Medical Affairs at RWJ, opened the event with a welcome address and a speech titled “Love your Heart” — addressing various symptoms women may feel and disregard, not realizing they can be attributed to heart disease. Heart disease kills more women than all cancer combined, Balay said.

“There is more to women’s health than just the anatomy that makes us different from men,” Balay said. “We don’t want women’s heart disease to be confused, dismissed or disregarded. We’re doing this to win the war.”

Other speakers addressed the crowd, such as Dr. Archana Patel, who spoke of symptoms of heart disease and ways to prevent it by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Jeff Levine was also on hand to talk about his appearance on the NBC reality show, “The Biggest Loser.”

Weighing more than 400 pounds at the time, Levine submitted a video to appear on the show. By exercising four to six hours a day and controlling his diet, he lost a total of 183 pounds since being on the show. “I consider myself an obesity survivor,” Levine said.

The program also included a demonstration by Bryan Fischberg from RWJ Emergency Medical Services on how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator to save someone having a heart attack.

When Swayze did arrive, he was greeted with an enthusiastic standing ovation as music from the movie Dirty Dancing played over the speakers. Swayze told the crowd he was bad with speeches, but said he felt if you talk from the heart, people hear you.

“It’s amazing to me that heart disease is the number one killer [of women],” Swayze said. He talked about ways women should take care of themselves and go to the hospital if a symptom appears.

“If we take care of ourselves, we might take care of our brothers,” Swayze said.

Watch the opening segment of Barbara Walter’s interview with Patrick Swayze below. For the remaining clips of the interview, go to YouTube.



Blast From the Past: Up Close with John Travolta

As I’m going through the archives of my past work I completely forgot about one of the most exciting days for me while interning at MTV News, nearly two years ago. I’d go into more detail, but my blog for MTV News’ MySpace page describes the day’s event of meeting John Travolta pretty well, so read it below!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Up Close — Maybe A Little Too Close — With John Travolta

Last Thursday, everyone at MTV News was working hard breaking the latest Britney Spears news when producer Justin Tormey asked me to help him set up for a shoot with John Travolta. I couldn’t say no! I helped him once before but I was never able to stay for a live interview, and I was super psyched.

Before interning at MTV, I never realized that a shoot can happen almost anywhere. Most times, all you need is a backdrop, some cameras, good lighting and microphones — with the help of people who know what they’re doing to film what’s going on.

Thursday’s shoot took place in a conference room on the 44th floor shortly after Travolta made his appearance on “TRL” talking about his new movie, “Wild Hogs.” I helped Justin and a few others search throughout the building for available equipment since much of the things we needed were being used for shoots in other locations. After setting up the backdrop and cameras and perfecting the lighting and sound, Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor, soon entered with John Travolta.

Josh talked to John about various topics during the interview. A big aviator, John talked of how he enjoys flying planes in his spare time and touched on the current generation of performers, such as Justin Timberlake, and their impact on the industry today.

(Read what Travolta had to say right here.)

It was interesting to hear Travolta talk about his former movies and musicals and learn that if he had more time he wouldn’t mind singing and putting out an album. He will be appearing in the musical “Hairspray,” and said it’s like a sequel to “Grease,” despite it taking place a few years earlier. It was really cool to hear John talk of people in the industry who have influenced him as well as current actors he may have influenced.

Throughout the interview I couldn’t help but notice that while Josh and was interviewing John, the two looked like they were sitting a little too close to each other. When watching the footage from the interview you don’t notice it at first, but they definitely seemed to be knocking knees more than just once throughout the interview.

Despite that possible awkwardness, the interview ran so smoothly, and John seemed like such a nice guy, constantly complimenting Josh on what a good question he asked and just seeming overwhelming responsive to every question Josh asked him.

Who knew celebrities could be so down to earth?

— Annie Reuter, MTV News Intern

Watch MTV Rough Cut: John Travolta below or here for the full five clips of the interview.

Movie TrailersMovies Blog

Blast From the Past: Interview with the All-American Rejects

Last night’s free All-American Rejects concert at Hammerstein Ballroom reminded me of my on the fly interview with frontman Tyson Ritter back in college. It was one of those situations that I look back at and laugh because sometimes I can’t believe half the things I’ve done to score an interview with some of my favorite bands. (Please, no groupie remarks I’m a journalist not a bandaid!) Anyway, last night’s show was pretty intimate as they were filming it for Wal-mart and it looked as if only a hundred or so fans gained access to the event. I’ll let you know when I find out the full details of when the concert will air. In the meantime, read below for this week’s “Blast From the Past” with the All-American Rejects.

When my friend invited me along to help cover a concert at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton two summers ago, naturally I went. She was working on a piece for the Trenton Times about the venue and how it was trying to attract a younger crowd. Hence, the concert “Popfest” was put on by local radio station WPST 94.5 attracting many of its younger listeners. In addition to the All-American Rejects, performers included Nick Lachey, The Fray, Bo Bice, and The Click Five.

My friend was promised a press pass to interview some of the bands, but for some reason it fell through. This is where my ingenious Plan B came in. “Let’s just go find their tour buses,” I remember telling her matter-of-factly. And so we did. After waiting 10 minutes or so she was discouraged and wanted to leave, but I persisted. A few minutes later, drummer Chris came out of the venue but was short on time, so he told us to wait for the rest of the guys. Shortly after Tyson approached the bus where we were able to ask him a few questions about the event. It was probably less than a five-minute impromptu interview, but I’ll take what I can get!

How is it for you playing a show like Popfest at a smaller venue vs. your bigger arena shows?
Our first time to step out in an arena was with Fall Out Boy two months ago and we just got off that tour. So I guess coming off that tour this might seem smaller, but this is still a large show to us. Definitely a different energy though. At a pop show, people don’t move as much.

Do you enjoy playing shows like Bamboozle more?
Oh yeah. That’s like the voice of a generation all in one spot at the same time. They’re the future leaders of America. Even though they may listen to music that’s not contemporary or run of the mill, those people are a lot different when they go to Bamboozle. The people who go to Bamboozle are definitely . . . I don’t know, more cerebral than normal people, I find. Whereas at these shows people scream and go crazy like five seconds after they see us. At Bamboozle a kid will be like “What’s up Tyson?” and try to talk to you, as opposed to try to bombard you or scream until you give into some weird wish that they want. But it’s all fun.

Would you consider coming back to Trenton?
Oh yeah. It was great, the kids were loud, girls were giggly. The next time we come here we’d like to come and play a proper show. We had the option to headline but we wanted to make The Click Five look bad. We don’t like bands that don’t rock their instruments. There’s a difference between playing your instrument and rocking it. I don’t play my instrument. It’s really kind of, I like to call it ho-hum music because after one song you kind of go ‘ahhhh’ [referring to bands who don’t rock their instruments].

Gotta love the honesty. Be sure to pick up a copy of AAR’s new album when it hits stores, December 16.