I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Nick Wheeler, guitarist with All-American Rejects on October 19, 2009. The band were in the UK finishing up a sold-out tour. They will return to the US in November for a co-headlining tour with Taking Back Sunday. The band are also celebrating the release of the video for their current single "I Wanna."
Bill: How is your day going?
Nick: It's ok, slept until about one o'clock I suppose, did some laundry. It's been a productive day off.
Bill: Tyson had a recent injury that pulled you off the road. Is everything set for November?
Nick: Actually, we're over in the UK and we're back on the road right now. Yeah, we went home for two weeks, but I guess it was kind of a bittersweet blessing in disguise. We came back and the shows have been great, and everybody's been refreshed. We're kickin' arse out here. So yeah, November's a go.
Bill: When you're out on the stage performing, is there anything in particular about All-American Rejects you want the audience to feel or take with them when they leave?
Nick: Yeah, and you know, Tyson will say this every night. We're not a lifestyle band. We're not expecting kids to come out just to see what we'll say or what we're wearing. It's about the music. Just as long as the kids come just for the music and to have a good time. That's all we care about. It's about connecting through song not through freaking tabloids or clothing lines.
Bill: You guys have been living with When the World Comes Down for 10 months now. How does it feel at this point? Still fun to go out and play the songs?
Nick: Yeah, as a matter of fact, three albums deep now. We can't play 'em all, but even some of the songs on the new record we haven't played since we recorded 'em. We've been kind of re-learning them in sound checks. It's pretty fun. We always try to do somethin' to keep it fresh.
Bill: Any plans yet for new recording?
Nick: Not yet. We've been fortunate with the past couple records. They've had a long life, and we don't see the end of this one any time soon. We also don't try to plan or force too much, because it's not natural. It's kind of worked out well for us that way.
Bill: Are you expecting more touring next year?
Nick: I don't know. We might be tired of shows after this. No plans yet. I'm sure it will commence next year sometime though.
Bill: Is there any particular music you are listening to these days?
Nick: I usually just put my iPod on shuffle and see what happens. It's a really interesting ride. I can't remember the last time I put on an album. I like the new Third Eye Blind record. I listened to that all the way through. It's kind of a grower. Really, the only time I listen to music is when I'm by myself. Like when I'm running or something, and that's been a good treadmill soundtrack right there.
Bill: At this point, do you have any favorites of your songs?
Nick: We all really enjoy "Another Heart Calls." That's a cool one. The duet on our record with Catherine Pierce and also "Fallin' Apart." That's a fun one. We play that one every night. That's a blast. Uhhh...and that one we haven't written yet. That one, too.
Bill: The most recent video for "I Wanna" looks like a lot of fun. Are the videos fun to create?
Nick: The best ones are really tedious especially when it comes down to the editing process. This one definitely had a lot of post-production in it as you can see. When we first started making videos obviously it was exciting and fun. Then it gets not only tedious, but it's just a bunch of sitting around and waiting. I could never do anything having to do with TV or movies. It's just the longest, most boring day you could imagine.
We've gotten lucky with a couple of videos, "Dirty Little Secret" and "Move Along," and "Gives You Hell" also. They were really not only fun videos to make, but they actually stood for something and meant something. That's a good feeling. It wasn't just putting a face to the song, which is important, too, but I feel like there's been a few missteps in the past.
Bill: What would you say is the best thing about being part of the All-American Rejects?
Nick: I get to do what I love for a living. It's afforded me a lot of things. All of us, really. Not only do we get to go out there and play with our contemporaries, but we've gotten to tour with Bon Jovi. We got to play a Def Leppard song for Def Leppard. Those to me are what this has afforded me that I never thought would happen.
Bill: So it's exciting to have that kind of connection with other musicians?
Nick: Yeah, I think it's a testament to what we do. We write songs and we play rock music. I think a lot of other bands out there lose focus and lose sight of that. It feels good to be accepted by bands who got famous by doing so and that are still around because of it.