Rejects No More

Story by Joseph Swit, Staff Writer

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You’ll remember singing along to their lyrics in your mom’s car on your way to a soccer game, hearing their songs on the radio.  In the mid-2000s songs such as “Move Along” and “Dirty Little Secret” made the All-American Rejects famous. Well, they’re still around, and have just released a new album that just might duplicate their past successes.

Their new album “Kids In The Street” was released in April and recently I was lucky enough to be able to interview some of the band members over the phone.

“I think with ‘Kids in The Street’, we have made our most diverse and cohesive record,” said guitarist Mike Kennerty. “It’s actually a record you can listen to from start to finish as an album.”

This new addition comes ten years after the group’s debut album “The All-American Rejects” first introduced the world to the Rejects. 3 years later AAR released their second album; “Move Along” which helped further the bands wider popularity and developed a loyal and dedicated fan base.

After touring internationally for a few years AAR released their third studio album; “When The World Comes Down”.

For the band, the popularity of their past albums has been both challenging and inspirational into making their most recent album a success. “Our biggest challenge is pushing ourselves creatively, I think a lot of bands have become kind of complacent and are just going through the motions,” Said Kennerty. “This is our dream and we realize we are incredibly lucky to be doing this and we don’t take it for granted. We still push ourselves just as hard as we did for our first record.  The biggest challenge is making something we are proud of and worth putting out into the world.”

For the new album, AAR teamed up with successful producer Greg Wells, who has worked with music powerhouses such as Adele, Celine Dion, and Katy Perry, to give the album more mainstream appeal and to attract a wider audience.

“It worked out amazing. We just worked with him [Wells] so well,” Said Kennerty. “He’s just an all-around music guy; he knows everything, I mean he’s worked with all these talents. He turned out to be the best producer we worked with.  He pushed us to push ourselves; he pushed us to go places we have never gone before.”

And in a gossip driven, 24 hour news media environment, the Rejects have remained above the fray. “We’ve watched a lot of bands make the wrong decisions and be bad people and that has been the biggest influence,” Said Kennerty. “We see these jerks and we say we don’t want to end up like that, so I guess the biggest influence have been those bad ones.”

Staying relevant has been a problem for many music groups over the decade, something the Rejects have continued to outlast. “It’s kind of amazing that a band can stick around for 10 years, we have always tried to create good songs.  A lot of our fellow bands, have fizzled out because they were trying to capitalize on their past success, and didn’t make new material ” said Guitarist Nick Wheeler. “It feels like we kind of have to start over every time we make an album, but I think that’s why we are still here.”

When asked what keeps them going Wheeler said: “We’ve always done it because we have fun doing it. This is our escape and we hope everybody else can come to a show and forget about their problems for an hour and a half.”

“Kids In the Street” could bring  more fame and fortune to the Rejects, but even if it doesn’t, they’re still content with their place in the music world. “We’ve never quite fit in so we are kind of on the outskirts and below the surface of what’s going on,” Said Kennerty. “Even though we have been around a lot longer than most bands, there have been other bands that have come up and become more popular than us and then gone away.  We always sort of remain.  We have always been that band where we aren’t quite cool enough to be the big one but we just seem to stick around…and we don’t mind that.”

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