POTW Feb. 19: Fashion Week Special

Travis McCoy of the Gym Class Heros performs on stage at the Perth leg of the Good Vibrations festival at Claremont Showgrounds on February 14, 2010 in Perth, Australia. 

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Travis McCoy wants to assure fans that his upcoming solo debut album -- "Lazarus," due June 8 -- in no way means Gym Class Heroes is hanging up its sneakers.

"I'm trying to kill a lot of the negative connotations out there about me doing this solo project," McCoy tells Billboard.com. "A lot of people thought this was the end of the Gym Class Heroes or that Gym Class Heroes was over and I was trying to take the momentum we've built with Gym Class Heroes and use it for my own selfish desires. That's not the case at all. Since the inception of Gym Class in 1997, every member has had another musical outlet, if not three or four. This is just another one of those."

In fact, McCoy points out, GCH drummer and co-founder Matt McGinley is part of the band he's taking on the road for the Too Fast For Love Tour with Cobra Starship and 3OH!3, indicating further solidarity within the ranks.

McCoy, who bills himself as Travie rather than Travis on the album, says "Lazarus" has been in the works for about a year and a half -- "The longest, I think, I've spent on a record in my whole career," he says -- and went through a dramatic shift in tone during that time. In fact, McCoy says he "scrapped a lot of the early material" he wrote, dubbing it "kind of somber and a little too personal" in the wake of his "shitty breakup" with Katy Perry.

"Thankfully I have really awesome friends around me who pulled me out of that cave and said, 'C'mon, get yourself together. You've got a record to put out,' " McCoy recalls. "I did 'Billionaire,' " "Lazarus' " first single, with Bruno Mars, "and started messing around with more uptempo and, I dare say, happier stuff, and that definitely put me in a different headspace. I'm definitely a way more happy person than I was going into this record. I think the end result reflects that."

McCoy says "Lazarus" is dominated by hip-hop flavors "but at the same time my love for live instrumentation is still reflected on the record." Producers include Mars, T-Pain, the Smeezingtons, the Stereotypes, Lucas Secon, Oligee and, from the rock world, Josh Abraham. McCoy kept the guest list "kinda tight" but adds that remixes will lead to collaborations with some of his other famous friends.

Starting with Too Fast For Love on April 28, McCoy plans to tour extensively to support "Lazarus" and "make sure this record becomes a household object -- and hopefully not a coaster." Meanwhile, he reports that GCH is "12 demos deep" into its next album, which the group plans to record later this year and have out in 2011 -- with a working title of "PCC II" for "The Papercut Chronicles II," a sequel to its 2005 sophomore album.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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