Jared Leto's Hitchhike Across America Tour & 11 Other Unusual Promotional Gigs

Jared Leto of Thirty Seconds to Mars
Matty Vogel

Jared Leto of Thirty Seconds to Mars continues 'Mars Across America' tour in Cleveland and Chicago.

Jared Leto is a world-famous, presumably wealthy Oscar-winning actor and rock star. So you'd think he could afford to rent a private jet and fly all around the country on his own dime to promote his band Thirty Seconds to Mars' upcoming fifth album, America  (April 6). But where's the fun in that?

The adventurous frontman instead has spent the past week hitchhiking, walking and busking his way from New York to Los Angeles in one of the most unusual, creative promotional tours in recent memory, eschewing the usual staid media appearances in favor of jamming in subway stations with fans, surprising unsuspecting tourists at the Skydeck in Chicago and playing America for some lucky Greyhound bus patrons.

It seems like he's having a blast and the Echelon is predictably eating it up as well. Which got us thinking about some of the unusual promotional tours and gigs other bands have done in the past -- from Lady Gaga and Post Malone's Bud Light-sponsored Dive Bar blitzes, to The White Stripes' infamous coast-to-coast Canadian march.

Here are 12 of our favorite outside-the-box promo pushes.

Jared Leto jamming and hanging with fans 


Like 1980s pop star Tiffany, Fifth Harmony played a series of malls on their debut Harmonize America tour in 2013.

That same year, a few years after became America's indie sweethearts with the 2011 crossover hit "Tongue Tied," Grouplove promoted their 2013 album, Spreading Rumors, by playing two shows in each city on its Seesaw Tour, with the first in a traditional venue and the second in churches, schools, cemeteries and hotels.

Gaga went on two legs of her Dive Bar tour, playing intimate pop-up shows for her superfans in 2016 and 2017.

Post Malone is on his own Dive Bar tour right now, where he just debuted a new song.

In 2015, Scottish group the Whiskey River Boat Band hit the River Spey in an inflatable canoe, paddling by day and playing in pubs at night.

In 2015, Arizona rockers The Maine threw caution to the wind and played 13-city free tour, hitting malls, parking lots and parks (plus some regular venues along the way).

Late Smithereens singer Pat DiNizio launched a second career as intimate singer-songwriter with a series of Living Room tours.

Irish rockers Kodaline ditched clubs and theaters in 2015 to play an acoustic show on a Eurostar train from London to Paris for a select group of fans.

British funk group Jamiroquai broke a world record by funking it up at 35,000 feet on a Boeing 757 plane in 2007 for The Gig in the Sky to promote their High Times singles collection.

Metallica has played all around the globe in just about every venue you can imagine, but their fight to be the first major band to perform in Antarctica came true in 2013 when they rocked inside a dome near the Carlini Scientific Base for a hand-selected crowd of 120 superfans, contest winners and scientists.

For their first-ever cross-Canadian tour in 2007, The White Stripes played gigs in every province and territory, from Toronto to lesser-visited places like Charlottetown -- performing in clubs, but also in classrooms, on a city bus, a warehouse, public parks and in a fishing boat, ending it with a one-note show in St. John's, Newfoundland.


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