The All-American Rejects are a burgeoning rock'n'roll success story.The All-American Rejects are a burgeoning rock'n'roll success story.
Some Oklahoma kids formed a band. Then, they released an album on the independent Doghouse label, home to such acts as the Get Up Kids, Hot Water Music and Chamberlain.
"Being on Doghouse is a huge thrill in itself," guitarist Mike Kennerty tells Billboard.com. "We've had all the records put out by that label, so that was the epitome of coolness."
But the energetic Midwestern pop punk sound on the album, produced by Tim O'Heir (Folk Implosion, the Figgs), landed the band a major label deal with DreamWorks. A hit single -- "Swing, Swing" -- followed and the band now finds itself playing to increasingly larger crowds on the road and each time it returns home.
"Somewhere at the beginning of the year we tried to play this 250-seater that's like our home stage and it ended up that, like, 500 people showed up," Kennerty says. "Then we moved up to a 1,000-seater and the last one was 2,500 and it sold out. It just blows our minds."
Released in October 2002 by Doghouse and later reissued by DreamWorks, "All-American Rejects" has sold 798,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album reached No. 9 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart and No. 25 on The Billboard 200.
In March, "Swing, Swing" reached No. 8 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and garnered enough pop airplay to reach No. 60 on the Hot 100. The follow-up, "The Last Song," peaked at No. 29 in June. Another single, "Time Stands Still," was recently released to U.S. radio outlets.
"It's awesome," Kennerty says. "We definitely never foresaw it, but I don't know if it's really changed us really, because we've been touring. We have the same lives. We may be in a bus now, but other than that we're doing the same thing we've been doing for a year-and-a-half or whatever."
The Rejects' increasingly honed concert skills led to "Live From Oklahoma... The Too Bad for Hell DVD," which DreamWorks released in September. "It's an entire show from Tulsa that we played at the end of May," he says. "We had just done this big headlining tour and it was the very end of it, the last show."
Watching the DVD will only fuel fans' desire to see the band live. Luckily, the All-American Rejects are currently headlining the eclectic Nokia Unwired Tour, which also features Hoobastank, Ozomatli and Diffuser. After that, it's on to Europe and then back to the U.S. for some radio station-sponsored holiday concerts.
"It's cool, because we love touring," Kennerty confesses. "We're more or less planning to finish out the year touring."
After a short break, he says the band -- rounded out by Tyson Ritter (vocals/bass), Nick Wheeler (guitar/programming) and Chris Gaylor (drums) -- plans to begin the process of making its sophomore album.
"We've worked a little bit. There's a few songs that are in the works, but definitely nothing too intense yet. It probably wouldn't be out until almost summer of next year."
No rush. Further successes will certainly be waiting.
The Nokia Unwired Tour runs through an Oct. 28 finale in Seattle. For the band's full itinerary, visit the official All-American Rejects Web site.