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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “We The Kings to “”Take Action”” for tour”

     

    We The Kings is an emo-pop band from Bradenton, Fla. The foursome — Travis Clark, Hunter Thomsen, Drew Thomsen and Dan Duncan — grew up together and named the band after their middle school mascot. Recently they’ve been getting lots of buzz due to their single, “”Heaven Can Wait,”” reaching the top 40 airwaves, and to headlining this year’s Warped Tour, which they found out about from the tour’s Web site. They also appeared on MTV’s “”Silent Library,”” a game show much like “”Jackass”” but with cash rewards after completing each challenge while staying quiet. We The Kings are headlining the Take Action Tour, and stopping in Tucson on Friday. I spoke to the band’s frontman Travis Clark about the new album, life, music, partying and fame.

     

    What have you guys been doing since you’ve been home?

    Well I mean we’ve still been on tour, but we’ve been to Orlando, St.Petersburg and now Tallahassee, so we’ve got to see our family and I got to see my dog. He came out to the show, it was awesome.

     

    What influenced your new album Smile Kid?

    A lot of personal experiences with love, definitely my family and friends and places that I’ve been. We’re really inspired by our surroundings.

     

    How do you guys go about writing your songs?

    Usually, I don’t know, it just kind of just comes up. It’s not one of those things we have to work at. It’s just like you’re singing it and it kind of pops into your head. Usually how we do it is I’ll sit in the back lounge, I’ll be writing and I’ll come up with either this acoustic song or this piano song and I’ll bring it to the rest of the guys.

     

    What kind of music do you listen to?

    Right now I’ve just kind of been checking out all my friends who released records. We stopped listening to music when we were recording Smile Kid just cause I really wanted to focus on the record. But now I’ve been listening to all my friends who have been releasing records and what I usually listen to is a ton Beatles, a ton of Jimmy Eat World, Third Eye Blind, U2, Coldplay all those bands are my favorite bands. My iPod is really weird and it’s got a lot of different things on it.

     

    What bands influence you guys in making your music?

    I don’t know. We all kind of listen to different things, but for me my mom taught me Beatles when I was growing up so I was grandfathered into that style of music. Me and the guys listen to a little bit of rap, hip-hop and even hardcore music. I think it’s kind of cool because when it comes to writing a song and putting all the band instruments together everybody has a little different influence. So I guess that makes us a little more unique.

     

    What’s it like having your new song “”Heaven Can Wait”” played on top 40s stations now?

    It’s kind of nuts. When I listen to the radio it’s like you hear Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and all these really huge artists and in between those songs are either like “”Heaven Can Wait,”” “”Secret Valentine,”” or “”Check Yes Juliet,”” just like any other song on the radio. And now we’re going with another song called “”We’ll Be Dreams,”” but hopefully that with be there soon. And it’s just so surreal to actually be in that place. For how long we’ve worked and doing what we do, all the time we spent playing in a garage trying to make it big and now we’re playing music next to these artists it kind of insane. I love it though.

     

    What’s life like on the road?

    Very competitive. We play a lot of video games (laughs) and bet lots of money between ourselves and the band. We also eat a lot of random things from different areas. Every day we’re in a new city and there’s always a new specialty item that you’re supposed to try. It’s a lot of eating, a lot of video games, a lot of movies and then a lot of partying. Like every single night on the tour bus it kind of turns into a themed dance party. Last night we had ‘90s hits night, ‘90s dance-hits, and a lot of sing-along’s from N*SYNC and Backstreet boys from like the boy bands. It’s really funny. But then we also do a “”Jersey Shore”” party every now and again and ‘80s night is always very popular. We kind of have all kind of different weird themed parties.

     

    You guys are coming to Tucson soon and you guys have already been here several times. What makes you guys keep coming back to Tucson?

    Isn’t Tucson the party capital of the world or something like that? I know the college is there. I remember the first time we went to Tucson we went on a tour bus, but we were able to bring a scooter along with us. For some reason it went 80 mph it was this crazy high tech scooter and we played at this place right down from the campus. We drove the scooter through the campus, on the sidewalks and stuff like that, and I remember we parked it in the bike rack next to the student union. There was a Chick-Fil-A there maybe or something. People were freaking out cause they were like why is this dude riding this scooter and he has long red hair and looks like Shaun White — what’s happening right now? It was cool. A lot of people kind of knew who we were, but they couldn’t catch up to us cause we were on the scooter going really fast through campus. I was just honking at everybody and I felt like a real life college kid.

     

    Are you guys planning any other interesting things to do on campus this time around?

    Yeah, I mean we usually try to check and see if anything is happening, like spirit week or something crazy like that. We try to get involved in some of the games that they do. I think it was Connecticut they had homecoming week and there was this whole obstacle course set up. We went up to them and our tour manager told them we wanted to try their obstacle course. They had this big thing where the whole school came out to watch us do to the obstacle course. It was pretty fun.

     

    I saw you guys were recently on MTV’s “”Silent Library.”” How was that?

    Ugh, it was painful. Some of the stunts that we did we were supposed to wear cups and they forgot to give them to us. So those stunts really hurt. (Laughs) I got shot with a hotdog machine gun, like a hotdog paintball gun, and the gun kind of broke off and shot at me, hit me in the shin, and I started bleeding. It was bad and all the MTV producers were really scared and wanted to call the paramedics and I was like “”No, it’s cool. I’m fine.”” We won a lot of money on it, which was pretty sweet.

     

    What did you guys do with the money?

    I’m not sure. We blow our money a lot. We buy a lot of stupid things. Actually Hunter went and he’s getting ready and when he gets home he’s going to buy a Mercedes. He thinks it’s really funny cause he was going to pay for it in cash and the guys is going to look at him really weird. ‘Cause we all have long hair and ripped jeans, we look like homeless people. But he’s just gonna go in there, throw cash on the table and say, “”I want that car.”” It’s just going to be really funny and we’re going to film it.

     

    What inspired you guys to be part of the Take Action Tour?

    It was an important tour for us to do because it was kind of a way for us to use the spirit that we’ve been able to build and progress through. I think it’s a way of at least trying to give back and using that success to help save lives. Those kids need our help right now and we heard about the tour and they offered us to kind of like pick a charity. So we did thing called Driving For Donors which helps save lives for kids who have leukemia. I just think they should have the opportunity to grow up and go to shows, have families, kids, grandkids and stuff like that — everything that we get the opportunity to do. I’ve been saying this since the beginning of the tour, but if we can save one life this whole tour will be more than worth it.

     

    Do you feel now that you guys are getting bigger and more well known that you guys are changing as a band?

    I don’t think we are. One of my favorite compliments from being in a band and meeting people is when people say how nice I am. Or some will say ‘You’re the nicest celebrity I’ve ever met.’ I don’t know, maybe it was the way we were raised. If our parents ever heard of us being mean to somebody they would just slap us and we would be grounded or something like that. I think we’re just like the Southern gentlemen dudes that treat people how we want to be treated and stuff like that. I don’t think we’re really changing. A lot of the people we’ve been on tour with get really caught up into it, and it’s kind of a turnoff because we’re all normal people and nothing about us makes us any better than anybody else. We’re all partying and we’re all playing music. The people that come to the shows love partying and listening to the music so there’s no difference to that. We’re all here to have a good time and stuff like that. I think we’ll always keep that in motto in our hearts, we’ll never change. Always have a good time, always party and always be the same.

     

    What the weirdest thing a fan has ever done or given to you guys?

    I don’t know. That’s kind of a tough question. We’ve gotten voodoo dolls that we didn’t know what to do with. They were taking up space on the bus, but we didn’t want to throw them away cause we didn’t know if that would be a bad omen or something like that. So we ended up putting them in a box in our storage shed and I think they’re still there, but they’re still kind of creepy. Just recently we’ve gotten a ton of Chipotle gift cards and we’re all huge fans of chipotle so that was the coolest gift ever. We’ve gotten a lot of weird things like locks of hair. One of the moms of one of the kids at the show gave us a blank check and said, “”Write whatever number you want down on it and you can have whatever you want. I have way too much money to spend.”” And we felt so bad but we went to McDonalds and got a $1 fry and sweet tea, so we put $2 on the blank check. I don’t know, we’ve gotten a lot of weird things.

     

     

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