In December, Ryan Follese and Nash Overstreet of Hot Chelle Rae paid “The Ralphie Show a visit to catch up and play a few new tunes from the band’s forthcoming third studio album. The two tracks previewed were to be the first and second singles off the aforementioned LP.
Neither were selected after the Nashville quartet returned to the studio and cut yet another song – “Hung Up.”
Ryan, Nash, Ian, and Jamie of Hot Chelle Rae took over “The Ralphie Radio Show” on Monday night. The Nashville quartet mixed stories from behind the scenes with pop culture knowledge and an occasional tongue-in-cheek joke as they hosted four hours on-air. Check out a compilation of the band’s best moments below.
Hot Chelle Rae seems pleasantly surprised at how well the band’s career continues to progress.
“It’s everything that we thought it would be, but it’s also surprising at the same time,” lead singer Ryan Follese told me backstage over the weekend. Hot Chelle Rae was on one of its many sold out stops for the “Beautiful Freaks” tour. “To be able to have this job and have it take us to the places we’re going, it’s incredible.”
Case in point: the band recently wrapped a tour through Australia and New Zealand supporting fellow Nashville musician Taylor Swift. Follese said the band and Swift simply had one of “those moments.”
“We were on this boat with Taylor, and we were all just sitting there, trolling about in Sydney Harbor,” the front man recalled. “I was actually standing next to Taylor, and I was like, ‘This job is amazing.’”
“As big as she is, she knows too,” Follese said. “The fans are unreal. This whole thing is just incredible.”
Guitarist Nash Overstreet used similar adjectives to describe the tour itself.
“They’re very, very polite and welcoming,” Overstreet noted of the band’s New Zealand fans. “They’re stoked that you’re in their country, they’re stoked that you’re playing.”
But the fans overseas didn’t just make HCR feel welcome by acting as tour guides during the day, or using “please” and “thank you” when asking for photos.
“They knew every word to every song, not just the singles,” Overstreet said. “It gives us a validation of songs we wrote that haven’t been on the radio yet, and to see them fall in love with those is really cool.”
Hot Chelle Rae has charted two tracks from Whatever on pop radio, and a third could be on the way with “Honestly,” a break-up anthem with a music video that features “Pretty Little Liars” star Ashley Benson.
“I think somebody from a show like that is always a really cool edge to add to the video,” Follese said of Benson’s role as his eventual ex-girlfriend. “We reached out to her and she was down to do it.”
Of course, it wasn’t that simple. The actress was getting ready to shoot a movie, and HCR was on tour. All parties involved found one 24 hour window to film. The final piece took 17 hours. Benson left after for her movie; Hot Chelle Rae flew to Australia the next day.
In the end, the guys found a way to make it work. You can’t be surprised at that.
I honestly don’t know what is more compelling: the stories Cady Groves tells, or the manner in which she tells them. Regardless, the 22 year-old is quite the character.
Here’s one example: the Oklahoma-bred singer is currently supporting Hot Chelle Rae’s headlining tour. Groves and HCR guitarist Nash Overstreet are tight – and when I called Nash during my interview with Cady, I found out exactly how tight.
“Nash and I, we like to play this thumping game, where we thump each other’s genitalia,” Groves revealed in studio, thankfully with the delay button working. “I thump his peen, and he thumps my V.”
You can’t make these quotes up. But back to the original point, it isn’t just the stories that make you laugh, cringe, or in some cases both – but the fact that Groves will rattle this stuff off to semi-strangers the way you talk about walking your dog or shopping for groceries.
“We like to play games where [Nash] is hungover on his bus, and I go and talk to him,” Groves continued. “And he pretends it’s food poisoning.”
“She got the band member wrong,” Overstreet shot back – eliciting “oohs” and laughter from the studio. The guitarist had just returned with his group from Australia and New Zealand, opening up for Taylor Swift.
Now HCR will tour the States with Groves and her stories in tow. She has plenty of tales, and not all of them are about anal sex (“I talk about that all the time”) or her bra size (“I’ll end tweets with, ‘#BCup’). No, some are actually quite serious. Like the one when she fell in love with a producer, only to find out that he was living a double life.
“I told my label (RCA) like, ‘I wanna make my whole album with this guy,’” Groves recalled of the 35 year-old producer. The singer linked up with him when she was 21. “We started looking at apartments together, and I literally thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with him.”
Everything unraveled when the producer uncharacteristically showed up late to a recording session one day. While Groves was actually making apologies for the guy, the engineer unknowingly dropped a bomb on the singer, revealing that the producer lived out in Santa Monica… with his wife.
“My life literally came crumbling down,” she said. “He got there that day, I called his wife, she ended up being like 40 [years-old].”
The producer and artist parted ways, and Groves retreated in to a deep depression. Then, RCA Records came calling, wondering what was happening to their once promising pop starlet.
“My label was like, ‘Dude, get out of bed. Write an album about this guy,’” Groves said. “Everything kind of stemmed from that.”
That album is an EP – This Little Girl – and is available on iTunes now.
I had a gripe about the placement of “Honestly” on Hot Chelle Rae’s album Whatever, and I wasn’t afraid to voice my opinion to the guys.
Nonetheless, the track is the third single from the LP. Ryan, Nash, Ian, and Jamie already shot the music video for the track, and by all accounts, it was a fun time.
If you’re still not convinced that Taylor Swift possesses a pretty good amount of clout these days, look no further than Ryan Follese, the lead singer of Hot Chelle Rae. Ryan used to go by R.K. (his middle name is Keith). Then, Taylor Swift tweeted.
“Taylor Swift called me ‘Ryan’ to her 8 million followers,” Follese explained of the change, while also noting it is easier to search for Ryan Follese on the Internet than R.K. “That many fans rolled over to our fan base and our stuff and it was just easier.”
Swift is far from the only reason though that more people are discovering the Nashville quartet. After scoring a number one hit this year with, “Tonight Tonight,” HCR released its sophomore LP, Whatever. Promoting the new album took the band all across national TV, from “The Tonight Show” to “Live! with Kelly.” Although for guitarist Nash Overstreet, the group’s performance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” stood out from the rest.
“’Fallon’ was the coolest just because of like, the set, and it was later in the day so we’re not waking up and all groggy,” Overstreet said. “He was one of the coolest guys ever, just really friendly, and so it was great to be on that show.”
Certainly it didn’t hurt that the other guests that evening were actor Jeremy Piven and rapper T.I. It also didn’t hurt that Fallon told Hot Chelle Rae he was a big fan of the group’s work.
“He was like, ‘Next time you come back we’re doing (a parody),’” recalled Follese. Fallon spoofed the band’s hit single with The Roots in an earlier episode. “It was really cool to meet somebody in that realm, and do the show, who is also a fan.”
But as cool as “Fallon” was for HCR, perhaps the guys’ biggest TV appearance to date was during the American Music Awards, when the band won the Sprint New Artist of the Year award. The nominees and winner were voted on by the fans.
“We weren’t expecting to make it past the first round,” the lead singer admitted. “But our fans, they mobilized on another level.”
Hot Chelle Rae recently announced dates for the 2012 Beautiful Freaks Tour, which the band headlines across the country. In between those dates, HCR will once again rub elbows with the oh-so-influential Swift, as the band supports her through a tour of Australia.