The band Heffron Drive is returning to State Fair Meadowlands in New Jersey for a second-straight year. Last time around, there wasn’t a whole lot of new music from the Kendall Schmidt-fronted group. He and Dustin Belt have made up for that since – releasing Happy Mistakes along with the acoustic-driven Happy Mistakes Unplugged. Schmidt will play the latter in its entirety this Tuesday (6/30); he will not partake in any fried Oreos on the midway.
“I can’t do it man,” Schmidt said from his Los Angeles home on Thursday. The former Big Time Rush member called in to “Ralphie Tonight” while the birds were still chirping out west (we could hear them). He said he might do regular cookies but “that’s probably the only desert I’ll go for, because the fried Oreos, I just… I can’t. It makes my stomach hurt.”
The lead singer plans to take in some of the sights at the fair though, although he also pumped the breaks on the “spin-y rides,” again drawing from personal experience.
“Throughout the years I’ve been blessed to go to like, so many theme parks and play shows of all sorts,” he explained. “I’ve had the VIP access where you just jump to the front of the rollercoaster right away at pretty much all of them, and I’ve ridden myself out a couple times.”
While he seems to have a storied past in the amusement park/fairgrounds department, the history is much more shallow when it comes to performing this acoustic record live. Matter-of-fact, Schmidt said he’s only played it through completely one other time – at its release concert in L.A.
“Fortunately everything we were doing on the ‘Unplugged’ album had been written already,” Schimdt said of the task in converting songs not originally recorded with guitars to an acoustic LP. “Really the process of it was just reconstructing everything but I’ve done songs of all sorts.”
An example of this can be found on the new Hilary Duff album. Breathe In. Breathe Out. features a duet with the singers called “Night Like This.” Schmidt estimates that he has called Duff a friend for about 15 years.
“I think (the song) was based on a night that either Hilary had or wanted to have,” he said. “When I was recording the song with her, she told me all about the feeling of it and there was even a time when I was singing a line and she was like, ‘Yunno imagine standing there with me, like you’re saying this to me.’
“The song ended up really coming together. I’m so proud of it.”
Something else Schmidt is proud of: the success had by MKTO – a group that is signed to the record label formerly inhabited by Big Time Rush. The guy that manages MKTO used to produce BTR’s tours.
“I’m always kept up to date with everything that they’re doing,” Schmidt said, although he noted he has not had a chance yet to check their new single “Bad Girls.”
Before we hung up, Schmidt also said that his BTR-mates are all “excellent,” although Logan Henderson “is a bit of a mystery-man, so I can’t fill you in too much,” on him.
Hey, we all have a friend like that – just like I’m sure we all know someone that won’t go near a fried Oreo.