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Nash Overstreet called in to the show from Los Angeles to chat about his new solo EP, ‘U Don’t Get 2 Do That.’ The Hot Chelle Rae guitarist also talked about keeping in touch with his bandmates, Mike Posner inspiring him and working with other artists like Britney Spears and Rachel Platten on different projects.


A new single and a new look mark 2014 thus far for the pop-rock outfit Hot Chelle Rae. The band believes “Don’t Say Goodnight” will be the single that buoys its third studio LP. Meanwhile that album will be recorded without bassist Ian Keaggy, who left the band on amicable terms.

“I don’t think he was cut out for the road,” lead singer Ryan Follese told “The Ralphie Show.” “He loves playing music and he’s very passionate about art but I mean, we’ve been touring for two-and-a-half, three years.”

People change with the times. For Keaggy, that meant buying a house and settling down with a steady girlfriend.

“We’re ready to amp it up, where as he was ready to kind of tone it down,” Follese continued. “It all ended on good terms.”

Guitarist Nash Overstreet chimed in that the guys are all still close. It was simply just a matter of some people adjust better to life on the road than others. For HCR, most of their summer in 2013 was spent traveling with Justin Bieber’s “Believe Tour.”

“He was actually really, really nice to us,” Follese said. “He watched our show a couple times from side stage, which we thought was really cool. He even said songs that he liked in our set, which was really cool. It meant he actually did watch it.”

Overstreet went as far as to defend the beleaguered pop star.

“I went out to enough clubs during that tour to give eyewitness to the fact that like, ‘Oh, that club where he spit on the guy? That never happened!’” the guitarist said. “I was right there.”

With Follese’s brother Jamie still in the mix, HCR plans to stay a trio for now. The lead singer says the band has friends who can step in on bass once a tour pops up. No such plans were in place prior to the release of the new single.

“It’s got kind of, more of a classic like, soaring melody in the chorus, which is kind of a new thing for us,” described Follese of “Don’t Say Goodnight.” The song’s hook does sound like it could be related to something performed by the band fun. “But it’s got like this harder, almost rap-y verses which are really, really fun.”

Follese said the song’s inspiration came from bars closing too early out west. If “Don’t Say Goodnight” can be as big as Hot Chelle Rae’s “Tonight Tonight,” then the party won’t be ending any time soon.

Ryan Follese and Nash Overstreet recently paid a visit to New York City, and the trip could yield what Hot Chelle Rae fans have been looking for since the fall.

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“We’re having some meetings, and going to the label, and making some rounds and actually really narrowing down what it is that we’re going to be putting out in the early part of next year,” Follese said in studio on “The Ralphie Show.” “(The fans) want it, and we want to give it to them.”

Hot Chelle Rae spent the latter part of the year touring internationally. The band’s last U.S. trek was in support of Demi Lovato. How eager are fans to hear new music? Once HCR released the Verizon-sponsored cover of “Jingle Bell Rock,” some fans took to Twitter to request it on local radio stations. Others actually e-mailed the MP3 to DJs.

“As far as Christmas songs go, we’re super picky, and that’s one of the only songs we felt worked as a band,” Follese noted. “It’s something we could do and Nash could really play guitar on.”

The lead singer said Hot Chelle Rae is shooting to release the new single at the end of January on RCA Records.

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.”

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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.’”

Swift concurred.

“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.

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.”

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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.