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It is no secret that “Hamilton” is still Broadway’s hottest, most-impossible ticket even without its original cast. And Travis Clark, lead singer of We The Kings, makes no secret of his successful ploy that ended up landing him far beyond the original intent of simply watching the show live.

“I was like, ‘Hey if we cover this song, maybe like somebody would hear it and then we could get tickets,’” Clark explained to me recently. The song he took aim at was “The Story Of Tonight,” a reoccurring theme in the production. “So I cover the song. I literally play it for about two days in my studio. Our version is much different than Manuel-Miranda’s.”

After all, “Hamilton” fuses Broadway musicals with hip-hop and a history lesson. We The Kings is a pop-rock band. But Clark’s version found an audience online.

“Somebody sent it to (Manuel-Miranda’s) publicist team,” the front man continued. “And he responded to us and said, ‘Hey, that track is dope. If you’re ever in the city, let me know.’”

That interaction motivated Clark to release the cover as a single. He and his bandmates then traveled to Manhattan, caught the show and linked up afterwards with the cast. But the singer’s relationship to the Tony Award-winning musical didn’t end there. Manuel-Miranda went as far as to tweet a link to the iTunes release of We The Kings’ re-work.
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“That was unexpected a little bit,” Clark revealed. “We just wanted his good graces for us to put the song out.”

The singer, noting that We The Kings doesn’t make any money from the sales because it’s not the band’s song, didn’t want to proceed if the Broadway star wasn’t cool with it. Manuel-Miranda went a step further, not only offering the green light but then voluntarily promoting the work as well.

Like many others, Clark gushed about the performance, calling “the absolute best one, by so far” that he’s witnessed. The artist could also relate to the cast members on a professional level.

“I love touring, I love being on the road,” he said. “They play multiple shows a day. That’s tough, man. It’s tough on your voice. There’s so much that I looked up to them and admired them for.”

We The Kings certainly know a thing or two about touring; the band has become a stalwart and the de-facto elder-statesmen on the Vans Warped Tour. Clark and company played the annual festival for their 6th year this past summer.

“We know, like (when younger bands) are like, ‘Hey should we go to catering now?’ We’re like, ‘No, you want to wait an hour.’

“We’re giving people advice, because it’s like their first Warped Tours.”

It’s almost as if Clark is paying back a debt of gratitude he owes to the festival. You might even say it’s quite Hamiltonian of him.

For our first day inside Westwood One’s Backstage at the 2016 American Music Awards, we chatted with Andy Grammer on his Thanksgiving plans, Tinashe on working with Britney Spears and We The Kings’ Travis Clark on covering a song from the hit-musical “Hamilton.” Check out the photos, video and audio interviews below!





After the 2012 that the band We The Kings endured thus far, one would probably wonder what it would take for the pop-rock quartet to cancel a show. The answer is not “a drummer’s broken arm,” or “a bassist’s bout with a benign tumor.” “An attempted kidnapping of the group” would also be an incorrect answer.

“We will never be the band to cancel a show, unless we’re literally on our death beds,” lead singer Travis Clark told me at this year’s Vans Warped Tour. “Danny [Duncan] broke his arm snowboarding, and we’re just like, if he broke his arm playing drums or something like that, that’s more of a reason maybe to cancel a show. But snowboarding and doing something that’s not your job, and breaking your arm, you kind of have to pull through and do something.”

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But the worst was yet to come for the band from Bradenton, Florida. Just five days later, bassist Charles Trippy was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“Thankfully, he’s perfectly okay,” Clark said. “He got everything checked out, and it was benign. They had it extracted; he had a bald head and everything.”

It went further downhill from there. Clark could not speak about the incident on the record, but in a recent interview with idobi Radio’s “The Gunz Show,” the lead singer recalled an attempted kidnapping of We The Kings after a show in Malaysia. A man who posed as the guys’ bus driver took the band on a wild ride that ended only after a car chase and an alleged payoff of authorities in the country by the said driver. Footage of the confrontation was on YouTube but has since been removed.

Despite all of this, We The Kings have not only played every date as scheduled, but the band has also released a new EP and spent the summer on the main stage of Warped Tour. Clark and company still end each set with the band’s first breakout single, “Check Yes Juliet.”

“We’ll never be able to beat that song,” Clark admitted. “I don’t mean that in the sense of, ‘We’ll never be able to write a better song.’ We’ll never be able to write a song that is more emotional than that song because it’s where the majority of our fan base found us from.”

Clark went on to candidly address another issue regarding the way fans compare a band’s new material to tracks previously released.

“When a band releases a CD, and [fans] are just like, ‘Oh, this is not as good as the first one.’ Like, it’s never going to be as good as the first one,” he said. “No matter what, it will never be as good as the first one, unless a specific song relates to you in a very personal way.”

On WBRE’s “PA Live!” for this week’s “The Ralphie Report,” I recapped my coverage of Vans Warped Tour and reported on the new entertainment venue that will be opening next year inside the expansion of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

I stopped by WBRE’s “PA Live!” for my weekly segment, “The Ralphie Report.” This week, I revealed who Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012 is, recapped my interview with We The Kings lead singer Travis Clark, and talked about Adele’s backstage rider.

The song “Say You Like Me” could wind up as a career highlight for the pop-rock band We The Kings. It is from the band’s latest LP, Sunshine State of Mind, and their fifth consecutive single to chart at pop radio. Lead singer Travis Clark is fully aware of the difficulty in that task.

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“A lot of people don’t understand, like when you are constantly battling like Beyoncé, Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Rihanna, it’s like really difficult to be one of the bands that breaks through,” Clark told me this week on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “We’ve done it five times in a row.”

In addition to the popularity at radio, “Say You Like Me” is also gaining online notoriety with a unique interactive music video. The piece doubles as a video game where you guide a band member through various levels to rescue a girl who has been kidnapped by a group of “bad guys.”

We The Kings have even switched up their lineup of band members – replacing bassist Drew Thomsen with Charles Trippy and Coley O’Toole. Clark insists that it hasn’t affected the group as much as one might think.

“We’ve always brought in people who have been really good friends of ours,” the lead singer said of the process by which WTK chooses band members and crew. “So it’s not like you have to meet a brand new person and see how they live, like we’ve known the people we brought in our entire lives, including our crew.”

Even Clark admits that working with friends exclusively isn’t the smartest thing to do, but We The Kings has yet to experience any major issues doing so. The Bradenton, FL native told me his band will finish the year performing at radio concerts before returning home for the holidays, where he looks forward to hanging out with his new nephew. Then, We The Kings embark on a couple of international tours with bands such as Simple Plan and Taking Back Sunday.

The boys from Bradenton, FL don’t get to spend a lot of time at home these days, but that doesn’t mean We The Kings isn’t in a Sunshine State of Mind. Front man Travis Clark announced Monday evening on “The Ralphie Radio Show” that the nod to the band’s Floridian-roots may serve as the title for their forthcoming third album.

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“It was created by our bass player,” Clark said of Sunshine State of Mind. “(Drew Thomsen) just said it, and we were like, ‘Oh, that’s really cool.’”

Clark is back in the Sunshine State – he celebrated his birthday, which happened to land on Easter this year, with family and friends. The lead singer is back home for about a week before hitting the road again for a handful of college shows and Bamboozle in New Jersey. It’s a rare lull in the action, as his band already completed their portion of writing and recording the next LP.

“Right now, the tentative (release) date is going to be late June,” Clark also revealed of the new album. “Obviously it’s going to be on a Tuesday… maybe the 28 of June, maybe a week before, maybe a week after.”

The first single is called, “Friday is Forever.” No, Rebecca Black did not inspire the song, but that doesn’t mean WTK didn’t have a little fun with Black’s notoriously-popular YouTube video in promoting its own single. Clark says the band contacted the same company that produced the “big head” commercials for the National Basketball Association.

“We decided that we would make a parody video of the little video she did,” he explained. “We cut out our heads and put them on her body.”

Not only did the band use its own heads, but throughout the video the faces of everyone from Charlie Sheen to Angelica from the popular Nickelodeon cartoon “Rugrats” can be spotted. As brilliant as the production is – Clark says that it will not serve as the official music video. The actual piece was recently filmed in Los Angeles and will be released in the near future.

If We The Kings front man Travis Clark gets his way, you’ll be hearing a third single from the band’s album Smile Kid.

“I don’t even know if I’m allowed to, but figure I’ll just blurt it out,” responded Clark when I asked him about another single, or any other new music in the works. “There’s a song, it’s actually my favorite song off Smile Kid, and I’ve been pushing to have it has a single for a really long time… it’s a song called, ‘She Takes Me High.’”

Clark envisions that as the song is released to radio, the boys from Bradenton, Florida will write new material and aim for a spring 2011 album release.

“We’ve never had a record released in spring or summer,” Clark said in explaining why the band is hoping to turn around new material so soon. “We think it’d be cool to have a new record out for 2011.”

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The lead singer also predicted that if the tracks are finished sooner, then we may be hearing songs before then. Currently, We The Kings is on tour with rapper J. Cole, and Clark is moving about the country gingerly on left leg that he broke while riding a motocross bike.

“I made this jump in my backyard, of this house I just got and I dumped 10 tons of dirt in the backyard for a landing pad,” recalled Clark. “It was a wet day. The trajectory, instead of a six foot jump, it was like an eight foot jump.”

Clark went straight up in the air, landed cleanly, but his wet boot slipped on the peg, which impaled his left fibula. Given that this was late at night, with no walk-in clinics open, Clark decided he’d call his dentist to clean up the mess.

“He did my wisdom tooth, so I figured he could do my knee,” Clark joked, also noting that he wasn’t concern with how it looked, so long that it was patched up.

A month later, after the leg was still swollen, Clark went to an orthopedic doctor and received an MRI, revealing the break. The good news: because he continued to walk on it, the constant flow of blood prevented the singer from having to wear a hard cast. Although still, even Clark admits that when the results came back, he “felt like such an idiot.”

After sending over 20,000 text messages to BHTtxt, Wyoming Valley West High School won 97 BHT’s High School Hookup V3.0, scoring a free concert from We The Kings. Travis & Hunter played an acoustic set in the school’s gymnasium for the student body. Thanks to S-Curve Records, The Shoppes at Montage & 97 BHT!

In an interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show”, We The Kings front man Travis Clark revealed that Demi Lovato may be performing “We’ll Be a Dream” while on tour opening for the Jonas Brothers. But would Nick, Kevin, or Joe be filling in for Travis?

“I mean… whatever!” Clark responded to my thought, clearly amused by it. “I’m entertained by the idea so it’d be funny to see it actually go down.”

The lead singer also let us in on plans to have Demi join We The Kings on a couple more dates of the Vans Warped Tour – Clark mentioned Atlanta and Chicago as two possible opportunities. While on Warped, the band has either deferred to the crowd for Lovato’s parts or invited Hey Monday’s Cassadee Pope on stage to fill in.

We The Kings first hopped on Warped Tour back in 2008, when “Check Yes Juliet” landed the boys from Bradenton, Florida on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and radio stations across the globe. Now three singles, two years, and one album later – much has changed for the band – but Clark believes the biggest difference is within the band members’ personal lives.

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“If we wanted to, for example, cut through the park to go to catering or something like that, we would get mauled, we would never make it. Where in 2008, we could walk around anywhere we wanted, go see any band we wanted, and now it’s just a little harder to get around,” he admitted. “It’s super flattering, and we want to go out and say ‘hi’ to everybody. But, we never want to be the band that takes away from other people’s sets.”

Clark explained the last part as if it’s an unwritten rule of the Warped Tour handbook – you never attempt to upstage another band, especially one that may fall within the same lane of music as your band. How far do We The Kings go to ensure this doesn’t happen? Clark said that his tour manager will specifically schedule the band’s tent signings at times that do not conflict with similar artists on stage, so that the mutual fans won’t have to miss a show for an autograph.