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At the end of season 3 of “Gossip Girl”, Jenny Humphrey heads on a train out of Manhattan, seemingly warn out and tired by the drama on the Upper East Side. Taylor Momsen, the actress that plays “Little J”, seems ready for a break herself.

Momsen is traveling across the country with her band The Pretty Reckless on Vans Warped Tour this summer. She divulged in an interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show” that she enjoys performing more than acting, staying consistent with comments she made to me last year that she always loved music and aspired to rock out in a band. But she became mum towards the end of the interview, when asked about her status on the hit TV show.

“They’re shooting (season 4) already… they’re shooting right now,” Momsen said of her cast mates from “Gossip Girl.” “As far as this season, I’m contractually obligated not to talk about it.”

The soon-to-be 17 year-old would not comment further on the TV show, refusing to answer a question about whether she would appear at all on the next season of “Gossip Girl.”

Instead, it seems Momsen is completely focusing her time and energy completely (well, shy of that new modeling deal she scored for Madonna’s “Material Girl” fashion line) on The Pretty Reckless – with the first album set to drop this August. Vans Warped Tour is perhaps a preparation or tune-up or initiation… heck, maybe all of the above, for Momsen and her crew.

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“I mean, each crowd is different. We played a couple shows in Canada and those fans were insane,” said Momsen of her trek on Warped Tour thus far. “The general response has been good. You’ve got the ‘Gossip Girl’ fans who watch it and then there’s some people who kind of meander over and don’t really know what they’re looking at.”

But the lead singer insists that they too, sometimes end up becoming a fan of the band. She certainly has one fan in band mate Ben Phillips, who was taken aback by working with Momsen in studio.

“I was surprised by her talent and it was a grueling undertaking to reach the heights she wanted to reach,” the guitarist said. Phillips co-wrote the entire album with Momsen. “It was impressive to meet someone who was that intent on making something good.”

The Pretty Reckless will drop Light Me Up August 31. The first single, “Make Me Wanna Die”, is available in iTunes now.

If you’re craving new music from The All-American Rejects… well, you might not want to hold your breath for an extended period of time. Guitarist Nick Wheeler says the band hasn’t recorded a thing, yet.

“We’re hoping to be in the studio by the end of the year,” he said, after sounding bit surprised that lead singer Tyson Ritter told Rolling Stone something would be released by March. “We’ve been writing for about six months now, and we’ve got a couple handfuls of songs.”

Wheeler, along with drummer Chris Gaylor, sat down for an interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show?” amidst the band’s headlining trek for this year’s Vans Warped Tour. It’s AAR’s third trip on Warped, and first in five years. The boys from Stillwater, OK certainly have noticed changes.

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“Yunno, there’s only one main stage now, there’s all these new young bands, there’s a lot of kids out there wearing neon plaid – I don’t get it!” he joked. “We were apprehensive about how we’d be received. I mean there’s no modest way of saying it – we feel like we’ve kind of ‘grandfathered’ this scene. We came around seven, eight years ago and were getting compared to all kinds of bands. Now, we’re the only ones left. It feels really great, but we were kind of wondering if these kids listening to all these new bands would get it.”

Both Wheeler and Gaylor say The Rejects have been anything but rejected, and that the response from the crowds each night has been overwhelming. The clothes and style may change, but thankfully for AAR, the music persists onward.

Check dates here.
Full lineup here.

Of course, some of the highlights…
– The Cab
– Hey Monday
– Sum 41
– We The Kings

And headlining…


Did Nathaniel Motte and Sean Foreman need another reason to drink? Eh, probably not. But that doesn’t stop the band from turning March 3 in to an annual party day. Yes, the band 3OH!3 considers 3/03 its personal day of homage.

“You might as well create another drinking holiday for yourself,” Motte said on “The Ralphie Radio Show”, taking some time from the festivities to call in to “The RRS” on the band’s day of celebration. The group also planned a uStream chat with fans later. “There’s all those Hallmark holidays that they created, why can’t we make our own?”

Looking back on the band’s past 365 days, there’s a lot they can drink to. “Don’t Trust Me” hit the top of the radio charts over the summer – as Motte and Foreman toured the country headlining the Vans Warped Tour. Just a year prior, they played the festival in near-obscurity, covered in the shadows of other bands who were receiving mainstream radio love: We The Kings, Gym Class Heroes, and Katy Perry. 3OH!3 befriended the latter artist and received her help to in remixing its second single, “Starstrukk”.

Now, the Colorado natives prepare for a busy spring – a cross-country trek with Cobra Starship and Travie McCoy of the aforementioned Heroes. 3OH!3 is also in the studio finishing Streets of Gold, the follow-up album to Want. While all of this takes place, Ke$ha’s “Blah Blah Blah”, a track they’re featured on, climbs up the charts.

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“It’s cool. Yunno, it’s a different sounding song for a girl,” Nat noted of the Benny Blanco production. “It’s like, real sassy and she raps on it. So, I think it’s great. It bodes well for her… hopefully it’s a good sign for us.”

Working on the forthcoming LP prevented 3OH!3 from making it back to the 303 – Boulder, Colorado – Nat revealed that the group is currently in the studio with hit-maker Dr. Luke. Motte hopes to drop a single to radio right around the tour’s launch date, with an album release tentatively scheduled for late June.

And if you’re holding out for some type of last second surprise – an album release that coincides with Warped Tour dates – well, don’t hold your breath.

“Honestly, I’ve spent my last two summers in parking lots, so I’m a little excited to get out,” Nat admitted, while also crediting the summer shows with building their road experience. “It was a great tour for us man. We’ll miss it a little bit, but yunno, I think we’ll manage to have good shows and hopefully people that go to see ‘Warped’ will come to check us out.”

By even his own account, he stretched the truth, but that didn’t stop All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth from describing the band’s upcoming fall tour as a “spectacle on wheels.”

“A little bit like Cirque du Soleil, minus leotards, plus alcohol and tattoos,” described Gaskarth of The Glamour Kills Tour. “And still maybe a few backflips, I dunno.”

The lead singer eventually toned down the hyperbole, but point taken – the upcoming trek, which includes supporting acts We The Kings, Hey Monday, and The Friday Night Boys – will be a sight to behold. The tour is comprised of 41 dates, kicking off in Hartford, CT, moving west, and the ending back east in Philadelphia.

Not too shabby for a band that just a mere two years ago, played the Smartpunk Stage at Vans Warped Tour. Since that time, All Time Low has opened for Fall Out Boy, toured Europe, and landed a sweet record deal that affords them a healthy amount of radio promotion. The band itself built up quite a following in the process. You know you’re big when someone starts a Twitter account on behalf of… your hair.

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“I’ve been made aware of it. It’s not anyone that I know,” revealed Gaskarth of the Twitter account, whose username is conveniently enough, “gaskarthsHair.” “Yunno, more power to ‘em. If they want to speak on behalf of my hair, they’re entitled to.”

Among the other perks of the fame: invites to award shows. Alex and crew were at the MTV VMA’s, and the front man thought Lady GaGa’s performance was “phenomenal.”

“They did a good job of sort of adapting that already-strange video in to an even stranger and harder to understand stage performance,” said Gaskarth. But she has the most phenomenal live voice. I give that girl props.”

Not so phenomenal: the antics of a one KanYe West. Alex likened his first reaction to that of everyone else’s inside Radio City Music Hall.

“Everyone gasped, everyone rolled their eyes, everybody sighed, and everybody forgot about it.”

But unfortunately for West, Alex is incorrect on one point – as no one has forgotten it.

this article originally published last wednesday in the weekender.

It’s not easy being Katy Perry.

The “I Kissed a Girl” singer is currently on the Vans Warped Tour, which arrived at Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain last Sunday. Conveniently enough, her boyfriend, Gym Class Heroes front-man Travis McCoy, also performs on the tour. Her infectious summer jam just registered its fifth consecutive week atop the charts. Perry’s backers include Internet giants like MySpace and Perez Hilton. Her LP, One Of The Boys, sold 115,000 copies in a mere three weeks, powered mostly by the strength of her aforementioned hit.

But, as Ben Parker told his nephew Peter in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

“I’m on Warped Tour, we’re six weeks in, and I’m not dead,” a relieved Perry told me on her tour bus.

After nagging her manager throughout the day, I received an invitation to jump on board and speak with Katy for a minute. Dressed in an oversized white shirt and pajama pants, Perry gently sipped green tea in an attempt to recoup her voice and energy level. While most artists on the tour would bus it to the next stop – Perry’s next stop was a top-notch hotel in Manhattan and an appearance on ABC’s The View.

“Fuck! I’m meeting Barbara Walters tomorrow. Hi mom!” Perry exclaimed in a sudden burst of revelation that maybe she has in fact “made it” – to a degree. Minutes before, Katy wouldn’t acknowledge her success as much, simply insisting that while she’s had fun, she’s also made her fair share of sacrifices.

Now those sacrifices are yielding dividends, although life isn’t all celebrity encounters and rock shows. Perry and her manager both explained their dilemma in Sunday alone: With Perry’s throat feeling a little under the weather, she cancelled a MySpace acoustic performance in order to perform the Warped Tour set and save her voice for the following day’s TV appearance. All this happens within the current demands of Perry’s schedule – one that awakes the singer as early as 7 a.m. daily for hair and makeup, followed by photo shoots (MySpace and Rolling Stone occurred within days of her arrival in Scranton), interviews, and performances.

Yet, despite all this, Perry still made time for a staple Warped Tour tradition – stopping by her merchandise table to sign autographs for over 100 people.

“I think I definitely (have) been given a great opportunity, and people seem to be really responding,” said Perry. “I worked really hard, and I continue to work really hard.”

No one knows Perry’s staying power. But one-hit wonder or not, it’s evident that the singer work ethic will be unscathed, possibly taking a cue from both her parents, who were traveling ministers, and her beau, who helped GCH launch from a small town in Central New York to international success.

McCoy and Perry began dating a few years ago. Both openly talk about the relationship – those who walked in by the busses in the VIP parking area to the stages were even treated to a quick PDA by the couple as Perry returned from her autograph session.

“We’re on the same plane,” Perry gushed.The singer of “Cupid’s Chokehold” is feeling the clutch as well.“It’s a beautiful situation,” McCoy told me, his younger brother within earshot. “Honestly, not to sound cheesy; I just don’t think I’ve ever been this in love with someone before.”

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.
“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.

Darren Criss knows this has never been done before, so he is well-aware that it may not work. But he’s betting on the passion of theatergoers and Broadway supporters to make his first ever “Elsie Fest” on Sunday a success.

“Basically what I’m trying to do here is sort of a Warped Tour of musical theater, cabaret tunes,” Criss explained to me in between rehearsals. “Just to kind of take everybody out of the concert hall, ditch the dinner jackets and the ties and kind of trade it for a t-shirt, jeans and a beer.”

For this reason, Criss chose outdoor venue JBL Live at Pier 97 as the inaugural setting. The lineup features the former “Glee” star along with Aaron Tveit (“Graceland,” “Catch Me If You Can”), Lea Salonga (“Mulan,” “Miss Saigon”), Laura Osnes (“Greece,” “Cinderella,”), Leslie Odom Jr. (“Hamilton”), Seth Rudetsky and StarKid.

In addition to the announced lineup, Criss teased that a number of surprise guests will be making appearances on stage. The festival is also running opposite Broadway Cares’ Broadway Flea Market (both events benefit the charity). Criss also invited Marie’s Crisis – the historic West Village piano bar – to run the beer garden on site.

The goal, reflecting the spirit of the theater community, is to create an event that everyone feels welcome at. But again, this has never been done before, and its creator is well-aware.

“Well, let’s hope so,” when I noted that there seems to be something at the festival for everyone. “We’re going to find out.”

Criss said at the beginning of our conversation that he was simply trying to keep his head screwed on to his body. In addition to creating and performing at a brand new festival, the actor is currently filming “American Horror Story: Hotel.”

“Not only do you get to be around Kathy Bates and Lady Gaga but it’s also, you walk on set and it’s this crazy looking set with all of these people in crazy looking outfits,” he explained. “You just can’t help but be swept up by the whole thing.”

Surely to fans’ delight, Criss does share scenes with Gaga.

“But not as many as I like,” he added with a laugh. Perhaps he had a hard time keeping his head screwed on after all.

Describing the past couple of years as “a roller-coaster” for the band Paramore would be both cliche and an understatement. In December of 2010, Josh and Zac Farro were done with the band, for good. Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis, and Taylor York regrouped, released an EP, played some one-off dates on Vans Warped Tour, and then put out the band’s first studio album in four years. The self-titled LP is the first of the group’s to debut at number one. “Still Into You” is the lead single for pop radio.

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.”


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.”