|Travis Clark (front and center) of We the Kings is all smiles|
"It's definitely surreal," We the Kings front man Travis Clark told me before a gig in 2007
. "Every show is like the biggest yet." His punk-pop band's self-titled debut disc had just come out on S-Curve (Fountains of Wayne, Joss Stone) and the band was about to elate a crowd of about 1,000 screaming teens at Jannus Landing Courtyard in St. Petersburg, near Clark's hometown of Bradenton, Fla. Since then, We the Kings have gone from Florida faves to one of the biggest acts in the pop-punk world. Their debut album produced the Top 40 single "Check Yes Juliet (Run Baby Run)" and in December the band released Smile Kid, which features the even bigger smashes "Heaven Can Wait" and the title-track. We the Kings are headlining the Hot Topic Presents Sub City Take Action Tour that hits the House of Blues Anaheim Saturday (Feb. 20) and the HOB Sunset Strip Sunday (Feb.21).
OC Weekly (Wade Tatangelo): "Heaven Can wait" contains the lines, "Here's a song for the nights / I drink too much and spill my words." When was the last time you drunk dialed someone?
Travis Clark: The last time that line was relevant in my life was in Atlanta and I just started walking down the street after downing a whole bottle of red wine. I headed into a bad neighborhood and with my red-wine brain was super talkative. I lived to tell the tale [laughs].
Your blog Who Is Travis Clark? is amazingly popular. You really strike a delicate balance between snark and sincerity, humorous and poignant posts like the Jan. 31 one about reading all the fan's handwritten letters. Have you been in contact with her?
Yeah, she hit me up. I had no idea she followed me on Twitter or the blog. But then looking through comments I saw she said that I made her life, that she never expected me to read a thing.
So, you really read all those letters?
I read everything. When I was a kid I would go see Green Day and then write them a letter. Maybe not as sentimental (as hers), but I would tell them how I wanted to be in a rock band and how they were an influence. Now that I'm in a position where people look up at me I want them to see that I am the same--and not any better than anyone else. I want them to know I'm just like them. Had Green Day or Blink-182 had written me back that would have made my life. So I stay in close contact with fans.
Have you since met some of your childhood heroes?
Yeah. We met all of Blink-182 and most of Green Day, playing fests with them and sharing signing booths. But the best was on our very first tour when were unsigned. We had raised money from doing local shows in Bradenton and bought a shuttle bus and converted it into a touring bus. We were going through Houston and saw that Fall Out Boy was headlining a huge show and we drove to where the buses were parked and snuck in with fake passes. We told the security guard we were playing and running late. Pete Wentz had his label and we wanted to give him our demo ... He gets done with an interview and were so nervous and it was crazy but we went up to him gave him our demo CD and told him how we snuck in. He let us stay and watch the show which was so cool because he could have been an ass and kicked us out.
Has Wentz contacted you since?
Yeah. Not only had we forgotten to write any info on the CD but we didn't but a contact, no email, nothing. A couple years ago we were playing with Fall Out Boy and Pete goes, "Dude, I listened to that demo with "Secret Valentine" on it and wanted to sign your band but there was no info on the CD." It's incredible how we could be so stupid but it was awesome to hear that he was a fan of the band.
Now that Patrick Stump says he's done with Fall Out Boy would you consider being his replacement if Wentz calls?
I think it would be awesome! I think [Wentz] is looking for a female singer but I can hit those high notes.
We the Kings are headlining the Hot Topic Presents Sub City Take Action Tour, which also features Mayday Parade, A Rocket To the Moon, There For Tomorrow and Stereo Skyline. The tour hits House of Blues Anaheim Saturday (Feb. 20) and the HOB Sunset Strip Sunday (Feb.21).