When the All-American Rejects’ self-titled debut CD sold 500,000 copies within four months of its major-label release in 2003, the Oklahoma power-pop-rock quartet’s frontman, Tyson Ritter, was too young to enjoy a celebratory toast of champagne with his 21-and-over bandmates. But now that the 22-year-old TRL heartthrob is of legal drinking age, the rest of his group — Nick Wheeler, 24; Mike Kennerty, 26; and Chris Gaylor, 27 — can barely keep up with his ability to knock back a few (and then some). It was four against one, however, when LTT met up with AAR at a log-cabin-inspired watering hole in Los Feliz, Calif., called the Bigfoot Lodge during a tour stop in support of their latest platinum disc, Move Along. For LTT, it was a wild night that culminated with flames shooting up from the bar; for AAR, it was another entry in their vast collection of drunken stories.
ROUND 1 ? ? ?
LTT (Patrón Silver margarita) Did you know that the owner of this place is from Oklahoma?
TYSON RITTER (frontman/bassist, Patrón Silver margarita with Grand Marnier) I knew I felt at home. It was the miniature deer skulls.
LTT How’s the tour going? NICK WHEELER (guitar/keyboards/programming, Pabst Blue Ribbon and a shot of Jameson) Basically, it’s random state fairs and lots of flights.
LTT I heard that one of you had a bad experience with funnel cake…
MIKE KENNERT (guitar/vocals, Bud Light and a shot of Jägermeister) A bad experience?
NW Well, you probably should stay away from funnel cake.
TR But it’s delicious nonetheless.
NW I saw for the first time the other day a deep-fried Twinkie. I didn’t eat it.
CHRIS GAYLOR (drums, Pabst Blue Ribbon and a shot of Jameson) I had one. It was really good and really hot, like a fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut, and they put strawberry jelly on top of it. You can only eat about half of it because it hurts your chest.
TR Funnel cakes!
ROUND 2 ? ? ?
BEST IN SHOW
LTT (Patrón Silver margarita) When bands stay on the road for a long time, they sometimes get sick of playing their hits. Have you guys gotten to that point with ”Swing, Swing,” ”Dirty Little Secret,” or ”Move Along”?
TR (Patrón Silver margarita with Grand Marnier) This girl was at one of our shows and she said, ”That’s the best show I’ve ever seen!” I was like, ”What shows have you seen?” She’s like, ”Just one other one — it was Sharon, Lois & Bram.”
NW (Pabst Blue Ribbon and a shot of Jameson) What?! From the Elephant Show?! [Everyone cracks up laughing.]
TR Yeah, the Elephant Show. If I had to sing ”Skinnamarinky dinky dink” I would be really bummed, ‘cause that song would probably get old way fast. Lucky for us we don’t have that song.
NW They must have killed themselves.
MK (Bud Light and a shot of Jägermeister) When I think of them I think of the woman with the lamb sock puppet. What’s her name? Shari Lewis?
NW You mean Lamb Chop?
MK Yeah! She’s dead, right?
LTT This conversation’s taking a morbid turn…
NW Trust me, it’s going to get worse.