Music Article

Who the #@!* Are...Tokio Hotel

The German group brings glam-emo to America

Part Jonas Brothers, part anime characters, all German — introducing the wild-maned rockers who are making teens Scream Stateside and overseas.

Meet Bill. He's androgynously rakish, has an explosive coiffure that would make Jon Bon Jovi ache, and sings glam-emo songs. In fact, Bill's band is as big in Germany as the Jonas Brothers are here. And with a rabid teen-girl following quickly amassing Stateside, 18-year-old Bill Kaulitz's group, Tokio Hotel (ages 18 to 20), has also become a flamboyant alternative for American teens looking to wean themselves off the vanilla stylings of the Nickelodeon and Disney preppy puppy-dog acts.

Earlier this month, Tokio — which have moved nearly 3 million CDs worldwide — released their English-language debut, Scream (an apropos title if you've ever caught one of their live shows), but thanks to Internet buzz, American fans got swept up in the hype last fall. ''We just write about the stuff that happens to us,'' Kaulitz says of against-all-odds anthems like ''Monsoon'' and ''Ready, Set, Go!'' ''Fans connect to the lyrics.'' They also, it seems, hope to connect with the band. ''When we're playing a show, they sleep in front of the venue two nights before we're even there!'' he marvels before adding, ''I get the most girls, but I'm not the type that actually likes to mess around.'' Parents, you've been warned: Tokio will hit the road in the U.S. this summer. So what's Kaulitz most psyched about as he prepares for his first tour over here? ''In L.A., there's In-N-Out burgers. I'm the biggest fan of that.''

Originally posted May 12, 2008 Published in issue #991 May 16, 2008 Order article reprints