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Allstar Weekend

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GenreRock, Pop
AboutIn early 2009 the members of San Diego's Allstar Weekend drove up to Los Angeles to hand out flyers outside the premiere of Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.
A little over a year later, the band's high-energy pop-punk single "A Different Side of Me" has sold over 100,000 copies and topped Radio Disney's Top 30 Countdown. So what do these clean-cut kids—friends since high school who got their start as Allstar Weekend playing local pool parties—make of the last 12 months? "It's been totally crazy!" says singer Zach Porter. Adds guitarist Nathan Darmody: "Super-surreal is probably the best way to describe it." Bassist Cameron Quiseng shakes his head, still amazed that "a song that we wrote in one of our bedrooms when we were 16 is now number one on Radio Disney."
At a moment of narrowing opportunity for new acts, Allstar Weekend's speedy ascent might come as a surprise. ("I can't tell you how many times we played to just a sound guy," admits drummer Michael Martinez.) In truth, though, the band's close proximity to its roots is a big part of what drives its popularity. "With Allstar Weekend, what you see is what you get," Porter explains. "We do all the things that normal teenagers do, and that's exactly what we write our songs about." The same goes for the group's music videos, two of which—"A Different Side of Me" and "Journey to the End of My Life"—have racked up a combined million views on YouTube. "They showcase who we are as people," Darmody says of the clips, "and I think that's why people enjoy watching them. We're just these four weird, funny guys being ourselves, you know? Our fans connect with that."
There's no doubt those fans will connect with the songs on Suddenly, Allstar Weekend's aptly titled Hollywood Records debut. From "Hey Princess," the set's lovesick opener, to "The Weekend," its exuberant closer, these seven tracks serve as a relentlessly catchy dispatch from the front lines of the American adolescence. Everyone in the group points to blink-182—another San Diego outfit with a knack for pairing polished riffs with everyday sentiments—as a key inspiration. "They were the first band where I was like, 'That's what I wanna do,'" says Quiseng. Yet with its descriptive lyrics and its dramatic streak, Suddenly reveals plenty of other influences, as well, including Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, two giants Porter says his parents exposed him to at an early age. Darmody sites more recent acts such as MGMT, LCD Soundsystem and Kings of Leon as influences, while Quiseng and Martinez rave about Prince.
For help translating the full spectrum of Allstar Weekend's dynamic sound to tape, the band enlisted no fewer than three separate producers, each an individual heavy-hitter: Howard Benson (Daughtry, My Chemical Romance), John Feldmann (Goldfinger, Good Charlotte) and S*A*M & Sluggo (Cobra Starship, Metro Station). Recording with such established talents was "definitely intimidating," Darmody allows. "But it was also such a pleasure working with people who we aspired to be like when we were in the garage working on songs." Adds Porter, "We feel like we've learned so much." That knowledge tucked securely under their collective belt, the members of Allstar Weekend will spend the rest of 2010 on the road supporting Suddenly, an experience all four musicians say they couldn't be more excited about.
"We worked our butts off to make this record the best we can, and we've worked our butts off to put together a great live show," says Porter with visible enthusiasm. "We can't wait to just get out there and play our new songs for our fans."

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