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Rejects endure while others, well, rejected

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For nearly a decade, Nick Wheeler was hesitant to make the move to Los Angeles. The Oklahoma native and guitarist of rock band All-American Rejects just couldn’t commit to such a thing. But a couple years ago, he made the move.

“It was mostly for a girl,” he says during a recent phone interview from LA. “That didn’t last, but I ended up falling in love with my apartment and my neighborhood. So it all worked out.”

The All-American Rejects are one of a handful of bands from the early 2000s that have been able to remain in the spotlight for nearly a decade – and it’s all been done without drama.

“We’ve pretty much grown up all together and are best friends,” he says. “We’ve also never really changed anything about the way we work. It’s been the same since day one. Tyson (Ritter) and I are the ones who write all of the songs.”

When it comes to writing the album, Wheeler says he and Ritter took a trip and holed up in a cabin. Other band members Mike Kennerty and Chris Gaylor joined in on the songs when the band entered the studio.

“We’ve done it this way since high school. But in school we had time to write because we weren’t popular,” he explains. “When Ty and I get together to write, it just makes sense and the songs flow out of us. It’s a great working relationship that we have.”

After nearly two years of working on material, the quartet released their fourth album, “Kids in the Street,” on March 26.

The album’s lead track, “Beekeeper’s Daughter,” has been a staple on modern rock charts.

“This album is a defining moment for the band,” he says. “We’ve tried to create a different sound without abandoning how we work. For the first time, we’ve also rented a rehearsal space and are arranging the songs for the live show. We’re just taking our time in making it right.”

In a short time, the All-American Rejects have had numerous radio hits. From their first single, “Swing, Swing,” to 2009’s “Gives You Hell,” the band has been a force on the singles charts. But none of that gets to their heads.

“We’ve been fortunate to be able to be at it this long,” he says. “A lot of bands that we came up with are no longer around. I think we’re still together because all four of us still really enjoy what we’re doing.”

Wheeler says this tour marks the band’s first headlining tour in nearly two years and they are looking forward to being the highlight of the night.

“We now have enough material to make a really good set,” he says. “What’s really cool about our fans is that they have grown up with us. We’ve all been in this together and we are still finding new fans. It’s just a great time for us because we feel stronger than ever.”

All-American Rejects
With A Rocket to the Moon
WHEN: 8 p.m. Monday, April 2
WHERE: Sunshine Theater, 120 W. Central
HOW MUCH: $22 at or 886-1251