October 23, 2009

St. Pete Times: We The Kings Interview

Bradenton pop-punk band We the Kings — from left, Danny Duncan, Hunter Thomsen, Drew Thomsen and Travis Clark — charted two singles.

We the Kings singer Travis Clark opens up on his blog

By Jay Cridlin, Times Staff Writer

Two weeks ago, We the Kings singer Travis Clark awoke early in the morning, stumbled into the kitchen half-awake, poured himself a glass of orange juice and stuck his iPhone in the refrigerator. It was the first time he'd done something that strange since childhood, when, for reasons he still doesn't understand, he used to hide the family phone in the mailbox at his Bradenton home.

We know all this because Clark shared it on his blog, whoistravis clark.com, an oddly humanizing diary that has turned the idea of a celebrity's online journal on its head. Embarrassing childhood photos? A tale about how he got food poisoning from a hot dog, requiring a shot in the butt (including the requisite photo)? It's all fair game to Clark.

His Bradenton pop-punk band has become a big deal in the past two years, spending time on two Warped Tours, playing on TV and at shows around the world (including a 2008 gig at Tropicana Field), and charting with singles like Check Yes Juliet and Skyway Avenue. Their second album, Smile, Kid, is due Dec. 8, and they're performing with All Time Low on Monday at The RITZ Ybor in Tampa.

As his band prepares for their (almost) hometown gig, Clark called from a stop in Rhode Island to discuss his bloggy lifestyle.

You have to be one of the most oversharing rock stars on the Internet.

It actually came from the fans. They wanted me to start a blog where I could rant and rave about ridiculous things. I wanted to let people into my life — maybe it would open their eyes to what the songs are about, or why I write the songs that I do.

I loved the post where you answered 194 questions about yourself, from your first pet to your mom's breast cancer to the frequency of your haircuts. What won't you reveal about yourself online?

Well, I don't want to tell people where I live. I do have a personal life, and I do have stuff that I keep to myself. But for the people that want to know more about me, I want to have this site. It's me posting, so it's the truth, from my mouth. I guess that's better than seeing it on TMZ.com or Perez Hilton.

You post a lot about Chipotle, I've noticed.

Oh, I love Chipotle. It's unanimously the band's favorite quick, in-and-out restaurant. When you're constantly touring, you've got to find the place that's consistent. We've found that Chipotle has the most consistent guacamole.

Are you getting recognized more in Bradenton these days?

Yeah, but it's cool, because Bradenton is such a small town that everybody knows everybody. Everyone's super-respectful. I'm always at the beach, I eat at the same places every single day, and people say hi, and that's it. I talk to them just like they were normal friends. Restaurants never let us pay for food, which is pretty awesome. The times that we needed restaurants to comp our food were there years ago; now that we actually can pay for our own meals, they give it to us for free. It's a weird situation, but super-flattering.

You're only in town for a day or two. Are you going to have any time to go back to Bradenton?

I will be home for the day. I'm closing on my first house. I will officially be a first-time homeowner. I'm hoping I can take the rest of the tour to the house to break it in.

Jay Cridlin, cridlin@tampabay.com.

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