Have you ever heard of an artist that could name Death Cab for Cutie, Dashboard Confessional, Cursive, Sunny Day Real Estate, Coheed and Cambria, Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World, Thrice, The Postal Service, At the Drive In, Midtown, Early November, Thursday, Taking Back Sunday, Story of The Year, My Chemical Romance, Bright Eyes, Hey Mercedes, Planes Mistaken for Stars, Trail Of Dead, The Get-Up Kids, Jets to Brazil and the label Fueled By Ramen, and more mentioned in it's lyrics? The Gym Class Heroes have made fun of many mainstream rock bands in their song "Taxi Driver" (Note: The song has a few inappropriate phrases, so have your parents check it out first) Heck, even one of the bands they had a chuckle about bassist's signed them to his label. It just goes to show: this is a band worth hearing about.
How do you label them? Hip-hop? Rock? Crazy?
The Gym Class Heroes. Ahh -- there is really no way to describe these five guys. Just some dudes in a band, assure, but a band that is taking the music world by storm, and having a laugh while doing it. The GCH formed in 1997, when vocalist Travis McCoy and drummer Matt McGinley became friends while attending high school in Geneva, New York. Sharing the same love for quirky music, the two recruited guitarist Milo Bonacci and bassist Ryan Geise for the group. It finally looked like the group was going somewhere. The original Gym Class Heroes played at birthday parties, numerous festivals, and some small clubs in their hometown. During that time, they scrapped together some money, and self-produced four CD's: Hed Candy (1999), Greasy Kids Stuff (2000), For The Kids, (2001) and The Papercut Chronicles EP (2004).
With all of these records coming out of nowhere, the public started taking interest in the Gym Class Heroes for the first time. What really caught the bigwigs in the music business's eye was The Papercut Chronicles EP. They had gone into a New York recording studio with a minimal budget and came out with a masterpiece.
Honesty and humor are huge elements of the record, but it also captures a bit of the members personality along with the mix. Filled to the brim with humble bass lines and head-cracking beats, original hip-hop rhythms, and slicing guitars, The Papercut Chronicles had some heads turning. Although the EP was a big accomplishment for the band, Travis McCoy had already started feeling the fame. After For The Kids came out, Travis one MTV's Direct Effect MC Battle and as a prize, he appeared in Style P's "Daddy Get That Cash" video.
Soon after, the Gym Class Heroes had a line-up change, do to personal reasons. Ryan Geise, Milo Bonacci, and Sie One were replaced with guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo and Eric Roberts, bass.
Soon after the current configuration was completed, a landmark stepped into the Gym Class Heroes career. Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy happened upon their song "Taxi Driver" and thought it was really good. He had Pete Wentz (Fall out Boy) listen to it, and then invited the scruffy New Yorkers to a FOB concert. Were they glad they did! A few months later, Pete Wentz made the offer for the Gym Class Heroes to join his label, DecayDance. DecayDance was an imprint of the label Fueled By Ramen. In late 2004, GCH had DecayDance/Fueled By Ramen supporting them fully. "It's such a great atmosphere. These guys are my family," Travis states.
On July 25th, 2006 came The Gym Class Heroes's third studio album, As Cruel as School Children came out. It was an instant hit. "Cupid's Chokehold" off the album hit number five on Billboard's Top 100. A second version of the album was released in November, which includes a new version of "Cupid's Chokehold" (a song previously recorded on The Papercut Chronicles).
Touring? There was a lot of it, believe me. The Gym Class Heroes shot back to the Warped Tour in 2005 and 2006. The band completed their leg of the tour on November 29th in Las Vegas (alongside the All American Rejects).
GCH recently finished headlining The Daryl Hall For President tour in 2007. What were they doing in their most recent tour? Writing for future albums, of course. And a special contest for fans, seeing who could pimp out their Myspace "gym class" style. Whoever won got an Xbox360.
What did make the Gym Class Heroes sound so appealing? For being a partial hip-hop band, the GCH didn't use loops and electronic instruments for their background beats, but live instruments, and the dry-humored voice of Travis McCoy. Although the vocal parts are mostly soft, smooth hip-hop originated, there is amazing music in the background, also.
Now let's talk specifically about all the other things Gym Class's Travis has done.
He didn't stop at Style P's music video; oh no. Travis appeared as the vampire who throws up the Clandestine logo in "A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More Touch Me" by Fall Out Boy. He also appears in "Dance, Dance" and "This Ain't a Scene, it's An Arms Race" by FOB as a dancer. Travis is featured in Cobra Starship's "Snakes On a Plane (Bring it)".
Travis also has a side project called Bernie Allen. Bernie Allen's only album is titled Who Is. The Gym Class Heroes will occasionally play some of Bernie Allen's songs live.
Currently, GCH are going to open for Gwen Stefani's Sweet Escape tour in Australia and New Zealand in July and August 2007.
Do you see why the Gym Class Heroes is an amazing band now? I'm really glad to share this great group's biography with you. I learned a lot about them while writing this, too. Now let's take a look at the Gym Class's top 5 songs.
1. Cupid's Chokehold
2. Cupid's Chokehold (Radio mix)
3. Shoot The Stars
4. The Queen and I
I hope you take the time to check this great band out. If you do, I suggest the songs "Papercuts" and "Cupid's Chokehold". Those are my favorites.
Through tours, CD signings, and good-humored interviews the Gym Class Heroes have kept true to themselves, and made a huge impact on the music scene. I hope you enjoyed them.
So, as Travis McCoy says, "I love you like kids love those little cookies that come in a McDonald's Happy Meals."
See you on the road,