That’s not a slight to Ritter or his band, the All-American Rejects — a group that has had considerable success in its first decade, notching a half-dozen modern rock singles and selling some 10 million copies worldwide of its three albums.
But with the All-American Rejects fresh off the spring release of its fourth record, Kids in the Street, Ritter became a little more like Lennon.
“I had my lost weekend, as Lennon would have said,” Ritter, 28, says.
John Lennon, of course, is famous for his “lost weekend,” an 18-month stretch when he was separated from his wife, Yoko Ono, and lived in Los Angeles and New York with a girlfriend, May Pang. It’s a time famous for the solo work he produced, and a notorious dismissal from the Troubadour club.
On a few levels, Ritter went through a similar period after the All-American Rejects finished touring behind When The World Comes Down, an album that included the blockbuster hit single “Gives You Hell.”
Coming off the road, Ritter felt lost and decided to turn his life inside out, leaving his former home base of Florida for Los Angeles.
“I think when you live your life in front of a record button and in front of sort of a tape recorder, you sort of freeze yourself in a time capsule,” Ritter said, providing context to the shakeup he brought to his life. “I’ve been in that time capsule since I was 17.
“I was so domesticated,” he says. “I moved to Florida. I had this lovely girlfriend that acted like a wife. I wore white linen and sat on the beach and had beers. It was just the whole 40-year-old retiree life. So I moved out to Los Angeles, and in doing so, I just sort of got sucked in, into whatever you can let yourself get sucked into — I left my girlfriend. I left my manager of eight years. I just decided to clean house, spiritually, emotionally and personally.”
But his love affair with Los Angeles was short lived, and Ritter took off for New York City.
“[In New York] I jumped on a skateboard and chased pavement for hours and hours a day and just sort of listened to the city and she sang songs to me,” he says.
In New York, Ritter found his groove as a songwriter and in his life.
Each time Ritter would build up a certain number of song ideas, he and guitarist Nick Wheeler would head off to a secluded location —” usually a cabin somewhere in the Northeast — to get serious about developing the songs.
Those songs became Kids in the Street — a youthful, catchy rocking pop album. Big and bold tunes like “Walk Over Me” and “Someday’s Gone” sound like they could follow earlier hits like “Swing Swing,” “Dirty Little Secret” and “Gives You Hell” onto modern rock radio.
“I think this record provides a more grand show because the record itself is sonically more grand,” Ritter says. “I think if you’re at the show, you’re going to leave, your body’s going to be sore and you’re going to wake up with your ears ringing. You’re going to feel like you were at a real show, where your face hurts from smiling.”
All-American Rejects with Eve 6 — Sat, Aug. 18, at 8 pm — Knitting Factory — $22 — All-ages — ticketfly.com — 244-3279