The All-American Rejects are a year-and-a-half and 30 songs deep into their third album, but guitarist Nick Wheeler admits "we're still writing and recording. We've got our hands full right now."
Still, he says the quartet is confident that the follow-up to 2005's double-platinum "Move Along" will be finished and ready for release in the fall via Interscope.
"We've been writing our asses off. We've written more songs that we've ever written for an album before," reports Wheeler, who held songwriting sessions with singer-bassist Tyson Ritter in rural Georgia, Vancouver and San Francisco. AAR has been recording in Los Angeles and Atlanta with producer Eric Valentine (Smash Mouth, Taking Back Sunday, Queens of the Stone Age).
"We definitely want this to be perfect," he says. "We're scrutinizing every little bit and thinking real hard about everything that goes into it and making sure it captures what we're feeling, 'cause there's so much to say and so much to give to these songs and these recordings. It's all there; we just have to capture it."
Acknowledging that "we're kinda coming down to the wire," Wheeler says AAR -- which is webcasting its studio sessions -- was disappointed to have to cancel bookings on the Warped Tour as well as a Canadian trek with Simple Minds. But the group has held on to five opening dates for Bon Jovi, starting July 7 in Auburn Hills, Mich., and three other shows in July.
"Bon Jovi is a dream come true, so you don't want to turn those down," Wheeler says. "If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be doing what we're doing." Those concert crowds will get a chance to hear one of the new song, "Mona Lisa," which Wheeler says went down well at previous shows.
"It's a really cool, just intimate little acoustic song," he says. "It kinda started that way and it just stuck and it's gonna be a really cool moment on the record. And it's a cool moment in the set, too. When a band plays a new song it's always, y'know, pee break or beer break, like 'I need a refill. I'll be back for all the hits.' But even though this is new, it's been capturing attention."