The Rocket Summer

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The Rocket Summer
Bryce The Rocket Summer.jpg
Live AP Tour 2008
Background information
Birth name Bryce Avary
Born (1982-12-31) December 31, 1982 (age 31)
Origin Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Genres Alternative rock, indie rock, pop rock, power pop
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, bass guitar, drums, percussion
Years active 1999 –present
Labels The Militia Group, Island Records, Aviate Records
Website www.therocketsummer.com
Members Bryce Avary

The Rocket Summer is the solo-project of Bryce Avary who is based in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Avary is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and producer. He writes and produces every song on his records, and plays every instrument on them.

He has released five studio albums and several EPs. His fourth release, Of Men and Angels, held the No. 1 Top Album spot on iTunes upon its release on February 23, 2010.[1] In April 2008, AP Magazine called him one of "100 bands you need to know."[2]

Early life & musical interest[edit]

Avary was born on December 31, 1982, in Fort Worth, Texas. He first became interested in music around the age of 12 when his father bought him his first guitar which was an imitation brand from a pawn shop for 50 dollars.[3][4] Avary subsequently began teaching himself other instruments including the drums and piano.[3] He also picked up saxophone by playing one his father had had since his high school band days.[4]

Avary joined his first band, at the age of 14.[5] He later joined a high school "indie rock punk" band at Grapevine High School,[5] inspired by Pavement, Archers of Loaf and Weezer, called Charlie 27.[5] After the band broke up, Avary began performing local acoustic shows as a teenager in Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton.[5]

Music career[edit]

1999–2003: Self-titled EP[edit]

In 1999, Avary self-released his first EP at the age of 16.[6] The EP included songs he had written between the ages 14 to 16.[6] He distributed the EP under the name The Rocket Summer, at the suggestion of a friend, to local stores to be sold on consignment; the name was inspired by Ray Bradbury's short story collection The Martian Chronicles, which his friend was reading at the time.[3] Avary described the project as initially "just a really fun experiment."[3] After the EP's original 1000 copies sold out, it went out of print until it was later re-released as The Early Years EP under The Militia Group in November 2006.[6][7]

His music appeared on The Adventure Club segment of the KDGE radio station, and quickly became the most requested local band on the program that year.[5]

2003–2005: Calendar Days & Hello, Good Friend[edit]

Avary recorded, produced, and released his debut album, Calendar Days, in 2003.[8] Using a $15,000 budget, the album was recorded in Kansas on The Militia Group.[9]

In November 2004, Avary began working on his second album, Hello, Good Friend.[10] The album peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.[11] To promote the album, The Rocket Summer toured the US and Japan. Shortly after Hello, Good Friend was released, Avary left The Militia Group for a major record label deal.[12]

2005–2007: The Early Years EP and Do You Feel[edit]

In November 2006, The Militia Group re-released The Rocket Summer's self-released 1999 EP as The Early Years EP,[6] but Avary signed with major record label Island Def Jam Records. Do You Feel was released in July 2007;[12][13][14] the album reached No. 44 on the Billboard 200 and No. 16 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums charts.[15]

The album's lead single was "So Much Love," and was warmly received by critics for its use of horn section.[13][16] The Rocket Summer released the second single "Do You Feel" and its music video on September 5, 2008. The video was co-directed and funded by Bryce Avary with director Nate Weaver.[17] The video featured stories of people with issues such as homelessness, addiction, disease and abuse. The video also featured cameos from artists Andrew McMahon of Jack's Mannequin, Matt Thiessen of Relient K, Josh Farro and Jeremy Davis of Paramore, Mike Herrera of MxPx, Forrest Kline of Hellogoodbye, Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, and Jonathan Cook of Forever The Sickest Kids.[17]

2009–2012: You Gotta Believe EP and Of Men and Angels and Life Will Write the Words[edit]

After the conclusion of touring, Avary took some time off to write his fourth studio album, Of Men and Angels. He recorded the new album at Ocean Studios in Burbank, CA, from February to April 2009.[18][19] Avary finished the record in March 2009 but had to wait for behind-the-scenes industry issues to clear.[19] While waiting, he wrote new songs and recorded them in Austin, Texas.[19]

Avary mixed some of the tracks with Neal Avron and produced the album with CJ Eiriksson, who also engineered the album.[19][20] To keep the record "as organic as possible," Avary minimized chopping of the drums, did not use Autotune on the vocals, and included full takes on the guitar.[19] Avary described the album as "the most substance-filled Rocket Summer album to date."[19][21] Though originally expected to be released in mid-2009 by Island Def Jam, the album was pushed to a February 2010 release date.[14][22]

To hold fans over, The Rocket Summer released a digital 4-track EP entitled You Gotta Believe in October 2009.[23] The EP featured three tracks off the LP Of Men and Angels and one bonus track. The EP debuted at No. 23 on the Billboard charts for Digital Albums.[24] The Rocket Summer's "You Gotta Believe" music video premiered on AOL in December 2009, and featured clips of fans singing, dancing, and playing along to the tune.[25] The video was directed by award-winning director Randy Scott Slavin.[20] Coinciding with the EP release, The Rocket Summer began a 34-city North American tour to promote the upcoming Of Men and Angels album.[20]

On February 23, 2010, The Rocket Summer released his fourth studio album, Of Men and Angels.[18] The album debuted at No. 1 on iTunes, surpassing The Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. which had previously held the No. 1 spot for Top Album.[1][26] The album opened to generally positive reviews, with George Heaney of AllMusic calling the record "another fine outing from the Rocket Summer."[18] To promote the new album, Avary performed the album's lead single "Walls" on KDFW's Good Day Dallas and KTBC's Good Day Austin,[27] and held a hometown album release party at the Granada Theatre in Dallas, TX, where Matt Thiessen of Relient K and a contest-winning unsigned band opened.[28] Leading up to the album debut, The Rocket Summer released the entire album for preview on The Rocket Summer MySpace on February 15, 2010, just eight days prior to the in-store release.[29]

Preceding the album's in-store release, The Rocket Summer released the album's second single, "Hills and Valleys," on February 22, 2010.[30][31]

Starting March 13, 2010, The Rocket Summer commenced a two-week tour with OneRepublic and Goo Goo Dolls.[28] Avary was also scheduled to play an acoustic set at the SXSW Music + Film + Interactive Conference in Austin, TX, on March 20, 2010. He confirmed performances at the 16th annual Vans Warped Tour 2010, opening in California the last weekend of June 2010 and running through August 15, 2010.[28]

In March 2010, TRS was named one of Shred News's "10 Artists to Watch in 2010."[32]

Avary was recently approached by several platinum-selling artists who have asked him to write singles for their upcoming albums.[citation needed] Avary co-wrote the song "Stomping The Roses" for American Idol alum, David Archuleta.[33] The song appears on Archuleta's second full-length album, The Other Side Of Down, which debuted worldwide on October 5, 2010.

On Oct. 19, 2010, The Rocket Summer released a five-song digital-only EP, entitled Of Men and Angels: B-Sides, containing songs that failed to make the cut for Of Men And Angels.[34]

On May 24, 2011, Avary released an acoustic live album entitled Bryce Avary, His Instruments and Your Voices. It is available for free via The Rocket Summer's website.

In April 2012, The Rocket Summer began a 24-date U.S. tour as main support for Switchfoot. On April 16, Avary confirmed a new album would be released on June 5, 2012 and would be titled Life Will Write The Words. At the conclusion of the Switchfoot tour, The Rocket Summer will begin a U.S. headlining tour alongside States and Scene Aesthetic to promote the album.

The Rocket Summer's fifth studio album, Life Will Write The Words, was released on June 5, 2012.

Musical style and influence[edit]

Often labeled as power pop,[8][35] The Rocket Summer's music has developed a reputation for its positively infused sentiments, optimistic lyrics, and upbeat rhythms,[12][18][21] with emphasis on Avary's distinctive, high-pitched vocals and instrumental diversity that has drawn comparisons to Ben Folds, The Swift, Relient K, Justin Timberlake, and Michael Jackson.[13][18]

The Dallas Observer's Pete Freedman wrote of this constructed image: "That's the persona he's carefully crafted—a sort of happy-go-lucky caricature of a young man willing to take the dreaded sad and sappy emo tag his music's been labeled with, turn it on its head and give it a positive message."[14] Rick Anderson of Allmusic described his music as a range of "headlong blasts of pure power pop cheer" to "sonata form" and ballads—all of which Anderson categorized as "infectiously joyful."[8] The Rocket Summer's music is marked by his use of guitar, piano, bass, percussion, and melodic hooks.[4][13] Avary's two largest musical influences growing up were The Beatles and Michael Jackson.[3]

The Rocket Summer's more recent albums, including the 2010 release Of Men and Angels, have shown a shift in style and content from his earlier releases,[18][21] with more focus on an indie rock and alternative sound,[36] as well as on more mature subject material.[14][18] Avary has cited these changes as "natural" products of "growth and ... spiritual growth."[14][21]

Touring[edit]

During performances, The Rocket Summer consists of Bryce Avary, Stevie Benz on guitar, and Theodore Ramirez on drums.

The Rocket Summer has toured the US, Canada, the UK, France and Japan, and has played at festivals such as Glastonbury Festival, Summer Sonic Festival, Austin City Limits, SXSW, The Bamboozle, and the 2007 and 2010 Vans Warped Tour. The Rocket Summer has been confirmed to play at the Slam Dunk Festival at Hertfordshire and Leeds University, at the end of May 2010.[37]

In August 2010, Avary announced he would be going on a nationwide headlining tour of the US where he will be playing completely solo, telling stories, looping songs and playing acoustic versions of many songs he has written. The tour is called "The Rocket Summer: Bryce Avary, His Instruments and Your Voices." There are talks of each night being recorded to possibly go on a future live album of the tour.

In September 2010, Avary confirmed that The Rocket Summer would be joining the annual Australian music festival Soundwave in 2011 which tours the country's capital cities. He played two sideshows with Third Eye Blind in Sydney and Melbourne.

On February 16, 2012, Switchfoot announced on their Facebook page that The Rocket Summer would be touring with the band on their Spring 2012 tour.

Philanthropy[edit]

Call It Captivate[edit]

Avary created a clothing company by the name of Call It Captivate (CIC) in October 2008. According to its mission statement, Call It Captivate aims to "express relevant art through fashion, to inspire, to educate, and most importantly, be used as an outlet to encourage people to give to those in need."[38] Avary approves the designs for his products, and as of February 2010, has also teamed up with designers from Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters to create apparel for the clothing line.[39] Call It Captivate has partnered with several credible charities, where 25% or more of each item purchased goes to a charity selected by the buyer. These charities include Blood: Water Mission, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Holt International Adoption, These Numbers Have Faces, The LA Dream Center, The Miracle League of El Paso, and Doctors Without Borders. The company's website also promotes each of these charities by providing their mission statements in an attempt to educate the public and spotlighting a new charity each month.[38] CIC was featured in February 2009 in AP magazine Issue No. 247 and in November 2009 in AMP Magazine.

Other charities[edit]

Avary has also lent his vocals to several charity events. Avary attended and performed acoustic at the Dallas Rescue for the Invisible Children campaign in Dallas, TX, on April 25, 2009.[40][41] On June 23, 2009, Avary played at the closing ceremony for the Invisible Children rally, "How It Ends," [42] which took place on the White House Ellipse Lawn in Washington D.C.[43] He also played at Heavy and Light 2010, an annual acoustic show supporting To Write Love on Her Arms.

Personal life[edit]

As a child, Avary appeared as a contestant on Nickelodeon's Double Dare after he and his family successfully auditioned for the TV show while on a family vacation at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.[44]

Avary attended Colleyville Middle School in Colleyville, TX, where musician and singer-songwriter Norah Jones also attended.[45] Also coming from his immediate hometown area in Texas are Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato.[45]

Avary later attended Grapevine High School where he formed his own dodgeball team named The Bombardment Society, inspired by Wes Anderson's film Rushmore.[5][46] The team became the high school's largest organization at the time of his attendance.[44] Prior to launching his music career as The Rocket Summer, Avary worked as a Starbucks barista for four months—an experience that inspired him to write the song "This is Me" off of his album Calendar Days.[44]

In January 2005, Avary married his long-time girlfriend, Tara.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

EPs[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Iasimone, Ashley. "Exclusive JSYK Interview". AOL. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  2. ^ "8th Annual 100 Bands You Need to Know". Alternative Press. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Band of the Day Interview 
  4. ^ a b c Chapman, Jackie, Riding a Rocket, Christianity Today International 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Crain, Zac. "Teenage love rock". Dallas Observer. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d Apart, Corey, All Music Guide: The Early Years EP, AllMusic, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  7. ^ Loftus, Johnny, The Rocket Summer Biography, Allmusic, retrieved March 13, 2010 
  8. ^ a b c All Music Guide: Calendar Days, AllMusic, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  9. ^ MTV: The Rocket Summer Biography, MTV, retrieved March 13, 2010 
  10. ^ All Music Guide: Hello, Good Friend, AllMusic, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  11. ^ Billboard Charts: Hello, Good Friend, Billboard, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  12. ^ a b c Ortenzi, Rob, The Rocket Summer: So This is How it Feels, Alternative Press, retrieved March 13, 2010 
  13. ^ a b c d All Music Guide: Do You Feel, AllMusic, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  14. ^ a b c d e Freedman, Pete, The Rocket Summer Tries Growing Up, Dallas Observer, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  15. ^ Billboard Chart History: Do You Feel, Billboard, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  16. ^ Review: Do You Feel, Alternative Press 
  17. ^ a b The Rocket Summer Returns with You Gotta Believe, Jesusfreakhideout.com, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g All Music Guide: Of Men and Angels, AllMusic, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  19. ^ a b c d e f The Rocket Summer -"Of Men and Angels"- In the studio – Episode 2 
  20. ^ a b c News Collection Week of 12/13, HM Magazine 
  21. ^ a b c d The Hope of The Rocket Summer, Relevant Magazine, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  22. ^ Heisel, Scott, The Rocket Summer Gets Release Date, Alternative Press, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  23. ^ All Music Guide: You Gotta Believe EP, AllMusic, retrieved March 14, 2010 
  24. ^ Billboard Charts: You Gotta Believe EP, Billboard, retrieved March 13, 2010 
  25. ^ You Gotta Believe Official Video 
  26. ^ Video Interview of The Rocket Summer, CBN, retrieved March 11, 2010 
  27. ^ FOX Good Day Performance 
  28. ^ a b c TRS.com Press Release 
  29. ^ Official MySpace Blog 
  30. ^ The Rocket Summer 'Hills and Valleys' Music Video, retrieved March 11, 2010 
  31. ^ The Rocket Summer Premieres "You Gotta Believe" New Video Today on AOL, Island Def Jam, retrieved March 11, 2010 
  32. ^ Ten Artists to Watch in 2010, Shred News, March 12, 2010 
  33. ^ David Archuleta's 'The Other Side of Down': A track-by-track review, USA Today, October 5, 2010, retrieved December 28, 2010 
  34. ^ Tim Karan, Exclusive: The Rocket Summer to release B-Sides EP on Oct. 19, Alt Press, retrieved December 28, 2010 
  35. ^ Martinez, Adrian, Do You Feel Review, Titletrakk.com, retrieved March 13, 2010 
  36. ^ Crowder, Kelsey, The Rocket Summer's Album Impresses, The Tack, retrieved March 13, 2010 
  37. ^ Slam Dunk Club Official Page 
  38. ^ a b Official Call It Captivate Website 
  39. ^ Interview Feb 2010 
  40. ^ april 26, 2009 (April 26, 2009). "Bryce Avary from Rocket Summer came to the Dallas Rescue". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  41. ^ "Invisible Children Presents [+] The Rescue". Therescue.invisiblechildren.com. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  42. ^ http://www.howitends.tv/ How It Ends
  43. ^ "Bryce Avary To Perform At Invisible Children's "How It Ends" Event – News Article". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  44. ^ a b c "New Interview: The Rocket Summer Blasts Off (video)". MTV. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  45. ^ a b J-14 Interview, J-14 
  46. ^ Simon, Leslie. "New Interview: The Rocket Summer Blasts Off". MTV. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 

External links[edit]