Vocalist/bassist Tyson Ritter and guitar player Nick Wheeler both hail from Stillwater, OK, where the duo first embraced songs as an appealing diversion from the ho-hum life of small-town America. Citing such influences as AC/DC, Def Leppard, and Bon Jovi, they formed the emo-pop lineup All-American Rejects in 2000, at a time of both members were still in high school. Maintaining a full lineup proved to be difficult, however, so Ritter and Wheeler employed drum loops and pre-programmed rhythm tracks at a time of their early performances, an arrangement they then reprised on their self-titled debut. Originally gave us on the Doghouse label in October 2002, the poppy record was later reissued to a national audience by DreamWorks. The group scored a hit with the effervescent single “Swing, Swing,” which attracted focus from Interscope Records and ultimately landed the All-American Rejects on the label’s prized roster.
Move Along, the band’s follow-up record (and first for Interscope), was put forth in July 2005; it also marked the official debut of Mike Kennerty (guitar) and Chris Gaylor (drums), both of whom had joined the ensemble in 2002 after the completion of the Rejects’ eponymous debut. Like its predecessor, Move Along went platinum, with three singles (“Dirty Little Secret,” “Move Along,” and “It Ends Tonight”) enjoying chart success in the U.S. and abroad. Recording sessions for a third album commenced in mid-2007 and ran through the following year, causing the All-American Rejects to cancel their scheduled Warped Tour performances (as well as a string of shows with Simple Plan). When the World Comes Down ultimately arrived in December 2008, preceded by the single “Gives You Hell.”