This is a story about two boys from Colorado. They both grew up in the faux-hippy town of Boulder and ended up at the University of Colorado. One, Nathaniel Motte, graduated summa cum laude and got into medical school, the other, Sean Foreman, got college degrees in math and English. Nat spoke fluent French, Sean won the Ultimate Frisbee World Championship in Finland when he was nineteen. Both loved hip-hop, but hated the exclusivity of the scene. They disagreed with the common assumption that anything on the radio was the work of Satan. So they started making beats in their basement and writing songs that blended rock and hip-hop and dance and pop and who knows what else, and petitioned to remove the “guilty” from “guilty pleasure.” They used their area code as their band name, except with an added exclamation point.
The raucous songs caught the attention of Matt Galle, owner of New York-based indie label Photo Finish Records and booking agent to superstars like My Chemical Romance and Taking Back Sunday, and producer Matt Squire, who pretty much produces every awesome band nowadays. Galle signed them to Photo Finish and Squire co-produced the duo’s debut, Want, a collection of infectious songs.
3OH!3 headed out on Warped Tour in the summer of 2008 as their first real tour. There they learned that showers are overrated and if you have punchy, rhyming lyrics, dancey rap beats and a raucous live show that involved choreography, kids will come see you play. So many kids, in fact, that your stage will get more and more packed every day as the tour progresses, inciting jealousy from all the other bands. Want was released on July 8, 2008 while they were playing a parking lot in 100-degree heat. The disc’s first single was “Don’t Trust Me,” which was co-produced with Benny Blanco, a song that went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart.
The band was sent back on the road in the fall for a headlining tour sponsored by MySpace, who jumped on the 3OH3! bandwagon after the pair was a Top 3 artist on the site for several months. The only problem was that Sean was in Brooklyn and the band’s gear was in Colorado. So Sean rode his bike from New York to Denver over the course of twenty-two days, clearing his head and sleeping in bushes by the side of the road along the way. On the fall tour, the band sold out so many venues they were forced to move some of the shows to bigger rooms, culminating at show at San Diego’s Soma for 2,500 screaming fans.
Radio stations began playing “Don’t Trust Me,” bleeping out swear words like “ho” and “Helen Keller.” MTV and Fuse threw the video into rotation. Katy Perry called and told the boys to pack their bags for Europe, where they traveled around in a soccer mom van as the only openers on Perry’s tour. MTV called and told the boys to pack their Speedos for Spring Break, conveniently scripting them into an episode of The Real World: Cancun. Alternative Press called and told the boys to start working out before their cover shoot and headlining slot on the Alternative Press Tour, which kicked off at SxSW in March.
Because no one really ever needs to go home or sleep in a real bed, Sean and Nat jumped almost immediately on Warped Tour for their second run. This time they knew the ropes. Bringing a padlock to secure your own porta-potty backstage each day, for example. They were the biggest band on the tour and even though some people might argue with that, it’s true. “Don’t Trust Me” was certified double platinum. They remixed second single “Starstrukk” to include vocals from Katy Perry and released it at the end of August. Tours were planned in Europe, Australia and the States for the fall. MTV called again and told the band they were nominated for a Video Music Award for “Best New Artist.”
It all seems like a lot to take in, especially for a band with only one album out. But don’t worry. If music fails, Nat can become a rich doctor and pay for Sean to pedal a unicycle across Canada.
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"Don't Trust Me"
"My First Kiss" (Feat. Ke$ha)
"Touchin On My"