Relient K has become very well acquitted with a touring lifestyle,
being on the road on average 150-200 dates a year. Touring has been
a key element to the band's development of their fan base and strong
record sales. Being a part of tours featuring bands such as Switchfoot,
The O.C. Supertones, Five Iron Frenzy among others, have helped to put
the band in front of over a million people to date. In addition, Relient
K has ventured out on two very successful headlining tours. The name
"Relient K" is from Hoopes' K car. You can see a picture of the car
in the photo gallery under the "media" link.
Both Matts and Brian grew up as casual friends. They went
to the same church. Sophomore/Freshman year, they all started playing
guitars for youth group worship on Wednesday nights. All three of them
were really into MxPx, Ghoti Hook, Slickshoes, Plankeye, and other bands
like that. With those immediate influences, the guys decided to start
the band. That was the fall of 1997. They found a drummer named Todd
Frescone, and he played with the band for about a year. In Feb. 1998,
Relient K recorded an independent demo with Mark Townsend. It was crappy
but fun to have recorded music. The guys just went to school and played
a bunch of shows. Some were a lot better than others. In August 1998
Gotee records showed interest in the band. A demo deal was set into
place, and the band started working really heard to try and set things
in motion to start full-time. The self-titled debut was finished in
August of 1999, and was released 4/28/00. From there on, Relient K started
touring regularly. After a few drumming changes, Dave Douglas took the
permanent role in December of 2000.
About eight years after that premonition, Thiessen joined
up with friends Brian Pittman and Matt Hoopes to start Relient K. The
boys wrote some songs that were under the influence of bands such as
Mxpx, Ghoti Hook, Five Iron Frensy, and Click Shoes. In January of 1998,
with the addition of drummer Todd Frascone, Relient K started playing
shows. One month later, as a favor, producer Mark Lee Townsend recorded
"All Work and No Play" (Relient K's first demo) for $200. While on tour
with DC Talk, Mark played the demo for DC Talk member and owner of Gotee
Records, Toby Mckeehan. Toby heard some raw promise in the demo, and
eventually signed Relient K to the Gotee roster.
"When I was about eight years old, I distinctly remember
tossing around the ideas of being a 'rock star' when I grew up," says
Matt Thiessen, singer/guitarist for Relient K. "Immediately after the
thought entered my mind, I felt very dirty for having such an idea.
That, of course, was 1988, and the tail end of MTV's spandex wielding
hair band era. My definition of a rock star was a guy (resembling a
girl) with long wild hair, skin tight leopard print clothes, and a keytar
(keyboard guitar) in hand. All of this accompanied the fact that I was
forbidden to watch MTV, and that all of these impressions of rock and
roll were illegally snuck into my mind under mom's ever-present radar.
After those 30 seconds of absolute rebellion, I submitted to the respected
aspiration of being an astronaut."
Relient K's first album (self-titled) was recorded in
the summer of 1999 and released in April 2000. The self titled album
was received warmly and has since racked up over 100,000 units in sales.
Their second album, "the Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek," was recorded
in January 2001 and released late August of that year. The album showed
that the band had maturing potential as well as an ever expanding fan
base, selling 300,000 copies. In March of 2003, Relient K released their
third full length LP, "Two Lefts Don't Make A Right, But Three Do" debuting
at #38 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. "It's cool. I'm glad that
it exists and that we made it," says bassist Brian Pittman.
"In addition to our 3 nationally released recordings,"
adds Matt Thiessen "we've always released an EP before every album to
allow some new and exclusive material to leak out in-between LPs."
Musically, Relient K listen's to a ton of stuff that influences
them. Pretty much any pop punk band you can think of (Midtown, Piebald,
NFG, Blink, etc?) as well as bands like The Beach Boys, Ben Folds, and
Simon and Garfunkle. Our lives are influenced by our Christian beliefs,
our friends, and our amazingly supportive families.
Following up the extraordinary success of 2001's The Anatomy
of the Tongue in Cheek, Relient K fires up another red-hot batch of
punk-powered rock 'n' roll that makes their third release, Two Lefts
Don't Make a Right, But Three Do, simply explosive. Their riff-driven
new album exemplifies this band's continued growth as lyrical craftsmen
and pop hook dynamos all realized through songs as smart as they are
snappy. Their latest, which vocalist Matt Thiessen co-produced with
longtime collaborator Mark Townsend, perfectly captures the group's
signature hooks and harmonies without forgetting to slam it all together
with a burly dose of untamed punk attitude.
Two Lefts (for short) opens with "Chap Stick, Chapped
Lips, and Things Like Chemistry," an ear-addicting take on relationships
with a classic Relient K kick. The group's trademark wily wit and John
Waters-ish nostalgia rings most rowdy in songs like "Mood Rings" (a
sarcastic wish to know when girlfriends are thinking kiss or kill) and
"Hoopes I Did It Again" (which describes Canton as "90210 without the
Beverly Hills"). And showing revenge is best served loud and fast, "In
Love with the 80's" pays back those childhood poundings as Thiessen
mocks his older brothers' new wave rites of passage, such as wearing
pink cummerbunds to their proms and sporting the famed mustache-and-mullet.
When not jabbing at pop culture stereotypes, Relient K
also exhibits deft skill in capturing life's highs and lows in songs
that really hit home. Last summer, the group witnessed their music's
reach when tragedy stunned their hometown community as a local teenage
girl was kidnapped and later found murdered. Relient K happened to be
the girl's favorite band, so at her parents' request, the group flew
back home from tour to perform "For the Moment I Feel Faint" at her
memorial. Recalls Thiessen, "We got to meet her parents and really interact
with all her friends. It was incredible to see the impact that the music
With Two Lefts, serious songs like "Getting Into You"
stress the importance of setting one's priorities straight, while "I
Am Understood?" deals with feelings that no one understands, including
yourself. Likewise, "Falling Out" focuses on the aftermath of a bitter
failure, and "Over Thinking" tackles the torn emotions of concluding
ill-fated relationships. Clearly the impact of last summer's tragedy
further stirred Relient K's approach to offering hope within wellcrafted
Looking back, Relient K originally formed with the simple
desire to play shows making their live debut on New Year's Day 1998.
Even then, the group's humor invaded the band's very name, which they
christened after Hoopes' train-wreck heap of a car, a Plymouth Reliant
K. Thiessen laughs, "One night we stopped the car on the highway to
see how fast it could go from zero to sixty. It took over fifteen seconds!"
In 2000, Relient K dropped their self-titled Gotee Records
debut, which earned the group a Billboard Video Music Award nod. Their
2001 follow-up, The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek, proved to be the
group's breakthrough as it continues selling thousands of copies every
week while turning these young Buckeyes into a club headliner. In fact,
Relient K sold-out 25 mainstream clubs last fall on their first top-bill
tour. With Two Lefts promising even more success, Relient K is already
set to rubber the road again this spring on the national See Spot Rock
Tour, expecting to fill over 40 auditoriums in "A" markets across the
"We are just regular kids," confesses Thiessen about his
band. "I think we relate to our audience because we are our audience.
We like the same music that our fans do, songs that helps us have a
good time but that also make us think."
Without question, Relient K's latest is about to deliver
a lot more of these good times, and that's something to think about!