"We're all big fans of the High Life," clarifies guitarist/vocalist JoJo Longbottom. "Most of the earnings from the tour are going to be spent on High Life."
Good thing a sixer doesn't cost too much bank, because this tour is a short one, lasting just under two weeks. It's the group's first, but the four minors are aiming their sights high, playing a pair of gigs in New York before wrapping things up with a homecoming show at The Hurricane. Podstar tours with the similarly styled power-pop three-piece The Touchdowns, which adds only one extra body to the van; Podstar's Longbottom and bass player/vocalist Cameron Hawk serve double duty.
Before hitting the road, Podstar spent a few days at Red House Recording Studios, putting the finishing touches on its as-yet-untitled sophomore disc. Like 1999's self-titled debut, this one will be released on Noisome Records, with Ed Rose again handling production duties.
"It's been an awesome experience," Hawk gushes. "Ed saw that our new material showed that our songwriting, as well as our ability as musicians, has grown since the last record and has made sure his production reflects this."
Live renditions of the unreleased songs have backed up Rose's words, revealing sharper hooks and stronger melodies. In addition to showcasing the band members' increasingly robust musical chops, Podstar's new work hints at the maturing process they have undergone since the release of their first album. When Podstar came out, the guys were still living in Manhattan, Kansas, contending with the daily grind of high-school life. Still, although its more recent work might show marked improvement, the group has few regrets about its initial effort.
"I wouldn't change the record in any way," Longbottom declares. "I'm happy with everything that happened, and it was that time in our lives when we wrote the songs, so that's the way it should be."
Since then, the members have relocated from where the Wildcats roam to Jayhawk country, and all save Longbottom just finished their freshman year at the University of Kansas. Guitarist/vocalist Aaron Swenson and drummer J.P. Redmon even took up residence in Hashinger Hall, the arts dorm in which seemingly everyone is in a band.
Some things never change, however, and even though Podstar might be older and wiser, the band's members still have the same things on their minds, which are pretty much what just about every guy has on the brain. "The songs for this record continue with the same ideas as the ones on the last record," Hawk confides. "Love, lost love, rock and roll, maybe the occasional hate song. The only difference now is we have a more mature outlook on the subjects."
Mature or not, Podstar isn't above settling its scores with its songs. "There's a girl that pretty much screwed everybody in the band over," Longbottom says. "We don't like her too much, so she got a hate song." Podstar also assails more general targets, such as the "people who you can't understand why they're such pricks."
As many a band can attest, there are plenty of people meeting that description to be met on tour. Nonetheless, Podstar's already planning tour number two, which is tentatively set for September when the record is released. "We're looking to tour a lot," Longbottom says, emphasizing "a lot" as if to let the good people at Miller know that it's not too late to attach a sponsorship flag to this rising 'star.