Boys Like Girls has charted three Top 40 singles, become stars on MTV's “TRL,” and is touring large clubs with veteran pop-punk band Good Charlotte.
But that doesn't mean the band – which stops at Amos' Southend Sunday – is dealing with fame on a large scale.
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“We're (co-)headlining the tour and we're the guys that walk down the street outside the venue and people don't know who we are,” says lead guitarist Paul DiGiovanni, laughing.
Meanwhile, Good Charlotte's Benji and Joel Madden grab tabloid headlines and dodge paparazzi on the arms of Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie. And electro-rockers Metro Station, opening the show, carries its own Hollywood connection: Singer Trace Cyrus is Miley Cyrus' half-brother, and guitarist Mason Musso's younger brother Mitchell is her “Hannah Montana” co-star.
“Pretty much all the shows so far, I'm watching Good Charlotte play from backstage, and Nicole and Paris are sitting there, too. Sometimes Nicole brings the baby. The kids go crazy if they see her,” says DiGiovanni, 20. But, he adds, the Maddens haven't gone Hollywood. “They're the coolest guys ever. They're in the highest-profile relationships, but are still the most down-to-earth people.”
Boys Like Girls' self-titled debut album has spawned modest hits like “The Great Escape,” “Hero/Heroine,” and current single “Thunder” by connecting with teenagers through heart-on-sleeve lyrics and pop charm.
“(Singer/guitarist) Martin (Johnson) wrote all the lyrics on the album as a journal of his life in his later teen years,” DiGiovanni says. “I think that's something everyone can relate to – breaking up and leaving your town for the first time. I think that's why we have a lot of fans that relate to us.”
It's in striking contrast to the aggression-fueled new metal and rap-rock that ruled airwaves a decade ago.
Giovanni counts Arizona-based Jimmy Eat World's emo classic “Bleed American” as one of the first examples of a rock album that bucked the hardcore trend in favor of heartfelt pop songs.
That album came out in 2001, and served as an inspiration to Boys Like Girls after it formed in late 2005.
The band released its eponymous debut album in August 2006, but it was 2007 when it felt like it had officially earned a spot on the map.
“One of the most memorable things was last year when we performed ‘The Great Escape' live on ‘TRL,'” he says. “All of us in the band and everyone our age can remember when ‘TRL' was huge and we'd run home and watch it after school.”