The Rocket Summer
Bryce The Rocket Summer.jpg
Background information
OriginDallas–Fort Worth, Texas, United States
GenresAlternative rock, indie rock, pop rock, power pop, emo pop[1]
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano, bass guitar, drums, percussion
Years active1999 –present
LabelsThe Militia Group, Island Records, Aviate Records
Websitewww.therocketsummer.com
MembersBryce Avary

The Rocket Summer is the solo-project of Bryce Avary, a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and record producer based in Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas. He writes and produces every song on his records, and plays every instrument on them.

He has released seven studio albums and several EPs. His fifth release in 2012, Life Will Write the Words, was 58 on The Billboard 200 and 12 on Billboard Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums as well as 12 on Top Independent Albums.[2] His fourth release, Of Men and Angels, held the No. 1 Top Album spot on iTunes upon its release in 2010.[3] AP Magazine called him one of "100 bands you need to know."[4]

Early life and musical interest

Avary was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He first became interested in music around the age of 12 when his father bought him his first guitar which was an imitation brand from a pawn shop for 50 dollars.[5][6] Avary subsequently began teaching himself other instruments including the drums and piano.[5]

Avary joined his first band at the age of 14.[7] He later joined a high school "indie rock punk" band at Grapevine High School where he was also a photographer of the school's yearbook,[7] inspired by Pavement, Archers of Loaf and Weezer, called Charlie 27.[7] After the band broke up, Avary began performing local acoustic shows as a teenager in Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton.[7]

Music career

2000–2003: Self-titled EP

In 2000, Avary self-released his first EP at the age of 17.[8] The EP included songs he had written between the ages 14 to 16.[8] He distributed the EP under the name The Rocket Summer, at the suggestion of a friend, to local stores to be sold on consignment; the name was inspired by Ray Bradbury's short story collection The Martian Chronicles, which his friend was reading at the time.[5] Avary described the project as initially "just a really fun experiment."[5] After the EP's original 1000 copies sold out, it went out of print until it was later re-released as The Early Years EP under The Militia Group in November 2006.[8][9]

His music appeared on The Adventure Club segment of the KDGE radio station, and quickly became the most requested local band on the program that year.[7]

2003–2005: Calendar Days and Hello, Good Friend

Avary recorded, produced, and released his debut album, Calendar Days, in 2003.[10] The album was recorded in Eudora, Kansas.[11]

In November 2004, Avary began working on his second album, Hello, Good Friend.[12] The album peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.[13] To promote the album, The Rocket Summer toured the US and Japan.

2005–2008: The Early Years EP and Do You Feel

In November 2006, The Militia Group re-released The Rocket Summer's self-released 1999 EP as The Early Years EP,[8] and Avary signed with major record label Island Def Jam Records. Do You Feel was released in July 2007;[14] the album reached No. 44 on the Billboard 200 and No. 16 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums charts.[15]

The album's lead single "So Much Love", was warmly received by critics for its uniqueness and use of horn section.[16] The "So Much Love" music video was directed by MTV Music Video Award-winning director Shane Drake. The Rocket Summer released the second single "Do You Feel" and its music video on September 5, 2008. The video was co-directed and funded by Bryce Avary with director Nate Weaver.[17] The video featured stories of people with issues such as homelessness, addiction, disease and abuse. The video also featured cameos from artists Andrew McMahon of Jack's Mannequin, Matt Thiessen of Relient K, Josh Farro and Jeremy Davis of Paramore, Mike Herrera of MxPx, and Forrest Kline of Hellogoodbye and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low.[17]

Avary was featured on the cover of Alternative Press Magazine while co-headlining the AP Tour.

2008–2011: You Gotta Believe EP, Of Men and Angels and Bryce Avary, His Instruments and Your Voices

Avary recorded his fourth studio album, Of Men and Angels at Ocean Studios in Burbank, CA, from February to April 2009.[18][19] Mixed with Neal Avron and engineered / co-produced with CJ Eiriksson,[19][20] Avary described the album as "the most substance-filled Rocket Summer album to date."[19][21] To hold fans over, The Rocket Summer released a digital 4-track EP entitled You Gotta Believe in October 2009.[22] The EP featured three tracks off the LP Of Men and Angels and one bonus track. The EP debuted at No. 23 on the Billboard charts for Digital Albums.[23] The Rocket Summer's "You Gotta Believe" music video premiered on AOL in December 2009, and featured clips of fans singing and playing along to the track.[24] The video was directed by award-winning director Randy Scott Slavin.[20]

On February 23, 2010, The Rocket Summer released his fourth studio album, 'Of Men and Angels on Island Def Jam.[18] The album debuted at No. 1 on iTunes, surpassing The Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. which had previously held the No. 1 spot for Top Album.[3][25] To promote the new album, Avary performed the album's lead single "Walls" on KDFW's Good Day Dallas and KTBC's Good Day Austin,[26] and held a sold-out hometown album release party at the Granada Theatre in Dallas, TX.[27] The Rocket Summer toured with OneRepublic, Goo Goo Dolls and the 16th annual Vans Warped Tour in promotion of the record.[27] In March 2010, TRS was named one of Shred News's "10 Artists to Watch in 2010."[28] On October 19, 2010, The Rocket Summer released a five-song digital-only EP, entitled Of Men and Angels: B-Sides.[29] Avary co-wrote the song "Stomping The Roses" for American Idol alum, David Archuleta which appeared on his second full-length album, The Other Side Of Down debuted in October 2010.[30] On May 24, 2011, Avary released an acoustic live album entitled Bryce Avary, His Instruments and Your Voices for free via The Rocket Summer's website.

2011–2014: Life Will Write the Words and Christmas Madness EP

On June 5, 2012, The Rocket Summer released their fifth full-length studio album, Life Will Write the Words on their own record label Aviate Records. It debuted 58 on The Billboard 200 and 12 on The Billboard Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums and 12 on the Top Independent Albums charts. This record was well received by fans who enjoyed a full Rocket Summer US Tour.[2] Soon after releasing the album, the music video "200,000" debuted on Alternative Press.[31]

The Rocket Summer digitally released 'Christmas Madness EP' on Aviate Records December 3, 2013 debuting 45 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums and performed two sold-out shows in Anaheim and Dallas to support this digital release.

2015–2018: Zoetic, Do You Feel 10 Year Anniversary, Gone Too Long single

Avary's sixth full-length album Zoetic released on February 26, 2016. The album has received the most favorable reviews to date. Alternative Press magazine gave the album 4.5 of 5 stars stating "the album proves true to its namesake by roaring to life with unyielding passion, authenticity and a whole lot of guitars." A music video was shot for the first single "Same Air" which features New Girl actress, Hannah Simone. New Noise Magazine writes "This is undoubtedly The Rocket Summer's best release, and it's an album that no one expected." HM Magazine states "The intimacy of his performances is impossible to shake, and with a new record that will no doubt be labeled his boldest, Zoetic's bravery will go down in history." Paste Magazine wrote "The Rocket Summer's new album Zoetic proves Bryce a master at creating catchy, upbeat anthems."

The Rocket Summer performed a DJ set at Emo Nite in Los Angeles in December 2016.[32]

In the summer of 2017, The Rocket Summer celebrated the 10 Year Anniversary of the album, Do You Feel which included a first time release of the album on vinyl and a headlining tour of North America and the UK. The vinyl album debuted #20 on the Billboard Vinyl Album Charts upon its release in June.[33]

On July 7, Avary released a new song titled, Gone Too Long. Billboard writes "the new track proves he is just as much of a force as ever. With a guitar-driven melody and impassioned lyrics, the one-man band is in top form in a song that will easily fit with the alt-pop tendencies of staples like "So Much Love" and "You Gotta Believe."[34] The track was released digitally and on a limited edition cassette tape which included an acoustic version of FL, CA, and was later included on Bee Sides: Select Rarities 2015-2020.

In the summer of 2018, The Rocket Summer went on an 26 city acoustic tour, supporting Sleeping with Sirens.[35] Avary co-wrote, co-produced, and performed with Sleeping with Sirens on a single called "Another Day", released on July 6, 2018.[36]

2019 - Current: Sweet Shivers, B.A.treon Fun Club, Bee Sides: Select Rarities 2015-2020

Sweet Shivers, the seventh studio album by The Rocket Summer, was released on August 2, 2019. The album release was followed by "The Rocket Summer US Tour 2019", beginning on September 10, 2019 and ending on October 19, 2019. Supporting acts included Royal Teeth, Mike Mains and The Branches, and Katelyn Tarver.[37] The first single from the album, "Shatter Us", was released on May 24, 2019. Billboard Magazine stated "Sweet Shivers really is just the beginning."[38]

On September 4, 2019, Avary launched the B.A.treon Fun Club through Patreon.[39] Initial monthly perks for Fun Club subscribers included 2 unreleased tracks, "q & a hangs", occasional dissection of songs and mixes, merch and tour discounts, livestream music listening parties, and online livestream mini shows from Bryce's studio. Different perks and subscription tiers were introduced on July 13, 2020.[40]

On October 27, 2020, Avary announced a new album, Bee Sides: Select Rarities 2015-2020, to be released on November 13, 2020, containing 14 tracks. 11 of the 14 tracks had been previously released in the Fun Club. The announcement included a vinyl pre-order.[41]

Musical style and influence

Often labeled as indie rock power pop[10][42] with emphasis on Avary's distinctive vocals and instrumental diversity.[18]

Substream Magazine states, "The newest album Zoetic embraces electronic elements without ignoring Avary's infallible knack for hooks—think of it as if Trent Reznor, Mutemath and Paper Route formed a supergroup in secret."[43]

Rick Anderson of Allmusic described his music as a range of "headlong blasts of pure power pop cheer" to "sonata form" and ballads—all of which Anderson categorized as "infectiously joyful."[10] The Rocket Summer's music is marked by his use of guitar, piano, bass, percussion, and melodic hooks.[6]

Touring

The Rocket Summer has toured the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, France and Japan, and has played at festivals such as Glastonbury Festival, Soundwave Festival, T in the Park, Summer Sonic Festival, Oxegen Festival, Austin City Limits, SXSW, The Bamboozle, Slam Dunk Festival and Vans Warped Tour.

Over the years, The Rocket Summer has toured with many bands, among them OneRepublic, Paramore, The Format, Third Eye Blind, Switchfoot, Kevin Devine, and The Goo Goo Dolls.

In popular culture

In the September 1, 2008 issue, Time magazine illustrated President Barack Obama resembling Avary on the cover of Do You Feel with the words, “Do You Feel” written on the palm of his hand.[44]

Several well known artists have cited Avary's music as an influence. English singer, songwriter and actor Harry Styles explained in an interview that the first concert he ever attended was The Rocket Summer in Manchester, England.[45]

Philanthropy

Avary attended and performed at the Dallas Rescue for the Invisible Children campaign in Dallas, TX, on April 25, 2009.[46][47] On June 23, 2009, Avary played at the closing ceremony for the Invisible Children rally, "How It Ends,"[48] which took place on the White House Ellipse Lawn in Washington D.C.[49] He also played the Heavy and Light Tour 2010, an annual acoustic tour supporting To Write Love on Her Arms.

Bryce recorded a cover of "Maps" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs for the charity organization Hello Somebody's first album Hello Somebody, Vol. 1. Their mission is to provide sustainable projects and restorative care to improve the lives of children in need.[50]

Personal life

As a child, Avary appeared as a contestant on the Nickelodeon game show Double Dare after he and his family successfully auditioned while on a family vacation at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.[51]

Avary attended Grapevine High School where he helped form a dodgeball team named The Bombardment Society, inspired by Wes Anderson's film Rushmore.[7][52] The team became the high school's largest organization at the time of his attendance.[51] Prior to launching his music career as The Rocket Summer, Avary worked as a Starbucks barista — an experience that inspired him to write the song "This is Me" off of his album Calendar Days.[51] On January 7, 2005, Avary married his long-time girlfriend, Tara.[53]

Discography

Main article: The Rocket Summer discography

Studio albums

References

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