We the Kings aren't exactly an overnight success, but you can be forgiven for making that assumption.
The band formed in 2003, while its four members - childhood friends Travis Clark, Hunter Thomsen, Drew Thomsen and Danny Duncan - were still in high school in Bradenton, Fla.
Five years later, their song "Check Yes Juliet," which moved Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers to the halls of high school, broke onto the Billboard Hot 100 and the pop punk band was off and running. Today, We the Kings is putting the finishing touches on their third studio album and will be making a tour stop in Huntingdon for a concert at 7:30 p.m. April 1 in Juniata College's Kennedy Sports and Recreation Center.
The group We the Kings are (from left) drummer Danny Duncan, guitarist Hunter Thomsen, bassist Drew Thomson and lead singer Travis Clark.
"Our lives have been a roller coaster [since 'Check Yes Juliet']," Clark, the band's lead singer, said in a recent email interview from Bradenton, where the group is recording.
"It's crazy to see how much one song can change everything. I love being able to watch us grow from the little band in the garage to a headlining band playing for thousands and thousands of people all over the world."
In fact, We the Kings - the name is a reference to their junior high school mascot - just wrapped up their latest world tour with a long stop in Australia. The group has recently become a sensation Down Under, with "Check Yes Juliet" just reaching the Australian charts, four years after its release on the band's self-titled debut.
If you go
Who: We the Kings, with Black Violin
When: 7:30 p.m. April 1
Where: Kennedy Sports and Recreation Center, Juniata College, Huntingdon
Tickets: $20 for general admission and $15 for Juniata students
"Australia was incredible," Clark wrote. "Such an amazing place with amazing people - I can't wait to go back!"
Although Australians are just getting a taste for the group's breakthrough hit, We the Kings has proven they're no one-hit wonder. Their sophomore disc, 2009's "Smile Kid," charted two singles on the pop charts, with the song "We'll Be a Dream," featuring Disney Channel star Demi Lovato, peaking at No. 76 on the Hot 100.
The group sees the collaboration as one that opens them up more to the teen market.
"Definitely," Clark said. "And I also think it opened her up to an older audience that focuses more on music instead of TV."
He hopes that new audiences will embrace the band's as-yet-untitled third album, which will be released later this year.
"It's fast and lyrically a little different," Clark wrote. "I've had some crazy stuff happen to me within the past couple of years, so the material is slightly more diverse than our other two records. There's also a heartbreak song, which I've never really done before."
Clark is excited about the new record, obvious from his response when asked for his favorite tracks from the new disc.
"Every song has a certain place in my heart," he said. "But the ones that stand out are: 'Friday is Forever,' 'Party Fun Love and Radio,' 'Sleep With Me,' 'The View From Here,' 'Dance Girl Dance,' 'Say You Like Me' ... I just realized that I'm naming every song on the record. Haha!"
We the Kings is still a young band, with all members still in their mid-20s, so Clark says the band is looking to be a familiar face in music for years to come.
"Hopefully in 10 years we will be on our 10th world tour and finishing up our greatest hits record," he joked. "We are going to do this as long as people are there to support us, so for now it looks like it's going to be a very long and fun ride!"
The concert is just the latest instance of a national act visiting Juniata.
"I think the kids on campus are very excited," said John Wall, director of media relations at the school. "This is a student-run activity each year that they put together. We've had a wide variety of bands."
Wall noted that past concerts have included rapper Fabolous and singer Matt Nathanson.
"They're usually up and coming touring bands," Wall said. "In the '70s, we had Billy Joel, the Steve Miller Band ... it's either people who are breaking right now or have had a hit. That's even better because you can get them on their way up."
Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick is at 946-7466.