It's not often you see a group of guys start a band in middle school and then go on to be a big name in the pop-rock music scene, but We the Kings managed to stick together, remain close friends and succeed.
The band has been together for almost 10 years, and the melodic emo-pop band from Florida plans to stop in Savannah on their way home to the sunshine state as they wrap up their tour, The Art of Tour.
The group will perform at Armstrong's Fine Arts Center on April 3. Doors open at 7 p.m. with opening act Darry Miller and the Veil.
While the band seems to be going strong now with the success of the release of their fourth album, "Somewhere, Somehow," and their inclusion in Vans Warped Tour 2014, bassist Charles Trippy admits it's been a long road of writing songs and non-stop touring to get to this point.
In 2007, We the Kings released their self-titled debut album, which included the platinum single "Check Yes Juliet." The band's second album, "Smile Kid," came out in 2009 and included the Top 40 singles "We'll Be a Dream" with Demi Lovato and "Heaven Can Wait."
The band heated up their popularity with their third album in 2001, "Sunshine State of Mind," featuring the single "Say You Like Me," which won an MTV Music Award for Most Innovative Video of the Year.
The band dropped their label and released "Somewhere, Somehow" in 2013 through an Indiegogo campaign. And Trippy says dropping the label paid off.
"... In this era, you don't have to have a label," Trippy says.
"We used Indiegogo and left it up to the fans to finance. We had $150,000 in less than a month.
"It was enough money to finance a couple of tours, as well as an album, so the success of this album is a combination of us and people who helped contribute.
"Because of the Internet and the push on YouTube, we hit the top 44 on Billboard. We didn't do that with a label.
"On iTunes, we hit No. 1 and knocked out BeyoncÃ© for like a day," he laughs. "It's kind of crazy that it worked better than with a label."
And it wasn't just the label that was different this time around. The band decided to release singles for the new album on a monthly basis rather than making fans wait for the entire album.
"Originally, the idea was to release a single each month, but we got really antsy, so we put out album," Trippy explains. "We are all ADD and it was hard to stick to that.
"We are also a live show band and we like to hear everyone sing our songs."
Trippy says after the release, the personal anti-bullying tune "Just Keep Breathing" hit 70 on the Top 100.
"Travis wrote that song. We were all dorks as kids ... so we understood bullying and there are a lot more kids that have to deal with that. Travis wrote about being bullied for his red hair and it's a topic that really touches a lot of people."
And it's not just the songs that touch fans. The band is known for fun and upbeat performances.
"I would describe our sound ... as rock with a little bit of pop," Trippy says. "It's kind of hard to describe. The easiest way for people to understand is to come to a show. I like to think we put on a way awesome show and our live show is totally real and dynamic. We are live show band."
The band plans to capture their live show vibe with a new idea for a video.
Trippy, who is known for his YouTube videos, has earned a close relationship with YouTube and Google over the years, and he says he was able to get the elusive new Google Glass. He says each band member plans to take turns wearing the glasses on stage to record a first-person music video.
"We thought it was a cool concept that people don't come up with or be fortunate enough to have access to the glasses," he says. "It's a cool novelty for a music video and we try to do one video for each tour. We plan to use this to make 'Queen of Hearts,' the first song of the set."
While the guys probably won't be sporting the glasses for their Savannah show, they do plan to bring their full program.
"We've been playing eight of the new songs," Trippy says. "That's most we have ever done for an album release.
"With the first album, we only played 20-minute sets. So for this show, we'll play older songs and eight of the newer ones. ... The set lasts about an hour and 45 minutes."
So what's next for the band after they leave Savannah?
Trippy says the band just announced shows in Malaysia, U.K., Singapore, Japan and possibly Australia.
"Then we come home and have a week off and then hit the road for the Warped Tour," Trippy says.
"We love to tour and play live shows, so naturally our answer is always yes when asked (to tour).
"We'll just keep on writing and touring," he adds. "Even on tour, we keep writing. It's a never-ending process."