A crowd of fans gathered around the Lincoln Hall venue in Lincoln Park on Monday, July 25 ready to welcome and see the night’s headliners.
The Chicago branch of the "Gym Class Heroes family," – a unit created by the band’s front man, Travie McCoy – was eager to greet its founders.
With last months’ release of "Stereo Hearts," the Gym Class Heroes are finally back on the road and have even stopped for a night show at the Windy City.
Since 2008, the alternative hip-hop band has been on a break, and has been spending the past couple of years recording tracks for their new album, "The Papercut Chronicles II," due out sometime this fall.
"It’s good to be back," says the band’s guitarist, Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo. "Don’t call it a comeback though."
Since the release of their debut album in 2005, the band has splashed onto the mainstream music scene and has not taken much time off. Finally, after its last album, "The Quilt," the band decided to take a momentary break to focus on themselves.
"Our success was zero to sixty in under three seconds," says bassist Eric Roberts. "We never really had time to think about our careers."
"We were in a van doing small club shows, then going immediately to giant arenas," he adds. "There were things that I definitely took for granted."
And the break was well deserved. At times, the band would perform upwards of 300 shows per year. Yet this break gave them the chance to be thankful for what they have, says Disashi.
"It’s given me an awesome broad perspective on all of this," he adds. "I appreciate it with a much fresher pair of eyes."
So all those rumors about the band breaking up can finally be put to rest.
"We brought video chat into the studio so kids could see what we’re doing and while we’re on video chat, I’d see rumors on Facebook that we broke up," says Disashi. "It’s just funny."
The band has been hard at work on their new album, rehearsing everywhere from abandoned churches and basements to professional music studios.
Their most recent appearance, though, was on the hit NBC reality competition, The Voice, where they performed "Stereo Hearts" with Maroon 5-frontman, Adam Levine.
"It was completely unplanned," said Disashi. "We had never rehearsed ‘Stereo Hearts’ together so we were in this rental space in Cali and we started playing the song and… Adam [Levine] just runs through the door like Clark Kent."
And how, they’re back on the festival circuit. Along with the Warped Tour, the guys are in the middle of a 17-show run.
"It’s great to get that intimacy back with our fans, and just let them know that we didn’t go anywhere," says Eric.
"It’s awesome to see that the kids miss us and love us and remember us and still want our album," adds Disashi.
And to show us that they really didn’t go anywhere, the band has been busy creating a new album that is two years in the making.
Right now, they are in the process of choosing songs for the album. It may prove hard to do, since the group created 50 new tracks that they will have to choose from.
"We have been working really hard on it," says Disashi. "It’s been almost two years."
And getting back on the road and performing nightly gives the band the opportunity to connect with the Gym Class Heroes family – the group of dedicated fans and supporters.
"[Touring] gives us a chance to earn every last fan," adds Disashi.
And one of their latest stops was the Windy City. As part of the Slurpee MixMaker tour, the band, along with We Are the In Crowd, performed in Lincoln Hall.
And one of their favorite parts of this city? For Eric, it’s Kuma’s Corner. The classic Chicago burger joint, which features burgers named after classic metal bands such as Led Zeppelin and Slayer.
For Disashi, it’s the deep-dish pizza that he pictures every time he thinks of Chicago. That, and Oprah.
And the Chicago nightlife scene is something that they also remember.
"A lot of the bars are in basements, which is so cool," says Eric. "That’s what I’m into and it seems like they’re all over Chicago."
After it’s brief stop in Chicago, the band is ready to get back on the festival circuit and return to performing.
"I’m ready to perform," says Eric. "Gym Class Heroes is not over."