Jun 14, 2010 Kris Allen takes fans to lunch before Nashville show
Kris Allen has just returned from taking a couple of fans to lunch.
Earlier in the day, Kris -- who play's Nashville's Cannery Ballroom tonight -- got off the bus in the club's parking lot. Not knowing the area and wanting something to eat, he asked two girls sitting on the steps of the venue where he should go.
"I guess they're not from Nashville, so they didn't know," he says. "Then I figured out that they were fans, and they said they were hungry, so I said, 'You guys can come eat with us.'" They wound up eating at a local flatbreads restaurant called Urban Flats.
At Monday night's show, more fans will get to share the Kris Allen experience, though it may not be as intimate a one as a quiet lunch. And before starting soundcheck, Kris took some questions -- several of them generated by his fans.
You're doing a nice blend of shows these days, opening for acts like Keith Urban, Barenaked Ladies and Maroon 5 and playing smaller headlining shows. Those each come with their advantages and their challenges. What do you get out of each type of show?
We've only done one of the opener shows so far – we did a Keith Urban show in Vegas. The cool thing about doing something like that is you get someone like Keith Urban. Obviously, he's a huge mega-star. He's going to pack out really big places, so you get to play with a huge crowd when you play before someone like. That's really awesome.
When you headline, it's a little more intimate, because you're not playing as big a venue. It's so much fun to get more interaction with crowds in those smaller venues. You get to play longer, which is always more fun. In those opener shows, it feels like you're just getting into it, then you're done. So being a headliner for the smaller shows has been a blast.
And it'll go that way throughout the summer? Because you're doing a date with The Fray on Friday.
Yeah, that's just a one-off thing. If we add some dates where we can headline some smaller stuff later on, in between the Keith Urban shows, the Barenaked Ladies shows. We'll see what happens.
When did you get into town?
Got here Sunday afternoon. It was our day off, so I slept till one in the afternoon. We walked down to the CMA Music Festival – we're pretty close to that – and hung out there for a little bit. It was pretty hot, so I actually just hung out in my hotel room last night. We do the show today, and we leave tonight.
When you say you went down to the CMA Music Festival, were you guided, or did you literally just walk down?
No, me and my wife, we walked down. We wanted to check some stuff. We were really hungry, and, apparently, that's the place to eat lunch. We didn't know how crazy it was. There were a bunch of people out there.
But it was cool. We were in this bar, and there were three bands playing at the same time in this one bar. We really liked it.
You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a guy by the cover songs he chooses. What do your covers on this tour say about you?
We've been doing some different ones. Some stuff from the show, obviously -- we do Heartless and Man in the Mirror. I don't think a lot of people know me for this song on the show, but we do Come Together.
We've thrown in a couple other ones. We've thrown in a Radiohead cover, Paranoid Android. It's kind of a funny one. I love the song, and I've loved it since I was a kid. I always loved the video when I was a kid; now I look at it, and it's a little weird.
Obviously, we don't want to rock it out like Radiohead does, so we do an acoustic cover of it. And, for some audiences, I think that they really like it. For some, they're a little weirded out. My fans, I don't think a lot of them know about Radiohead, especially back then. But some people come away from it -- they don't know even know whose song it is, they just know it's not mine -- and they're like, "That was really incredible."
But the reason we do it -- to be honest with you -- one reason is for a little bit of street cred. The other is just because it's a really cool song and we thought we could make it awesome.
We've also been doing an Alison Krauss cover, Maybe. We don't do it at every show, but we do it at some. Alison Krauss is awesome, so we thought that would be a weird and cool cover, as well. Obviously, Nashville is the mecca of country, so we figure we'll do it tonight.
Did I hear something about a banana suit and a monkey costume at a recent show?
That wasn't us. At the end of the show in Mobile, we asked the Green River Ordinance guys to come up on stage. I think we were ending the show with Come Together. I'm out on stage, and I turn around, and the drummer and the guitar player are in, respectively, monkey and banana suit. There was another guy. I don't even know what he was wearing. It was some kind of suit.
Some people leave their heart in San Francisco. You recently left part of your leg in Iowa City. How's it healing?
It's healing all right. I think, for every performer, it is their biggest fear, to, like, fall on stage. And I did it. I fell. I smacked my leg on a monitor.
I didn't even know it was a big deal until after the fact. About four songs after that, my leg was still hurting really bad. We finished the show, and I go to the bathroom to look at my leg, and there's blood running into my sock. I'm, like, "Seriously -- what did I do?"
It became a joke more than anything.
What are your most embarrassing onstage moments?
I feel like I fall almost every show. I don't know what it is, if I have bad balance. I close my eyes a lot when I sing, but I like to move still. So I think I fall almost every show.
I played a show with Lady Antebellum a while back. They asked me to do their encore with them -- they were doing Hey Jude. I, uh, left my zipper undone for that. TMZ caught that. That was ... awesome.
How does it feel when a video for something like that goes viral?
It shows people that we're just people. We're not any more special than anybody else. We mess up -- a lot. Just more people see it when we mess up. It's funny, because it's everyday stuff.
How did the new version of The Truth, with Pat Monahan of Train, happen?
When we decided we wanted to make The Truth the new single, the label said, "What would you think about Pat singing on this?" At first, it was a little weird, because it's a break-up song, and I didn't want it to seem like we were singing to each other. I definitely didn't want that.
So it was a little tough to get him on the song, but we figured it out. I never got to talk to him during the process, so that was a little weird, but I got to talk to him after the single was released. We did a show together, and I got to talk to him, and he was really stoked about it. He came and sang the song with me on stage, and people went berzerk over it.
What are you currently watching on the bus?
I can watch Step Brothers every day. I think that's one of the best movies of all time. But we watched Dragon, the Bruce Lee story, the other day. It was so good. I think I had seen it when I was a kid.
Kris also took several questions that fans suggested for him via Twitter.
How are you so awesome?
Uh ... Mom and Dad, I guess. They raised me right.
What do the bracelets on your left wrist represent?
CAPTIONBy Brian Mansfield They're all different. This [purple] one I got a while back. There was a girl named Mary Drake from back home who had a really bad accident. They were handing these out, and I said I'd wear it. It says, "Hope Believe Pray."
This [red] is one of those Silly Bandz. This one is a cross. It's from a family friend.
This [green one with images of Mary, the mother of Jesus] is something a fan gave me, probably a week ago. It looks very Catholic. I'm not Catholic, but I have no problem with Mary. I think she's a pretty incredible person.
This [grey] one is ... something. I think a fan sent this in the mail to me through the management company. It means sacred, or something.
And this [black one] is for the wife. It's just a ponytail holder. In case she needs one.
Are you still living in Arkansas, and will you settle there when the tour's done?
We never got rid of the apartment that we had. We're excited to have that. It's an awesome apartment in downtown Conway, and really, really cheap. It's just me and Katy, so we don't need much more. We just bought some land in Arkansas -- it's got a great view, and we're getting ready to build a house on it.
How often does Katy travel with you?
She has been traveling with me for the past four or five shows. She's only been on the road for this amount of time, but she's going to come out to Dallas in a week or so. We just drove into Little Rock and stayed there for a day, so we picked her up. We're going to drive through Little Rock again in two days, and we'll drop her off.
When will you shoot the video for The Truth?
I think the video's going to be filmed July 15, probably in L.A. I think we have the director: Marco Puig, the same guy that directed the first video is going to do the second, so we're pretty excited about that.
How has the last year of your life stacked up against what you imagined it would be like after you won American Idol?
The first four or five months -- maybe even six months -- after the show were really stressful. We were on tour, making the album, putting the single out, promoting the first single, just learning so much throughout that time. So it was pretty stressful.
But when we got on the road in December to do a bunch of radio shows -- we were out for, like, three weeks -- we got the band together, got out on the road with the guys, it just became, like, this is it. This is what I wanted to do, you know? I wanted to go around and play music for people and entertain them and let them have a good time. That's when it started clicking.
Have you started writing for the next album?
I have started writing -- definitely not in the studio or anything, because we're on the road. The plan is to start early. That way we don't have, like, four months to make the album, and I'm like, "Oh, let's write these songs and sing them in the same day." Hopefully, we can come in to the label with 30 or 40 songs and say, "Hey, what do you guys think of these?"
How many songs have you written since you finished the last album?
I'm not very good at finishing songs -- I have a lot of ideas. Probably in the realm of 50 ideas. Finished songs? Probably around 15. Or so. Maybe.
Do you have a favorite lyric from the album?
Probably some lyrics from Need to Know. Lyrically, I was going through some things at that time. There's a lot of stuff in the verses that have always stuck with me.
What song from the album is the most challenging for you to reproduce live, as a singer?
Not that it's super-high or anything like that, and this has always been funny to me, because it was the first single: Live Like We're Dying has always been one of the hardest ones to do. It's very wordy, obviously. It's not like we can't get the words in, but there's some overlapping, as well. You've got to breathe a lot in that song, and there's no time to breathe.
It's nicer, now that the crowd knows the song.
Do you know that you have lots of fans, despite what biased media critics -- I think that's supposed to mean me -- think?
It's always been funny to me: When the show was over, there was all this stuff about how Adam should have won and whatever. None of that ever bothered me at all. None of the stuff has ever bothered me, just because I've always my think. If it works, then it works. If it doesn't, okay. At least I'm doing my thing.
When the album came out, there was all this, "Who's going to do better?" And when the single came out, "Who's going to have the better single?" It was, like, oh, my gosh, stop it. Please. We're very different from each other.
So, yeah, I do know that I have a lot of fans. I think I'm one of those people that's very understated. Obviously. Just because of who I am. I'm not a very flashy person, at all. I'm a very normal person, I feel like. I think it's a little bit of an understand thing. But, yeah: We've had a lot of fans come up after the shows. It's been great, man. It really has.