Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nickelodeon boy-band Big Time Rush comes to Rosemont

A few months ago, Big Time Rush shared a stage with Justin Bieber in Mexico, performing for a sold-out arena of 70,000 screaming fans, mostly female.
The guys who make up Big Time Rush — the wholesome, adorable boy band launched from a Nickelodeon TV program of the same name — are starting to cross over from tween heartthrobs to celebrity pop stars, as their single “Music Sounds Better With U” gets airtime on Chicago's Top 40 radio stations and their new CD, “Elevate,” creeps up the list of iTunes' top pop albums.
“We never thought we'd have impact on the radio, because we're from a TV show,” says band member Kendall Schmidt, 21, “but this has been amazing.”
During a quick phone interview from the Staples Center in Los Angeles last week, wearing a Spiderman T-shirt given to him by a fan (once he said he liked Spidey, a wave of gifts followed), Schmidt talked about the wild ride he and fellow bandmates James Maslow, Carlos Pena and Logan Henderson have been on these past three years.
The show, which first aired in 2009 on Nickelodeon and now airs on Saturday nights, is about four guys from Minnesota who come to Hollywood to become singing stars. While none of them are actually from Minnesota, the singing-stars plot proved true in real life as well.
The hit TV show gave the four instant music careers and made them heartthrobs to the tween and teen crowd. Their 2010 album, “Big Time Rush,” was certified gold and followed by a sold-out, 30-city U.S. tour. A spokeswoman for Columbia Records said the band has sold more than 1 million albums worldwide and 3 million digital tracks. Their second CD, “Elevate,” was released in November.
Their concerts in Mexico with Bieber were a career highlight, Schmidt said. Already used to a high decibel level from screaming female fans, the noise at these shows — and the love being felt from the audience — was something Schmidt describes as “unreal.”
“For us, it was unbelievable,” he said.
Their lives have been a hamster-wheel schedule of concerts, TV specials and appearances. The band even performed an a cappella harmony of the national anthem during the Cowboys-Dolphins football game on Thanksgiving Day.
Their celebrity lifestyle began with their TV show, which showcases the foursome having comedic misadventures and usually ends with a clip of a song from their album. Some of the songs have featured rappers like Iyaz, Mann and Snoop Dogg.
Kendall — the lanky, Kansas-born blond who plays a character of the same name — says he's similar to the guy fans see on TV.
“I feel like I'm a lot like the character. Pretty laid back ... I'm a really nice guy and treat people with respect,” he said. “We wouldn't be where we are without the fans supporting us. We love them so much for supporting us and never giving it up.”
Big Time Rush has done several specials, including the upcoming “Big Time Movie,” which premieres Saturday, March 10.
In the movie, the band will cover five Beatles songs during a comedic spy plot, which one network executive described as “James Bond meets Austin Powers.”
“Who isn't a hard-core Beatles fan?” Schmidt said. “That's exactly why we're doing the show, to show the Beatles to another generation.”
If you weren't one of the lucky few to get tickets for the Rosemont show, at the newly renamed Akoo Theatre, you may be in luck. Schmidt said they're talking about doing another tour.
“This is something I want to do for the rest of my life,” Schmidt said.


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