Boys Like Girls Like Japanese Fans — But This Weekend, It's All About The VMAs

Boston band is set to perform as part of the Virtual VMA Pepsi Sky Villa Suite on Saturday.

It's been one heck of a year for Boys Like Girls.

The emotive Boston four-piece's eponymous debut landed in stores little more than a year ago, but things really started picking up steam in early 2007. The Boys hit the road with Cobra Starship and Cartel for a two-month trek, after which they stopped by "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and performed the disc's second single, "The Great Escape."

But the icing on the proverbial cake came for the band on July 31, when "The Great Escape" reached the #1 spot on MTV's "Total Request Live" countdown. To date, Boys Like Girls has scanned more than 200,000 copies, and the band attributes much of its recent success to touring.

"We've been nonstop on the road for the last year and a half, two years — that has helped," frontman Martin Johnson explained. "I've slept in my own bed probably three or four nights in the last year and a half. We're working hard because we want to make it happen real bad, and we're doing everything in our power to get our music to as many people as possible. You have to play in front of kids to make that connection."

So, why are Boys Like Girls in Vegas? Well, they will be performing in the tepid Las Vegas heat at 7 p.m. on Saturday, just outside the Palms Resort Casino's babe-filled pool, as part of the Virtual VMA Pepsi Sky Villa Suite (see "Vegas, George Clooney-Style: Inside The Palms' Fantasy Suites"). Plus the Boys are big Vegas fans. (Feast your eyes on photos of Boys Like Girls, Common, Chris Brown, Eve and lots more stars in Las Vegas.)

"In the last year, we've been here four or five times, and we always lose our money, but we love coming here — it's fun, and the excitement's crazy," Johnson said. "It's just fun to gamble. We all just turned 21, so we get out here, and it's like, 'Ahhh — time to gamble.' "

The band spent this summer traveling the U.S. on the Warped Tour. Now, fresh from a string of Japanese dates (and suffering from extreme jetlag here in Vegas), Boys Like Girls are about to embark on their first-ever headlining run. The band's Tourzilla launches September 29 in Worcester, Massachusetts, and hits 48 North American cities before winding down November 25 in Philadelphia.

But while Boys Like Girls' upcoming tour is U.S.-centric, the band has certainly trotted elsewhere across the globe. Johnson recalled performing for their Japanese fans — he called it a most unusual experience.

"They're crazy over there — the fans are mental," he said. "When you're at the show, the fans go super-, super-crazy — when you're playing. When you're done playing your song ... silence. It's bizarre."

Johnson said Boys Like Girls hope to continue touring in 2008 "because we want to be out there until we feel like everybody who could possibly hear this record hears it." But playing the same set has been wearing them down, so they've been fleshing out material for their sophomore LP.

"We've been writing on the bus and getting ideas together," Johnson said, adding that the band has no definitive plans to hit the studio yet and no idea when it'll be ready to release album numero dos. "We're always writing, and we always have something up our sleeves."

First, though, the band plans to shoot a video for "Hero/Heroine," which Johnson said will be much darker in comparison to the clip for "The Great Escape." The rockers have scheduled the shoot for two weeks from now in their Boston hometown, and while Johnson wasn't too forthcoming with details about the video's premise, he did say there will be loads of performance footage.

"We're super-stoked for everyone to see it," he said.

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