The last time MTV News spoke to Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy, he was dodging hurricanes and doling out half-baked Voltron metaphors to describe his band's new album.
Things were a little less hectic when we caught up with him backstage at last week's mtvU Woodie Awards in NYC, just hours before the Heroes walked away with the night's, uh, biggest honor: Woodie of the Year. He was appropriately loose and ready to chat, be it about fellow Woodie nominee Amy Winehouse ("You gotta take care of yourself, girl. We've been on the road for four and a half years, and we haven't let it get that out of control") or GCH's hotly anticipated follow-up to 2006's As Cruel as School Children.
And while he didn't mention any mecha-bots this time around, that doesn't mean he wasn't in a name-droppin' mood."We're doing a bunch of preproduction, and it's going real good thus far. I think people are going to be stoked by it. We just did a track down in Miami with Cool & Dre. Busta Rhymes is on it. It's going to surprise a lot of people," he said. "This is me reaching out right now, but we're hoping to get Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys on the record, Daryl Hall on the record. ... And we're looking forward to writing a couple of songs with Ne-Yo; we got to be good friends with him through the VMAs."
That's a whole lot of guest-star wattage. And when you couple that wish list with the fact that McCoy kept using phrases like "surprise a lot of people" to describe the record, you get the feeling that there's gonna be a whole lot that's different this time out. McCoy is the first to admit that might be true, but he's also quick to point out that for all the cameos on the new album, there's also gonna be lots more from the Heroes themselves. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
"It's just gonna be a real, real solid record. The demos we have now are just bananas," McCoy said. "[Guitarist] Dasashi [Lumumba-Kasongo] is just a monster on the new stuff. You're going to hear a lot more of him singing on this one and a lot more of his guitar skills that I don't think he really got to flex on the last record."
McCoy said that Gym Class hope to have the yet-untitled album in stores by the summer. Though that's still a ways off, he said the band has already begun giving friends sneak previews of some of the tracks. And so far the reactions could be summed up thusly:
"I think the song we did with Cool & Dre and Busta is going to surprise a lot of people. It surprised me," McCoy laughed. "We played it for management, and their jaws dropped, but in a good way."