As [artist id="2389485"]Taylor Swift[/artist]'s super successful Speak Now Tour makes its way across North America this summer, her "rock-and-dance-a-billy" opening act [artist id="2098139"]NeedToBreathe[/artist] took a moment out of their grueling schedule to tell MTV News all about life on the road with one of today's biggest stars.
"We've been a band for almost 11 years," lead singer Bear Rinehart said. "It's been little steps along the way, you know? Playing in our hometown for the first time at a club that we loved, and then getting signed by Atlantic Records, and then Taylor called and wanted us to tour with her 'cause she's a fan."
During the four-man band's first soundcheck of the tour, the guys were surprised to discover just how much of a NeedToBreathe fan Taylor is. "[It was] her and her family sitting out in the crowd, like, singing along to every word of the songs that we're doing in the soundcheck," drummer Joe Stillwell recalled. "It's a little surreal to kind of see that from somebody that you see on such a big scale all the time."
While South Carolina's NeedToBreathe have been on the music scene for a while now, the Speak Now tour has been an experience unlike any other for the group.
"We haven't played in venues this big, so that's been a little bit to get used to," Bear noted. "The first night you walk out there and there's 20,000 people, it's like, 'Whoa, this is pretty intense!' "
"Her fans, for the most part, are younger than our fanbase," said lead guitarist Bo Rinehart (Bear's brother).
"Some of these people, it's the first rock and roll show they've ever been to," Bear said with a laugh about Taylor's hard-core fans. "Sometimes we'll see the mom wearing a NeedToBreathe shirt and the kid wearing the Taylor Swift shirt!"
The band's fourth studio album, The Reckoning, hits stores in September.
Will you catch the Speak Now Tour? Tell us your thoughts on NeedToBreathe in the comments below!