Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy probably didn't want to make his debut on MTVNews.com talking about the day he almost died.
But less than a week after his band — which also includes guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo, bassist Eric Roberts and drummer Matt McGinley — was involved in a major van accident in New Mexico, McCoy found himself reliving those few minutes when "everything slowed down."
"We were driving through New Mexico and I was asleep, and our merch guy was going 80, which is a no-no in a 15-passenger van and a double-axle trailer," McCoy said. "And he dozed off, and the next thing you know, we're flipped and we were on our side, flying down the highway. My whole left side is hamburger meat right now. It's disgusting. Seth, our tour manager, had his feet pinned under the van, and he fractured them. But we pretty much got out unscratched; it coulda been much worse. The EMTs showed up, and they were like, 'How are you guys alive?' "
And they were lucky to be: McCoy fell through a smashed window and was dragged along the shoulder of the road. Lumumba-Kasongo had another window explode inches from his face. Roberts clung for dear life to a bench, dodging debris and band equipment. Basically, it was the most harrowing thing any of them had ever been through.
"It's one of those things that happened so fast but so slow at the same time. Everything slows down and you start seeing swings and candy and all these things from your childhood," he continued. "But we walked away from it. And things like that usually destroy a band, but this made us stronger. We were in Los Angeles the next day, getting back to work. We're built for it. Minor setbacks like crazy car accidents are nothing."
It's an attitude that'll no doubt serve Gym Class Heroes well over the next few months. With their new album, As Cruel as School Children, hitting stores July 25 — on Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz's Decaydance Records — plus a slot on this summer's Warped Tour (see "Warped Tour Kicking Off A Day Early — Dates And Venues Revealed"), the band is sure to be spending a whole lot of time on the road.
And thanks to a brand-spankin' new tour bus, McCoy is looking forward to getting out there and playing shows. He's really excited for fans to hear the new stuff — they just shot a video for the first single off School Children, "The Queen and I," in Los Angeles — but he's still a little gun-shy about the whole thing.
"I got into a car the other day, and I'll tell you what: Rumble strips have never frightened me so much in my entire life," he said. "We're all pretty shaken up about it, but instead of dwelling on it, we're gonna get over it and keep doing what we do. I just can't see myself sleeping in a van for a while, man. It definitely put things into perspective. I've smiled so much lately that my face hurts. We're really lucky."