Hello Readers! I am writing about one of my favorite bands probably of all time. I’m pretty much in love with them for many reasons. The band is Gym Class Heroes and they really are my heroes!
Gym Class Heroes are a mashup of various genres out of upstate New York who are part of the Fueled by Raman record label. Formed in high school best friends Travie McCoy and Matt McGinley and at the time guitarist Milo Bonacci and bassist Ryan Geise formed the band in 1997 in Geneva, NY. McGinley and Geise played in an instrumental band at parties and one night Travie hopped on stage and started rhyming to it and GCH was born. The original group played during their college years at different college parties, clubs and festivals which led to bigger venues around the northeast including Warped Tour. During that time from 1998-2001 they had three albums out Hed Candy, Greasy Kid Stuff and …For The Kids.
Then in 2003 as they were working on their album The Papercut Chronicles it caught the attention of Fall Out Boy’s bassist Pete Wentz, who signed them to his record label Decaydance Records and the parent label Fueled by Raman. At this time Milo Bonacci left the band and was replaced with now guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo who was at Cornell University at the time. During Lumumba-Kasongo first day with the band they wrote “Cupid’s Chokehold” which became the album’s first single which was a cover of a Supertramp record. In February 2005, The Papercut Chronicles where released after Eric Roberts replaced Ryan Giese on bass and that year the band toured appearing at SXSW and Warped Tour as well as putting out the video for “Taxi Driver”.
In May of 2006 a Milwaukee radio station started playing “Cupid’s Chokehold” shortly before the release of the bands second album “As Cruel as School Children”. It grew like wildfire after that and although it was like a one time record it was the bands chance to make it big. It became the bands most successful single, peaking at number 4 on Billboard. On July 25, 2006 the band released “As Cruel as School Children” with guest vocals from Patrick Stump of FOB. It was a little left field for the band as they started to use more drum machines and synthesizers.
After headlining their own tour called the “Daryl Hall for President Tour ’07” the band headed back to the studio to write for their new record “The Quilt” which came out September 9, 2008. This album featured many collaborations with other artist including Daryl Hall from Hall & Oats, The-Dream, Estelle, and Busta Rhymes and also felt like their most urban album to date. Gym Class Heroes co-headlined the 2008 Warped Tour along with label mates Paramore. While on stage Travie was arrested due to hitting a man who called him a racial slur.
In 2010 the band took a little time to focus on solo and side projects. Travie McCoy put out a solo record Lazarus (which is also his middle name) with one of his biggest singles to date “Billionaire” with a then little known Bruno Mars. He also did some humanitarian work on behalf of HIV/AIDs in 2010 where he traveled to South Africa, the Philippines & India and wrote an inspiring song where the proceeds benefited the MTV Staying Alive Campaign. Disashi also put out a side-project band in 2008 which he focused on during the break and some of their songs even made their way to the GCH “The Quilt” album. Also Matt McGinley became the drummer of the rock group Kill the Frontman.
The Unbeaten Track- Travie’s Trips for HIV/AIDs Documentary:
*One At A Time*
Then in 2011 the band came back to put out one of their most successful albums yet “The Papercut Chronicles II”. The album came out on November 1, 2011 which they had released several singles prior to the release like their first single “Stereo Hearts” ft. Adam Levine of Maroon 5, “Life Goes On” ft. Oh Land and “Ass Back Home” ft. Neon Hitch. Gym Class Heroes performed “Stereo Hearts” with Adam Levine during the 2011 American Music Awards. Their second to last single from the album (and one of my favorites) was “The Fighter” ft. Ryan Tedder of One Republic. The last single was “Martyrial Girl$” which was released in the form of a video on the Fueled by Raman Youtube Channel on August 27, 2012.
After this album the band took another hiatus to focus on side and solo projects. Disashi recently put out a song with a new group he is sporting New School called “3 in the Morning”. Travie has also put out some singles in 2014 from a to be released solo record called “Rough Waters” ft. Jason Mraz & “Keep On Keepin On” ft. Brandon Urie of Panic at the Disco!.
Travie should be blessing us with his solo project soon and I hear they are working on some Gym Class Heroes stuff as well. Oh and of course Matt, Eric, and Disashi are busy too with fatherhood and that is a job in its self. So there you go that in a nutshell is Gym Class Heroes.
When I first herd of Gym Class Heroes it was on the radio like most people. “Cupids Chokehold” was playing and that got me intrigued. I was like who are these guys their sound is so fresh and original and different plus they’ve got that hip-hop rock thing going on (and Travie is pretty cute so that was a selling point). So I looked into them more and was really digging their style and their story. You might also only remember them from the public relationship then break up of Travie and Katy Perry before she got big. (Katy acted like a bitch about the whole thing just like all her relationship since probably why she can’t keep a man)
Travie who writes most of the songs for the band said that growing up in what we would consider the projects of upstate NY, he would hear a lot of different kinds of music. Everything from hip-hop to R&B, oldies and classic rock to reggae to Latin music. Then as Travie got older he started to rebel and like any good rebel he got into art and the alternative scene and even became a young tattoo artist for a while starting at age 14. Growing up Travie was not as it might seem now the popular kid and was actually over weight and heavily picked on. The name for Gym Class Heroes actually came out of that as Matt McGinley was picked on a lot during gym class so Travie would defend him and that started their friend ship. Being overweight in high school and not having many friends drove Travie to start drug abuse and it took him over 10 years to get clean and sober with many relapses in between. It also though helped Travie creatively and helped the band become who they are today.
Oh and if you were wondering Travie is part Haitian on his dad’s side and Irish/Native American on his mom’s side. (Or a mutt like he likes to call himself) Disashi on his dad’s side is from the Congo and on his mom’s side is from the Ivory Coast. (And everyone in his family has really dope names like his) Then you have Matt and Eric who are white. Other fun facts about the band: Travie has tattoos of Hall & Oats on his hands, Eric can cook his ass off and is a grill master and Disashi besides being a dope guitar player (on that Jimi status) is a really awesome dancer.
Vh1 Behind the Music GCH:
Now why do I think Gym Class Heroes is incredible? For one Gym Class is able to bring together all the music I love in one very cool eclectic package. They’re the kind of group where it can be hard to place them in the genera spectrum but that for me is a good thing as they will never get boring. It also is music with a message and is very empowering music for the underdogs to stand up and fight.
Coming from where Travie and Matt did they understand what some kids are going through and they write songs for them to never give up. They give you hope in the dark times and give you something to look up too. It’s also just fun good sounding music and sometimes that’s all you need.
Tracks I Like: (Stars next to them mean their my favorites)
…For the Kids:
*Oh My God*
*Food for Mic Skills*
*Crab Apple Kids* (which used to be what GCH called their fandom)
Make Out Club
*Face in the Hall*
*Graduation Day* (Matt getting down on drums)
*Wejusfreestylin’ Pt. 2*
*Kid Nothing Boy vs. Echo Factor*
As Cruel As School Children:
*The Queen & I*
*Shoot Down the Stars*
*New Friend Request*
*Sloppy Love Jingle Pt. 1, 2 & 3*
Viva La White Girls
*It’s Ok But Just This Once*
*Boys in the Band Interlude*
On My Own Time [Write On!]
*Guilty as Charged ft. Estelle*
*Drunk Txt Romeo*
*Peace Sign/Index Down ft. Busta Rhymes*
Like Father, Like Son [Papa’s Song]
*Blinded by the Sun (ft. Patrick Stump of FOB on Vocals)*
*Catch Me if You Can (ft. Patrick Stump of FOB on Vocals)*
*Live A Little (A Disashi Song)*
*Live Forever [Fly With Me] ft. Daryl Hall*
*Kissin-Ears ft. The-Dream*
The Papercut Chronicles II:
Life Goes On ft. Oh Land
*Stereo Hearts ft. Adam Levin*
*Solo Discotheque [Whiskey Bitness]*
*Lazarus, Ze Gitan*
*The Fighter ft. Ryan Tedder*
*Kid Nothing And The Never-Ending Naked Nightmare*
There you have it Gym Class Heroes!
Till Next Time Crab Apple Kids “Jerrie’s!”