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Fashion, music come together at All-American Rejects show
The All-American Rejects will perform from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Mall of Georgia. - photo by Dave Willis

The All-American Rejects rocked Madison Square Garden earlier this week, and on Sunday they will rock the Mall of Georgia.

The band, from Stillwater, Okla., has seen major success with its second album "Move Along," which was certified double platinum in 2005. Lately, the band has been recording and is preparing for a new CD release.

So fans heading down to Buford on Sunday will have a chance to hear AAR favorites and some new tunes.

"We are going to do a few acoustic songs and maybe a new song as well," said Nick Wheeler, lead guitarist and co-founder of AAR. "We have been working on a record for about a year and a half, and we have been recording for five or six months. And yeah, it’s just kind of putting ourselves back out there again."

The Simon dTour Live! includes a concert and a chance to experience some of the hottest brands through interactive games, contests, giveaways and prizes.

"They have games, contests; they do have a fashion show component," said Ashley Cameron, spokeswoman for Mall of Georgia, adding that the weekend’s events will take place in the Nordstrom court.

Cameron also said the concert will be during the second half of the event. Folks should park on the Nordstrom side of Woodward Crossing.

The first album from the band was self-titled "The All-American Rejects" before their popular "Move Along" CD.

The band’s first album produced the hit "Swing Swing;" their second album, "Move Along" had hits like "Move Along," "It Ends Tonight" and "Dirty Little Secret."

Wheeler said the new album, set to release at the end of the year, will be even better.

"There’s a lot of growing that is going to come through on this record, both emotionally and musically," he said. "A lot of the songs are a lot different from each other. It’s a little more eclectic; we definitely come through on all the songs."

The All-American Rejects have recorded most of the new album in Los Angeles and some preproduction in Atlanta. And this album will be no different than the previous recordings — Wheeler and lead singer and bassist Tyson Ritter is writing all the lyrics.

"From day one, back when we were a band in high school, it’s been me and him; it ain’t broke yet," Wheeler said.

Wheeler and bassist Tyson Ritter met in high school and formed The All-American Rejects and later added guitarist Mike Kennerty, 27, and Chris Gaylor, 29, on drums.

Nowadays, Wheeler has developed an obsession with guitars. His collection numbers close to 50.

"I actually recently had to create a spreadsheet of all of them with their serial numbers and their locations," he said. "Between my house, being on the road, being in studio, I don’t know where half of them are half the time."

Wheeler’s favorite guitar is the Gibson Firebird V. He was given the guitar when he recorded the video for "Swing Swing" in 2002. This began his enthusiasm for the Firebird.

"Growing up, my parents always made me earn the money to buy instruments," he said. "My first electric guitar I bought myself, my first set of drums, etc., so it’s kind of odd that my favorite guitar is one that Gibson gave me for free."

Wheeler first saw a Thunderbird model when Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue played a Gibson Thunderbird bass on stage.

" I picked it up because of Nikki Sixx, he plays a Thunderbird bass, which is a very similar body shape," Wheeler said. "It’s one of those guitars that is shaped in such a way, the weight of it is so top heavy, you have to stand a certain way to hold it.

"It’s just kind of become a part of me. ... If it’s not a Firebird, it feels so weird; now it’s just an extension of me."

Sixx was a big inspiration for Wheeler but he also has other guitar heros.

"Growing up it was definitely Phil Collen, not to be confused with the British drumming front man," he said. "That was the guitar player for Def Leppard, definitely an inspiration. Ritchie Sambora obviously and C.C. DeVille (of hair band Poison), you know I grew up listening to all my sister’s tapes. ... I love them all."

He had the chance last year to play on stage with guitar great Ritchie Sambora during a taping of MTV’s Unplugged with Bon Jovi.

"You have no idea how late I stayed up trying to write that and rehearse for it," Wheeler said. "That was stressful. ... I blacked out during it. I don’t know if I did it right or not. That was the most nervous I have probably ever been."

During the performance of Bon Jovi’s "It’s My Life," Wheeler had the chance to play a guitar solo sitting just inches from Sambora.

Wheeler and Ritter must have made a good impression during the performance because this week The All-American Rejects had the chance to open for Bon Jovi at Madison Square Garden in New York.

"I don’t know how I’m going to prepare for freaking Madison Square Garden," Wheeler said. "The rest of the shows are similar to what we have done before. We’ve been the opening band on an arena tour before, the shows were great for us. ... This is pretty much a lot of people who have never heard of us, all we can do is try to win."