02 Camera ShyListen to School Boy Humor’s song “Camera Shy But Still a Star.”
0806SchoolBoyHumorAudioListen as Tasha Biggers talks with School Boy Humor bassist Caleb Spillyards about how he interacts with fans on MySpace.
Simon dTour Live
What: Concerts, BMX bike demonstrations, games, giveaways and contests. School Boy Humor will perform near the end of the evening.
When: 1 to 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Mall of Georgia, 3333 Buford Drive, Buford
More info: 678-482-8788
Being the bass player for School Boy Humor has its advantages — the chance to travel the country and perform in front of gaggles of screaming fans, for one — but for Caleb Spillyards and his band mates, it wasn’t always an easy road.
In the band’s early years, Spillyards said, they were on their way to a tour stop in New York City when the 1985 church bus they were driving began to break down.
The glitch, which started out as a broken third gear and got worse from there, made the trip take six hours longer than usual and, when they finally got to Manhattan, left them stranded at a friend’s apartment for three weeks.
But Spillyards said it was all worth the success School Boy Humor is finding now, and the band likes to look back on those days.
“You remember the things that are just, like, ‘Remember that time we were stranded for three weeks with no money and our car broke down?’” Spillyards said. “As bad as that is, I’m glad it happened, because, you know, it’s fun. It’s fun to look back on that.”
A month after that difficult tour ended, Spillyards said the band signed with indie label Vagrant Records, later recording the group’s self-titled debut album, “School Boy Humor,” which came out in February.
The band will perform as part of Simon dTour Live, a concert event that also will include BMX bike shows, games and giveaways, slated for 1 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Mall of Georgia in Buford.
The band, which includes Spillyards, Greg Scherer and brothers Phil and Anthony Evans, started out playing small venues in their hometown of Little Rock, Ark.
Spillyards and Anthony Evans met through gymnastics, since both guys were gymnasts, and the brothers had already formed the group before Spillyards decided to join as their keyboard player.
The band’s bass player decided to go back to school, Spillyards said, so he made the move to bass and vocals.
“I usually take most of the verses, and Phil will usually sing the choruses and then Anthony actually sings a lot of, like, the really soft, like, bridges and acoustic parts,” Spillyards said.
He said the band’s first album has a pop-rock feel, with some pop-punk influence.
“We grew up listening to New Found Glory and Blink 182 and bands like that, so we were definitely that style for a long, long time,” Spillyards said. “In the past few years we’ve just kind of started to establish our sound and I think it’s going, definitely, more in the pop direction.”
Now the group’s hit, “Camera Shy But Still a Star,” has had more than 1.7 million plays on MySpace. But Spillyards said band members still try to respond personally to fans’ messages.
Fans will get the chance to meet the band after Friday’s concert, which will take place near the end of the event, and Spillyards said the tour is a perfect fit for teens.
“If you say, ‘Hey, can we go to the mall and watch this show?’ (parents) are like, ‘Of course you can go to the mall. You go to the mall every weekend anyway,’” Spillyards said.
He said the event will include BMX performances throughout the day, and also features something teens love: free stuff.
“There’s a lot of booths and stuff for, like, ABC Family and Coca-Cola and Samsung, and they’re all giving away free stuff and free drinks and stuff like that, so it’s really cool,” Spillyards said.