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Q&A With Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes

He’s Got the Airwaves in a Chokehold

Travis McCoy is tattooed and pierced, and his band Gym Class Heroes has the hottest single of the moment -- “Cupid’s Chokehold” a bouncy love song about the splendors and pitfalls of relationships. Gym Class Heroes perform at a sold out show at The Fillmore on March 27. McCoy spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from a tour date in Detroit.

SF Station (SFS): “Cupids Chokehold” is on all the big, rap/R&B radio stations in the Bay Area, did you ever think you would see Gym Call Heroes on playlists with Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne?

Travis McCoy (TM): It’s kind of a trip. The song is on pop and alternative stations, too. The weirdest thing is we recorded that song almost three years ago. It shows how long it takes for the world to pick up on something that is a little different.

SFS: Do you think it’s going blow up like Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”?

TM: I don’t think so. I think people will get over it pretty soon, hopefully. It’s obviously appealing to a lot of people, but I don’t think it will go as far as “Crazy” did. But, you never know. With “Crazy” it got to the point where if I heard the song my eyeballs would start twitching. I don’t want that to ever happen with “Cupid’s Chokehold.”

SFS: Does “Cupid’s Chokehold” ever get stuck in your head?

TM: I find myself after shows humming it and I tell myself, “That’s a faux pas. You are not supposed to do that shit.” But, I can’t help it.

SFS: It’s been said that Gym Class Heroes is too rock for hip hop and too hip hop for rock. Do you think that is playing in your favor now?

TM: I think it has always helped us. When we were coming up, it was fun because we could play shows with anybody -- from death metal bands to hippy jam bands. We kind of made our niche, which is cool in that respect.

SFS: It must have also created some interesting situations. Do you have any weird stories from past performances?

TM: I could write a book. One time, we played a show with Fall Out Boy in the UK and there were these two kids heckling us -- We’ve had to deal with that shit forever. I let it go for the whole show, but at the end of the show I just bugged out and pointed them out.

They put a spotlight on them and the crowd kind of split in front of them. There was a line for them to walk down and tell me how they felt to my face, but they stayed back and kept talking shit. After the show, I walked through the crowd of 2,000 kids and found these guys. They were shocked out of theirs minds. I went like I was going to hit one, and then I grabbed him and kissed him on his cheek. The crowd went ape shit.

I was so red with anger and it could have turned really ugly, but I just made the best of it. It was a really funny situation.

SFS: Your song “New Friend Request” is about hooking up on Myspace. Have you ever made a love connection on that website?

TM: For sure. Who hasn’t? It’s so easy to get on there and scope out who you want to get with and send them a message. You could do it 50 times in one day and there will be at least five girls that will get back to you. But, it gets to a point where it’s kind of bogus. You spend all your time at a keyboard, when you could just walk up to a girl that’s dope and tell here you like her. After you do that once or twice, it’s a lot more fun.

SFS: You also have a song that is going on the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack. That must be exciting.

TM: When they asked us to be a part of that, it was one of those moments where you ask yourself if it is for real. I grew up on the ninja turtles and had every toy figure that they made.

SFS: Who is your favorite ninja turtle?

TM: Rafael, of course. He’s the one with the bad attitude.

Gym Class Heroes perform with RX Bandits, P.O.S. and K-OS on March 27th at The Fillmore. The sold-out show starts at 7pm. Doors open at 6pm.