A Summer With Fun. : The Record For the summer season, we'll follow the rising band behind the hit "We Are Young" — and its backstage crew — as it hits the road.
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A Summer With Fun.

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A Summer With Fun.

A Summer With Fun.

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It's been a big year for fun. - the band.


FUN.: Tonight, we are young...

SIMON: This song, "We Are Young," it's been a number one hit, and has spent six consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. Earlier this spring, lead singer Nate Ruess told NPR's Guy Raz how he landed a meeting with some hot-shot producer, and showed off the song's catchy chorus on the spot, in the producer's New York hotel room.

REUSS: I sang it to him. His jaw just like, dropped.


FUN.: (singing) So let's set the world on fire...

REUSS: And he had to go to the stu - we had to go to the studio either the next day, or the day after that. It was so surreal for me. This whole, entire year has just been - that.


FUN.: (singing) Now, I know that I'm not all that you've got...

SIMON: Now, fun. is taking their mega-hit on tour. So far this month, they've played Bonnaroo; they sold out shows in St. Louis, Cleveland and New York. Next Friday, they'll take the stage at Milwaukee's Summerfest. Now throughout the summer, we're going to check in with fun. to see what life is like on the road - not just for the band members, but the huge company of traveling techs, drivers, roadies, marketers and fans who move a band across the country show to show, stage to stage.

But we begin this week with fun.'s Nate Ruess. He joins us from New York. Thanks so much for being with us.

REUSS: Of course. Thank you for having me.

SIMON: You've played some pretty big dates so far - New York, Cleveland, St. Louis. Any high points?

REUSS: It's been a wild summer. I mean, the crazy thing is, is the tour has really started - in February, and we haven't been home since. So everything's felt unbelievable. And I think Bonnaroo is something that - we're not used to playing festivals yet, and that was something that was pretty magical.



SIMON: What's important to you, when you're on the road?

REUSS: It's important that I get time to run, to just go for a jog for about 30 minutes. It helps with my voice, but it also kind of gives me a little bit of time to myself - and you get to see a city.

SIMON: Do you do anything to take care of your voice?

REUSS: Yeah. I try and get about eight hours of sleep every single night. And I like to think that I drink more water than anyone, ever.


REUSS: I guess we did - once we learned about this college game called Flip Cup.

SIMON: I don't know it, yeah.

REUSS: Yeah. It's like this game where it requires you to chug alcohol. But in our case, like, we did it with water. And there came a point, when we were playing the game, when everybody was like, so waterlogged. And that allowed me to persevere above everybody else, 'cause I think I'm a camel, in that regard.


FUN.: (singing) Oh, my head is on fire, but my legs are fine. After all, they are mine. Lay your clothes down on the floor. Close the door. Hold the phone. Show me how no one's ever going to stop us now.

SIMON: Let me ask you about some of your fellow travelers, if you please.


SIMON: Shane, the guitar tech.

REUSS: Yeah. Shane was someone that was referred to - had never been on tour before, but just wanted to get into it. He's actually like, a technician; like, works on Mercedes, and things like that. And he looked like a pirate. So it was a little weird for the first - I would say the first, like, two weeks, getting used to this guy. And one day, we were talking about working out and wanting to get in shape, and Shane had mentioned that his mom was a personal trainer.

So we asked him to put us on some sort of like, dietary plan as well as like, a workout regimen. For three weeks, he put us through hell. And we really got to know him. And he was still learning his craft but to us, it was like no matter what happens, this guy is with us forever. He's one of my favorite people in the entire world.

SIMON: Nate Reuss is lead singer of fun. Thanks so much. Happy trails.

REUSS: Thank you so much.


FUN.: (singing) No one's ever ...

SIMON: And we're going to check in with guitar technician - and aerobics instructor, whatever he does - Shane Timm, in a few weeks. We follow fun. and their backstage crew on their summer tour. Meantime, you can get a little bit of the live fun. experience on our website. You can see photos of the band, and listen to a full concert recorded last month in Washington, D.C. That's all to be found at nprmusic.org.

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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