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The Rocket Summer is the solo-project of Bryce Avary who is based in Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas. Avary is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and producer. He writes and produces every song on his records, and plays every instrument on them.
He has released five studio albums and several EPs. His fifth release in 2012, Life Will Write the Words, was 58 on The Billboard 200 and 12 on Billboard Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums as well as 12 on Top Independent Albums. His fourth release, Of Men and Angels, held the No. 1 Top Album spot on iTunes upon its release in 2010. AP Magazine called him one of "100 bands you need to know."
Early life & musical interest
Avary was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He first became interested in music around the age of 12 when his father bought him his first guitar which was an imitation brand from a pawn shop for 50 dollars. Avary subsequently began teaching himself other instruments including the drums and piano.
Avary joined his first band at the age of 14. He later joined a high school "indie rock punk" band at Grapevine High School, inspired by Pavement, Archers of Loaf and Weezer, called Charlie 27. After the band broke up, Avary began performing local acoustic shows as a teenager in Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton.
1999–2003: Self-titled EP
In 1999, Avary self-released his first EP at the age of 16. The EP included songs he had written between the ages 14 to 16. He distributed the EP under the name The Rocket Summer, at the suggestion of a friend, to local stores to be sold on consignment; the name was inspired by Ray Bradbury's short story collection The Martian Chronicles, which his friend was reading at the time. Avary described the project as initially "just a really fun experiment." After the EP's original 1000 copies sold out, it went out of print until it was later re-released as The Early Years EP under The Militia Group in November 2006.
His music appeared on The Adventure Club segment of the KDGE radio station, and quickly became the most requested local band on the program that year.
2003–2005: Calendar Days and Hello, Good Friend
Avary recorded, produced, and released his debut album, Calendar Days, in 2003. The album was recorded in Eudora, Kansas.
In November 2004, Avary began working on his second album, Hello, Good Friend. The album peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. To promote the album, The Rocket Summer toured the US and Japan.
2005–2008: The Early Years EP and Do You Feel
In November 2006, The Militia Group re-released The Rocket Summer's self-released 1999 EP as The Early Years EP, and Avary signed with major record label Island Def Jam Records. Do You Feel was released in July 2007; the album reached No. 44 on the Billboard 200 and No. 16 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums charts.
The album's lead single "So Much Love", was warmly received by critics for its uniqueness and use of horn section. The "So Much Love" music video was directed by MTV Music Video Award winning director Shane Drake. The Rocket Summer released the second single "Do You Feel" and its music video on September 5, 2008. The video was co-directed and funded by Bryce Avary with director Nate Weaver. The video featured stories of people with issues such as homelessness, addiction, disease and abuse. The video also featured cameos from artists Andrew McMahon of Jack's Mannequin, Matt Thiessen of Relient K, Josh Farro and Jeremy Davis of Paramore, Mike Herrera of MxPx, and Forrest Kline of Hellogoodbye and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low.
Avary was featured on the cover of Alternative Press Magazine while co-headlining the AP Tour.
2008–2011: You Gotta Believe EP, Of Men and Angels and Bryce Avary, His Instruments and Your Voices
Avary recorded his fourth studio album, Of Men and Angels at Ocean Studios in Burbank, CA, from February to April 2009. Mixed with Neal Avron and engineered / co-produced with CJ Eiriksson, Avary described the album as "the most substance-filled Rocket Summer album to date." To hold fans over, The Rocket Summer released a digital 4-track EP entitled You Gotta Believe in October 2009. The EP featured three tracks off the LP Of Men and Angels and one bonus track. The EP debuted at No. 23 on the Billboard charts for Digital Albums. The Rocket Summer's "You Gotta Believe" music video premiered on AOL in December 2009, and featured clips of fans singing and playing along to the track. The video was directed by award-winning director Randy Scott Slavin.
On February 23, 2010, The Rocket Summer released his fourth studio album, 'Of Men and Angels on Island Def Jam. The album debuted at No. 1 on iTunes, surpassing The Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. which had previously held the No. 1 spot for Top Album. To promote the new album, Avary performed the album's lead single "Walls" on KDFW's Good Day Dallas and KTBC's Good Day Austin, and held a sold out hometown album release party at the Granada Theatre in Dallas, TX. The Rocket Summer toured with OneRepublic, Goo Goo Dolls and the 16th annual Vans Warped Tour in promotion of the record. In March 2010, TRS was named one of Shred News's "10 Artists to Watch in 2010." On Oct. 19, 2010, The Rocket Summer released a five-song digital-only EP, entitled Of Men and Angels: B-Sides. Avary co-wrote the song "Stomping The Roses" for American Idol alum, David Archuleta which appeared on his second full-length album, The Other Side Of Down debuted in October 2010. . On May 24, 2011, Avary released an acoustic live album entitled Bryce Avary, His Instruments and Your Voices for free via The Rocket Summer's website.
2011–2014: Life Will Write the Words and Christmas Madness EP
On June 5, 2012, The Rocket Summer released their fifth full-length studio album, Life Will Write the Words on their own record label Aviate Records. It debuted 58 on The Billboard 200 and 12 on The Billboard Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums and 12 on the Top Independent Albums charts. This record was well received by fans who enjoyed a full Rocket Summer US Tour. Soon after releasing the album, the music video "200,000" debuted on Alternative Press.
The Rocket Summer digitally released 'Christmas Madness EP' on Aviate Records December 3, 2013 debuting 45 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums and performed two sold out shows in Anaheim and Dallas to support this digital release. Avary is currently in the writing and recording process in 2014.
Avary's sixth full-length album Zoetic released on February 26, 2016.
Musical style and influence
Often labeled as indie rock power pop, The Rocket Summer's music has developed a reputation for its positively infused sentiments, optimistic lyrics, and upbeat rhythms, with emphasis on Avary's distinctive vocals and instrumental diversity that has drawn comparisons to Ben Folds, Justin Timberlake, and Michael Jackson.
Rick Anderson of Allmusic described his music as a range of "headlong blasts of pure power pop cheer" to "sonata form" and ballads—all of which Anderson categorized as "infectiously joyful." The Rocket Summer's music is marked by his use of guitar, piano, bass, percussion, and melodic hooks. A few of Avary's largest musical influences growing up were Nirvana, The Beatles and Michael Jackson.
The Rocket Summer's more recent albums, Life Will Write the Words and Of Men and Angels, have shown a shift in style and content from his earlier releases, with more focus on an indie rock and alternative sound, as well as on more mature subject material. Avary has cited these changes as "natural" products of "growth and ... spiritual growth."
The Rocket Summer has toured the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, France and Japan, and has played at festivals such as Glastonbury Festival, Soundwave Festival, T in the Park, Summer Sonic Festival, Oxegen Festival, Austin City Limits, SXSW, The Bamboozle, Slam Dunk Festival and Vans Warped Tour.
Over the years, The Rocket Summer has toured with many bands, among them OneRepublic, Paramore, The Format, Third Eye Blind, Switchfoot, The Goo Goo Dolls.
Avary attended and performed at the Dallas Rescue for the Invisible Children campaign in Dallas, TX, on April 25, 2009. On June 23, 2009, Avary played at the closing ceremony for the Invisible Children rally, "How It Ends," which took place on the White House Ellipse Lawn in Washington D.C. He also played the Heavy and Light Tour 2010, an annual acoustic tour supporting To Write Love on Her Arms.
Avary created a clothing company by the name of Call It Captivate (CIC). Their aim is to "express relevant art through fashion, to inspire, to educate, and most importantly, be used as an outlet to encourage people to give to those in need." Call It Captivate partnered with several credible charities, where 25% or more of each item purchased goes to a charity selected by the buyer. These charities included Blood: Water Mission, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Holt International Adoption, These Numbers Have Faces, The LA Dream Center and Doctors Without Borders. The company's website also promotes each of these charities by providing their mission statements in an attempt to spotlight their causes. CIC was featured in Alternative Press magazine Issue No. 247 and in November 2009 in AMP Magazine.
Bryce recorded a cover of "Maps" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs for the charity organization Hello Somebody's first album Hello Somebody, Vol. 1. Their mission is to provide sustainable projects and restorative care to improve the lives of children in need.
As a child, Avary appeared as a contestant on Nickelodeon's Double Dare after he and his family successfully auditioned for the TV show while on a family vacation at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.
Avary attended Grapevine High School where he helped form a dodgeball team named The Bombardment Society, inspired by Wes Anderson's film Rushmore. The team became the high school's largest organization at the time of his attendance. Prior to launching his music career as The Rocket Summer, Avary worked as a Starbucks barista — an experience that inspired him to write the song "This is Me" off of his album Calendar Days. In January 2005, Avary married his long-time girlfriend, Tara.
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The Rocket Summer