Fueled By Ramen is a record label that was started 15 years ago in Gainesville, FL by John Janick and Vinnie Fiorello, the drummer of Less Than Jake. They have been home to many successful bands over the years, including Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and Panic! at the Disco. But, I’d like to talk about the special relationship I have with another band on their roster, Gym Class Heroes.
Back in the day when my brand was still being run out of my parents’ home, my friend Terra was working for Fueled By Ramen and she introduced me to Gym Class Heroes’ demo. Their unique blend of indie, pop rock and hip-hop was something I connected with immediately.
I of course had to catch them play the next time they rolled through Boston, so when they finally did I loaded up a duffle bag packed with wrinkled up Johnny Cupcakes t-shirts, candy, vintage Yo! MTV Raps trading cards and headed down to the show. Upon arriving, I met up with GCH outside before they played. They were touring in a rusty, gas-scented van that looked and sounded as though it were going to explode into a cloud of metal and ca-ca at any minute. These less-than-ideal traveling arrangements didn’t keep them from putting on a great performance that night, a testament to their passion for what they do. After the show was over we spent some time hanging out in the death-mobile and I gave them the little care package I had put together. This was the start of a long and wonderful friendship with the band that still thrives today.
Now before I continue, I must mention another “it’s a small world” tie that the JC brand has with GCH. During this same time period my longtime friend Justin was working at FBR in the art department. He worked closely with Travis (GCH’s frontman) almost daily to develop the art concept for what would become GCH’s 2nd FBR release, As Cruel As School Children. The family-like vibe at Fueled By Ramen fostered this close relationship and Justin has remained friends with the FBR family and Gym Class to this day. This is all relevant because Justin now works here at Johnny Cupcakes, also in our art department! It’s always great to see people from different parts of your life popping up in random places, it’s funny how the world brings people together.
Since the days of roughing it in a van, Gym Class Heroes have moved into much comfier digs, gaining the privilege of traveling in tour buses, where I had the pleasure of packing a bag and embarking on a run of dates with them. We now share a bucketful of memories together. The guys filming one of their first music videos, Disashi’s news that he would soon be a father, Eric’s obsession with World of Warcraft, attending their Tonight Show performance taping, them visiting my first two shops during the construction (and after!). Travie even has a Johnny Cupcakes-themed tattoo on his leg! There are too many memories to put in a single post!
So, in honor of Fueled By Ramen’s 15 years of providing the world with great music, they’ve reached out to their artists to have them talk about their Top 5 Favorite FBR releases. We here at Johnny Cupcakes have the honor of debuting Gym Class Heroes’ picks, so without further ado, here they go!
Also, come September, FBR is pulling out all the stops and celebrating in a big way! They’ve booked 2 nights at Terminal 5 in New York City. Bringing together some of their heaviest hitters from the past and present for what will surely be a string of shows not to be forgotten anytime soon. Check out the details below!
I firmly believe that the real success is being happy doing what you love. Fueled By Ramen in their 15th year of business, Gym Class Heroes in their 14th, and Johnny Cupcakes in our 10th all prove that if you put in hard work and truly believe in what you do, magic will happen. Real magic.