Your new disc, brand new eyes, has a lot of personal stuff about conflict within the band. Was it anything like No Doubt’s ”Don’t Speak” video, where Gwen Stefani is the focus of all the media attention and the guys in the group are hating it?
We lived that video! I mean, I don’t look as good in diamonds and cropped tank tops. [Laughs] But I think it’s the case with any girl singer. I relate to those lyrics so much.
But you don’t have your [No Doubt bass player] Tony Kanal, whom Gwen dated and wrote so many songs about…
It happened, but it was a long time ago, when we started. We’ve never talked about any of that stuff, and we’ve never talked about our band not getting along until now.
Being from Tennessee, do you feel like you identify as a Southern band?
We’re definitely proud of our roots, and especially over the past year I’ve really gotten into Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams. I like being from a town with a lot of history. But I don’t think it comes across in our music. We’re not like Kings of Leon. You can tell they’re Southern. [Laughs]
You wrote a song for Jennifer’s Body, and of course you were on the Twilight album. Are you the go-to soundtrack girl now?
No! We got asked to do Transformers 2 and New Moon, and we don’t want to be the movie band. You know, we have our own record to push. And I like zombies — they’re way cooler than vampires. [Laughs] But when they brought up New Moon, we definitely weren’t like, ”Eww, I can’t believe you even asked!” It was time for another band to do it, and Death Cab for Cutie’s gonna be better anyway, because they’re just better. It makes me feel good about myself: If they did it too, I’m okay. [Laughs] They were one of the first bands I ever got into. I went and downloaded all their songs. I was obsessed.
Did you know Twilight would be the huge deal that it was?
No! I knew our fans were obsessed with [us doing] it. I would go on the message boards — I’m such a nerd, I hang out on my own band’s message board — so I knew they liked it. Or they liked it until it made us famous, and then they were like, ”This sucks.” It’s weird to go from that [small] world to one where you’re everyone’s game, you know? It’s like you’re not special anymore.
With everyone you’ve met in the last few years, have you ever fanned out on anybody famous?
Cassandra from Wayne’s World!
Yeah! I saw her and I was like, ”Oh my God.” I freaked out. Babe-raham Lincoln. But she was walking too fast. I was like, ”Chill out, girl, I’m 5’1”! I can’t even catch up with you and you’re in heels!” But she was stunning. She looked the same as in the movies.