Chris Wallace likes meat. Just not that kind. He, his other The White Tie Affair bandmates and their entourage are making a pit-stop at an A&W in Oregon (“No tax, baby!” he hoots), and Wallace, the cute pop-punk quintet’s Energizer Bunny/lead singer, can’t fathom mimicking their merch girl: Ordering just a bun.
“I’m a carnivore,” the Chicago-native declares, adding that their road diet is probably not Jenny Craig-approved, but they don’t have much of a choice. “It’s all greasy foods we eat these days. … You can’t really eat good. All you can do is try to get the grilled-something, ya know?”
You wouldn’t know from Wallace’s lanky body (that fits remarkably well in tight slacks), but then again, it must help when you’re bouncing around on stage like a basketball, which is precisely what he did when the band briefly joined the True Colors Tour for a stop in Chicago and at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston in June. (They’ll return to Michigan for two dates this month – one on Aug. 19 at The Crofoot in Pontiac, and the other on Aug. 20 at The Intersection in Grand Rapids.)
“I don’t know where that (energy) comes from, man. I think that half of it’s excitement,” the 22-year-old says, “and then half of it is energy-drink induced.”
Cyndi Lauper, the tour’s ringleader, invited the guys, who promoted their debut “Walk this Way,” to open the pro-gay-rights show, which also featured Rosie O’ Donnell, the B-52s and Tegan and Sara – all queer (or, like the B-52s, partially). But The White Tie Affair? Straight – at least when it comes to sex.
“We have (gay) friends, and we grew up with a lot of gay people and stuff like that, so we’re really for the cause, for sure,” he says. Even with a shortage of people, the guys revved up the crowd, who either knew the aspiring band, or mistook them for Fall Out Boy. Wallace and FOB frontman Patrick Stump’s voices are as alike as the Olsen twins, and their synth-laden glammed-up sound is from a similar strand of DNA. Which means their music is pretty damn gay – even if they’re not. The gayest thing about Wallace? He’s worn guy-liner (which, today, is questionably queer), and he owns “Spice World” (which, even today, is not questionably queer).
“That’s sad that I actually knew the title and everything, right?” he says. “Everyone’s got guilty pleasures and stuff. What we’re trying to do with our music is not make it a guilty pleasure; make it like Justin Timberlake, (who) has become like an OK guilty pleasure.”
He’s also got another excuse: He’s not macho (“… although I can do a lot of push-ups”), and though it’s been a while since he rocked-out the eyeliner (something he says, for a guy, is not gay by today’s standards), sometimes he feels like the oddball without it.
“It’s kind of become an everybody thing these days. Shit, the bands we’re on tour with, they all wear it. We’re almost like out of place right now not wearing make-up.” Skipping the guy-liner didn’t help the gay-dar at the True Colors show, and hearts will now be broken, but, guys, don’t get down about it – Wallace won’t slap and tickle any fans.
“I’m not like that. My mom raised me too good to do that,” he laughs, and then pauses briefly: “I can’t speak for the other members of the band.”
But, wait – WTF? – doesn’t he promote himself as a player on “Allow Me to Introduce Myself … Mr. Right” where he so convincingly states: “She was thinking Mr. Right, I was thinking Right Now”?
“I’m not gonna lie, it has happened before,” he backpedals, teasing with, “I’m whatever you want to be.” And right now he’s The Joker, using window markers to write on fellow bands’ vehicles, egging them – and, in return, getting their Ford E-350 covered in cupcakes and Silly String. Wallace is hardly complaining, though.
“No matter what the show is and what the band is, we’re usually having a good time. We’re kind of like living the dream right now really.”
Even without guy-liner.
Hot Topic Presents: The Hope for the Hopeless Tour
Kill Hannah with The White Tie Affair
6 p.m. (doors), Aug. 19
The Crofoot, Pontiac
6 p.m. (doors), Aug. 20
The Intersection, Grand Rapids