If you’re familiar with The All-American Rejects (and you almost certainly are), then you’re also familiar with the work of Mike Kennerty. The guitarist joined the internationally-known rock band in 2002, just before the Oklahoma-based group’s meteoric rise to worldwide acclaim and notoriety on the wings of “Swing, Swing” and other breakout hits from their self-titled debut album. In the 17 years since Kennerty joined up, the Reject have amassed a huge collection of hits, built a massive fan base around all over the planet, shared the stage with some of the world’s biggest bands, topped the Billboard charts, and appreciated every step along the way.

Before the band’s longtime guitarist was a part of The All-American Rejects, Kennerty was an eighth grader in Houston who was playing drums in a band called The Measles. From there, he was part of a metal band in high school, before winding up on guitar after high school with a group called Mr. Crispy. Recently, while in Milwaukee to play lead guitar at the first Mini Meltdowns show, Kennerty talked about his early projects, a great tour in support of Avail, a not-so-great tour supporting CKY, how he wound up in one of the biggest modern alternative rock projects, and his side gig recording and producing records for bands like Masked Intruder and The Copyrights.

My First Band is sponsored by Boulevard Brewing. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Mr. Crispy (“Marathon Song”).