The second time has proved another charm from AWOLNATION and its leader, Aaron Bruno.
But not without a degree of stress.
"I can tell you that the whole sophomore follow-up situation was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be," Bruno says from a tour stop in Nashville. The group's second album, "Run," debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 in March, 67 spots higher than its gold-certified 2011 debut "Megalithic Symphony." Granted, "Run" rode some of its predecessor's success, but Bruno never assumed that would be the case.
"I always have low expectations; that's the easiest way for me to live when it comes ot putting out the stuff I've created, that I hope people will like," explains Bruno, 37, who launched AWOLNATION in 2009 after tenures in the bands Under the Influence of Giants, Home Town Hero and Insurgence. "It's just really difficult to guess what people will love and what they won't, what could be an incredible success and what could be a complete failure and so forth and so on.
"I will say that with such a breakout phenomenon of the first record and some of those singles -- 'Sail' in particularly -- it wasn't like when we came back around people were waning that to happen again. It was more like, 'OK, prove it, guys.' We've had to just keep our heads down and focus on the work."
Besides the album's debut, AWOLNATION provided it mettle with the single "Howling Moon (Bad Wolf)," which topped the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, and the Top 5 "I Am." Now he's hoping "Run's" run will continue, with more touring into the new year and more singles on the way ("Woman Woman" will be the next).
"We're sitting on the brink of some really great stuff that's going on," says Bruno, who's also producing a band called Iron Tong that includes new AWOLNATION guitarist Zach Irons, the son of former Red Hot Chili Peppers/Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons. "I've been able to watch our audiences grow from a combination of the new record and still the momentum of the first record, which is great.
"My only goal ever is to have a cult following and be able to sell out anywhere from 200 people to 1,000 across the country. It obviously went unimaginably much further than that, and continues to. So I have a lot of confidence in what I'm doing, but it's still a shock it's going this well. I still wake up and have to pinch myself every day."
The Night 89X Stole Christmas featuring AWOLNATION, Metric and PVRIS
Friday, Dec. 18. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.
Tickets are $45 and $30.
Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.
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