Miley Cyrus' drummer reveals the perks of being in the backing band of a superstar

American Hi-Fi comprise (from right) Drew Parsons, Stacy Jones, Jamie Arentzen and Brian Nolan. -- PHOTO: RUDE RECORDS
American Hi-Fi comprise (from right) Drew Parsons, Stacy Jones, Jamie Arentzen and Brian Nolan. -- PHOTO: RUDE RECORDS

Stacy Jones, the frontman of pop-punk band American Hi-Fi, is also the music director and drummer for pop sensation Miley Cyrus.

Jones, 43, who was speaking over the telephone from San Diego ahead of American Hi-Fi's new album launch next Tuesday, tells Life! that the tie-up with Cyrus came about nearly a decade ago, when she was 12.

Jones had met Cyrus' manager on a trip to New York and the two hit it off. Shortly after, he received an offer to be Cyrus' music director and to be part of her backing band. He has not looked back since.

He recalls: "I was told she was on a show called Hannah Montana and her dad is country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. I hadn't seen the show and at the time, no one knew who she was.

"I flew to New York to meet her and she sang a song for me - I can't remember what - but I was just blown away."

He says American Hi-Fi guitarist Jamie Arentzen, 43, also plays in her backing band and adds that there is not much difference between playing for Cyrus and for his own band.

But he adds: "I care for her show as much as it were my own. But I'm a drummer and no one in her audience gives a s*** about the guys in the band.

"I can literally play the show, hit the last beat and I could walk off the front of the stage into the arena and maybe two people would say 'hi'. There is no pressure to be a frontman or entertain the crowd."

The job comes with perks too.

"The other night, Miley was like, 'Oh hey, we have an extra seat on the plane, you want to fly home with me tonight?' So that's a little different... you get to fly on the private jet every now and then, which in American Hi-Fi, we'd be lucky if we had a van that had all the seats in it," Jones says with a laugh.

The band, which includes bassist Drew Parsons and drummer Brian Nolan, formed in 1998 and achieved commercial success with their debut single, Flavor Of The Weak, which has become a timeless modern rock song.

Known for their guitar-driven rock sound akin to bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters and Queens Of The Stone Age, American Hi-Fi have released four studio albums.

Their latest offering, Blood & Lemonade, is released on independent label Rude Records.

Jones says it is "the first time since making our first album that I felt like we were being authentic to ourselves and the music". The songs are inspired by his personal experiences and fictional stories that he likes to create.

Another reason he made the record is "because guitar bands are dying out".

He says: "It's a lost art, you know, guys playing guitar and drums, getting into a rehearsal space like a garage or a basement, plugging in Les Paul guitars to Marshall amplifiers and rocking out.

"I do think the guitar-driven rock sound will come back because music has always been cyclical. In America, there's a bit of a new wave of pop-punk bands that are starting to get popular, which is cool."

American Hi-Fi's Blood & Lemonade is out on Tuesday and is available in record stores.

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