Standing in a weirdly calm commercial kitchen and looking both bemused and amused, Taking Back Sunday frontman Adam Lazzara grabs a tray with two Polish sausages. Then he delivers an important message to the YouTube audience: "Make sure you check out DennysAllNighter.com!"
Lazzara, you see, has just scored a coup. Taking Back Sunday is one of about a dozen bands the diner chain giant Denny's is "adopting" through a new and strangely unconventional campaign, Denny's AllNighter.
Adopted bands get a promotional boost, with their pictures, bios, tour dates, and a streaming track featured on the campaign website. They also get to host afterparties at the restaurant. And the best part: They get unlimited Denny's for a month, between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. In exchange, they must visit Denny's three times a month and then mention the visits and post photos on their websites. Any musician who decries this as corporate shilling is, well, accurate, but also probably insanely jealous — particularly when it comes to the gratis Grand Slam breakfasts. That's okay, because the envious among us can also register for possible adoption on the website.
Denny's rock bands promotion
Among the first crop to benefit from Denny's largesse: Saving Abel (Corinth, Mississippi); EndeverafteR (Los Angeles); Take the Crown (Huntington Beach); Foxy Shazam (Cleveland); Forever the Sickest Kids (Dallas); and, a bit odd, a group hailing from a country where Denny's does not exist: London's Switches. (Denny's ought to check whether the band is fulfilling the monthly visit requirement. Those guys are pretty skinny.)
But it gets better: Four bigger-time bands, including Taking Back Sunday, get the "Featured Band" treatment, appearing all over promotional web spots. (In one clip, we learn TBS guitarist Eddie Reyes met his wife at one of the band's shows in Cleveland and romanced her that night by sweeping her away to Denny's. He had chicken fingers; she had breakfast.) Better yet, they actually get to create their own dishes for a "Rock Star Menu" for the restaurant, available nationally; Taking Back Sunday's, the first, appears in August. So what would these four groups have their fans and fellow musicians consume? Some predictions follow.
Taking Back Sunday
Appetizer: Oh, how about chicken fingers, to commemorate Reyes's how-we-met story, because it's sort of really cute.
Main Course: Hard to pin down, because various ingredients are likely to change, although a few will remain consistent.
Dessert: Too easy. The Taking Back Sundae, of course. Rim shot!
Eagles of Death Metal
Appetizer: Don't waste your time on this; it's bad news. Just leave it alone, 'cause it's bad news.
Main Course: Some kind of omelet. I would imagine eagle eggs are large, which would fit right into Denny's ethos regarding portions.
Dessert: Floats involving your choice of cherry cola or Shasta. Option number two comes only in "beast" size.
Appetizer: Buffalo Wings, Wings? The special marinade starts off with notes of sourness and then is saved by a redeeming sweet finish.
Main Course: Who knows? Those ordering it are advised to be really patient, because it might take awhile to follow the appetizer. Everyone invested hopes it will be as tasty.
Dessert: Again, easy: apple pie. Just ignore the "Rejects" part of the band's name.
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Plain White T's
Appetizer: Milquetoast. Although at first seemingly unexciting, it will somehow prove addictive and inexplicably will become the most popular item on the menu for one intense run.
Main Course: Egg whites, Wonder Bread, lightly cooked home fries — all mushy, easily palatable, and, of course, nonstaining.
Dessert: Whatever it is, it must be trendy, sweet, and vanilla-flavored.