How did "Love Me Bad" come about and what was the decision behind making it your lead single?
The song was written by Marti Frederickson. Marti wrote it with me in mind. The reason I chose the song is because it’s a really available song. It’s very available, it’s very acceptable. You know, Idol has a wide variety of listeners and viewers, who I wanted to make an album that was available to each and every one of them, so that they could find something within the songs that they like, even if they don’t listen to rock, if they don’t listen to active rock, or contemporary, or any of that, you know? And I really think that “Love Me Bad” embodies that. It was soft enough for someone that doesn’t listen to rock and it was heavy enough for someone that does. I think we really found a common ground with that song, and it worked really well to make a kick-ass video.
Well, how was the shoot for the music video, and who came up with the overall concept?
Well, I came up with the concept. I talked with the director, Roman White, about it. And it was so much fun to shoot. We shot it out in Barstow, California, an hour and a half southwest of Las Vegas. Out there driving around, the car accidentally blew up. It was on fire, burned a hole in the hood. And I got to pull stuff out of the car and light it all on fire. For anyone that watched American Idol this season, they definitely know that I’m a pyromaniac.I love fire and explosions in my performances. That’s just the music I grew up listening to. A lot of KISS and Mötley Crüe. A lot of their music videos and stage shows were all about pyrotechnics; it was all about putting on a show, and that’s what I really wanted to do on Idol, and that’s what I did in the “Love Me Bad” music video, as well.
Speaking of Idol, you collaborated with David Cook on a track called “Screaming.” Had you originally thought about collaborating with someone who had also come off the show?
I didn’t, actually. The story’s sort of funny. It was in the middle of the Idol Live! tour, and we had a couple days off in New York. I showed up at the studio ready to do a writing session and David Cook was there in the studio. He was there before me, and we were sort of just hanging out and talking. A half-hour, 40 minutes go by and I decided to ask him. I’m like, “David, what are you doing in New York?” [laughs] He says, “Well, I’m here to write with you.” I was like, “Okay.” Everything sort of clicked at that point. We all started working on the song and that’s what happened. I love the song; it’s one of my favorite songs on the record.