July 09, 2007 12:00 PM

In some ways the four members of The Fray are typical twentysomething guys: They don’t make their beds (“Why would we?” protests drummer Ben Wysocki), they love baseball (pianist-singer Isaac Slade is particularly attached to his Chicago Cubs cap), and according to guitarist Dave Welsh, they only use their tour bus shower “every so often.” But how many average guys do you know who can fill an 8,000-seat amphitheater? Thanks to the Grey’s Anatomy unofficial theme song, “How to Save a Life,” and their equally addictive hit “Over My Head (Cable Car),” The Fray are spending the summer living out a dream born during their high school days in Denver. “We wrote these songs in our basement,” marvels Slade, 26, “just trying to quit our day jobs.”

But life as one of America’s hottest bands is not as glamorous as they pictured—there are “ostrich-leather” walls and mirrored ceilings on their leased tour bus. And sleeping on the bunks is a challenge. “You can’t sleep with your head [facing the front of the bus] because if [the driver] has to slam on the breaks, you’d break your neck,” says Wysocki, 22. And, he adds, while bottom bunks “feel more private,” the air vents are level with your head: “When you have your pillow there you don’t feel it, so then you move your pillow and the back of your head is freezing. It’s the price I pay.”

Other sacrifices include no music on the bus. “Normally we’re kind of tired of music,” says Wysocki. “Joe and Isaac talk about Bono all the time, and Dave gets really sick of it, and he found out recently that there’s a Web site called Bono Fatigue, and he got really, really excited.” That’s life in a band for you. “It’s a bit like brothers,” says guitarist-singer Joe King, 27. “Sometimes you hate them, but you can’t get away from them, so you need them.”

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