October 19, 2010 04:00 PM

Matt Baron/BEImages

The toughest thing about being a rock star? Being away from their newborn sons, say OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder and guitarist Zach Filkins.

“It’s hard,” says Filkins, who welcomed his first child, son Leighton, with wife Lindsay in June. “You reach a point where the more you see them [in online video chats], the more you want to go home.”

Adds frontman Tedder, who welcomed son Copeland Cruz with wife Genevieve 11 weeks ago: “We try to cap our time away at three weeks, whereas in the past we’d do six weeks. You don’t understand until you have a family — you can’t physically do that anymore or it tears the whole fabric apart.”

The new dads, along with bandmates Drew Brown, Eddie Fisher and Brent Kutzle, recently hit the road with U2 in support of latest album Waking Up and took a break from their current tour with Maroon 5 on Oct. 7 at L.A.’s Chateau Marmont to celebrate their latest project: the launch of their hit “Secrets” as the theme song for Ralph Lauren’s new Big Pony men’s fragrance collection.

Before the band performed a surprise late-night acoustic set in a poolside bungalow at the famed Sunset Strip hotel, Tedder explained another musical inspiration: the genesis of his son’s name.

“The hardest thing is to pick a name that not a billion people have used,” Tedder explains. “We knew it was a boy but we could not agree on a name after eight months [of pregnancy], so I said, ‘Let’s look at scientists and musicians and authors.'”

“We get to musicians, saw Aaron Copeland — a famous American composer — and Stewart Copeland, the drummer for The Police. And I said, ‘Copeland! What if we took his last name and flipped it?’ We lived with it for a couple days and we were like, ‘Yup!'”

As for Copeland’s middle name, Cruz? “It means ‘cross’ in Portuguese,” says Tedder. “We’ve vacationed and played there — we just love Portugal.”

Filkins, meanwhile, says fatherhood has changed him. “The best thing about fatherhood is experiencing your child experiencing a brand new thing — something that you completely take for granted,” he says.

“Two days ago my son [Leighton] found his feet. And it’s like the big milestone where they realize that those are theirs! And he’s rolling over on his stomach, but then he gets stuck. Every single new thing is like an epiphany for them and so cool to watch. You start caring about things differently.”

— Marisa Laudadio

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