For California natives like Thirty Seconds To Mars, KROQ’s Weenie Roast — even more so than Memorial Day — marks the unofficial start of the summer season. So it’s a real honor for the guys to return to Weenie Roast six years after they made their debut in 2007, this time as the night’s headliners alongside the Black Keys and Vampire Weekend.

Jared Leto remembers going to the show when him and his brother (and bandmate) Shannon were just kids. “It’s a real treat to be back,” Leto told in our new video interview.

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Weenie Roast will also be the first big show the band has played in a year and a half. “It’s going to be interesting,” Jared said with a laugh. “It’s going to be much different than the Church of Mars.”

For the last month, the guys have been playing shows in churches across the United States, making stops in cities like Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and New York. Each show only fits about 200 to 800 people, but for the band it’s been a way to say thank you to some of their biggest fans.

With the release of their fourth album, LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS (out May 21), the band looks forward to showing off their new music in a festival setting, especially the record’s lead single, “Up In The Air,” which has been a hit with the Church of Mars crowd.

“Everyone has a great time on this small scale so I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like on the big scale,” Shannon said.

Not that the guys are concerned about playing to a big crowd. They currently hold the Guinness World Record for the most shows played in a single tour. Jared said that the many, many shows they played actually helped in the making of their latest album, calling it “an evolution” for the band.

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“We learned a lot playing hundred and hundreds of shows,” Jared said. “It really means that we had a lot of practice. So we applied that. We’ve grown up a lot.”

They connected each song to their four-word title and made a cohesive album in the day and age of the single. “I think that connectivity tissue helps to provide a little more cohesive, a little less disjointed feeling to the album,” he said.

Jared believes fans will be impressed with the album and even more so, he thinks they’ll gain a few new followers that wrote off the band years ago.

“I think some people are going to feel like it’s OK to like Thirty Seconds To Mars,” Leto said with a chuckle. “And that’s kind of fun.”

Catch the band headlining KROQ’s Weenie Roast Saturday May 18 at noon PT. If you can’t make it to L.A. you can watch the webcast from your couch.

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–Shannon Carlin,