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‘Kiss’ me Katy

With her song “I Kissed a Girl” perched atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the fourth week in a row, pop starlet Katy Perry has been embraced on the 2008 Vans Warped Tour before she even takes the stage.

Not.

“They don’t care,” Perry, 23, said of the punk and hardcore-loving young crowd that often makes up most of the Warped Tour audience. “This is the hardest tour to win over. You have to prove it to them that you belong on this stage and that they should stop and watch you. ... I have bruises; My legs are really f---ed up right now from bouncing, trying to keep my energy level up to the screamo bands that are on before me. It’s a challenge, but we win [fans] over by the end of the set.”

The tour, including Gym Class Heroes, Against Me!, Story of the Year, Say Anything, The Academy is… and dozens more bands, comes to the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Sunday, July 27 at noon.

The native of Santa Barbara, Calif., has never been to NEPA, but she has heard about it thanks to her own fan crush on the NBC sitcom “The Office,” which is based in Scranton.

“I don’t want to stereotype and assume that everyone [in Scranton] loves ‘The Office,’ but I hope they do. I think it’s so funny; I have Schrute Bucks on my wall!” Perry said.

The ubiquity of Perry’s pulsing, fuzzy dance pop hit in Scranton, and everywhere else, has helped the song cross over to Mainstream Top 40, Rhythmic, Adult Top 40 and Modern Rock charts, as well as register more than a million digital downloads. The track, inspired in part when Perry saw a photo of actress Scarlett Johansson, seems destined to become the song of the summer of 2008.

“I was out the other day and I heard it three times,” Perry said. “I am even getting annoyed with me.”

All this recent success, however, has been far from instantaneous.

Perry, the daughter of a pastor who was raised in what she called “a strict household,” has been around the L.A. music scene for nearly six years, previously recording a Christian gospel record in 2001. Studio and production work she did on pop and rock records steered her career into what became a series of false starts with various record labels. She landed on Capitol Records in 2007 with “Ur So Gay,” an EP, whose title track Madonna proclaimed “her favorite song right now” earlier this year.

“I think [this success] had to take as long as it did,” Perry said. “You’re a different person at 23 than you are at 17, or at 19. I think I make more of a point now.”

The current pin-up-girl-meets-pop-star image the brunette Perry possesses is certainly heavy on sexiness, more so when partnered with provocative song titles and themes. Make no mistake, though, she is not the creation of the label’s desire for a pop tart.

“There’s no packaging. I am very much in control, and very respected by the label. They know not to try to make me do something; I can smell the bullshit. I’ve seen it before.”

Perry says the next single off her album “One of the Boys” will be “Hot N Cold.” It will afford her the chance to show she is not just a one-hit wonder.

“It will be good to show another side of my music, but I am still not sick of [“Kissed”]. Not everyone knows who I am yet. I hope they will. … I make no apologies for wanting to have success; for wanting to sell records and play stadiums. I want it all.”

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go:

What: 2008 Vans Warped Tour

Who: Katy Perry, Gym Class Heroes, Against Me!, Story of the Year, Say Anything, The Academy is…, etc.

Where: Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain, Scranton

When: Sunday, July 27, 12 p.m.

Tickets: $24

Info: 570.961.9000

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