Interview: Asking Alexandria
They don't play by the rules, and their nasty reputation takes them everywhere. Meet Asking Alexandria, including guitarists Ben Bruce, left, and Cameron Liddell.
Hooking up with groupies, drinking mass quantities of alcohol and stopping cocaine-sniffing drug dogs in their tracks at international airports are part and parcel of Asking Alexandria’s lifestyle.
But while there’s no question that the fast-rising electro-tinged metalcore band loves to party, its formidable work ethic eclipses its hedonistic exploits.
Over the past 21 months, the British quintet has issued three releases: the wildly eclectic 2009 breakthrough album, Stand Up and Scream; the schizophrenic 2010 EP Life Gone Wild, which includes two faithful Skid Row covers; and its latest disc, the darker, more cohesive full-length Reckless and Relentless.
The new album capitalizes on the strengths of Stand Up and Scream while eschewing techno interludes in favor of more-accessible choruses and menacing industrial keyboards. The abrupt shifts between Asking Alexandria’s atonal breakdowns, twin-guitar harmonies and euphoric choruses might seem carefully planned and executed, but guitarist and primary songwriter Ben Bruce insists the band’s greatest strengths are its spontaneity and desire for self-satisfaction.
“If we stopped for a minute to evaluate what we’re doing, we’d probably second-guess ourselves, and that would be disastrous,” says Bruce, sitting on one of two double beds in the band’s room at the Comfort Inn, two blocks from Manhattan’s Times Square. “We’re all about going with the flow, working quickly and doing what we like to hear as opposed to what we think people want to hear from us.”
Clearly, Asking Alexandria are doing something right. Their video for Stand Up and Scream’s “The Final Episode” has been viewed nearly eight million times on YouTube, and the track “A Single Moment of Sincerity” has accrued more than 2.7 million plays on the band’s MySpace page. At this point, it seems nothing short of self-implosion will slow them down.
Of course, there is always that danger. In past interviews, Bruce has complained about vocalist Danny Worsnop’s inability to carry a melody when he’s too wasted. At the group’s March 29 show in Seattle, Worsnop’s problems became very public when he bantered belligerently and incoherently with the crowd, which replied by chanting, “Drunk piece of shit!”
Bruce took the mic and addressed Worsnop’s drinking problem head on, asking the crowd, “Who here will support us in putting my best friend through rehab and making him better?” After the show, Asking Alexandria posted a lengthy apology on their Facebook page. The next day, Worsnop posted his own response on Twitter through multiple messages, stating, “I officially am quitting drugs and getting drunk here and now.”
It’s unlikely Asking Alexandria will lose momentum even if Worsnop heads off to rehab for a spell. They’ve earned a loyal following by touring nonstop, hanging out with their fans after shows and communicating with them over the internet; an absence caused by Worsnop’s substance abuse might only cause their audience to care about them more.
Asking Alexandria are today’s youth gone wild. They’re charismatic, funny and rebellious, but more importantly, their fans believe in them because Asking Alexandria believe in themselves. They’re driven by their collective influences — from deathcore to emo — and they integrate them into songs that thrive with energy and diversity.
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