Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Alex Gaskarth, All Time Low

In Does Rock 'N' Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz a grizzled artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. This week: All Time Low frontman Alex Gaskarth

1
Name three pop stars you parody in your ‘I Feel Like Dancin” video.

“We definitely did Katy Perry‘s ‘California Gurls’ because I finally got to be naked in a video. There’s a Justin Bieber parody in there as well, and the iconic Lady Gaga ‘Bad Romance’ vinyl suit dancing part.”

CORRECT.

“That was fun and one of our higher budget videos. We had free rein to make it ridiculous. We ended with the Lady Gaga scene, so we were in platform heels and latex suits from head to toe, having to do a choreographed dance after a 12-hour video shoot. It was the most brutal thing – shooting that for two hours, sweaty in vinyl, and having a hard time walking in heels. Katy Perry said she liked the video. We go way back with her – she opened for us on a big leg of a tour we did right before her first record blew up.”

2
Which sermon-giving rapper did you once do shots with?

“Oooh, I have no idea – probably on account of the shots!”

WRONG. It was Kanye West.

“Oh, OK! That was at the VMAs the year he flipped out [2009] and got onstage and gatecrashed Taylor Swift‘s award speech. Jack [Bakarat, All Time Low guitarist] and I were sitting one row back from Kanye, Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Kanye had a bottle of Hennessy, and turned around and said: ‘You guys want some?’. We were like: obviously! That would have been been insane enough, but then the Taylor thing happened and we were like: Oh my God! We’d never seen anything go so off the rails and become uncomfortable so quickly. We had to sit there through the aftermath of it. He left and never came back to his seat, but we were just mortified!”

3
Which five albums and EPs feature credits from both you and Mark Hoppus?

(Laughs) “Well, it would obviously be the two Simple Creatures EP s – ‘Strange Love’ and ‘Everything Opposite‘. Then it would be All Time Low’s album ‘Future Hearts’, and we both wrote a song for a City (Comma) State EP. Are you sure there’s one more? Interesting!”

WRONG. You missed out McBusted’s 2014 self-titled album which you both wrote tracks for.

“Oh my God, of course! I’d forgotten Mark wrote songs on that. Blink-182 were one of the reasons I got into wanting to be in a band, so now to be collaborating with him and in a band together [Simple Creatures] is surreal.”

Will there be any more music from Simple Creatures?

“Absolutely. We’re already working on potential quarantine music while we’re all on lockdown. He’s in Idaho – he escaped while he still could – and I’m stuck home in Maryland, so we won’t be doing it in person but we’re sending ideas back and forth and we’re always talking about what the next steps are for Simple Creatures. It’s in the works.”

 

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4
Which boyband had a UK number one in 2010 with a song called ‘All Time Low’?

“That’s The Wanted.”

CORRECT.

“I know that because one of our manager’s managed them. I actually wrote a song with Max [George] from The Wanted once they split up and he was trying to do a solo thing. It never saw the light of day, but it was a dope song – it sounded like ‘Suit & Tie‘-era Justin Timberlake. He’s a very talented dude. I’m a huge pop fan – that sensibility bleeds through into everything I do – so writing for other artists allows me to fully scratch that itch without making All Time Low a boyband.”

5
Which singer once patted you on the head in a garden centre?

“(Laughs) Cliff Richard.”

WRONG. It was Rod Stewart…Unless you’ve also bumped into Sir Cliff ferreting through the foliage?

“Oh shoot! I screwed up – it was Rod Stewart! My bad! Wrong British pop personality! I was two-years-old so I don’t remember it that well, but my mom re-tells the story that he was standing behind us in line at a garden centre I turned round to say hi to him – the way kids do to strangers. She didn’t realise at first who I was talking to, then just went, ‘Oh shit!’. Apparently he was super-nice to me. Years later, our guitarist Jack was having lunch in Beverley Hills and ended up sitting across from him [Rod] and his son. Jack introduced himself and told that story – which Rod thought was insane.”

6
Which All Time Low song appeared in The Only Way Is Essex in 2017?

“(Laughs) That’s a good question! If it’s 2017, maybe ‘Good Times‘?

WRONG. It was ‘Dirty Laundry’.

“Agggh! Dang! Same record, though [‘Last Young Renegade’], so I was close.”

You grew up in Essex. Did you have the accent then?

“Yeah I did! We lived in a really chill small village outside of Epping. Our next door neighbours had really strong London accents, so I’d hang out with their daughter, running around like an Essex version of The Goonies, and come back with the thickest London accent. My parents – my dad’s from up north and my mom’s from Wales – were just like: ‘What? Whose kid are you?!’. (Laughs) People send me clips of The Only Way Is Essex saying ‘This is you – these are your people’ – but I’ve tried pretty hard to avoid watching it, to be honest!”

7
You’ve played shows at the grounds of two Premier League football teams. Which are they?

“Uh – Emirates is Arsenal, right? And then I think we played Manchester – so either Man United or Man City?”

WRONG. You supported Green Day at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in 2013. Chelsea have a venue underneath their stadium called Under The Bridge – which you played in 2012.

“Oh, Chelsea! That was gig was insane. That venue’s tiny and people were crowdsurfing directly onto the stage – and we hadn’t had the experience of playing a gritty punk show like that in some time and it was so fun. Our pedals were getting unplugged and it was chaos. The one at Emirates, opening for Green Day, was the complete opposite. It was one of the biggest shows we’ve ever played. We were inspired by Green Day growing up, so it was a cool full-circle moment, and that day they found out that my favourite song is ‘Nice Guys Finish Last‘ – which they hadn’t been playing. So that night, Billie [Joe Armstrong] dedicated it to us which was dope.”

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8
What is the alternative title of ‘Actors’?

“There’s an alternative title?! (Laughs) I don’t know – because we never officially put that song out. It was a song that I leaked. I always thought it was just called ‘Actors’. What do you have?”

WRONG. It’s ‘Captain Barnacle And the Reverse Cowboy Effect’.

“Oh my God! Yes! OK! (Laughs) That was the file name for the song, because this was back in the day when people’s demos were leaking and I was hyper-paranoid someone was going to lift it off my computer, so I’d give all my songs fake titles and band names. For a while, our fake band name was Little Ts And The Bogarts – so ATL backwards. So ‘Captain Barnacle…’ was the fake title I gave the song, and when I leaked it, I forgot to change it. When I said: ‘Here’s our new song ‘Actors”, the kids were like: ‘What?!’.”

9
In the ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ video, how much do drinks cost according to the price-list?

“Oh man! It’s probably something dumb like $666 or 69 cents? I’m going to say $4.50.”

WRONG. It’s $6 for ‘all drinks’ and $8 for ‘ladies drinks’.

“That video was an interesting shoot because we only wanted to hang out with the chimp [who features in the video]. He was great the whole shoot, but there was one point where he got over what he was doing and threw a chimpanzee temper tantrum and went tearing off around the club where we were filming. This is a baby chimp, but those things are strong as hell! So we couldn’t do anything until we was done having his little diva moment, but he was cute. All was forgiven!”

10
Can you name any two of the four British bands in All Time Low’s most covered songs, according to Setlist FM?

“(Laughs) Oasis has to be one right? I think this counts – we played ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)‘ by The Proclaimers a bunch?”

CORRECT. You could have also had Adele and The Human League.

“I’ve never met any of them, but we did once do a Lorde cover [of ‘Green Light‘] and she said that she liked it, so that was cool.”

The verdict: 3/10

“That’s terrible! I feel like I should have done better than that. At the beginning I was flying, and then I started dropping the ball.”

All Time Low‘s new album ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’ is out now. 

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