Q+A: Asking Alexandria
The frontman and lead guitarist of the outlandish metalcore band share—maybe even over-share—with INKED.
BAND MEMBER PHOTOS BELOW ARTICLE
Considering they pride themselves on being hedonistic hellraisers, it’s probably no surprise that Asking Alexandria singer Danny Worsnop and lead guitarist Ben Bruce jovially make fun of themselves and the lunatic circus they are a part of, confessing to all sorts of sins. Don’t be fooled by the aggro, metalcore-flavored sounds on their third and latest album, From Death to Destiny; they’re soaking in booze, babes, and bravado. Just watch their short film, Through Sin + Self-Destruction—a narrative collection of videos from their second album, Reckless & Relentless—to witness what Ben calls a documentary of their lives, which are clearly inspired by ’80s-era debauchery.
In spite of their potentially debilitating excess, Asking Alexandria’s music has evolved on its most recent album, with Danny singing more (after a recent vocal recuperation) and the group churning out melodic, ’80s-style riffs with greater character. We got a chance to probe further into the British band’s decadence, their ink, and, as Danny says, their “fuck-uppery and sheer lack of regard for any rules.”
INKED: There is a lack of rock stars these days. Are you trying to bring that back?
Ben Bruce: Yeah, I absolutely agree, everyone seems to be little bit of a bitch these days. They’ve lost the whole spirit of rock ’n’ roll itself. I don’t think we’ve gone out of our way to bring it back. It’s just that we actually are a bunch of dickheads, so it just happens.
And you’re proud of it.
Ben: Totally proud.
You were banned at a club down South because you got fans to hang from the ceiling, right?
Ben: Oh God, yes. Danny, was that in Birmingham, Alabama?
Danny Worsnop: Yeah. They tore the ceiling down.
Did you ask them to do that?
Danny: I don’t likely remember.
Ben: I remember. It was when we get the crowd to crouch down on the floor and jump up. It was a particularly low ceiling, so Danny said, “I want you to jump up and not let go.” So they did, and the whole roof caved in.
What did the club do about that?
Ben: They fucked us. They sued us and banned us from the area.
Did they win?
Danny: We didn’t have much on our side for that one.
Ben: It was all on film. We couldn’t deny it.
You definitely like to talk about partying and chicks, but that’s not everything that this new album is about. There is a tiny bit of growing up going on.
Ben: There’s a tad of growing up going on. Danny would disagree that I’ve grown up at all, but I think we’ve all grown up a little bit. I think we’re a lot more competent song-writers and musicians now, and it shows through the record. There are still songs about partying and stuff like that. Danny wrote the lyrics. He went through some shit times during this record and some good times, so it shows.
Danny, what’s the most personal song for you on this album?
Danny: Probably “Moving On.” It’s a story through my life. [It’s about] always leaving something behind, and coming to this life expecting to fill a void and being painfully aware that you’re always going to need that. It’s still lonely and difficult to be on the road … away from home and away from our friends. It gets hard.
From Death to Destiny was recorded in eight different studios on three continents, and you had vocal issues. Do you think there is a sense of angst or anger that you brought into this album because of that?
Danny: I tore a vocal cord. The problems weren’t related to the album; they were just personal things. I disappeared for a while. There were a lot of problems trying to get my head into the right place.
You guys spend a lot of time touring in America. What do you love most about touring here?
Ben: I love the fact that there is fucking Wi-Fi everywhere. We go to Europe, and there’s no internet. It’s a nightmare. That fucking blows. We all moved to the States about six years ago now, so this has almost become home to us. When we’re touring the States, we’re most comfortable here. We’ve got our tour buses, and our friends and our family are around us. It’s like we’re home.
Danny: To me, when we go over to England it’s like an American band going to England.
So if you have family coming with you on the road, are you more aware of when you’re acting like an asshole?
Ben: We’re definitely more aware of when we’re acting like an asshole, but we just don’t give a shit.
Danny: They know what we’re like. We’ve been like this our whole lives. Nothing’s changed because we’re in a band.
Who’s the biggest prankster in the band?
Ben: We don’t really play pranks. We’re usually too drunk.
You guys have a ton of ink.
Danny: I do—a whole bunch of crap.
Your right arm is covered in trippy imagery, including dragon faces and skulls, with a little bit of pastel color thrown in there.
Danny: My right arm was done by a guy called Sean Zee. We pieced together a bunch of different designs and created this big, evil pile of color on my right arm. The rest is by a guy called Clint Cummings from Texas. I’m seeing him in a few days to have another session.
So did Clint do the Fender Telecaster and “Forgiven” tattoos on your left arm?
Danny: One of them was done in Dubai by a woman whose name I don’t remember, and the other was done by Sean Zee. He did my hands and the Telecaster.
Who inked “Fuck This” on your fingers?
Danny: That was a guy in San Diego, and I don’t remember his name. I only got that one piece, I think.
What was the inspiration for your right arm?
Danny: There is none. [Laughs.] It’s just a bunch of intense shit.
As you add more tattoos later on, do you think they’ll have more significance for you?
Danny: No, I’m the worst at meaningful tattoos. All my tattoos mean … I like tattoos.
Where did “Forgiven” come from?
Danny: I got “Forsaken” first on my right hand … and “Forgiven” went alongside it. The “Forsaken” was the first tattoo I got, and I can’t remem- ber for the life of me why I got it. It just looked good in the font.
What other ink do you have on your body?
Danny: On my leg, yeah. I got a bunch of stuff on my right [leg] when I was drunk on alcohol or other things over the years. I got a lot of wild shit on there that people have done. I didn’t think at the time that when you give drunk musicians even so much as a pencil, they’re going to draw dicks, so I’ve got a couple of dicks tattooed on me, crudely and with little to no technique.
Ben: You’re welcome.
Ben, did you ink stuff on him?
Ben: I did, actually. Probably one of his best pieces is a little stick man jerking off and it says, “I like Ben’s penis ’cause it’s exactly like mine,” or something like that.
You have such a comfortable bromance.
Danny: It’s a second calling to Ben. It came naturally to him, and I think he has a bright future in stick-figure tattooing.
Ben, you have said that you have a lot of “shitty smiley faces” on your body.
Ben: I do. I have two smiley faces on my knees. One of them says, “Laugh Out Loud.” One of them says, “What The Fuck?” They are just the worst things you’ve ever seen. In fact, I blame my drinking habit on those tattoos because I’m constantly trying to get drunk enough so that I keep fall- ing over just in the hopes that the tattoos will rub off. It’s also what I blame my cock addiction on—as much time on my knees as possible.
What other stuff do you have on your body?
Ben: My right sleeve is basically imagery of “A Single Moment of Sincerity.” My left arm is the same thing, but for “The Final Episode.” They were just the first two songs we wrote together as a band, and they are kind of the reason we took off and are where we are at now. They just tell the story [of each song] in image form. I got two very large swallows on my chest—again, for my love of cock. It says “Family First Deposit.” Then I’ve just got a bunch of random shit on my legs and my feet and my ass.
You have a weird Jesus–Iron Maiden tattoo on one foot, correct?
Ben: I do, on my left. I have Jesus doing the devil horns wearing an Iron Maiden T-shirt, and it says “Lord of Metal” around his head. We’ve played with them a few times, but I’ve never actually shown the band [the tattoo]. I don’t know if they would be impressed.
Who did your ink?
Ben: Sean Zee did all of my good, legit stuff on my neck, my arms, and my chest. Everything else was by random tattoo artists in random shops. [Bassist] Sam [Bettley] actually did one on my ass. That’s good.
What is it?
Ben: You know when you go to the cinema or the mall and you see those emergency exit signs? That little dude running out the door? I’ve got that guy running into my asshole, which is pretty good. I’ve got another tattoo on my right butt cheek that says “Noon Groovers” because I like to groove at noon, apparently. It sucks because I was in the bathroom the other day taking a shit, and I stood up and thought, Oh man, look at my ass—I can never, ever have sex with a woman ever again and walk away thinking, Ohhh yeeeah. They’re just going to watch me walk away and think, What the fuck did I just have sex with? What a dickhead.
Danny: You can’t be a badass. Just wipe your dick on the curtain and leave.
You guys are a public service announcement on why not to get drunk and get tattooed.
Ben: No, do it. Go for it. I think it’s hilarious, and I don’t want to be the only one dickhead left. I want everyone to feel my pain. So, yes, go ahead, do it. It’s a great idea.
Danny: Bring everyone else down with you.
How much alcohol tolerance do you guys have at this point? How much do you tend to drink in one night?
Ben: I normally drink a bottle of whiskey myself at night plus however many double vodka Red Bulls and however many beers. I’m probably dying slowly but surely.
Danny: And I don’t know how to count.
When you played the Best Buy Theater in New York about a year and a half ago, there was a line around the block early on. Why do you think they were willing to get there so early?
Danny: They thought the cast of Twilight comes to the show, but it was all a lie.
Ben: They really have nowhere else to go because we sleep with all of them and give them all [a venereal disease], so our shows are more like a support group.
Danny: They just come to the shows to collect child support.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever done?
Ben: I had a guy ask me to sign his penis. He slapped his cock out on the table in front of me.
And did you?
Ben: Yes, I did.
Do you think he got it tattooed?
Ben: Maybe. I don’t know. That would be good.
Danny: We had a cool little gang bang with some fans who were very friendly.
Ben: Is that the one I was in?
Danny: No, I was thinking of a different one. [Ben grumbles.]
They must have been very friendly fans.
Danny: Very friendly. Very hospitable to my penis.
Do you ever worry about STDs?
Danny: I just pretend they don’t exist.
[Ben laughs.] Ignorance is bliss. As long as it’s not falling off, it’s all right.
Do you guys have a favorite tattoo of each other’s?
Ben: We’ve got each other tattooed on each other.
You’ve got each other’s names tattooed on each other?
Ben: You can’t see it. It’s in a special white ink. Right by my penis.
So you guys really love each other.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Danny: No, I think he’s a prick.
Ben: That’s what the tattoo says. “I think you’re a prick.”
What do you think your fans would be surprised to learn about you?
Ben: Nothing at this point.
Danny: I don’t think many people would be surprised by anything we did at this point. We’ve crossed the line of being able to surprise people. Everything is expected now.
Maybe your next album should be your born-again, Jesus phase. That’d be unexpected.
Danny: Well, that would be predictable. I’m due for that. In the schedule of rock stardom, I’ve had my downfall, I’ve come back, then I’ve had another downfall, then I’m back. So I should find Jesus pretty soon, take a hiatus, go to Tibet, become a monk, come back, then have a downfall again, and then I should be on the straight and narrow just to cruise from then on out. Or die.
You guys should have been around back in the ’80s.
Ben: If we were alive back in the ’80s, we might not be alive now.
To learn more about Asking Alexandria, visit askingalexandria.com
Q+A: Asking Alexandria The frontman and lead guitarist of the outlandish metalcore band share—maybe even over-share—with INKED. BAND MEMBER PHOTOS BELOW ARTICLE Considering they pride themselves on being hedonistic hellraisers, it’s probably no surprise that […]