Q&A with Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low
Sleeping with band dudes doesn't make you famous." The words scrawl across a closed door after the stock "band slut" walks in behind the drummer in All Time Low's new video for "Weightless." Just a few years back, the four Baltimore-based post-punkers wouldn't have known anything about that sort of thing. But they're now headlining their own tour, which has already seen sold-out crowds in various parts of the country. Lead heartthrob Alex Gaskarth took some time out to tell us about the experience of touring, necessary items on said tour and if he ever feared backlash for the scene-bashing they deliver in their new video.
Westword (Brian Frederick: How are things? Where are you now?
Alex Gaskarth: We're in San Fran today. Things are going really well. This tour's been phenomenal. It's been really, really good. We keep on chuckin' and it keeps getting better.
WW: Only a few years back, you guys were still on the uphill struggle; how does it feel now to have it all pay off?
AG: Oh, man, it's one of those things that's taken quite a while to build. It's been a combination of like a slow build, but you know, it's only been a few years in the making. So it's...it feels like it's been rushed. It's a strange balance. It's been phenomenal, to go from playing church halls and stuff like that when you're still in high school to headlining in front of a few thousand kids every night. It's amazing.
WW: You've been able to work with some of the biggest names in the industry now [Mark Hoppus, Butch Walker, Matt Squire] how does it feel to be working with the people you looked up to not long ago?
AG: Incredible. The whole experience is sort of a dream come true, you know?
WW: Bands like you have to be on the road for months at a time, what are the essentials that need to be packed?
AG: For us now, we tour in a bus, so there's a lot of down time. So a lot of the crucials are all the new movies that are out and basically video games. They're a huge thing for us. Definitely something to keep you entertained. We play a lot of sports too, so we'll bring out footballs, Frisbees, stuff like that for off days. It's a really good way to kill time.
WW: In your video for "Weightless," you rag on a lot of different groups and at times, get pretty brutal. Were you ever worried about any backlash?
AG: [Laughs.] I mean, it's all in good fun. We make fun of ourselves in the video, too, you know? Nobody's untouched in that video, so it was really more just kind of for laughs, and I think everybody gets it, and I think the stereotypes we address are pretty accurate. I think people mostly just kind of took a step back and laughed at it.
WW: Thanks to you guys, I've had your remake of Rhianna's "Umbrella" stuck in my head all day. She's been the center of a lot of attention in the media. What are your thoughts on media's interference with the lives of celebrities?
AG: It's a mixed bag, you know. I think celebrities wouldn't be celebrities unless people were talking about them. It's kind of a, uh, a love hate thing I would say. It definitely sucks when the media becomes invasive and releases things that obviously you wouldn't want known to the public, but at the same time, you know, if people weren't paying attention, you wouldn't be in the spotlight.
WW: Your MySpace claims that it's still run by the band, does this still hold any truth?
AG: Yeah, we do. We try to use all those social networks to reach out. Twitter has become a big one for us, personally, but you know, we definitely have a hand in running our MySpace, along with the people at our label. It's a great way to connect with the fans when maybe you're not on tour or you're making a record or something like that; you can still invite people into your world.
WW: It was leaked that you guys had recorded a song with Blink182 singer/bassist Mark Hoppus, but it never made it to the new record. Is there any chance it will be released?
AG: I don't know if we actually plan on releasing the song to be honest. The song didn't quite turn out how we wanted it to. That's kind of the nature of writing. What's more likely to happen is that I'll work with Mark again, and we'll work on some different stuff and see what comes of it.