Although All Time Low’s fourth full-length, Dirty Work, didn’t hit stores until early June (a delay from its intended spring release), the band have regained any lost momentum in the ensuing months. With one single in the bag (“I Feel Like Dancin’”) and another being readied for a U.K. release (“Forget About It”), the band have a full slate of upcoming tour dates planned to support the album, including upcoming runs through the U.S. and Canada. The quartet recently wrapped up a six-week stretch rocking massive festival crowds alongside luminaries such as Weezer and the Foo Fighters. To get the skinny on their recent travels and what the near-future holds, ATL singer/guitarist Alex Gaskarth chatted with AP about seeing himself in video games, rocking out with Rivers Cuomo and watching your idols turn into fans.
author: Brendan Manley
You just finished a pretty high-profile run through Europe. How was that?
It was really rad; we did all the summer festivals. I think it was six weeks. They line [festivals] up so perfectly throughout Europe and the U.K., so we were hopping around country to country. I think my favorite part was the lineups of the festivals were so rad. One day it would be us on the main stage with the Foo Fighters and Blondie, and the next it would be us and Weezer. It was really cool.
Did you hang with any of the icons?
I didn’t get to meet Dave [Grohl], unfortunately. They would always play last, and we were always running around when they were backstage. The one crazy story I got out of all of it was one of the first days we played with the Foo Fighters, we were walking offstage and Taylor Hawkins, the drummer, comes running up behind the stage and he’s like, “Dude, I missed you guys?” I’ve never met any of them before, and I was like, “Wait a minute…what?” He’s like, “Yeah, I wanted to check you guys out,” and I was so pissed, because we’re all such big Foo fans. That was a cool moment, to know that they actually know who our band is.
Rivers Cuomo recently joined you onstage for “I Feel Like Dancin’.” That must’ve been a trip.
Yeah, it was rad. Rivers and I wrote that song together. There just hadn’t been any good timing for us to collaborate together on it live, so that one day in Scotland he sent me an email a few days before, saying, “Hey dude, do you mind if I hop up and have a go?” and I said, “Absolutely not.” He jumped up and sang the second verse and had a good time with it. I think it gave something unique to the crowd there that night.
What’s it like working with that guy?
Weezer’s been a band that’s been super-influential on us and also just a band I’ve really looked up to for a long time. It was very cool. When the first whisperings of us working together began, that was already a shocker enough. Then you get to the point where you’re talking, talking about hanging out, figuring out days you can perform together… That’s just a whole other level of coolness for us. We’re such big fans, so it’s been very rad. He’s such a good dude; he’s very down-to-earth. There are a lot of stories about him being such a character and to be honest, he’s actually a pretty straightforward dude.
You recently appeared on the Mark Hoppus Show. How does one prepare for that, as opposed to other shows not hosted by pop-punk royalty?
It’s cool, because we’re all pretty close with Mark at this point, and it’s fun; it’s neat to see him doing that. It’s good to see that he’s got a lot of things going, so it’s fun to do. The funniest thing about it is that he completely changes once they say “action.” It’s really funny: He goes from being like your best friend and chit-chatting about bullshit, to [snapping] right into interviewer mode and suddenly he has no idea who you are. It’s really funny, like, “Wait a second, weren’t we just talking about dogs pooping?” That’s kind of cool—it’s a game face, I guess.
How have things been going otherwise since Dirty Work came out?
I think it’s been good. It’s been hard to follow, because record sales are just absolute shit. It’s been hard to gauge it by that, because you look at the numbers every week and you’re like, “Fuck, is something wrong?” But then you see all these other artists’ records coming out that are doing substantially less than they’ve done before, and it’s like, “Okay, maybe it’s just normal.”
So it’s kind of a weird place for everybody as far as gauging what’s happening, but it was one of those things where the numbers are lying to everyone right now, and we haven’t actually been in the country to see if kids still want to come to the shows. Overseas, it’s been absolutely amazing. The pre-sales for our upcoming tours seem to be going really well. The hype seems to be there.
I’ve scoured the Internet every now and then, and it seems like people are reacting really well to the new songs. I’m stoked on it, I fully believe, so I’m just happy to be back in the States and to be gearing up for the U.S. tours.
What do you have coming up in the next year?
This year, our next tour is a little bit of the U.S. and Canada, and then we hop over to Australia, Japan and Southeast Asia, because we haven’t been over there in a while. Then we jump back to the States for a U.S. fall tour that we’re still lining up, and that pretty much takes us into the winter.
The release of Dirty Work was delayed. Was that frustrating on your end?
It was a combination of things. There are big artists putting out records on Interscope, and also during that time there were some management issues at Interscope. As with many major labels, I think a bunch of people got fired. We just wanted to make sure we didn’t get caught up in that shit storm essentially, so we decided to hold off on putting the record out.
So it worked out to be a good thing?
It sucked at the time to hear that we had to push it back, but hindsight’s always 20/20, and I think waiting a few months was pretty much worth it.
I heard ATL were added to a Mike Tyson iPhone game, Mike Tyson’s Main Event?
It was kind of funny: A friend of ours who used to work at our booking agency, William Morris, went through a couple more jobs and ended up working for this company that was remaking kind of a tribute to that old ’80s video game, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, so they did this iPhone app called Mike Tyson’s Main Event. It’s essentially the same idea, like the timing and the punches and that sort of quirky, funny animation. They hit us up and they decided they were gonna do these increments of releases where they would release different “celebrity packages” each couple of months where they’d do an installment with a different group of people or a different band or whatever. They hit us up to be the first one, and that was really cool, because that game has so much of a nostalgia factor for everybody.
Are you guys interested in boxing, or it was just random that you ended up in a boxing game?
I think it’s more that we’re interested in video games. Anytime someone hits you up and says, “Hey, you want to be in a video game?” it’s like, ‘Fuck, yeah.”
Do your characters have any special powers in the game?
They all have these quirky special moves based off what we all do. I think my guy swings a microphone, and Rian [Dawson, drums] has a special move with his drumsticks. It’s pretty funny.
Is there anything else happening in the next few months regarding any upcoming releases?
We have some stuff in the works. As far as the new single, I’m not sure yet. That’s another whole game we’re letting happen. We do have some cool things in the works—I can’t really mention much of them—but there’s some cool things we’re chasing and possibly some fresh content and whatnot. Hopefully, we’ll have some things to keep it fresh soon.
We’ve heard you guys have a third guitar player for live shows.
We do. His name is Matt Colussy. He’s actually our assistant tour manager, but he used to play in a band called the Morning Light. They were on Fearless, and he’s a great musician. The record, and the way we wrote the record kind of called for three guitarists, so we pulled a Green Day and added in the unofficial member to help out live. It’s actually going over really well.
What else is going on? Any fun recreational experiences lately?
To be honest, we’ve already been on tour quite a bit this year. Touring is fun for us, so we’re just stoked to be back out on the road. We’re excited to be back in the States, having spent some time overseas. It’s going to be fun to get back out on the road over here.
Are you looking at another two years of promoting the album?
I guess so, unless the record fucking tanks and we have to do a new one sooner. I think we’re just buckling down to grind it out.