Rob: Danny, thanks for taking the time to speak to us – how’s the tour going so far?
Danny: Really good. I recently stopped drinking on tour, and I’ve been off the drugs for a while, and the difference it’s had on my voice and overall performances has been almost indescribable. It’s almost like I’ve just started touring again in a way, because I went the longest time without remembering shows, and people just told me that I toured for a living. I didn’t believe that I was a singer, I just thought that I was a guy that did drugs.
Rob: Is that an on tour rule now, or more general?
Danny: It’s an on tour rule – I drink off tour, I don’t do drugs anymore.
Rob: Last time you were in the UK you were playing smaller venues, how has the journey been for the band?
Danny: It’s been a tough one in the UK & Europe, because we’re much bigger in America. It’s definitely strange coming back and doing these smaller shows, we literally just got back from an arena run in the US, and it’s weird coming back and playing like, 1500, 2000 cap rooms. It’s nice to have these intimate small shows though, especially in Nottingham because it’s a very little known fact that the band started here – me and Ben moved here and started it literally 5 minutes down the road, so it’s always fun.
Rob: How does the preparation differ, if at all, between a bigger show and a small show?
Danny: With the big shows, we’re playing a longer time, but it’s also a lot cooler on stage – these smaller venues are intolerably hot, sweaty and sticky. It’s definitely a more vigorous warm-up process, just to make sure you don’t overheat during the show, but you’ve got to be careful not to heat yourself up too much to begin with, or halfway through the set you’re burnt out. It’s very difficult performing in that aspect, just to maintain your energy, and for me to maintain my voice and my breath in these smaller, hotter shows. In the bigger rooms it’s definitely a warmup for a much longer time, because I’m focused more on the longevity of my voice, and just keeping it strong throughout, without having to worry about it dying, and losing power towards the end. It is very different. Also, in the arena shows, in the morning you can go running around the venue, whereas here you can about 70 laps before you’re even breaking a sweat!
Rob: Are you playing longer sets on this tour than your last UK visit?
Danny: Pretty much the same actually – if anything it’s a bit more watered down, it’s the same amount of songs but there’s a little bit less talking and less stuff going on between songs, just because we can’t have our own production, it just doesn’t fit, and also the vast majority of our gear is over in America. It’s less time between songs but the same setlist.
Rob: So we’ll see that on the next tour?
Danny: Yeah, hopefully we can step it up again to bigger rooms where we can bring our own production and put on bigger shows.
Rob: Specifically on this tour, what it’s like being back on the road with Joe? (Lancaster, Bassist of With One Last Breath)
Danny: It’s great – he’s a character! It’s awesome having him back around, it’s been a long time since we’ve even played in the same room.
Rob: Do you guys still keep in touch?
Danny: Yeah, we still talk a lot. A lot of the guys still come back and stay in York and stuff, so we always hang out, and he checks in to see how we’re doing. It was an unfortunate situation, the reasons why he left, but it was kind of a mutual thing, everyone has stayed on very good terms, so it’s definitely good to be back playing with him.
Rob: So will we be seeing any crossovers in the sets tonight?
Danny: No, not as yet – I actually just thought of that today, that could be a really cool idea if he came on and played with us, so you never know.
Rob: You’ve been touring pretty much non-stop for 2 years now – who are your favourite bands to have played with and toured with?
Danny: Definitely Memphis May Fire, a brilliant band. Black Veil Brides are some of our best friends in the world, the Avenged Sevenfold guys were awesome, we’ve spent a lot of time with them, Alesana, again have become very good friends. We have so many friends within bands – we’ve been lucky enough to not really tour with people we don’t like. There aren’t many bands where I’ve been like “wow, I wish I’d never fucking met you” – there have been a couple, but not many, we’ve been very lucky in that aspect.
Rob: Looking at a trend these days with classic bands reforming, to name but two in Refused and At The Drive In who have reformed in the past week…
Danny: …Well, step away from that, fucking Black Sabbath, Van Halen, let’s get to the serious shit, fuck that stuff! Black Sabbath, Van Halen, that’s what I’m excited about.
Rob: They’re who you want to be on stage with then?
Danny: Yes, obviously we’ve had the pleasure of performing with many of those big 80s acts, and collaborating with them and becoming friends with them, and it’s always very surreal – sometimes you take a step back and think “wow…I just got off the phone with the singer from Twisted Sister…this is happening! This is my life now!” but yeah, it’s amazing, I have plans to work with a lot of them in the future as well, my aspirations definitely lie there, I want to work with Motley Crue at some point, they’re my all-time favourite band, I’d love to write a song with Diamond Dave at some point. I really hope that I can find some time on tour just to fly out for one day and see a Van Halen show and a Black Sabbath show as well.
Rob: We’ve seen from the band’s output, both with the Punk Goes Covers and the Remix album, there’s obviously a lot of different influences on the band. You’ve not just grown up listening to similar music to what you play, what sort of things would you say have influenced the band?
Danny: The complete opposite – my influences come solely from 80s hair metal. That’s the music I was brought up on and that’s the music I listen to, and I don’t listen to any music that’s not what I enjoy. Asking Alexandria is…the only metaphor I can come up with that really works, is a child being shoved into a swimming pool, when they’ve never been in one before, just shoved in, and finding out that they’re really good at swimming. That’s how I came to sing for Asking Alexandria. But I’m working on a solo album as well, and I’m really excited about that, because that gives me a chance to explore my rock and roll side. I’m just in love with the music that’s coming out of that, because it’s just me.
Rob: So are we going to see Danny’s 80’s Glam Rock songs on this album?
Danny: It’s not quite Glam Rock, the influences are definitely in there, but it’s very modernised, it’s just Rock and Roll.
Rob: And is that true for the rest of the band? How did the music come together, presumably you didn’t write much of the original material?
Danny: I did write them actually, I just found out I was very good at it. Everyone comes from very different musical backgrounds – Ben’s very blues orientated, James comes from the very very fast, heavy metal, same with Cameron – well, Cameron’s more of the slower, more hardcore stuff. Sam’s closer to what Asking Alexandria does, the more metalcore thing. But with me, Ben and James being the writers of the band, I have no idea how the sound happened, it really makes no sense. It’s just something that dwelled within us that reared its head at the right moment.
Rob: What do you see for yourself and the band in the next 12 months? Does the solo album indicate any sort of break from the band?
Danny: No, definitely not – we got our schedule this morning actually and it’s very busy, I’m going to cram in my solo stuff in where Asking Alexandria would usually be having a holiday or a break. We’re writing a new album right now, going in to record it really soon, that should be out late summer, back to back touring, we’re bypassing the festivals this year so we can get in some proper tours in other countries. A busy year as always.
Rob: And when are seeing you back in the UK after this tour?
Danny: I’m not sure, but I don’t think it’s too long, we’ll definitely be back later this year.
Rob: We look forward to it. Thanks for your time.