My first (and, thus far, only) time meeting Danny Worsnop was on a Zoom call during a global pandemic. I can’t quite say that was the way I’d planned meeting one of hard rock’s leading frontmen, but here we were – me in my office and him in a newly-created studio at his home in Jacksonville, FL. At the age of 29, Worsnop is just getting started with a career that feels like we’ve known him longer than most of his peers. Having been a part of five studio albums from Asking Alexandria (he was absent on The Black) and two solo albums already released, he has the aura of a veteran.
One of the first things that hit you about Worsnop is that the guy is exceedingly comedic face-to-face. Hysterical. I might have had too many La Croix or been in the house too long, but I found myself laughing more than usual in an interview. Most Asking Alexandria fans likely already know about Worsnop’s sarcastic, dry sense of humor, but getting him off stage and one-on-one, his off button doesn’t exist; it’s just who he is. His natural personality comes across vivaciously, even in a digital sit-down.
On May 15, the band he fronts, Asking Alexandria, releases their sixth studio album, Like a House on Fire. As a band that has gone through a wild evolution the past decade, I don’t have any clue what to expect from this new album – honestly, that’s a good thing – and Worsnop will double down on this. The element of surprise makes this record very intriguing, especially as Worsnop comes off his solo career’s sophomore release, a blues-infused rocker, Shades of Blue. He’s evolving, which tells me that Asking Alexandria can’t help but be impacted, as well.
So, here we were, stuck in our homes during a pandemic, talking metalcore, Martin Scorsese, and the future of the music industry as Danny Worsnop sees it. Laugh it up.
The obvious thing we need to address first is the sixth studio album from Asking Alexandria, Like a House on Fire, being released May 15. I’m going to safely assume that you and the guys didn’t plan on the album release being in the midst of a pandemic.
That was the plan all along. Actually, this was our doing. As everybody knows, as musicians, we’re incredibly wealthy – and wealthy enough, it seems, to create and distribute a new virus in the world, purely for the sake that we didn’t want to go on tour. We were lazy and we wanted to take a nap.
That was not the plan, but, realistically, it doesn’t really affect the album release in any way. If anything, maybe it will help, because there are people obviously at home. We’ve come to know that people aren’t buying music currently because they can stream it for free. From our standpoint, everybody being at home and being bored, perhaps that will translate to more streams.
What can fans expect from this album?
I think it’s a difficult question. We always have changed and evolved and adapted and experimented with every single album we’ve ever done. I think the only thing to expect is that again, that we kind of push boundaries, we try new things, and we do what it is that we do – which is create and test our own artistry.
If you had to point directly at an influence or driving force behind Like a House on Fire, what would that be?
There is none (laughs). There really isn’t one. I think everybody comes from a different place.
Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like we actively didn’t chase after any other sounds, any other artists, so it was very much just an organic experience.
Are you and the guys planning on having a full tour once it’s safe to have live performances again? Or do you think it will be a shortened tour?
I was hoping you could answer that question for me (laughs).
Oh, man. I guess you should have a full tour then.
We had planned for a full one. We’re really at the mercy of Live Nation. We have to respect them and hope that things open up and we can go ahead with the dates we have on hold right now. We’ve purposefully not released or announced them because we want to be sure that they’re happening so as to not let people down twice. To us, it feels like the right thing to do.
Asking Alexandria is not your only gig. You have two studio albums as a solo artist with your most recent, Shades of Blue, being released in 2019. How do you feel with a blossoming solo career taking off outside of being Asking Alexandria’s frontman?
It’s been great. The first record charted super high. That’s kind of my opportunity to lean even further into what we do in Asking Alexandria and explore everything and have fun and create music that I love and see what I can do. See what happens when I jump in other worlds.
So I did a country record. I think, in the U.S., it charted to No. 8 on the country charts, which obviously is an enormous feat. People within that world were like, “Man, that’s not how it works. Like, what you’ve done doesn’t apply here. You have to be an integral part of this machine because we’re like our own community, and whatever you did outside of it just doesn’t carry over. I’m sorry, but you’re just gonna have to learn the hard way.” And then I charted in the Top 10 and they all shut up (laughs).
Then they were like, “Do another one!” I was like, “Nah, I’m gonna do a blues album.” So, I did that, and I love that record. That record turns a year old on Sunday. I’m working on the third one right now.
I think, as a business owner – not only within Asking Alexandria and Danny Worsnop but within my other businesses, too – there’s a responsibility to make sure that all my employees and all my team and all my partners are taken care of. That’s been my biggest workload: making sure everyone’s taken care of, making sure everyone’s looked after.
Does spirituality play much of a role in your life, especially now during the pandemic? If so, how does that look for you?
Nope (laughs). I was very decidedly an atheist my whole life. A few years ago, when I went through a lot of personal growth, I was sitting and evaluating everything in my life and my opinion’s changed.
I do not consider myself an atheist anymore. I think agnostic, more than anything. I think it’s naive to definitely say in any way that there is or is not something or even what that thing is or what that thing’s involvement or role or absolutely anything is in the universe. I think it’s incredibly conceited of us to make any or even claim to make an informed statement or decision about that. We’re all stupid.
What have you been up to during quarantine?
Well, I have never been busier. I have a trainer that I train with, so I’m still able to go to the gym every day. That’s definitely been helping to break up the cabin fever. I go over to his place so I can get out of the house. We didn’t buy this place (Editor’s Note: Worsnop recently bought a new house) long before all this started – maybe a year – and I was on tour for all of that year, so we didn’t really get to decorating or furnishing the place. So we’ve been trying to lean into doing that. I’ve been trying to build this home studio.
And, within the studio, working on the new Danny Worsnop album. I’m also coming out with a series of covers that are going to be coming out every week. It’s to fill time and keep myself busy and keep my team and my people busy and keep them employed. I think, as a business owner – not only within Asking Alexandria and Danny Worsnop but within my other businesses, too – there’s a responsibility to make sure that all my employees and all my team and all my partners are taken care of. That’s been my biggest workload: making sure everyone’s taken care of, making sure everyone’s looked after. And when I’m not doing that, sitting in here making music.
If you had to pick one thing, what is the weirdest thing you’ve either done or that has been done to you during the quarantine?
Hmm… I don’t think I’ve done anything particularly— Well! This isn’t a weird thing, but, for me, this is the weirdest thing in the world. For anyone who knows my backstory at all, people are going to fall off their chairs. I stopped drinking right before this, like a matter of a week or two before this! It was the worst time on earth to decide to do that. Yeah, yesterday was my 90 days.
I’ve been painfully aware of all of this. I haven’t gotten to hit that sweet tequila delete button one time (laughs). Things go way quicker when you can just erase eight hours of it in a blackout.
Have you thought about doing standup comedy?
Yes. I’ve been working on my material, and I was intending on starting shows in April, but that’s the universe being like, “Ah, you’re funnier on Instagram.”
Are you acting in the new series “Paradise City,” put out by Sumerian Records’ founder, Ash Avildsen?
I’m not in the series. I was in a film. I mean, (I had) a cameo. We’ll call them a “Danny-o.” The Danny-o’s actually started in… I believe it was Sweden. They were filming some TV show back in our hotel, and I snuck out and snuck my way into like eight different scenes. So the Danny-o’s started there. And then I started doing it in people’s videos. I’m in this Memphis May Fire music video. I don’t sing in the song at all. I’ve got nothing to do with the song, but I’m just in the video. I was wearing a mask until the very end and then I just pull the mask and it’s like, “It’s me!” I did the same thing in a Falling in Reverse video. I was just in it.
I haven’t acted in anything in a long time. I have an incredible script that I got from a director that I love and we got all the table reads done. I believe he’s about done with casting. There were some delays with the studio that we were dealing with. Then this thing hit, and it’s put a hold on everything. We’re waiting to get that made, and I’ve got a couple of other things lined up that are set on the back burner. That’s my priority. I love the story. I love the script.
I hope the director is Martin Scorsese.
It’s not Scorsese; I’d take him though. Martin, if you’re reading, just hey, there’s an email address on my website (laughs).
I know Ben Bruce (guitarist, Asking Alexandria) is a part of the “Paradise City” series.
Yeah, Ben plays one of the girls, I think. Leading lady!
I think there’s a lot of opportunity for business, and there’s a lot of opportunity for musicians. We’re going to see a massive shift in the industry.
So many industries are getting hit financially by this pandemic, including the music industry. For fans of both Asking Alexandria and your solo music who have the means to do so, what can we do to support you guys?
Well, we have a new album coming out on May 15. Listen, I know it’s easy to look at us and be like, “Oh, they have money. They’re good.” But we also have families, we also have a very big team, we have a lot of employees, and we’re taking care of them as well. Yes, Asking Alexandria “the machine” brings in a lot of revenue, but that doesn’t just go into our pockets. We have a lot of outgoing expenses. We reinvest almost all of the money back into the business, bringing bigger videos, bigger shows, and hiring on more people so that we can deliver the best shows and products that we can. Everyone’s taking all the help they can get at this time.
I think that the entrepreneur in me acknowledges and encourages people to take hold of what is a lot of opportunities right now. I think there’s a lot of opportunity to make money. I think there’s a lot of opportunity for business, and there’s a lot of opportunity for musicians. We’re going to see a massive shift in the industry.
I’ve had this opinion for a while – and people said I was crazy and people said I was wrong, and if not for this pandemic, they might have been right – but this is hitting and I think I’m gonna be right. It was maybe ten years ago, and I was like, “We have about ten years worth of albums left. Albums are gonna die. Albums are gonna go away and eventually record labels are gonna go away.” We’re already at that point where people are still making them. I think more so because of the record label standpoint because that’s how they operate. But with streaming, people aren’t even listening to albums. People are listening to specific songs and playlists. I think we’re going to get to a point where it’s like, “Just put out singles.” And, honestly, thank goodness. They’re stupid. Because, listen, writing albums gives people way too much of an opportunity to be lazy. You write a couple of good songs and say, “Well, there are the hits.” And then (they write) a bunch of filler songs, because you have to hit whatever number for the label and the publisher.
I think it’s going to do super well. Machine Gun Kelly is doing it now, and he’s having outstanding success with it. I think this is the turnaround for the industry and the death of the bad stuff. It will force people to put out their best stuff. It’s standing by itself.
Asking Alexandria was posted on May 13, 2020 for HM Magazine and authored by Andrew Voigt.