Since Asking Alexandria swapped singer Danny Worsnop for Denis Stoff, founder member and guitarist Ben Bruce has become a more vocal spokesperson for the band. If he had his way, we’d all worship Harry Potter and listen to, um, Justin Bieber… You might not like it, but this is his Guide To Life!
“This is a bit of a cliche, but I honestly try to listen to every kind of music. I think over the years, as I’ve been touring more and more and writing heavier music more and more, I actually listen to less heavy music than I used to. When I was growing up and stuff, it was strictly Slipknot, Iron Maiden, Metallica, System Of A Down. And then I got into the blues, and I was listening to Gary Moore and Eric Clapton and B.B. King. And then I got into pop-punk, and was listening to Blink-182, and Sum 41, and Green Day, and I guess over the years, my music taste has grown. I listen to a lot now – I listen to One Direction, and Justin Bieber, and I’ll go back and listen to Slipknot. The only music I can’t really stand is jazz. Not good jazz, back in the day, like Miles Davis. I mean like modern-day, ‘I’m just a wanker’ jazz. Like shit that gets played in an elevator. If I had to pick an all-time favourite record, I don’t know if that’s possible. I’m going to have to say Appetite For Destruction is probably up there. That is the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll album of all time, in my opinion.”
“Honestly, I don’t know much about politics, so anything I say will be just as stupid as anything Donald Trump says or George Bush says. But I know an idiot when I see one and I hear one, and I speak English, and I know when Trumps’s saying something completely ridiculous. I feel like they’re just going to go down the route of George W. Bush again, and now even Americans make fun of the fact they had him running their country for so long. It’s like, well, why can’t you see that this is happening right in front of your eyes? In fact, this might even be worse. Talking about closing off American’s borders to immigrants – this country was founded on immigrants. I don’t know if I’m eligible to vote in the US election – I’ll have to look that up. I have a Green Card, so maybe. I’ve never voted in the UK. The only voting I’ve ever done is voting for myself to win Metal Hammer awards and stuff! I don’t know enough to vote – I could be voting for anyone. I could be that one vote that gets the dickhead put in. I’d vote on what shoes he’s wearing, or, ‘That’s a nice suit – winner’.”
“I fucking hate religion. I think it’s the worst thing in the world, next to football hooligans. I was baptised when I was a baby, and I asked my mum why, because we never go to church. And she was like, ‘Yeah well, in case we are wrong and there turns out to be something there, I didn’t want you to be denied just ‘cause you weren’t christened.’ You know what’s going to happen? Someone’s found a book called the Bible, and they’ve read it, and gone, ‘That’s awesome, this is the creator’, and has convinced everyone to follow him and believe in all this bullshit, and at some point the human species is going to be wiped out to near-extinction and we’re going to have to bring ourselves back up again and rebuild and recreate, and someone’s going to stumble upon Harry Potter, and they’re going to think, ‘That’s fucking brilliant’, and they’re going to convince everyone. It’s the same story – there’s the bad guy, and little Harry Potter who’d be the new Jesus, and Dumbledore who’s God, Voldemort who’s the Devil, and then in hundreds or maybe thousands of years into the future, people are going to be sat around talking about Quidditch and the game of the gods – it’s ridiculous.”
“I love TV – it’s all I do. I feel like the older I get, the lazier I get. I used to go out and get drunk every night and do stupid things, and now when I’m off tour I get home, I take my clothes off, and I sit on the sofa for however long we have off on tour, and I just watch any old crap. Alaskan Bush People, anything with Gordon Ramsay in it – amazing. Especially if there’s kids involved, because you see them trying so hard not to swear at them and hit them – it’s excellent. Obviously Friends – I’ve been watching it for years. Game Of Thrones is amazing, but it’s kind of been ruined for me now, because I’m good friends with John Bradley[-West], who plays Sam at the Wall, and now I can’t watch it the same, because I know what he’s like in real life. He’s a cunt! He’s not really – he’s lovely. There’s a cartoon show I watch a lot called Brickleberry. It’s got Daniel Tosh, an American comedian who reminds me of Frankie Boyle – he’s just an asshole. And there’s no boundaries. It’s very adult. It’s set in a national park in America, and it’s all based around the park rangers and this little bear they found that can speak English, but he’s just an asshole. Like Yogi that loves to have sex.”
“Am I into sport? I’d like to say yes and lie to you, but pictures of me online say otherwise. My beer belly doesn’t allow me to do sports, I’m afraid. I used to be really into sports. I took sports GCSEs when I was a kid – I used to swim, and play football, and lacrosse, and basketball. And then I was like, ‘Ugh, this is too much effort. I could just sit on my arse and play guitar and still get laid’. I don’t really watch any on TV. The other day I watched the West Ham vs Man United match, because it was just a big, important game – the last game they were playing in their home stadium [Upton Park]. It was fun – it was reminiscent of younger Ben. A lot of the guys in the band are into that UFC shit and I hate it, because it’s just so primitive. I feel like we’re doing the opposite of evolving now, as humans. Putting two people in a room – they get paid hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to get the shit kicked out of each other. I was like, ‘You could just go down to the pub on a Saturday night in England and get that for free!’ Why are they getting paid so much money to get bopped in the head? It’s a sad future.”
“I don’t know what my health is like. I think it’s alright. I’m 27, so if I don’t die this year, I should be good to go. I drink too much, so my liver’s probably shot. Other than that, I’ve not had any real health scares. I’ve never done a diet, fuck no! You see people that order beef burgers now, and instead of a bun they get wrapped in lettuce – fuck off! What’s the point in that? My sex life’s good. I’ve had to slow down, because I’m in a serious relationship now, and not slowing down before obviously led to my divorce, so I don’t want to go that route again. But it’s good, and it’s healthy, and I have sex – sometimes with myself. There are stalactites hanging off the roof of my bus…”
“We wouldn’t be here without our fans. Everyone knows we’ve just gone through a singer change, and a lot of the time that is the end of a band. If it wasn’t for our fans’ crazy support, we might not be here anymore. But the fact that they accepted him [Denis] with open arms is just testament to how great they are. We do meet and greets, and some days we cap it at 100 people, but 100 people every single day is a lot – especially if you’re tired. But we’ve never been grumpy towards fans because we are so appreciative and we do love meeting them. Fans ask me to do all kinds of weird things; I’ve signed a bunch of pensises and gooches. I got given a piggyback yesterday, by a fan, which is weird. Normally it’s the other way round. This girl was like, ‘I want to give you a piggyback. It’s my birthday tomorrow, and that’s my birthday wish.’ I was like, ‘That’s a really weird birthday wish, but sure!’ It was fantastic. I only got about six feet, but it was the thought that counted. And she was stoked.”