Danny Worsnop: "I tossed a coin to decide if I should rejoin Asking Alexandria"

Asking Alexandria
(Image credit: Better Noise)

Danny Worsnop has done and seen it all. The frontman helped put British metalcore on the map in the late 00s with hellraisers Asking Alexandria, only to quit the band in 2015, then rejoin two years later. He’s veered into debauched hard rock with his side-project We Are Harlot and launched a stripped-down country/blues solo career, and we’ve watched him live every one of his Sunset Strip fantasies before finally finding sobriety and happiness. 

Now, as Asking Alexandria’s seventh album, See What’s On The Inside, drops, he looks back at what he’s learned during his rollercoaster career.

Metal Hammer line break

My teachers recognised my potential

“I think that’s why they perhaps pushed me a little harder than other people. I think they saw people fucking around because they had nothing else to do and saw me fucking around because I was bored. They saw something in me and were on my ass because of it.”

I was never a metalhead

“I was a big Bon Jovi fan. I loved Bryan Adams, Aerosmith… Marc Cohn has always been an enormous favourite of mine. My grandfather loved singing the blues, so I gravitated towards that. I very much enjoyed Paramore when I was young. The only band I managed to talk people into being in when I was young was a Paramore cover band. We covered two songs, that was the extent of it.”

Put yourself in a position where losing is not an option

Ben [Bruce, Asking Alexandria guitarist] and I had come up with this beautiful plan: to form Asking Alexandria and move straight to America. We told the guys and their parents that we had meetings with record labels, a manager and a tour lined up. But none of that was true. We said that so everyone signed off on it. We got to America, and they were like, ‘Where do we start?’ and we’re like… ‘About that…’ But moving to America put us in a position where we had to make it. We didn’t have any money; we were living in a broken-down RV in a Walmart parking lot. We’re supposed to say, morally, that we’re not proud of what we did, but we think it’s hilarious… because it worked out.”

Playing non-stop metal tours in the early days held us back creatively

“I think we would have progressed [more quickly to be] closer to where we are now. More in the rock direction and not so angsty and edgy. I think that’s what we always wanted, but we didn’t think we were able to. It’s something that’s true and honest to all of us and what we started music to do. I think those tours kept us in that box for longer than we would have organically been.”

Quitting Asking Alexandria to focus on We Are Harlot proved I could do it alone

“I learned that I didn’t need Asking Alexandria. As an individual songwriter and artist, I found I’m capable of doing this on my own, which gave me a lot of security in myself. I also learned how other people operate, because I’ve never worked with anyone else. It was an interesting lesson in how unique Asking’s operating is. From the outside, it looked like a shitshow, but it’s actually an incredibly well-run machine.”

A coin toss determined if I would return to Asking Alexandria

“At first, I was only coming back to help out. I wasn’t even asked, ‘Will you rejoin the band?’ It was, ‘Hey, we just fired Denis [Stoff, AA vocalist 2015-16], we have to tour and don’t want to cancel. Will you come do it?’ I don’t even know if the guys know this, but I was in a bar and I tossed a coin! Ha ha! I texted Ben and said, ‘I’m in.’ I took my own crew, and I was on my own bus. We were together, but separate. I didn’t want anyone to get ahead of themselves and be like, ‘Danny’s back’, because I didn’t know if that was the case, but it was only a couple of weeks in before I knew this was where I was supposed to be.”

Danny Worsnop

(Image credit: Better Noise)

It's okay to take time off

“From me, going away [and rejoining Asking Alexandria], the biggest lesson for the band was an understanding of each other’s limits. Over the years, people lost people and couldn’t mourn or go to funerals. People missed children’s birthdays, first steps – really important milestones. It was really detrimental to our mental stability. We’ve learned now that sometimes people need a bit of time. We were adamantly told, ‘If you take time off, you’re done, your career goes away nobody is going to still be here.’ Bearing in mind, we only wanted a couple of weeks, maybe a month, off between tours after being on the road for three years straight, we were always told no. We don’t need to work like that.”

Now, we're in control of our own destiny

“As a band, we’ve learned Asking Alexandria isn’t everything. We can and should all put our personal lives first. We didn’t know it was OK before. Before, it was the be all and end all, our everything, our purpose. Now second is still really fucking high up on the priority list, I don’t want anyone thinking that there’s anything at all rocky in the band. There’s not, but we have learned boundaries.”

Real friendship will outlast anything you throw at it

“It honestly didn’t take long to get back into the groove again. In the studio, me and Ben got back into the flow on day one. I don’t think we sat there for more than two hours before it was cruising again. We’ve written together for almost half our lives. In fact, in three years, half of my life will have been spent with Ben Bruce.”

I will never reveal the meanings behind some of my lyrics

“I write in session as I’m recording, just me and my producer, and if I didn’t need him to push the buttons, I’d do it completely by myself. I don’t like writing in front of people because I do get very personal. It takes me a long time to even talk about what the songs are about and not right away. Ben’s got this new thing where as soon as I’m done he says, ‘Send me the lyrics, I want to read them.’ I used to be very protective over it, like, ‘I’m not comfortable with what I wrote yet, you’ve got to give me a minute.’ Now I send them right away because I’m trying to kick myself out of my comfort zone. There are some lyrics that I’ve still never talked about, even after being asked by the guys in the band; I’m just like, ‘You don’t need to know about that.’”

But sometimes, good songs don't have to mean anything

“Before [third album] From Death To Destiny, with the exception of Someone, Somewhere [from second album Reckless & Relentless], all of the lyrics were just from little notepads where I wrote lyrics as I came up with them. I pieced them together, none of the songs mean anything. They’re all just groups of lines that rhymed or that sounded cool at the time. If you read through them, they’re not cohesive, they jump between so many things. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter what I wrote them about, it’s what they mean to the listener.”

I admit I used to be a handful - but a bit of spontaneity is good for you

“I look back at bits of [my behaviour] and cringe, but realistically, and this goes back to seeing how other people operate, I wasn’t that bad. I was a handful, but I don’t think I was ever a nightmare. I was stressful [to be around] because I was unpredictable, very spontaneous, but honestly, I’m trying to capture a bit of that back into my life because I feel like I’ve lost a lot of my spontaneity. I just need to try and have it be a little less… insane.”

Everything you do to your body will affect it the next day

“I’ve asked advice far too few times in my career. I think the only person I’ve ever reached out to was [Avenged Sevenfold singer, M] Shadows when I was having some trouble with my voice. I was like, ‘You’re so consistent and you have infinitely more knowledge than me, is there anything you can do to help?’ He said two things: water all the time. Not just when you’re onstage – all the time. And whatever I do today isn’t going to affect my singing today, it’ll affect it tomorrow. It’s very much about staying ahead of myself.”

Asking Alexandria’s new album, See What’s On The Inside, is out now via Better Noise Music

Dannii Leivers

Danniii Leivers writes for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, The Guardian, NME, Alternative Press, Rock Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and more. She loves the 90s, and is happy where the sea is bluest.