Thursday, 17 March 2011

All Time Low - Birmingham 02 Academy - March 4th - with support from Young Guns and Yellowcard

A busier than normal O2 academy stands in front of me, tonight it seems like there are more people about and its for a band that hasn't had a album out in almost two years and yet tonight's gig sold out quick and the kids can't wait to get in and start rocking out.

I get inside the venue and its already hot with sweat coming down the walls, and tonight's event hasn't even started yet, all of a sudden the lights go down and there's a massive cheer as Young Guns take to the stage. The crowd love Young Guns, they can't get enough of their alt rock high pitched guitar sound. The Young Guns have a big following in the midlands and its no surprise why as they thrash about the stage and give the crowd a great show. They released there first album last year and they play the majority of tracks from it including 'Weight of the world' 'Winter Kiss' and the latest single, the hauntingly beautiful 'Stitches'. The Young Guns put on a great performance which is rather homed to perfection by now as they've been playing these songs for a few years and have got into a routine, its great for people who haven't seen it but for regular fans they need to ad something new in there upcoming tour later in the year, but saying that I was quite disappointed that they didn't play the stable fan favourite 'Sons Of Apathy'.

Next up is one of those bands I really dug back in 2002 but they seemed to disappear and randomly they've appeared almost ten years later on a tour which they fit into quite well, its just a shame that the audience here being quite young have never heard of them and so hopefully they're set will make people appreciate them like I did all that time ago. Well the band appears on stage and says "I have one question, did you guys come here tonight to see a rock and roll show? Did you guys come here to have the most fun in your entire life? We're Yellowcard, here we go!" and boom like a shot they break into 'Lights and Sounds' which goes out to a crowd that seems to enjoy the music but doesn't really know any of the words to sing along and jump around to, but they're punky violin rock goes down well. They bounce around and definitely have got better with experience. The sound is great with the violin being prominent throughout and the set includes two of my favourites 'Way Away' and 'Oceans Avenue' which they end they're set on and by the end the crowd have gotten into it and the band promise to come back later in the year, so hopefully they'll have got some new fans out of tonight's show.

The final act tonight and the band everyone here came to see is Maryland pop punkers All Time Low. The crowd eagerly await ATL and without any warning they jump out onto the stage and kick into 'Keep the change' which goes down to some of the loudest screams I've ever heard. They're set is pretty basic for the main academy but to be fair they have had there thoughts on making a new album instead of this tour which is a bit of a reminder that they're still here instead of plugging there new album that is still awaiting a release date. But people know they're still here and they're happy that they are with a set-list that includes all of there singles which makes every song a singalong and I'm sure the girls here can be heard singing 'Damned if I do' for miles around. The band sound pretty good and put on a good show which gets screams every time a member of the band get closer to the audience, but the bands main selling point other than their catchy poppy songs are the banter they have. No gig is the same with these guys and that's always a good thing as you know your going to get something different and tonight the crowd are rejoiced with banter such as "this is the first show in the UK where people have been crowd surfing", "have you ever had a handjob at Nandos?", "it turns out you know how to party and you've come here to do it" and "can we not talk about handjobs when my parents are in the audience". but the best bit of creativity is getting a kid up on stage just because they think he looks like Harry Potter, which they then shout random spells out at him.

They sound good and the crowds in a good mood, they through in an extra surprise by doing an acoustic cover of Katy Perry's Teenage dream which all the crowd sings word for word leaving Alex with very little to do, but he flows into the acoustic track Remembering Sunday which sounds ever so sweet and is a nice change of pace. He leaves the stage and the band come back for an encore which gets the last bit of energy out of the crowd as they play 'Weightless' and 'Dear Maria, count me in' which ends the night on a high.

Overall tonight's gig was fun, it was a venue full of young girls which meant I went home with a headache from all the screaming they did but the bands impressed them and myself and although I am left feeling like there should be something more I know that everyone else here is satisfied and are a whole lot happier for seeing All Time Low.

Young Guns 3

Yellowcard 3.5

All Time Low 4

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

All Time Low Interview

I met up with All Time Lows guitarist Jack Barakat and drummer Rian Dawson backstage at the Birmingham O2 academy recently and this is what they had to say.

All Time Low have 3 studio albums (soon to be 4), played all over the world, have admirers in great bands such as Blink 182 and Fall Out Boy and are currently on a sold out UK tour. With all this in mind and the fact that people know allot about you, what can you tell us that about All Time Low that people might not know?

Rian: I think a lot of people hear or read something like that and assume that it was kind of a because that's the case with a lot of bands but we've been a band for going on 9 years.

Jack: Yeah like 8 or 9 years now, it's been a long process.

Rian: We've played tons of tours to 10, 15 or 20 kids and toured in vans and all that. I think it's an important step in any band to build roots and to respect the fact that you do have fans no matter how many there are. It's kind of easily overlooked especially when people just find out about a band they assume that those guys are big now because they've had a radio hit, but for us there's never been a radio hit at least not in the US (laughter)

Me: Cool, is there anything else you can think of?

Jack: We also have very small wangs

Rian: People already know that by now, it's common knowledge

Jack: And we use the word wang (laughter)

You've done loads of gigs over the years, playing the world over from Brazil to Japan and your currently in the middle of a massive world tour, with all these gigs have you grown used to being on the road or do you still find it hard being away from home?

Jack: It's always gonna be hard but I think we've got a routine down. We're doing that same thing everyday so it's pretty easy and you quickly get a routine down.

Rian: It goes back to what I said about starting this early when the biggest tour we'd ever do would be going away for a weekend. That weekend then turns into a week and then that turns into a month so you kinda learn how to tour and keep up with the people at home. It was a process of learning, you learn how to tour and you have to get use to it or else life just sucks. If we're miserable on tour then we're miserable for most of the year and that just wouldn't work.

Me: Is it hard being away from family and girlfriends?

Jack: Yeah

Rian: Yeah we all have loved ones whatever that may mean but it's part of the job and it sucks. Do we wish we could take them with us? Yeah but it's one of the few downfalls of this job otherwise we'd have the best job in the world. You just keep in touch as best you can and hope they are there when you get back. I hope my mom doesn't move on (laughter)

Your new album "Dirty Work" is due for release soon, how did the recording go, was it fun to make and what can the fans expect from it? And do you have a release date yet?

Jack: No release date, it was very fun to make and it took a really long time. We had a lot of time to do it, there was no pressure and there was no time limit. We started last January, Alex went into the studio with some producers, so I mean it was a long process and we didn't get the masters back until last week.

Rian: We did it in a not unorthodox but an unusual way for a band. Usually a band goes into a studio with a producer, nails the record in 2, 2 and a half months where as with us, like he said in January of 2010 Alex went and started writing stuff. We'd go on tour and then we'd be home for a month and we'd record some and then we'd go back and tour. We'd kinda just bounce back and fourth and it really spread the whole process out a little bit. It's kinda cool because as soon as you were fed up with recording you could go on tour and then as soon as you were ready to go back to record it was time to record again. It kinda made it a nice easy process for us but in the end it did take a long, long time. Like he said, 14 or 15 months later we're now getting the masters back so it was a process.

Me: So it's been 2 or 3 years between albums

Rian: 2 years, we put 'Nothing Personal' out in July 2009 so we're almost up on 2 years for it but hopefully 'Dirty Work' will be out before July hits in 2011.

Me: It just shows your just as famous now, if not more famous now

Rian: Yeah it's a testament to the fans I think

Jack: We have very patient fans

Rian: We know a lot of bands that have to put out new music every couple of months because, you know there's just so much music out there that it's over saturated and people think well this is getting old, there's a new band lets grab onto that. Somehow our fans have stuck with us for that amount of time which in unbelievable.

Your video's all look like they where fun to make, which videos have been your best and worst to make? And is there a video being made at the moment for your first single of the new album?

Jack: We haven't picked the new single yet but as soon as we do we'll probably be shooting the new music video on the spring tour we have in the US. We have a day off when we'll probably go off and shoot it.

Rian: Our least favourite video I'd say is 'Poppin'.

Jack: It was fun to make.

Rian: It was fun to make and while we were making it I remember saying to our manager even if this video ends up sucking it's gonna look so good. Everything was like glossy looking and then we got it back and we were kinda bummed.

Jack: It was such a fun day. I think the worst one to shoot was maybe 'Dear Maria' because we did it at a strip club. Strip clubs are open like 12 to 5am so we got in there like 6am and started shooting until 12 so it was a long day.

Rian: My favourite video to make and to watch and I'm super proud of is 'Weightless'. I think that was a video with a concept that we were all stoked about and it's not often that you get the version back and it's so much better than you imagined. We got some shit for it because the video's kind of about poking fun at everything, whether it's interviews, fans or us we hit everyone.

Jack: That was cool because Hoppus and Pete were in it too.

Rian: Yeah Mark Hoppus and Pete Wentz came in to do it, it was just a cool experience and the end product was so much better than we imagined.

Me: It's a great video the way you poke fun at yourselves

Rian: We're in a band and not sitting behind a desk so we might as well have fun with it. We know people make fun of us and people know we make fun of them so why not have a good time, it's music.

You sold out this tour really quick, do you like it here in the UK and do you have plans to come back and do another tour later in the year?

Jack: This is probably our best market in the world so we'll be back.

Rian: Yeah we do better here than in the states for the most part. As far as coming back I know we're doing festivals in the summer.

Jack: We'd probably be looking early next year probably.

Rian: Be back for that nice UK winter again (laughter)

You played Leeds and Reading Festival last year and are due to play Sonisphere this year have you any plans to do more festivals in the UK and do you enjoy playing festivals?

Rian: As far as playing festivals we have a block of about 4 or 5 weeks for playing European or UK festivals. It's kinda hard to keep up with which ones we're playing because they all have weird names, but we are playing a bunch of them. We're not playing Reading or Leeds but I can't say for sure which ones we're playing in the UK.

Jack: We're not exactly sure yet but we will be doing something.

Rian: Playing festivals is amazing, it's such a different experience. One day your on stage playing before Blink-182, the next day before Foo Fighters and the next day before Iron Maiden.

Jack: It's interesting because they don't really have something like that in the US. The closest thing we have is maybe 'Coachella' or 'Lollapalooza' but those are different genres. 'Warped Tour' and 'Bamboozle' are very different than the festivals over here so it's a new experience.

Me: 'Warped Tour' is kind of like our 'Slamdunk'

Both: Yeah

Rian: Yeah but for 2 months

Jack: Yeah it's similar to 'Slamdunk'

Rian: It's a crazy experience, you have a chance to get many new fans and you don't get that opportunity very often.

Me: You'll be playing with bands like You Me At Six, Sum 41

Jack: Sum 41 are so fucking good live

Rian: We don't really have a chance to tour with all of these bands but doing this we get a chance to play for some of their fans. It's a cool mix and fans in the UK seem to be very receptive of new music, more so than in the states although I have seen videos of people getting bottled.

Jack: Luckily that wasn't us

Me: Did it all go well at Reading and Leeds?

Rian: Yeah it was great

Jack: The second day, I don't remember if it was at Reading or Leeds but there was hail and a lightning storm during our set.

Rian: It was cool

Jack: The funny thing was it started just before we went on and finished just after we'd finished. It was awesome, we were lucky because even if the fans weren't there for us they're still having a great time.

Social network sites seem to be a big tool in the music industry these days, with artists communicating with their fans over it and some even ditching their own website and having just a social network page, what are your opinions on social networks as tools in the music industry?

Jack: We've never been a band that's had radio success, we've basically built our entire career on social networking sites. It's paramount to our success today, one of the only ways fans can see when we're coming to their town is via myspace

Rian: Like he said our website right now is our tour dates and that's about it. When you can reach so many people so easily by typing ''hey guys we're playing a second show in Manchester'', there's no reason not to embrace it especially in this day and age.

One last question that we ask every band, if you could be an animal out of a zebra and a giraffe which would you be and why?

Rian: Giraffe.

Jack: Definitely a zebra because they're quick.

Rian: Yeah but giraffes aren't really hunted.

Jack: I'd say zebra because it'd be fun to run around and hopefully not get eaten by lions.

Rian: I'd say giraffe because you could just hang out and eat leaves and stuff.

Jack: Yeah giraffes don't do shit (laughs)

Thanks for you time; do you have a message for your fans reading this?

Rian: Thanks for being the best market that we have, seriously our biggest market is overseas.

Jack: Thank you, thank you, thank you

Friday, 4 March 2011

Good Charlotte Interview

I met up with Good Charlotte drummer Dean Butterworth and bassist Paul Thomas at the Birmingham O2 Academy on the recent Kerrang Relentless Tour.

Everyone has heard of Good Charlotte as you've had 5 hit albums, many top charting singles and have toured everywhere over your 15 year history, but what can you tell us about the band that people might not already know?

Dean: You really stumped us with that one

(Long pause)

Paul: Er the first show we ever played was our high school talent show


Me: I suppose its a hard question seeing as people already seem to know everything about you guys

Paul: We have gay sex every night

(everyone laughs)

Dean: No we don't. We all really like hanging out together, people probably know that but say after gigs we some times hang out and watch movies together and on days off we hang out. We like to take saunas together on days off and sort of detox and sweat, you know, not detoxing from anything weird but yeah just to sweat, men sweating its a good thing.

Paul: Er I don't know about that, I don't get into the dude soup.

Dean: Everybody knows everything about us

Paul: No your onto something, we're like family and everyone that works with us says where not like other bands.

Dean: Yeah, allot of bands don't hang out at all, but we really enjoy hanging out together and especially on 'Cardiology' we are really inspired after spending time being at home and doing family things, we're now as hungry as ever to get our music out their and play it to as many people as we can here on planet earth, and to any other planet that wants to hear it.

Paul:Bet you didn't know that, did ya!

You've done loads of gigs over the years, playing the world over from the U.S. to Japan and your currently the headline act on the Kerrang tour, with all these gigs have you grown used to being on the road or do you still find it hard especially since most of you now have wives and children?

Paul: Its hard but it's all I've ever done, all my life.

Dean: Music is an interesting thing as there's cycles on every record, so you put an album out and you get to go home, which means you get to spend quality time with your family that most people don't. We where home for a long time and you wake up everyday

Paul: And do what you want to do

Dean: Yeah you live your life with your friends and family, and then you come out, work hard and travel for a year or 18 months on a record. And we probably wont take the two years off next time

Paul: Yeah, we where starting family's and stuff

Dean: Yeah, we want to get another record out quickly. But I wouldn't want it any other way, as far as I can remember, I used to look at record covers or watch bands on TV and it was all I ever wanted to do. So it's hard to complain, even though we do sometimes,

Paul: Usually when where hungover

Dean: Its allot of work but we all have the best lives, and all of us are super grateful for it.

Your newest single 'Sex On The Radio' from your latest album 'Cardiology' is due for release soon and the video is starting to get played on TV. Now it looks like a fun video to make, was it? And what was your best and worst videos to make over your career?

Paul: Yeah that was a blast to make, it was the first video in our history that we didn't have to do a performance for, and we where in costumes talking to complete strangers all day, in LA. The streets of LA are full of people who just want to get onto camera and get weird, so we didn't have to get anything out of anybody, so we walked round and went to different locations.

Dean: Yeah, we ended up on Hollywood Boulevard, which is really trippy, as any night of the week is an experience

Paul: Yeah we where like the least odd people out their and we where in costumes. The worst video, maybe 'The Click' because we weren't really involved with it, we just shot it at a performance at the TLA in Philadelphia, but its not a bad video still. Actually maybe 'Little Things' is the worst video we ever filmed.

Dean: For me the hardest video we ever filmed, since I've been around, was the one for 'Dance Floor Anthem' as where in the middle of a tour and we where so tired, remember how exhausted we where

Paul: Yeah I do, and it was like the dirtiest place too.

Me: What was your best video?

Paul: Best video.....




I don't know what would you say is our best video? The River?

Dean: The River was cool

Paul: Predictable, with Billy's artwork?

Dean: Predictable was an awesome video.

Paul: We should get Billy to direct a new video, that's what i think.

Dean: I like Girls and Boys video, I like the vibe with the old lady's.

Paul: I have a feeling that the best video ever will be the next video we are going to shoot, which is for Last Night.

Dean: It's going to be our next single in the US and Australia, and then probably over here too.

Me: That's a great song

Paul: It really represents allot of our life at the moment

Me: Party animals?

Paul: We are, where out here and enjoying each others company more than ever and sometimes that leads to a few drinks, but hey that's rock n roll.

You have a greatest hits album out at the moment,

Paul: Greatest tits album, (laughs) that's what I thought you said

which has all your singles on, now I heard you only found out about it when it had been released. Would you have made this album if you had the choice and what songs would you have put on it?

Paul: hmmm, good question. If it was released after Cardiology making a total of 5 albums then... maybe.

Dean: Its that thing of when you change record labels, they're gonna do what ever they can to keep making money out of you. Now there's a new record out and where touring, they can make more money, and so their in the business of making money, so that's what they're going to do.

Paul: So now people who might not know Good Charlotte might be tempted to buy the greatest hits album instead of Cardiology, which is a bummer.

Me: Would you have put just singles on an album or would you put some B-sides or ones that are fun to play?

Paul: See that's the problem when it comes to doing our set-list, there are so many songs that we like and each one of us feels different and when it comes to picking songs and coming to common ground its probably not a good idea to put it in our hands as we'll probably never decide.

Dean: Yeah, but when it comes to greatest hits its going to be singles, but if we ever did release a greatest hits we should put it out with videos in a package, it'd be neat.

You've come to the UK quite allot over the years, so you know it pretty well. I have a list of a few things that I'd like you to tell me, what your favourites are from the UK;


Paul: I'm a big fan of English breakfasts, I had one this morning, they don't do that back at home at all, like the beans, mushrooms and tomatoes, its good shit!

Dean: It might sound weird but there's allot of great Indian food over here

Paul: the first time I ate Indian food was over here, and now I love it

Dean: But yeah Fish and Chips, the standard shit.

Paul: Nandos, we've been eating allot their recently


Paul: Yeah over hear you guys use sugar instead of corn syrup, that's why your Sprite tastes different to me. But Sprites my favourite drink but I prefer our one with corn syrup. There's allot of beers I could name.

Dean: I like PG Tips

Paul: Whats that?


Paul: Oh that stuff where there's a box of it?

Dean: Yeah

Paul: Ah, see I'm new to that.


Paul: So many,

Dean: The Beatles

Paul: Yeah I guess the Beatles, but every band I loves from here; David Bowie,Rolling Stones, The Police, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

Me: I hear your fans of The Gallows too

Paul: Yeah, they're great, I just got turned on to them. The twins have liked them for a while now and keep playing their music here backstage.

Dean: I love Steel Pulse and UB40 as their from here in Birmingham, I love Reggae. We could talk about favourite bands, and for me and Paul all our favourite bands are from England, there are some great American bands but talking influential, bands from the UK definitely are the best.


Dean: Glastonbury, I've played it a bunch, and I love Reading and Leeds too but all of them are killer

Paul: Sonisphere was allot fun, I became a fan of many bands that day, I'd never seen Placebo or Rammstein

Dean: Yeah we got to see Anthrax, my friend drums for Anthrax and its always good to hang out, and I got to see the Gallows with my boys from Papa Roach, that shit was crazy.

Football Team

Dean: Man United

Paul: The Washington Redskins

Dean: I like that

Paul: I do play Fifa, but I don't have a favourite team.


Dean: London for me

Paul: Leeds, it was new. Did we have a day off there?

Dean: Sure your not thinking of Cardiff?

Paul: No, I remember Cardiff being mind-blowing!

Dean: But if you where to do anything, then London

Paul: Yeah anything you want to do is their, and normally at any hour.

You played Sonisphere Festival last year which along with your special Koko gig marked your return to the UK, now you've done this Kerrang tour, have you got any plans to return later in the year for more gigs and festivals?

Dean: Absolutely

Paul: Definitely, this our new home away from home, over here. We'll most likely be over here more than the states this year.

Dean: Right now is when we're booking festivals and our team is look for the right ones for us during the summer time, and we want to do another UK tour by ourselves and/or with another big US band or even another UK band. We've been talking but we can't really say anything.

Paul: We don't want to get people excited and it not happen.

Dean: We want to focus on the UK and being out in the world, and play lots of shows and keeping active. We want as many people to see and hear us as possible, as this tour has been really successful and where really grateful for all the fans coming out.

Paul: This has been the most successful tour, with the most shows. We've come from not playing sold out shows to an entire tour of sold out dates. Were playing with big rock bands again, that actually rock, where seeing mosh pits and seeing crowds of half boys half girls and the crowds are younger, which is great as more people are getting into us.

Sadly last week, it was announced that Guitar Hero is being cancelled, Good Charlotte have supported music video games since the amazing Donkey Konga (search for their ad on you tube) on the Game Cube. Do you play video games and have you played Girls and Boys on Rock Band?

Paul: Yes and Yes and Deans No and No

Dean: I do I play, I can do guitar but I can't do the drums.

Paul: But he plays real drums so well!

Dean: Yeah, I suck at the drums and when I last did it I was like fuck I'm not doing that again. But he shreds, at all video games.

Paul: Yeah me and Billy are the gamers, Joel is becoming a gamer and he's into Call Of Duty, we all play it on-line. Dean and Benji and the least into games, but I play all kinds of video games.

Me: What games are your favourites?

Paul: Gears Of War, Call Of Duty's, Madden 11, Fifa, NBA 2k, um shit there's so many games, God of War and Devil May Cry.

Me: You Xbox or Ps3?

Paul: I am Xbox, but my lovely wife just bought me a PS3 for Christmas, so I finally have a blu-ray player now, so I went out and bought Resistance straight away for discount, but I haven't had time to play them yet.

Social network sites seem to be a big tool in the music industry these days, with artists communicating with their fans over it and some even ditching their own website and having just a social network page, what are your opinions on social networks as tools in the music industry?

Paul: Their pretty vital nowadays so it speaks for itself

Dean:I mean facebook and twitter, along with our record label we have someone who focus's on getting our message out over them. We do videos on tour that go out straight away onto youtube which keeps us engaged with our fan base. Its something we new about but we didn't give it the attention that new bands do, but we know now how great it is.

Paul: We realise how important it is and how it gets you all over the world

Dean: I didn't want to do it all at first, I was that guy, but I got my arm twisted and I'm on Facebook and Twitter and it gives that personal touch. Its also quick and easy.

Paul: Yeah, I'm not as good at it as like the twins are, as they've met famous people through twitter, they'll say something about a movie or music their into and some how it'll get all the way back to the person, like recently Micheal Vick the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Its crazy but its an evolution that where trying to hold onto in this industry.

One last question that we ask every band, if you could be an animal out of a zebra and a giraffe which would you be and why?

Paul: Just a Zeebra or Giraffe?

Me: Yeah.

Paul: Did you say Zebra though?

Me: Yeah

Paul: That's cool man. I guess a giraffe as I don't want to get eaten by a Lion

Me: I guess you could see them coming

Dean: I'd be a giraffe

Paul: but giraffes are messed up, I mean don't they let their kids die if they can't eat?

Me: I'm not sure

Paul: Oh man I'm sure there's some messed up stuff that I can't remember write now, but the giraffe one of the large five, are they one of the large five?

Me: I've no idea!

Paul: Good question, which one would you be?

Me: A zebra as I prefer their colouring

Paul: Your going to get skinned alive for that colouring!

Thanks for you time; do you have a message for your fans reading this?

Paul: Thanks to everyone that's come out to our shows and made our lives so much better

Dean: Yeah, we are really grateful and I always say that if we could meet everybody then we'd love to, as our gratitude is enormous

Paul: An extra big thanks to everyone who bought Cardiology

Dean: Yeah, so Good Charlotte family we love you, thank you and we can't wait to see you at a show soon!