School of hard rock


POSTED: Friday, June 12, 2009

While other high-schoolers were prepping for college, Alex Gaskarth was working on perfecting his songs. Even then the All Time Low front man's aspirations to become a rock star were not just frivolous dreams.





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“;We would play in Maryland on weekends and then do short tours during spring and summer break,”; he said. “;By our senior year we were faking college visits to go meet with record labels.”;

Gaskarth co-founded the pop punk band with guitarist Jack Barakat back in 2003; Rian Dawson became the band's drummer, and Zack Merrick later joined the group as a bassist. They signed with Hopeless Records just months before graduating from high school in 2006.

“;The day we got signed to Hopeless Records, Jack and I had to pretend to go the bathroom to get out of class and take the call,”; said Gaskarth.

Even if they hadn't been signed, he wouldn't have abandoned his dreams of becoming a musician.

“;I would just keep doing this until I could make it work,”; he said. “;Music isn't about being on a record label. It's about finding your own path to success.

“;Eventually, everyone finds their way. We just found it at a young age before we really had to battle with not being in college.”;

Inspired by Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters and Third Eye Blind, the band has already released two albums and is scheduled to release their third, “;Nothing Personal,”; in early July. They're also scheduled to begin touring with the Vans Warped Tour around the same time.

According to Gaskarth, the name All Time Low comes from lyrics to “;Head-on Collision,”; a song by New Found Glory.

“;When we needed to think of a name, that CD has just come out,”; he explained. “;There is a part where the music all drops out and they sing, 'I'm at an all time low.' That just sort of stuck and we made it our name.”;

One of the band's biggest honors was being named Band of the Year by Alternative Press.

“;We worked really hard last year and toured almost 300 days of the year, so for someone like Alt Press to recognize our work was incredible,”; Gaskarth said.

Another grand accomplishment is that the band is now headlining shows in Japan and Australia. “;We're on the other side of the world and kids know all the words to our songs,”; he said. “;Every day when we take the stage, it blows my mind to think of where we are and the fact that our band has made it this far.”;

The boys in the band realize that much of their success depends on fans, and they do their best to show their appreciation. After shows the group usually sticks around to sign autographs.

“;Most of the time, fans are really cool. It's really flattering to know kids will stand outside our bus after shows for hours just to get an autograph or a hug,”; Gaskarth said. “;Every now and again, we get someone crazy that takes things too far. ... Luckily, that doesn't happen too often.”;

What's next for the band?

“;The moon! Someone has to play it eventually,”; said Gaskarth. “;But, seriously, our new CD drops July 7, (and) as soon as it drops, it opens up a whole new chapter in our lives.”;

And after visiting the islands last year, All Time Low is ready for another visit.

“;This time we were smart about things. We're flying in on a Monday for a Friday show, so we have a bit of vacation and relaxation time,”; Gaskarth said, noting that time off is key for the hard-working group.

“;We are only home one to two weeks at a time, so we just take it easy and do as little as possible before we hit the road again,”; he said. “;Lately, we've been playing a lot of volleyball at mine and Rian's house.

“;If anyone in Hawaii wants to go at it, we're down—just let us know where we can find a net.”;