May 8, 2019 Interview – Danny Worsnop
The old English idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” is something we all should remember when drawing conclusions about others. In fact, most of the time we do not know the whole story behind an individual to truly understand who and what they are. This couldn’t be more true than with Asking Alexandria’s Vocalist Danny Worsnop. Often boxed into the Metal world, Worsnop has a story to tell that is vastly different than what you might think, one that is deeply compelling and unique.
Finding comfort in music, he is not ashamed of who he is and he continues to share it with the world in the form of other efforts outside Asking Alexandria including We Are Harlot, his 2017 Country-inspired solo LP The Long Road Home, and most recently, his forthcoming album, Shades of Blue. His second solo album, Shades of Blue is full of raw emotion and pure Blues Rock, making it perhaps the clearest image of Worsnop to date. Excited about it all, amidst his run of solo shows, he sat down to chat about his time with Asking Alexandria, his roots in music, the learning curve of life, plus more.
Cryptic Rock – At only 28 years of age, you have already led a very interesting life. As a musician, you found yourself in a whirlwind of success with Asking Alexandria, toured the world, left the band, returned, and continue to move in various musical directions. First, briefly tell us, how would you describe this wild journey thus far?
Danny Worsnop – Long. (Laughs) It’s been pretty crazy. It’s still a lot of ups and downs. It’s learning, growing, and sometimes making poor decisions, but I’m still here… so I couldn’t have fucked up too bad.
Cryptic Rock – It’s been very interesting to watch your career develop from outside. As mentioned, you did in fact part ways with Asking Alexandria in 2015, which came as a huge surprise to many fans. Around a year later, you would find yourself back in the band, also a huge surprise. Looking back, how important was that hiatus from the band for you at that time?
Danny Worsnop – I probably wouldn’t be doing music now if not for it. It was very important.
Cryptic Rock – Understandable. You did continue making music with other projects away from Asking Alexandria though.
Danny Worsnop – It’s hard for me to stop doing music, which is why every time I have time off from something, I fill it with something else. I think there is a small group within this community’s fanbase which puts artists in a box. Where by it’s – this is what you do, this is what I knew you first for doing, so you can’t do anything else.
When I started doing We Are Harlot, there was a small group of fans who were like, “Danny is betraying his roots.” Then when starting the solo record, even more so. That couldn’t be more ridiculous and wrong, because I didn’t even touch on the Heavy Metal/Hard Rock until maybe 3 years before the first Asking Alexandria album. Before then, I made singer-songwriter acoustic music, then I made Soft Rock and Rock-n-Roll music. The stuff they know me for wasn’t even part of my life until really recently.
Cryptic Rock – Unfortunately, many artists are pigeonholed like that. A lot has happened in recent years since your return to Asking Alexandria, including a new album with the band in 2017, more touring, your debut solo album, and now another solo album set for release on Friday, May 10th. With Shades of Blue, you take on Blues Rock, so what inspired this album?
Danny Worsnop – Life. I think a lot of it was what I was surrounded by in the beginning of my life. It is what I grew up listening to, and what I started making; which is Blues driven, singer-songwriter Rock music.
Cryptic Rock – Very cool. The songs are lively, emotional, and sound quite natural. Are The Blues something that has always interested you through the years?
Danny Worsnop – Yea, that’s my roots. My grandfather sang The Blues and I was surrounded by it a lot. That’s the music that I heard a lot of as a kid. Before I could remember, there was just a lot of it. Then it moved over to the Rock side of Blues, then more toward the Rock which has Blues in it; like The Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. Then it progressed more into the Rock stuff like Aereosmith and Van Halen.
From there I kind of started playing heavy music for a couple of years, then Asking Alexandria came out. I was all of a sudden defined by that with people saying, “That’s your roots now,” but it isn’t! By no means am I bad mouthing Asking Alexandria or anything we’ve done. I love it, it’s a giant part of my life, it’s just people have a big misunderstanding about what that is in my life.
Cryptic Rock – Completely understandable. This new album has a lot of memorable songs, but one song that really strikes you to the core is “I’ve Been Down.” Tell us about that song.
Danny Worsnop – That’s actually my favorite song on the record. When I wrote it, it was a very upbeat, funky, kind of James Brown thing. When I was in the studio, I was fucking around and played it really slow and it sounded really cool.
One of my guitarists, Art Santora, and I played through it a bunch of different ways; we tried classical guitar and flamenco. We found out if we half-timed a flamenco style of picking, it had a really eerie, spooky, emotive feel to it. We sat down, played and sang the song at the same time, played it through three times, and that’s what you hear.
Cryptic Rock – Well it came out excellent and people are going to be blown away by it. When singing different styles of music, you obviously utilize different approaches. As someone who come from more a Blues, Rock-n-Roll background, what was it like for you to approach the harsher Metal side of singing?
Danny Worsnop – I blew out my voice a lot, there was a big learning curve. I think I didn’t even really start figuring out what I was doing until probably the third album; even then, I wasn’t really doing it right, I just figured out a way to do it that wasn’t destructive.
It’s been a giant learning curve, and I’m still learning everyday within absolutely every aspect and facet of my life. Be it with Asking Alexandria, Harlot, Danny Wornsop music, or one of my businesses… I’m learning every single day. I’ve been doing this for a long time within my life, but not a long time in the grand scheme of the world; these are still very early days. I’ve still got a lot to learn and I’m going to figure it out as I go.
I’ve been fortunate and dedicated enough that I’ve learned things maybe other people haven’t learned yet; maybe I’ve found some new stuff. That’s why I’ve been able to do the things I’ve done, create what I’ve created, and build what I’ve built. I hope to find a bunch more of those things, because then I get to share them and put my own worth into the pool of knowledge in this world. If I can find some new things, I get to leave something behind, but then I’m also giving back and providing for those who come after me.
Cryptic Rock – Right, and you are always learning something new everyday. That in mind, in our early twenties we are still very immature and do not really have much life experience. Then when we reach our late twenties, enter into our thirties, and our focus becomes clearer. That in mind, what are you feeling at this point in your life?
Danny Worsnop – I think it’s a very broad statement to make, it’s depending on the person. I was recently at the 10X Growth Conference in Miami and it was absolutely incredible. There were a lot of really smart entrepreneurs and business owners, and I had the pleasure of talking to a bunch of them, a few of them which were still in there teens still. There was a guy who was still in high school there and he’s already created a business that is bringing him in six figures a year. I was talking to him about it… and he has developed something the world didn’t have!
I don’t think it’s fair to necessarily define people by their age. I think if you are going to make a blanket statement, I think you’re pretty safe with the statement you made, but there are a lot of exceptions to the rule. I think a lot of it depends on what field you are talking about. If we want to talk about social media platforms, and how to market/present a personal brand on social media, there are very few better people to talk to then people in their mid to late teens and early twenties; they’re on that shit everyday. If you want talk about politics and economies, don’t talk to those people. They haven’t learned enough about the world, they haven’t dealt with either for long enough to have a real world understanding of what the consequences are of their ideas.
It is easy for someone in their early or mid-twenties who have just come out of college and go, “No, the economy state is terrible, the socialist view is a good one and makes sense.” That is because they, in that moment, benefited by all their student debt going away. But, for the rest of their life, 70% or more of their income goes away to pay for people like they were. All of a sudden, then in the real world, they realize, “Shit, I can’t afford to do anything. I can’t afford to feed my family, or pay for the house, or the car.” You have to build those years to have a real world understanding and knowledge to be educated and intelligent with concepts in that field.
People get smart and dumb throughout their lives. As you get older you get dumber in a lot of aspects, because you get behind the times as the world is moving forward. You grow and learn more about what effects life in the long run.
Cryptic Rock – Those are excellent points raised, and more the reason we should all keep an open mind. Asking Alexandria is quite busy this summer touring, but you are doing your share of solo gigs throughout May in support of Shades of Blue. How excited are you to get out there and perform these songs?
Danny Worsnop – It’s been a blast. I’ve got two Asking Alexandria shows this month, and then every other day are solo shows. I’m excited and looking forward to it. I love playing music, touring, and doing what it is that I do. Every time I travel this amazing country, I see something new about it that makes me fall in love with it all over again. Every time I go out, I’m excited to find that thing.
Cryptic Rock – Very cool, it will be fun to see the solo gigs and hear the new songs. You mentioned the frustrations of being pigeonholed as a musician. On the other side of the coin, how do people who don’t know your Metal work react to your Blues Rock material?
Danny Worsnop – There are people who I meet at shows who have never even heard of Asking Alexandria; some don’t like Asking Alexandria, or it’s not their thing. My brand is expanding, I’m touching more people and I’m expanding my platform. That does nothing but help every single aspect of my business life, because if they don’t know who Asking Alexandria is, but they find out who Danny Worsnop is and they like Danny Wornsop, then chances are they are going to go check out Asking Alexandria. They may or may not like it, but it helps Asking Alexandria as well. The more people we bring in from any angle, the better it is for everyone.
Cryptic Rock – Absolutely. It’s funny how when you tell some people you want to do something different, they are opposed to it. Many people want you to follow the same path and play it safe.
Danny Wornsop – Here’s one thing I’ve noticed over the years, and it may sound harsh at first, but if people think about it, it’s 100% true. It’s that nobody who’s successful has ever told anyone they can’t do something. That person has already defied the odds and become successful in a climate that is difficult to become successful. They have already learned that if you believe in yourself and work hard enough, yea, you can do it! If you work hard enough and believe in it, you can do it.
Successful people don’t tell people they can’t do it. Lazy people tell people they can’t do it, because they can’t do it. If they can’t do it they feel like you can’t do it; or they don’t want you to do it because it makes them feel or look bad.
Cryptic Rock – That is a very telling and accurate statement for anyone who has ever been told they cannot do something. Last question. If you are a fan, what are some of your favorite Horror and Sci-Fi films?
Danny Worsnop – One of my first movies I was in was a Horror movie, Darren Lynn Bousman’s Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival (2015). I was never too deep into the Horror movie world and that was kind of my first exposure to it. The community is great, the fans are great. We did a few screenings where the whole cast was there and it was just a blast!
Obviously my schedule is packed, so my movies as of right now have been put on hold, but I’m hoping to start up again. I would love to do Sci-Fi, it’s an incredible platform that is always super creative and is fun by concept. You get to create whole new things that are not necessarily human, so you get a whole new pallet with which to create and play around in. I’m always happy and excited to do that.