Rock Sound: Most people know you moved from England to America when you were young, but what don’t they know about the early part of your life?
Alex Gaskarth: My dad remarried. He had kids when he was very young and ended up separating from his first wife; initially he married her when he realized they were having kids but it didn’t work out. I was born quite a bit later so I have two half sisters and a half brother. My sisters are a lot older than me as my dad didn’t remarry until sometime later.
RS: How was it for you growing up with family from a previous relationship?
AG: Pretty normal. I’m the only child my mum and dad had but i would see them a lot. There was a pretty big age difference so by the time i was born and growing up my older sister were off doing their own thing, but my half brother was seven or eight years older than me so he was around a little bit more. That’s why he moved to America with us when we went.
RS: What was your relationship like with your half brother when you were young?
AG: It was pretty cool, he definitely acted like a big brother to me bu we were just a few years too far apart to really be close. We just missed out on that serious brotherhood/sidekick thing but he was always great to be around and it was awesome to have someone to learn from.
RS: When did people realize he had a problem with alcohol?
AG: I don’t know. It was definitely when we were in the States but I was young so I missed a lot of it. I didn’t necessarily pick up on it at first so it’s hard for me to answer.
RS: Was there a lot of disagreement in the house as the problem grew? Do you remember there being a lot of fighting?
AG: Absolutely. It reached a critical point where it was impossible to ignore. As someone who was relatively young he didn’t know what was best for him and in the end he won the fight as he went back home to England. It was definitely something I picked up on even thought I never saw the whole picture at the time.
RS: Was it the worst day of your life when you had found out he had died?
AG: Yes… I was 12 at the time and he was 21 when he died. He spiraled out of control as many people with that problem do. It was very das [and] definitely shapes you. I don’t preach that you shouldn’t drink—I believe in user choice—but it definitely made me make sure that there are no traces of that tendency in me because of my experiences.
RS: How badly did it hit the family when you lost him? It can’t have been easy for anyone to deal with that situation…
AG: It was devastating [for us all] to lose a family member, it affected us all. I can’t imagine or describe how my father would have felt losing a song but my dad is the best person I now so he handled it amazingly well. It was something that everyone grew from in the end.
RS: When did you and your dad talk about it?
AG: It didn’t come out all at once: you grow up, realize something and the picture becomes clearer. It was a learning experience. There wasn’t a specific time when dad and i talked about it nor were they hiding the truth from me the whole time. I think I just realized more as I became older.
RS: Did he ever worry about you developing a similar problem as the band started touring?
AG: No, he didn’t. We have a good relationship and we knew that history wouldn’t repeat itself. When you are around a situation you learn from it, you learn the ins and outs of everything that is involved with it, so we were sure that because we had all seen it once we wouldn’t be seeing it again.
RS: Why do topics like this seem to stay in the background of All Time Low songs?
AG: First and foremost there are definitely songs we have done about the darker times of life; songs like “Therapy”, “Lullabies”, “Remembering Sunday” and “Stay Awake” address those topics directly. I think I’m a person who tends to gravitate towards a more positive outlook on life, that’s just me. But when we started this band we had a clear-cut idea of what we wanted to be—we decided to avoid the melancholy and any dwelling-on-the-past mentality so we could write more about the upside. As we’ve continued we’ve kept that going, and I think it now defines part of what our band is.
RS: Would you change that now if you could?
AG: This band definitely has an image and has developed a front or a persona that many people, at least from the outside, see as one-dimensional. People think we’re the happy guys who talk about partying all the time but I think the people who really know the band, the fans who really dive deep, know there is more to what we do. I don’t know if I wish, or even care, for people to know more about me or my life as long as people like the music and can connect to something in it then that’s all that really matters to me. Outside of that, it’s not a struggle for me. I’m not trying to show people another of me or prive myself, I’m not begging for people to hear my sad stories and realize we’re more than what you see in the photographs. We’re having a good time and people can follow it and delve as deeply into it as they want.