Asking Alexandria's Ben Bruce: Unstoppable

Now that Asking Alexandria has been around the block a few times, they're ready to get serious. Well, not really serious, but perhaps a wee bit more mature. So says lead guitarist and founder, Ben Bruce.

But fans of AA, don't fret! While the subject matter of their lyrics may have gotten an upgrade, the balls-to-the-wall energy and intensity have remained true to their history of take-no-prisoners metal mayhem. Check out a preview of what's to come with their recently released single, "The Death of Me."

Hailing from the UK, Asking Alexandria kicked it into high gear in 2009 with their debut album, Stand Up and Scream. Countless tour dates and the release of 2011's Reckless and Relentless followed, solidifying the band as a must see headliner.

We caught up with Bruce during their summer tour to talk about the upcoming album, From Death to Destiny, what we can expect from their supporting shows, and of course, what makes Peavey gear a must have for his backline. Read on!

Let's talk about your new album.

I'm really, really excited about it. It's an interesting album. Everyone I showed the album to so far, jaws have just kind of dropped. Which is either a really good sign or a really bad sign! It's very different from anything we've done before mainly because we're different than we used to be. And we're not a bunch of kids anymore hell-bent on destroying our lives. Too many drugs, and too many random women.

What? You're growing up?

I know, it's weird. It's strange. We decided we didn't want to die of an overdose in our bunks. Strange feeling.

But you seem excited about it. It's a good direction, right?

I'm really excited. It's definitely without a shadow of a doubt the best album we have ever written. It just sounds bigger. The songs are just better, and they're not about stupid BS, you know? There's a better meaning and message behind all of them. And, it doesn't rely heavily on breakdowns anymore. There's actually some guitar in it, which is nice.

What's the fan reaction been like? Have people been accepting of this new direction?

Yeah! I think it's been great so far. I mean, if you look on YouTube, the video, the song's already had over a million listens and I think out of those million people who have listened to it, I think 700 of them have hit the 'Dislike' button so, that's a really good sign.

Yes, it is. So, you're currently on tour in support of the new album. What's your favorite thing about touring?

The reason I make music is to connect to the people, to help other people get through stuff. 'Cause I know when I was a kid, I went through a rough time with my parents getting divorced. And I wasn't very good at school, and I was always in trouble and blah blah blah blah blah. The first thing I turned to was music, you know. It helped me through a lot of bad times.

The main reason I wanted to become a musician was so that I could do that for people, too. I really feel like I've accomplished that, and playing live, you get to see that firsthand. Whether it's someone in the crowd with their eyes closed singing along, or if it's someone crying at your show, or meeting fans afterwards and them getting the chance to tell you how much you've meant to them. That's my favorite part about tour.

I read that you grew up in Dubai. What was the music scene like there?

Yeah, I lived there when I was like six years old and I left when I was 17. So I was there for a while. The music scene was awesome, actually. They had a really good underground metal scene. Everyone I knew was in a metal band, including me. And it was crazy. It had a huge following, huge support. I mean, my local band at the time would probably play for a thousand people a show and that was just a local band. It was pretty much like growing up in England or America but without the crime or without the BS. So, it was good.

Let's talk about gear for a bit. You are using the Peavey 6534® Plus and a Peavey cab. What made you choose those amps?

I've been through so many different amps and none of them were really road-worthy at all. Peavey came to us, and was like, "Try out some of our gear," and so we did. We took it out on tour with us. We had some other heads and we had Peavey heads. The difference between the tone in itself, for a band like us playing heavy rock or metal or whatever you wanna call it, it was just night and day. Peavey's tone is clearer and it's heavier for as long as you play. And not only that, but they're road-worthy. The heads don't break, it's crazy. Our other heads would break all the time. Even just driving from show to show, getting bumped around in the trailer, they would break. The Peavey amps can take a beating. I'm pretty much just an unstoppable force for heaviness at the moment with my gear, which is great.

So can you give me a tone tip that I can share with the readers?

My tip for cutting through is to get a good guitar tech that knows what they're doing.

Haha, that's an excellent tip.

Yeah, exactly. Even if you're a kid. You've got pocket money. Hire one of your friends to sit in your room and play around with your amp until it's perfect.

Actually, that's not a bad idea, because then you can just play and they can just fiddle, right?

Exactly. And that's what my guitar tech does. Just sits. For years now. He comes up to me every single day, I kid you not. Everyday, he's like, "Did you like the tone today? I changed it a bit." I'm like, "Damn, dude. You've been changing the tone for the last two years."

Do you notice when he changes it?

Haha, no. 'Cause it's so slight. When we came up with the first tone, yes. But now, I swear, he's just, I don't know, sneezing at the treble knob. It's moving a miniscule fraction and he's like, "It's different, it's different." I'm like, "Okay, dude..."

So what do you like to listen to when you're on the road?

It really varies. It depends on what kind of mood I'm in. I listen to a lot of blues. Eric Clapton, a lot of Gary Moore, and a lot of Joe Bonamassa. I guess I'm normally the last one left up drinking on my own in the bus. If everyone's up and we're partying, we'll usually slam Limp Bizkit on, or Slipknot or even some dance music, something lively. Something everyone can drink to. Once everyone's gone off to bed, I always change it to blues like Eric Clapton or Joe Bonamassa.

That's cool. I thought you were going to tell me it's the Dixie Chicks or The Carpenters that you're really into.

Oh, hell yeah! That too. And Dexys Midnight Runners.

There you go.

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