All Time Low hit new high with chart-topping album Future Hearts
He has hit out at the Grammys and R&B star Chris Brown. When something irks him, US pop punk band All Time Low's frontman Alex Gaskarth says he will speak up
In the superficial world of showbiz, you can always count on Alex Gaskarth to tell the cold, hard truth.
The 27-year-old frontman of US pop punk quartet All Time Low is not one to mince his words - even if it means criticising one of the world's most high-profile stars and music's biggest night.
In February, during the live telecast of the Grammys, US President Barack Obama launched the domestic violence awareness campaign #ItsOnUs via a pre-recorded video message.
After the clip aired, Gaskarth took to Twitter and called out US R&B singer Chris Brown for his attendance at the awards ceremony. He posted: "Wow. Unbelievable. Maybe #ItsOnUs to not invite people like @chrisbrown to the ****ing Grammys. Am I wrong?"
Brown is notorious for his multiple brushes with the law, including a 2009 assault on then-girlfriend, Barbadian pop star Rihanna.
Brown reportedly responded sarcastically: "You sound really perfect brother...How can I get those VIP tickets to the pearly gates bro...Seems like you have it down," but quickly deleted his tweet.
However, before Brown's tweet was taken down, Gaskarth bit back with: "I'm not worried about the pearly gates...Worried about here and now...And double standards. And the messages we send."
In an e-mail interview with M to promote the band's new studio album Future Hearts, now out on iTunes, Gaskarth made no bones about his vocal nature.
"I'm outspoken about issues that are important to me, I can't help it," he said.
"I believe in equality and fairness and when something irks me, I feel that I have to speak up about it.
"There are a million and one causes I could speak about these days, but the ones most important to me right now involve equality for all people; equality for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, equality for women, and equality for people of all races and beliefs."
All Time Low was formed in 2003 while its members - the others are lead guitarist Jack Barakat, 26, drummer Rian Dawson, 27, and bassist Zack Merrick, 27 - were still in high school. Now, with five previous studio albums, and Future Hearts topping both the US Billboard and UK album charts on release, they are clearly on a roll.
In the UK, the feat was especially significant, as it was their first ever No 1 album there.
The boys beat off competition from the likes of singer-songwriters James Bay and Ed Sheeran to claim top spot.
Gaskarth said he was "surprised" and "elated" by the mega success of Future Hearts, an infectious collection of punchy emo-leaning rock anthems such as Kids in the Dark, Runaways and Something's Gotta Give.
"It is such an incredible achievement for us after all these years, and it's a real testament to the fans for showing up and buying this album," he said.
"I definitely think Future Hearts is our best work to date. If I said otherwise, I'd be doing our band a massive disservice.
"Future Hearts feels like it's the most realised record we've put together and it's set us on a new path for years to come. Where it will fall in the grand scheme of our catalogue down the line is impossible to say, but right now, it's at the top of my list."
Gaskarth is no pop music snob.
Curious what's on his playlist?
"I am a sucker for big hooks," he shared.
"Lately, I've been all about (Australian singer-songwriter) Sia. She kicks ass.
"As a band, we were inspired by all kinds of bands, like Green Day, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, The Cars and The Beatles."
Gaskarth has co-written songs with Australian pop punk sensation 5 Seconds of Summer, Fall Out Boy's frontman Patrick Stump and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte.
"I've had a blast collaborating with all of them," he said.
"They're all really talented and unique in their own ways, so it's cool to get to pick people's brains and see how they work.
"I learn a lot every time I work with someone else, it's something I find extremely gratifying and educational at the same time."
All Time Low last performed in Singapore in 2013, at The Coliseum at Hard Rock Hotel, Resorts World Sentosa.
"We got chased through the mall in Singapore! So crazy," he recalled.
"And the show was really fun and intense. We've got a lot of love for our Singapore fans."
Music aside, Gaskarth recently announced his engagement to longtime girlfriend Lisa Ruocco, but no wedding date has been fixed.
"The plans are still up in the air, but it's been fun starting to figure everything out," he said. "I can be romantic when it's called for!"
But he declined to reveal whether bandmate Dawson, who is dating US country singer and The Voice winner Cassadee Pope, is next in line to get hitched.
"I have no idea. That's Rian's business!"