From their inception — playing covers of bands like New Found Glory and Blink-182 in the suburbs of Baltimore — to crafting original tracks, dropping two EPs and their debut album, it was All Time Low’s sophomore record, So Wrong, It’s Right, that catapulted the band to pop-punk fame. The album’s second single, “Dear Maria, Count Me In” peaked at No. 86 on the Billboard Pop 100, and three of the tracks’ music videos frequently graced television screens via MTV.
Fast-forward 10 years, five more albums, global tours, and a VMA nomination, and this Maryland quintet have managed to not only maintain a loyal fan-base, but continually push their musical boundaries and genre limits to progress and thrive. In the face of remaining pop-punk mainstays and their break into the mainstream, So Wrong, It’s Right has acted as an enduring representation of All Time Low’s beginnings and journey. To celebrate the nostalgia of 10 years and all that’s followed, the band are playing the album in full for three back-to-back nights at Starland Ballroom. Lead vocalist, Alex Gaskarth, took some time to talk to The Aquarian Weekly about the past decade, what brings these Maryland natives to New Jersey, and So Wrong, It’s Right’s lasting impact.
It’s been 10 years since So Wrong, It’s Right dropped. Is it that weird for you? Does it feel like it was that long ago?
Oh, man. Honestly, no. The whole thing has been such a whirlwind, such a ride, you know? When I really think about it, it certainly doesn’t feel like 10 years. Ten years sounds like such a long time when you kind of talk about it in context, but no. It’s been a blur, so it’s kind of a weird thing of looking back and reflecting. When I actually stop and think about it, it does like, we were so young then. We were 18, so it’s pretty wild to see how far we have come and what we have been through since then. But no, living in the moment, it certainly doesn’t feel like it.
Is there anything in particular that you remember that sticks out to you from the recording and producing process of the album?
I mean, it was our first big recording experience with a producer and being in a studio that wasn’t like someone’s basement. [Laughs]
There were so many kind of massive new experiences happening all at once. At the time, I remember Matt Squire had been recording with bands like Panic! At The Disco, Hit The Lights, The Receiving End of Sirens, Cute Is What We Aim For, and all of these bands that — to us — were further along in their careers than we were, and the bands that we aspired to be more like. So, I remember that when we first kind of confirmed that we were going to make an album with Matt, it was really exciting times for us, because it was so validating that someone at Matt’s caliber would want to work with someone like us.
And yeah, we were also just thrown into the fire. We had never, like I said, made a record the right way before. We had never gone in and written songs in a production room and taken it to that level of professionalism. We were sort of thrown in the deep end for sure. It was a lot of learning.
Yeah, I can’t even imagine. And did you ever think that you would be here, 10 years later, still recording as a band, putting out albums, and touring?
If you asked me back then I probably would have said, “I have no idea!” We very much had no clue of what we were aspiring to do or be. It was so developmental at that point. I think we were just happy to be making an album and going out on tour — like a real tour.
Yeah, I really don’t know! I think if you would have told us then that we would last 10 years that we would have been ecstatic. That was always our dream and we never wanted to be a flash in the pan kind of band. We always had aspirations to have a long life and not fizzle out. So yeah, it is pretty exciting that we still get to do this.
Absolutely! And, if you don’t mind me asking, how did it end up that you guys are going to be playing your anniversary shows at Starland Ballroom in New Jersey?
Starland is kind of just the perfect venue for that sort of show. It’s actually a pretty big venue, like it holds around 2,000 people, I think. And so it’s not just the perfect size venue, but it also… that venue in particular we played a ton of times. And it always feels really intimate despite being big, and so we thought that room had the perfect balance of being able to fit the amount of people to make it feel inclusive, but at the same time not take it into rooms that felt like they were too big for that album and that era. Does that make sense?
Also, New Jersey has always been like a second home town to us as a band. It was one of the first states outside of Maryland that we started booking shows for ourselves and trading shows with other local acts from New Jersey. It was kind of the one place that, after Maryland, really broke for us before we were a national touring band. So it’s got a warm place in our hearts, as well.
For sure! I mean, I remember you guys, when I was like 15, playing Starland with The Maine and Every Avenue and Mayday Parade.
Yeah, exactly! It’s in a place that we have sort of been through a billion times and it just feels very stable to us, and a lot of those venues have disappeared from Maryland at this point. So, obviously we thought about doing it in Baltimore, but there are not a lot of those old venues left from the time that we started out. There are plenty of new ones that have a similar feel and capacity and stuff, but they don’t have the same kind of sentimental value to it. So, Starland felt like a really good place for it.
What are you most anticipating about the shows?
I think just energy, the overall crowd energy, the fact that the shows sold out in a matter of hours and days really says a lot to me. I feel like a lot of people have really been wanting this this year and really pining for those sort of nostalgia shows, and I am happy that we can be a part of it! I think I’ve said it in interviews before, you know, we don’t want to play to it too much because we don’t see ourselves as a nostalgia band.
We don’t want to dwell on album one, we don’t want to forget about the fact that we are still putting out new music and are trying to grow this band even further. But, it just feels like a really special time to go back and kind of pay tribute to the record that gave us our start really. So I’m just excited about the energy, the anticipation. I think it is going to be just a completely nuts show.
Now, you guys released your new album, Last Young Renegade, this year, which you’ve been touring for, and you obviously still play songs from So Wrong, It’s Right in your sets. But are there any songs from the album that you don’t normally get to play that you’re excited about playing?
Yeah! There are quite a few songs off of that album that we have actually never played live. I don’t think we have ever played “Come One, Come All” live. I’m trying to think of what else is on this album, right now. Off the top of my head, I’m just pulling up a blank. [Laughs]
But, yeah, there are several songs off that album that we have never played and there are a lot that we played, maybe back in the day when we needed the songs the fill the set, but, you know, now we have seven albums, and obviously we do play sort of the key songs from that record. But there are a lot that we haven’t played in many years. I am looking forward to kind of diving back into it and just getting those familiar again; relearning and re-experiencing that energy.
Is there anything in particular that you want to say to the fans coming out to any of the three shows?
Just thank you for selling these shows out so fast! To anyone that is coming: I think it is going to be an amazing time, and I am so happy to know that people are just as excited for it because we are really looking forward to it. We were basically, all this year, trying to figure out what to do for the 10-year, so suddenly this kind of just manifested and I am really looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun!