All Time Low
- Baltimore, Maryland, United States
- DGC Records/Interscope
Apparently, there’s not much to do in Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland, besides obsess over Blink-182 and learn to play guitar. But it worked for Alex Gaskarth (vocals/guitar) and Jack Barakat (guitar/vocals), the two jokers from All Time Low, who, alongside bassist Zack Merrick and drummer Rian Dawson, took speedy pop-punk tunes and scatological trash talk to an admirable new level. Their debut EP, 2004’s The Three Words To Remember In Dealing With The End and first full-length, 2005’s The Party Scene (both issued by the Baltimore -based indie Emerald Moon Records), boast some killer hooks that will stick in your head for days (“The Girl’s A Straight-Up Hustler”). Fortunately, the quartet had bigger ambitions than the Maryland state line could contain, choosing to sign with Hopeless Records who released the Put Up Or Shut Up EP in 2006 before the members had even graduated high school.
The following year, Hopeless issued ATL’s breakthrough record, So Wrong It’s Right, and the band set out on a campaign of extensive touring including a dues-paying side-stage stint on the Vans Warped Tour. So Wrong won the hearts of thousands of fans who hung on every second of pure-pop anthems such as “Dear Maria, Count Me In” and “Poppin’ Champagne,” as well as every cringe-inducing comment coming out of Gaskarth and Barakat’s filthy mouths. Vulgarity aside, it was the quartet’s tireless work ethic that eventually earned them stints on everything from the Warped Tour’s main stage to the headlining slot on the 2008 AP Tour. The band’s third album, 2009’s Nothing Personal, had them exploring everything from Pro-Tooled electro-pop (“Too Much”) to power ballads, in addition to the sprite pop-punk (“Weightless”) they’ve excelled at creating. Since that release, the quartet aligned themselves with Interscope Records, but while ATL may be in the big leagues now, don’t expect any rock-star posturing from them just yet. “We’re just so happy to go onstage and so happy that there’s anybody out there to listen,” Rian Dawson told AP in February 2009. “We’ve played shows to one kid before, and we’ve played shows to thousands. It’s important to stay grounded because as soon as you lose that, you just expect way too much.”