The internet is blowing up with “Breaking News: Danny Worsnop Leaves Asking Alexandria” headlines. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and various music media outlets are all reporting that yes, Mr. Worsnop has finally left Asking Alexandria, but the real question is “Is this actually breaking news?” The best answer to that would be no, it’s not. Ever since the third AA album, From Death to Destiny, dropped in 2013 there have been rumors of tension between Worsnop and the rest of AA. The golden friendship we saw between Worsnop and AA guitarist/founder Ben Bruce seemed clouded and the overall aesthetic of the third full-length felt forced and pulled in two different directions: AA’s signature electro-metalcore sound and the ode to ’80s hard rock that would eventually shape Worsnop’s “side project” We Are Harlot.
For anyone who has not read it, Worsnop left this note to his followers on Twitter to make his announcement:
“To all of my friends and fans: I would like to let you know that Asking Alexandria and I are moving forward in separate ways. Over the last eight years together we’ve done some amazing things and created something truly special. I now, same as then, want what’s best for the band and at this point in time, that isn’t me. Asking Alexandria will continue to tour throughout the year and will be working on a new album. I will always support and love Asking Alexandria and cannot wait to see what the future holds for them. I am excited for the next chapter of my life with We Are Harlot and will see you all on the road!”
As Worsnop forgoes continuing to work with AA, I have to ask why? Leaving a band he helped break into the scene, of which he became both a prominent face and a respected icon, is kind of like career suicide, especially if he is leaving to pursue something more in the hard rock sphere rather than the -core realm. Facebook comments are attributing this switch due to the damage Worsnop’s vocal chords have received over the years thanks to his relentless partying. Back when I was growing up and learning how to play drums, my drum teacher–for whom I have the most respect–pulled the whole “steer clear of drugs and alcohol” routine that all after school programs regurgitate to their pupils. He told me, “Don’t drink underage or passed your limit. If you do that, then you can’t be the drummer of Led Zeppelin.” Now, my teacher was referring to John Bonham who died due to over consumption of alcohol, but that always stuck with me. In Danny’s case, if he has left Asking Alexandria due to the damage drugs and alcohol inflicted, physically and perhaps interpersonally, then my drum teacher was right. All actions have consequences, even when you have made it to the top (of the scene). AA, however, accommodated Worsnop’s vocal change in From Death to Destiny showcasing in tracks like “The Death of Me” that their aesthetic could work with Worsnop’s new limitations, thus making his departure only two days after the announcement of We Are Harlot’s debut album more jarring.
Danny Worsnop with We Are Harlot in their latest release.
The two releases we have received from We Are Harlot, “Denial” and “Dancing On Nails,” have left me in a world of confusion. Whereas “Denial” sounds like Nikki Sixx got drunk, wrote a song at 3am, spilled a beer on his notes and then recorded what he had left before he went to sleep, “Dancing On Nails” is a little more digestible. The issue with these two ’80s throwbacks is that they feel like ’80s throwbacks…being played in a bar..in the East Village…by Steel Panther fans. There’s absolutely nothing in We Are Harlot at this point that I haven’t heard before. Hell, there is nothing in We Are Harlot that my parents haven’t heard before. It’s an overdone concept that bands like We Are Harlot, Black Veil Brides (and even Escape the Fate to a sense) are trying to unlock by bringing back old school rock. News Flash: Old school rock ‘n’ roll is decidedly dead by the old school rockers (*cough* Gene Simmons *cough*).
I am in no way agreeing with Simmons in saying that rock ‘n’ roll is dead. I personally believe it is very much alive, but it is alive because that old school sound no longer is. Today we have bands who are really pushing the boundaries of hardcore, metal, punk, thrash, etc. We have bands who are expanding the definition of rock ‘n’ roll; bands that are still edgy, innovative, outlandish, and of the times. As the post-hardcore scene paved the way from its earlier days with groups like Botch and Every Time I Die to what it is now with our beloved British rockers, Asking Alexandria, we consistently see progression in rock ‘n’ roll. Rock is only dead if we continue to fall back on our laurels and never risk taking it somewhere new.
Danny Worsnop circa 2009 with Asking Alexandria.
So, do I think Danny Worsnop is killing his career by forsaking Asking Alexandria? Yes. His voice is no longer what it once was, which is a true tragedy, and his creative outlook has now trailed off from that which made Stand Up and Scream one of the most innovative metalcore albums of its time. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens, and I look forward to seeing where Ben Bruce and crew take Asking Alexandria in the near future.
Don’t agree with me? That’s cool. Let HXC know why in the comments below. We want to hear from you!