Asking Alexandria grew up the hard way

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Ben Bruce is a self-proclaimed genius. When the Asking Alexandria guitarist was asked to give advice to bands playing the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival for the first time, he had a simple answer: Bring flushable wipes. Or better yet, he says, gut a tour bus and install a portable toilet inside of it.

“I am a genius,” says Bruce, who moved from his home country of England to New Jersey in 2008.

Bruce did, in fact, strip his tour bus, which he paid for out of his own pocket. But it wasn’t for sanitary reasons; it was to build a recording studio. While touring with this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, which comes to Ak-Chin Pavilion on Friday, July 11, Bruce and his band are going to start recording their fourth album.

So far Bruce has 10 songs written for the follow up to From Death to Destiny.

“I want to be recording and writing 10 to 15 more,” he says. “I just recorded a bunch of songs intended for the re-release of From Death to Destiny, but I just got the mixes back the other day. I kind of don’t want to waste them on a re-release. They sound so good. I don’t want to waste them on a re-release. I want to put them on a new album.

“I’m getting ahead of myself. I don’t want to do a re-release. I want to do a new record.”

The Mayhem Festival, as it’s been nicknamed, isn’t going to be all work for Asking Alexandria, which includes Tempe resident rhythm guitarist Cameron Liddell.

“We actually did it (Mayhem) a couple years ago and it was incredible,” he says. “A lot of our friends are on the tour—Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Trivium, Suicide Silence and Miss May I. That’s a bonus.”

This time around, there’s a buzz surrounding Asking Alexandria—a far cry from the last go around.

“The first time it was like Slipknot, Slayer, Motorhead and we were there,” Bruce says. “I thought, ‘This is going to be awful. People are going to throw bags of (waste) at us. Oh man, they’re going to think we’re a (wimpy) band compared to the others.

“We were nervous. When we went into the tours, the bands were awesome. The fans were awesome. We had a really good time. There’s a good, positive buzz and it’s really made us more excited to get the tour starts, really.”

Most importantly, the jaunts have been learning experiences.

“I’ve had so many great conversations with Matt Heafy of Trivium,” he says. “He saw us go through all our drunk and drug problems. He said, ‘I went through the exact same thing and it did nothing but bad things for my career. It’s taken me this long to listen to guys. I’m finally back to the point where I’m comfortable and happy again. Older bands like that really offer you advice that’ll stick and help you with your career. Younger bands are still in crazy party mode and doing whatever they want. It gets messy and you feel like you’re 60 years old at the age of 25.”

The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 N. 83rd Avenue, Phoenix, 800.745.3000, ticketmaster.com, Friday, July 11, 1 p.m., $30-$90

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