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This Might Be The One: A Conversation with DANNY WORSNOP Of WE ARE HARLOT

By Curt Miller, Pittsburgh Correspondent
Monday, April 27, 2015 @ 3:59 PM


"I hope the message that really comes across is our love and passion for what we are doing without care of success or failure. Weíre here because we love it!"

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Typically, youíve got to dig pretty deep into your record collection to find that perfect rock Ďní roll album. You know; the one that gets your heart pumping and your fist pumping, too. Itís the one you reach for when you need the perfect soundtrack for that weekend road trip. Sammy Hagar probably said it best when he said, ďThereís Only One Way to RockĒ. Perhaps during the time since he wrote those words the formula has gotten muddied or bands have just forgotten where to find it.

Now, donít get me wrong. Iím a music diehard. I love metal just as much as anyone and, more often than not, the heavier the better. That said; thereís been a gap in the rock scene thatís been begging to be filled. Well, ASKING ALEXANDRIA vocalist Danny Worsnop has put together an outstanding lineup with his latest project WE ARE HARLOT. This bandís self-titled debut is likely the best rock release produced in a very long time.

WORSNOP: I started playing music when I was three years of age and I picked up a lot of classical instruments, playing the violin for a long time as well as the trumpet. In fact, I was in a few orchestras. At the age of 10 or 11 I began playing the guitar and bass, really wanting to explore the world of music as much as possible. I played a bit of trombone and tried my hand at the drums, too, but didnít have the hand eye coordination for it.

At that point I went into music education and went to college for music theory, recording, live sound, and music creation. Obviously, I left school to join the band ASKING ALEXANDRIA with whom I spent eight years. But I feel like my education and expansion into music isnít even close to being finished. Iíve still got a long future ahead and I hope to never stop learning. Itís an area where thereís always room for growth. You can never perfect it.

My influences are so wide and varied. My grandfather was a blues singer, so he had a lot to do with it. Then, there were bands like: AEROSMITH, THE ROLLING STONES and WILSON PICKETT. Again, itís completely varied. Still to this day Iím hearing new things that inspire and give me an idea to do something different.

KNAC.COM: WE ARE HARLOTís self-titled debut is a terrific rock album. Itís up beat, rockin,í and just plain fun! Has there been a lack of focus in this genre and did you enter this project fully intent on bringing it back with your own spin?

WORSNOP: I donít intentionally set out to create anything in particular. We just wanted to create an album that we all loved. Weíd reached a point where we felt as though there wasnít any good rock music being made anymore. Everything sounded exactly the same. Itís like someone built a formula as to how to make the perfect active rock song in the Ď90s and every band started using that cookie-cutter approach. As a result, everyone sounded the same. Weíd turn on the radio and we couldnít tell one band from the next or when one song ended and the next began.

Again, this project was about making music that we love and a desire to pay homage to our influences. We wanted to create something we thought was fun. WE ARE HARLOT is made up of four very distinctive personalities and you can hear them coming through in the music. The AEROSMITH, ROLLING STONES, AC/DC, KISS and other influences can all be heard in our sound. There are also other elements in there as well, like funk and blues. Bassist Brian Weaver grew up doing a lot of Cad(ence) and Motown and it definitely comes through in his bass lines. As well, you can hear drummer Bruno Agraís South American approach to playing. As a result of his roots, there are occasions when heíll play with his fingers or use two different snares to give the music a definitive South American feel.

The whole project was quite varied and we never set out to do anything too particular. We just wanted to put our souls to a sound.

KNAC.COM: How did WE ARE HARLOT come together? Is the bandís songwriting process a collaborative effort or are there certain members who do the majority of the songwriting both musically and lyrically?

WORSNOP: The beauty of the songwriting process is that prior to this band and still to this day even outside of it, all of its members are songwriters. We each play several instruments and continue to write songs for other musicians and bands. As a result, when we sit down to write, we all do so on every instrument. It isnít as though I write the vocals, Bruno writes the drums, and guitarist Jeff George writes the guitar parts. It could be that itís Bruno or I writing some of the guitar or Jeff sitting down and writing the drums or any one of us coming up with ideas for the vocals. Itís a complete unit. Everyone works together toward a common goal. Itís a beautiful and magical experience and something that Iíve never been a part of before. Itís strange writing with full songwriters rather than those who write only on one instrument.

In terms of how we came together, it was about four years ago. I was nonstop on the road doing metal music, day in and day out. My passion, though, has always been for rock Ďní roll and the blues, so I decided I wanted to experiment and do some things outside of the band I was in. It was then that I started thinking about putting together a solo album.

In September of 2010 I started writing songs with Bruno. As it turns out Jeff and I have the same attorney, so he and I ended up meeting at a New Yearís Eve party. Soon after, he joined the band and was always hanging out at my house in Beverly Hills cranking out one song after another, however; I was still on the road a lot. In fact, I remember riding on a tour bus in Germany sending text messages back and forth with the guys in what would become WE ARE HARLOT. It hit me right then that everyone had so much invested in the band, so much love, passion, and enjoyment for what we were doing that I didnít want it to be a solo album anymore. It needed to be a band, a unified group of individuals who were all putting everything they had into it.

Bruno and Jeff were doing a lot of outside work, which they had put aside for this project. It didnít seem fair for it to end up being a solo project and me take credit for it. Thatís how WE ARE HARLOT was born. At that point we began auditioning bass players and eventually came across Brian Weaver. Once the band was complete, the rest was a matter of songwriting and creating material we all loved.

KNAC.COM: This summer, along with a world tour in support of the new album, youíre playing every major festival, including: Carolina Rebellion, Rock On The Range, Rocklahoma, Sonisphere, Rock Am Ring and Download Festival just to name a few. Many never achieve this level of recognition or support. How do you feel about having done so this early in your career? To clarify, do you think it creates added pressure or does it open up the door for more creative opportunities?

WORSNOP: It definitely leaves the door open. What people donít know or often forget is that Rock On The Range was WE ARE HARLOTís first show, so our debut performance was in front of roughly 42k people. This band, the way we are as people, especially with our previous work even down to the music and the way we perform is absolutely an arena/stadium act. We donít hit stride and the shows arenít as grandiose as they can be without those arena stages simply because of the enormity of the music and the personalities in the band.

Thatís not to say weíre not great in clubs and theaters, but itís not the same show and itís not where this band really finds its home. So, the festivals are fantastic and theyíre very much the world and the crowd that We Are Harlot belongs in. For years thereíve been countless people behind the scenes working very hard at these festivals and weíre really thankful for their support and their love for what weíre doing. Itís not only great to be a part of them, but they also give us the opportunity to spend time with our friends on the road, as well. Bottom line, theyíre just a great time!

KNAC.COM: Are there any contemporary bands in particular that have your attention right now, perhaps ones who youíre looking forward to touring with or seeing live?

WORSNOP: It always sounds bad saying it, but there arenít many new bands that I have any interest in at all, but there certainly are some. The few that I do follow are terrific! Iím a big fan of RIVALS SONS. HEAVEN'S BASEMENT out of England is doing some incredible things, too. HALESTORM is a lot of fun and a great rock band. Thereís just a small handful really. ONE BAD SON is a band I heard the other day and one Iíll definitely keep paying attention to.

There are some good bands out there but, for the most part, all of the newer bands all sound the same. Hopefully, WE ARE HARLOTís new release will inspire a lot of new musicians to try new things and explore new sounds.

KNAC.COM: WE ARE HARLOT is not a new venture. The band originated several years back, so Iím guessing you put a lot of time into the songwriting process. Given that, as the band heads out on a world tour in support of its debut release, are you already working on material for the next album?

WORSNOP: Right now, thereís certainly talk of the second album, but this album has so much potential right down to the release of individual singles. We can go into the studio and speculate all we like, however the lifespan of this album will purely be decided by its degree of success. When you think about an album like DEF LEPPARDís Hysteria, that band toured for five years after its release. I mean, Iím sure they wanted to do another record, but as long as the current one is alive and kicking, youíve got to just let it run its course. You canít really stop until the record is ready to be put to rest. We are thinking about a new album and have already picked out a studio, but in terms of actually making it, that will be decided when the time comes.

As well, playing this album live is a blast. ďEasy To LeaveĒ is a terrific track vocally and it kind of has that big, AC/DC drive to it. It definitely gets the crowd going. Every song on the set has its own strengths, but I have a particular connection with ďLove For the NightĒ. That was the last track we wrote for the album. It was essentially the signoff song, the one that brought the album together having been finished. ďI TriedĒ was the first song we did, so itís very special to me, too.

Each song on the album holds a memory in time for me as to what was happening in my life when it was written, so they all have a very special place in my heart.

KNAC.COM: Youíve also written an autobiography. Any teasers as to when fans might look for this to become available?

WORSNOP: That will be released together with my solo album, however; with the success of WE ARE HARLOT, thatís really up in the air right now. Thereís no time or even year planned for its publication at this point. Iím not certain when itís going to be, but itíll certainly be a while off.

What Iíve done so far has been a pretty wild ride and there are a lot of things that have happened over the years, a lot of behind the scenes stuff that no one knows about. Itíll be an interesting read, thatís for sure.

KNAC.COM: What about this band sets you apart or might the average fan not already know about you?

WORSNOP: More than anything, I hope the message that really comes across is our love and passion for what we are doing without care of success or failure. Weíre here because we love it!

WE ARE HARLOT believed the rock genre to be lacking of late, so they went after it with a real passion. As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, Sammy Hagar said it best and these guys have absolutely nailed it with their new release. If youíre looking for a great rock album and a terrific show to back it up, this is indeed the one!


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