Baltimore pop-punkers All Time Low kicked off a summer-long run on the Warped Tour last week in California, but they're still finding time to let loose. During a two-night break in Las Vegas, the band threw a Hangover-worthy party to toast guitarist Jack Barakat's 24th birthday – complete with plenty of nudity and some incriminating morning-after photos.
"It was definitely the greatest birthday we've ever been able to throw. The Hard Rock [hotel] gave us the craziest room they have, and half of Warped tour was there," Barakat told Rolling Stone when we visited the band backstage at the Warped date in Irvine, California. Added frontman Alex Gaskarth, "There was a sex doll at the party, like a blow-up doll, and it got passed around to all the bands. If you go online, it's really hard to find, but there's a photo booth of every band doing different things to the doll ... Some are taking him out to dinner, some are tucking it into bed, some are fucking it in the hot tub. It's crazy, man."
Vegas blowouts aside, All Time Low are concentrating firmly on their fifth studio album and hoping to release it by the end of 2012 or early 2013. The group recently released a teaser single, "The Reckless and the Brave," and Barakat said the tune "sums a lot of things up in terms of what people can expect on the album." They've also brought in some guest musicians. "There's a song that we just got a mix of called 'So Long Solider,' and it's a real bridge-burner, explained Gaskarth." It's one of the heavier songs on the record. It's very aggressive, and Anthony Raneri from Bayside contributed some vocals to it, so that's a really cool one for us because we love that band. And there's one more that I'm really, really proud of, with someone who played in a band that's actually disbanded now – this guy Jason [Vena] from Acceptance. I'm a huge fan of theirs."
The as-yet-untitled LP was recorded in West Hollywood with producer Mike Green. While Gaskarth said there are some L.A. stories on the album, another big theme is the band's newfound independence since parting ways with Interscope Records, which released their Dirty Work LP last year. "We put out one record and our contract ended up in December, and we sort of asked to part ways with them because we just didn't feel that the fit was quite right," Gaskarth said. "So one of the craziest things about the writing of this record is that we did it completely unsigned. We financed it ourselves, and there's a lot of that story on the album and in the material. We're kind of taking that leap of faith to say, 'Shit, we really have to prove something to people now, 'cause we're on our own.'"
The band is in talks with various labels to release the LP, but they're in no rush to ink a deal just yet. "We want to sign with somebody that really cares about our band and really gets it," Barakat said. "This is the first time in our career we have a second to weigh our options."