5 Seconds of Summer: Inside the Wild Life of the World’s Hottest Band
The California sun is low in the sky over Bel Air, but at 5 Seconds of Summer’s house, the day has yet to begin. There are red-wine stains on the floorboards by the pool on the canyon-side deck, which overlooks the Chateau des Fleurs, a $100 million mansion that’s been on the market since it was built, and the Pacific Ocean in the distance. A fireplace is surrounded by empty beer bottles. “They should be up soon,” says the band’s English assistant, Zoë, who reads a book as we wait. She occasionally tries texting the band in favor of knocking on bedroom doors. Nobody responds.
Luke Hemmings, the Australian pop band’s heartthrob frontman, wanders downstairs to the kitchen, unshaven, wearing only a T-shirt and tight black boxer briefs. His elfin blond coif – the inspiration for a number of YouTube hair tutorials – is a ruffled mess. He spreads some avocado on toast. “Sorry I’m in my underwear,” he mumbles. “I’m really hungover.” He shuffles back to his room.
Around 5 p.m., the day starts moving. Bassist Calum Hood – who’s 19 but still looks like the high school soccer player he was a few years ago – comes outside with a glass of Coke, his nails painted black, wearing a Billabong hat. “Let me put some bourbon in this,” he says, returning to the kitchen. Guitarist Michael Clifford is roaming around inside, but Hood is giving him a wide berth. “He’s still feeling it,” says the bassist, lighting up a Camel. But eventually Clifford materializes, wearing a fully unbuttoned shirt, pale, but fresher than expected. “I’m fuckin’ alive!” he says. “Sorry. I was literally dying today.”
Last night, the band performed at the American Music Awards. “A lot of fake people, which sucks,” Clifford says. Hemmings complains, “It’s just, like, Viners and Internet personalities, those kind of people. Fucking pisses me off! Why are you here?”
After the show, Clifford and Hemmings hit their friend Nick Jonas’ party, then crashed one thrown by Justin Bieber at their favorite bar, the Nice Guy. They didn’t talk to Bieber – “I think he hates us,” says Clifford – but they had a good time. “It was fucking crazy, people standing on tables and shit,” he continues. “I probably shouldn’t say this, but he had his own album on loop for, like, two or three hours.” Clifford ended up in Beverly Hills at the Weeknd’s house party, which was so exclusive that the pool area had its own bouncer. Drummer Ashton Irwin – the band’s oldest and perhaps most responsible member – had been there earlier but left shortly after he was jostled up against a wall as Diddy and his crew pushed through the entrance.
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