Q&A: 5 Seconds of Summer’s Ashton Irwin on Skynyrd, Catering and Meeting Dave Grohl
By Courtney E. Smith
Whether you consider them a boy band or boys in a band, the guys in 5 Seconds of Summer have had a very successful summer in 2014. Their self-titled album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, they’re on tour with One Direction and their song “She Looks So Perfect” is credited with increasing underwear sales for American Apparel. Which, you know, as long as they didn’t buy some stock beforehand is all in all a good thing.
But there’s more to these guys than you might get on first glance — not the least of which is a much deeper relationship with music and their influences than your average group that teen girls often attach to. We caught up with drummer Ashton Irwin, who told us about some of the older tunes he’s into, obsessing on Guardians of the Galaxy and how this gig helped him achieve a lifetime goal: meeting Dave Grohl.
Radio.com: How did you get into playing music?
Ashton Irwin: My stepdad got me into drumming at an early age. He used to be in a rock cover band who played songs like Fleetwood Mac and stuff like that. I followed him around on his tours and used to go watch them every weekend. I’d been playing his drums at home in the garage and one day he asked me on stage to play the song “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd [laughs]. That started me on my way. It was the best thing ever to me, I got to perform in front of a crowd of 100 people and it was he greatest thing ever. That spurred the desire to perform for people.
Are 5 Seconds of Summer covering any songs live on your tour?
Yeah, we do a cover of an older band called the Romantics who have a song called “What I Like About You.” We redid that song. Our fan base is really dedicated and supportive of the choices we make, and one thing we like to do is rekindle popularity for songs. So we redid this one and put it on the She Looks So Perfect EP. The fans really took to it, it’s a hyped up rock ‘n roll cover.
Songs from the ’80s, ’90s and early ’00s, that type of music and those eras really influence us because that’s where we came from. We’re obsessed with bands from the ’90s and early ’00s. Heavily influenced by their music.