Black Veil Brides – Rocking Away the Wounds of Time

Black Veil Brides is not only a band, but a  rock and roll movement – thanks to their very dedicated following of fans – the “Bridesmaids” – who supply support to the group and to each other as well.  Bands such as Kiss and Motley Crue instantly come to mind, but the Black Veil Brides demonstrate even more ambitious ideas with their impassioned music and tremendous live performance.  We recently caught up with their charismatic front man Andy Six to find out more about the Black Veil Brides and their superb new album We Stitch These Wounds – out now on Standby Records…

How has your headlining tour been going so far and what have been some of the highlights?
It’s been going fantastic! Every single night has been packed houses. Mainly the highlight is pretty much the same every single night. When we have a dedicated fan base in there, the energy in the room is probably the most exciting thing. The band itself is sort of a small part of what makes the show fun, entertaining and energetic. When you have a fan base – they know every word and they’re very dedicated and this is very much their life – it makes for a great show. Every night is pretty much the same – it’s just we go to these towns – and especially in smaller towns – there’s kids that come out in great numbers because they see something that’s very important to them – and they show their appreciation of the music by the energy that they give us.

That must be really wild going way outside of Los Angeles and all of these kids know your songs…
Oh, it’s fantastic. I always say this – even on stage, it is that the most rewarding feeling you could have is someone that write the song –regardless of what the genre of song is – and for someone else to understand it. Everybody yearns for appreciation from people – but for someone to have understanding of what you’re doing – so much so that they want to learn the words – it means something to them. It’s huge – it’s paramount – it’s complete acceptance as far as I’m concerned.

For those who haven’t seen you yet, what could one expect from a live Black Veil Brides show?
I like to say that it’s the best show you could see right now. We, as far as stage performers, want to give the crowd something that they’re not seeing. That’s why we started this band in the first place – is to make the band that we’re not seeing. We grew up loving KISS and Alice Cooper and these other bands. The one thing that lacked – especially later on was that I grew up as a kid in the 90’s – and I saw KISS as a bunch of guys that are in awesome costumes with stuff blowing up behind them and they are standing still onstage because they are old. If you could take the energy of a punk show and put it in KISS costumes, elaborate makeup and stage show – then that would be what a Black Veil Brides show is – which I think is probably the best thing you could see right now.

You’re from the Hollywood/Los Angeles area. What do you think of the local music/metal scene out here?
I grew up in Kentucky but I’ve lived in LA for a little bit now. And honestly, I missed the metal scene – the metal scene that I would like to have been a part of. That happened when I was very young – Los Angeles in the early 90’s was the place where everybody went to – it became what New York was in the 70’s for the glam bands. So much so that now Los Angeles sort of has a bitter taste for that genre. I think that a band like ours – or some of the bands that are coming up – are really bringing back this sort of excitement in places like the Whisky and other places that of late have been dormant – and have had hardcore band after hardcore band come in and do the same shit – chugs and breakdowns and are kind of bored onstage and don’t really give a fuck about what’s going on. So I think that is anything, we’re creating a new metal scene.

Is there any story or concept behind the CD title We Stitch These Wounds?
Yeah, the CD title comes from a song I wrote when I was about 15. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest/South – basically I was a kid who got picked on – who got shit thrown at me – who got beat up because I listened to KISS and the Misfits and Alice Cooper – and I wore dark clothes and was very much introverted and kind of kept to myself. What I learned early on in life is that I could be either someone who lays down and wrote sad songs and gave up on my inner strength – or I could be someone who finds inner strength in the struggles that I went through, and create something that could maybe help other people. The idea behind We Stitch These Wounds is that our band is very much about finding your inner strength and being powerful – and not wallowing in sadness and not wallowing in the fact that other people don’t understand you or don’t like the way that you dress. Basically the idea is “Fuck ‘em! Everybody is imperfect. And those imperfections make us beautiful.”  Everybody everyday gets wounded by something –whether it’s you have a bad day or someone does something to you – or you fight with your spouse or something like that. And it’s up to those of us who have the strength to stitch up those wounds everyday and go back into battle.

Perfect Weapon looked like a really fun video to make. Who filmed it and where did you get all of the extras who appeared in it?
The video was fantastic! We filmed it with Patrick Fogarty – who did our first video for a song called Knives & Pens. He’s amazing – he’s a very brilliant guy – he knows exactly what I want to have happen before I say it to him. We had really good chemistry and he always delivers a really professional product. And the extras – they were just fans basically. What we did was we had a contest originally with the record – one of our shirts that was in Hot Topic at the time – we had people from the Los Angeles area the first week that it came out – if they bought the shirt and took a picture with it – they sent it into a contest and entered. The contest was they could come sing backup vocals on the record. So we took those kids that had entered the contest and came and sang backup vocals – we sent them an invite online and said the first 300-400 kids who respond – we’ll send you a waiver and if you’d like to come down, we’d love to have you. The concept behind the video was when I first started the band – even when Knives & Pens our first video came out – I was still very much representative of the character in that video. The concept of our first video was it was sort of a kid who was alone and he was trying to find his way. He finds it in his music and art – and that sort of empowers him a little bit. By the time our second video came out – the “sequel” in my mind was now – and every much like myself – we’re older and stronger. We’ve been allowed some success and we now have a larger fan base. And in return, the kids that listen to our band – they’ve now become part of something. In any town in America – the one thing that we find is always true is that kids that like Black Veil Brides stick together. We constantly are hearing from people who are like, “I’m in the Black Veil Brides group at my school.” It’s become like an army where there’s kids and that it means everything to them. The idea behind the kids in the video – for every one of those kids that’s wearing my makeup or something – I see so much of myself in them because I was very much the same. So it’s sort of like a reflection.

Tell me about the song Sweet Blasphemy and what inspired you to write the lyrics…
That song I wrote about growing up in the South, and being bombarded by people that claim to be religious – when actuality all they were really interested in was excluding other people from their club. One of the things that angers me most in life is people who take a message – I myself am not religious but my family is – they adhere to a religion and they are some of the nicest people in the world. But what angers me most is when people take something that is supposed to be a message of hope and love and turn it into exclusion. The song itself is about if this is what you’re calling Christianity, I don’t really want to be a part of it. That song means a lot to me in a sense that I wrote it about something very personal. I wrote it about someone that’s taking something that meant something to my family and my life and skewing it and excluding people. There’s no reason that a kid grows up in a Hindu home or a Jewish home or anything else – they have just as much a chance of happiness in life or eternal life – or whatever you want to believe in – as someone who grew up in a Christian home. I think it’s ridiculous and it’s all about exclusion for the sake of feeling better about yourself.

Who has the Ouija board guitar and where did they get them from?
That’s my guitar player Jinxx. He has a friend in Detroit – he was in a band called The Dreaming before he was in this band. The guy was a fan of his old band and he came to one of the shows and he said, “Hey I make guitars and I’m looking to start a guitar company. Can I make you something for free? I assure you that I have a good product.” And over time, they sort of built a relationship – they worked together and built a whole bunch of different kind of guitars that are all sort of customized to Jinxx.

That guitar is one of the raddest I’ve ever seen…
Yeah, it’s really badass! It’s even got his name on it and everything. It’s fully functioning. It’s honestly one of the best sounding guitars I’ve heard. It’s just full wood – and that’s all there is.

Has Jinxx ever commented on what it was like working with Christopher Hall from The Dreaming and Stabbing Westward?
Yeah, nothing but positive stuff. Honestly, Jinxx was very happy to be in The Dreaming when he was in it. But over time, The Dreaming wanted to go in a more electronic route – more towards what he had been doing in Stabbing Westward. And Jinxx is a guitar player – he wants to shred! He’s also a classically trained violinist and loves that sort of classically influenced metal – and that’s what our other guitar player Jake is really into writing, so it just seemed like a better fit for him. But it’s completely amicable – they still hang out as far as I know. And actually Chris has been around and helped us with some of the production stuff for this tour – so that was great.

There are so few female drummers out there. How did Sandra become involved with the band and how does she feel about touring with a bunch of guys?
Honestly, people have to remind me that Sandra’s a girl sometimes. She honestly – it’s never been an issue. I had some mutual friends and I’d seen her drum before. And what better way to show what this band is about than not only a female – but a metal drummer who is doing something that is traditionally a boy’s game. But she kicks ass and she’s never had any sort of weirdness about being a girl. She’s definitely one of the guys. It’s funny – fans sometimes – I’ll “tweet” a message like “We’re hanging out with the guys” and they’ll be like, “Sandra’s not a guy!” And to me, we never even think about it that way. When we say “guys” or “brothers, “ – it just means that we’re in a band together.

If KISS invited Black Veil Brides to play a song on a Tribute album, what song would you want to play and why?
Unholy on the Revenge album. It’s a fucking evil song, man. I guess I’ll always have a soft spot for Deuce. And the reason I said Deuce is because the first time I performed on a stage of anytime, anywhere was for a KISS convention. I was about 5-6 years old and I did Deuce. And Eric Singer was there and he was complimentary, so that was always a fond memory I’ll have. But yeah, I would do Unholy – in fact I’ve toyed with the idea before about doing that.

What’s up after the Sacred Ceremony Tour is over?
There’s a lot coming up man – and like I learned from Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley – you gotta never give it away. You’ll see what happens.

And do you have any messages for your fans in the Los Angeles area?
Yeah, thank you! That’s our home now. Honestly, I might be from a different area, but LA is my home and it completely adopted me. And without Hollywood or Los Angeles or all of Southern California, this band wouldn’t be where we are. It’s their love and ground support that keeps the band going. We know that when we come home – back to the Whisky on August 15th, we’re going to be welcomed with love and pumping fists – and it means the world to us.

The Black Veil Brides are Andy Six on vocals, Jake Pitts on lead guitar, Jinxx on guitar, Ashley Purdey on bass, and Sandra on drums.

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

Black Veil Brides on Myspace

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