Andy, I’ve gotta start out by saying congrats on the opening success of the new CD. A lot of people have taken notice of your commitment to the band. It’s almost like you’re a metal mastermind marketing genius! What happened to make you so passionate about every facet of the band?
I guess I reference Kiss a lot, but a lot of people give Kiss flack for merchandising because they say it takes away from the music. The minute a hardcore band – or a band anywhere – sells a t-shirt, they’re no longer just selling music. They’re marketing their band. If there are people that like your music and they want to express their interest in your music, why not give them every possible thing? See it, wear it, feel it. It’s about being a part of something. When I was younger, one of the things I really liked about a band like the Misfits was I was able to show my badge. It was like being in an army. People knew I was a fan of that band. It’s a nice feeling. If people want to have Black Veil Brides necklaces, shirts and boots to show the kids in school or the other people out in the world what they belive in, we’re gonna give it to ’em, man. It’s the same way with our visual image. We wanted to make something we liked, ultimately. If you’re not doing what you believe in then you’re really just dressing up in a costume. What we’re doing is very genuine. This is what we like to see. This is the band we always wanted to see and hear. Our image is rock ‘n roll and it’s our calling card.
The kids are rabid. You’ve had millions and millions of views on YouTube. What is it about Black Veil Brides that has connected with so many people?
Go back to the basic ideas of rock ‘n roll – strength in yourself and rebellion. Those are two things that help start rock ‘n roll and they’ve been lost as of late. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people refer to the kids as “emo.” It’s like telling a kid that’s sad that you’re just a sad kid. That’s who you are – no inner strength and no aggression. All of us are emotional. It’s what you find in yourself that really matters. One thing those kids realize is that we grew up as the freaks or the weirdos or the outcasts. They know we were the odd man out when it came to the way we dressed or the bands we listened to. The most effective means of spreading a message is through music.
Whenever you have a group of people that share common interests, there’s instantly a comfort zone for everyone in the group.
Exactly. That’s what we say. Black Veil Brides is not a metal band. It’s not a punk band or an emo band. We’re Black Veil Brides – whatever that means to you, as the listener. If you’re a kid that listens to heavy metal and you call yourself a metal person then we’re a heavy metal band if you enjoy our music. The worst thing you can do as an artist is to be so cocky and full of yourself that you label yourself with a genre. It’s ultimately up to the listener. A lot of bands forget that if it wasn’t for the listener that they wouldn’t exist. We are thankful for them.
There’s a very positive, self-worth attitude in your songs. I’m sure your music is inspirational to a lot of people.
If someone can be motivated by rock ‘n roll I think that’s the best thing. Our band is about not giving up and not giving in to what’s around you. There are so many bands that write songs about how depressed they are. We write about emotional things but at the end of the day it’s about having the strength in yourself to get through anything. Life isn’t bad. Life is good. It’s what you make it. That’s why I loved punk rock growing up. It’s a community. All for one and one for all. That’s what we want. When our fans come to a show we went them to realize they don’t have to give in to that shit that’s out there in the world. They’re safe and they’re home.
The classic phrase “sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll” … where does Black Veil Brides fit in there?
I love all those things, but that’s not what this band is. Obviously, we like partying and having a good time because that’s what life is. I always saw rock ‘n roll as more of a battle cry. There’s nothing more dangerous and radical than a person that believes in who they are.
There are so many ways the powers that be are taking away individuality – especially with kids.
The world around us is full of lying down and accepting whatever life throws you. “Take these pills because you’re too sad.” Then they’ll give you more pills because the first prescription made you even worse. There’s no striving to be better. Every kid gets a trophy on the football team. Nobody is telling kids they can be all they can be or that they can try harder. It’s OK to happy, healthy and even angry. The world sucks a lot of the time so you should be pissed off.
You mentioned Kiss earlier, but I can look at Black Veil Brides and see some other musical influences. Who are some of the bands you listened to growing up?
Motley Crue, W.A.S.P., Kiss. I’m also very much into punk rock, like The Damned and The Misfits. Danzig is a huge influence on me vocally. Those bands were definitely the biggest influences on me growing up.
How’s life on the road?
Touring is kind of interesting. Apart from the show itself, it’s not a very glamorous thing. We eat very little. We sleep very little. The show is what really matters. When we get on stage and the curtain drops that’s the most exciting thing. I don’t think there’s anything that can compete with us right now.
And you’ve got some awesome endorsements lined up. Tell me about who you’re working with.
We just signed a deal with B.C. Rich. We’re playing beautiful B.C. Rich guitars. Ashley is playing Spector basses. We’re using Fuchs amps. We try to involve ourselves with companies that are similar to us – they’re on the fringe and they do things a little bit differently. We’re using Mehron makeup and they’re actually putting together a Black Veil Brides makeup kit for Halloween.
Should we be looking out for Black Veil Brides dolls?
Hey man, I will say that is something that is definitely in talks right now. I had a few emails just yesterday about that very thing. You never know!
Andy, thanks for taking time out today. What would you like to say to your fans and the readers?
We appreciate everything they’re doing for us. We know Black Veil Brides wouldn’t exist without our army. We love ’em and we’re definitely just getting started. There’s a lot more to come!