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!
Exclusive Interview: Alecia ‘Mixi’ Demner From Stitched Up Heart
Mixi talks about Stitched Up Heart’s live show, connecting with fans and her passion for inspiring others to make the world a better place.
Stitched Up Heart forged their path in sheer passion and earned their keep in physicality and volume. The band’s days of self-booked national van tours and frontwoman Alecia “Mixi” Demner being a Revolver “Hottest Chicks” mainstay was merely the beginning. Driven by a new level of sonic confidence and topped with Mixi’s soaring vocal verve, 2016’s Never Alone is the sound of a band unapologetically coming into its own.
Rock Confidential caught up with Mixi to talk about Stitched Up Heart’s live show, connecting with fans and her passion for inspiring others to make the world a better place.
I saw Stitched Up Heart on a headline gig last year and the first thing I quickly noticed is the connection you have with the audience.
If somebody has seen our show multiple times and they know all the songs, they’ll usually just rock out. But, when people watch the show for the first time they’re usually just observing everything and taking it all in. We do try to connect as much as possible on and off the stage with people. That really resonates and people get the message. If we’re watching a band we like, we notice if they notice us. Chris (Kael, bass) from Five Finger Death Punch pointed at me one time and I was like, “I love you!” I get excited over stuff like that. Why wouldn’t anybody else? I like to try, when I can, to make eye contact and make that connection. We all really try to connect with people and that’s what it’s all about. Thanks to social media we think we’re connecting with people, but we’re not really. You can see people walking down the sidewalk staring down at their phones. They’re not paying attention to other people. At a rock show the music connects you to other people, so why not get closer to the people that listen to your music? Make a memorable moment for somebody.
Has anyone ever taken that out of context and moved into creeper status?
Everyone for the most part has stayed pretty respectful. Most of the time they’re just really excited. I’ll crowd surf and stuff and I don’t get people grabbing my tushy or anything like that. People are more worried that I’m going to get hurt and I’m more worried I’m going to hurt somebody. It took me a while to do that more and now I can’t stop. If the show is packed then I’m going to be jumping on top of people. Sometimes people just want to hang out but we’re doing our job. They respect that we’re working and we have merch to do, we have to load our gear. We’re at work when we’re at the venue. It’s not like we’re just lollygagging around. It’s like visiting your friend that works at Hard Rock Cafe. You can’t just sit there and talk to them the whole time.
What’s your favorite part about being on the road?
It’s really cool to see more people at the shows. We’ve been doing this on our own for a long time. We were touring DIY from 2010 until 2014 when we signed with a label. We hired a merch person. We used to do all the merch ourselves when we first started but that’s because nobody was coming to the shows! It was easy. We played Lancaster, Pennsylvania without a merch person and we about lost our minds. We didn’t know how to do it anymore. We had some friends help us out. We realized from that alone that it’s nice to see a full house and not always having to play hole in the wall dive bars. Even if it’s a small venue it’s nice to see it packed. Another thing that’s really cool is the music is starting to reach people and we’re getting to meet more people at the shows.
What is the most challenging part of touring?
The hardest thing is just those long drives. Taking pee breaks at gas stations and brushing your teeth at a Love’s Travel Stop. I think guys have an easier time being on the road and just being dirty boys. Girls … me and the merch girl are like “We are getting a motel room tonight. We are not sleeping in a Walmart parking lot!” You need some sanity and a nice, safe place. Especially when you’re on the road for seven months.
So much has changed for the band since signing with a label. How do you look back on the past couple of years?
It’s very surreal. It’s like “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” You just can’t see everything. You can’t hear everything. It’s hard to grasp being on the radio, or being nominated at an awards show. It’s hard to put into words. I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it on the next record!
The look of the band has definitely evolved over the years. Was that a conscious decision on your part?
There were some people at the label that steered me away from certain things. I was a little lost and needed some guidance. I change my hair color like the seasons. Having blonde hair for two years has been crazy. It’s been blue, purple, black. I used to think, “Ok, we’re playing a new tour. Let’s do something completely different.” I have learned to stay consistent and stick with something we all like. When I need a hair color fix – I like to dye it a lot – I’ll just put fills in when I get home and get my blue and pink and it washes out in a couple of days and I’m fine. I’ve got to hang out with myself 24/7 and I get bored with myself! I’ve got to do something new so I’ll just get a new tattoo or a new hobby or something.
Sometimes your voice reminds me of a heavy metal Gwen Stefani.
I love it! I love Gwen. She’s a hero.
Who are some of the artists that influenced you early on and are there others you’ve grown to appreciate more over time?
It’s really weird. My dad listens to the Beatles. My mom listens to country. I found heavy music in middle school. I found my neighbor’s dad’s CD collection and he had Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera and stuff like that. I fell in love with that stuff. I’d take a CD from his house and listen to it all the time and was curious about that kind of music. Another weird thing is when I started playing guitar when I was 15, I started playing jazzy kind of stuff. So I started singing a jazzy vocal over it. It wasn’t really the style of music I wanted to do. I had other bands – there were two punk bands I tried to do. It wasn’t until Stitched Up Heart that I knew what direction I wanted to take. This is what I want to do. This is the music I would listen to. Heavy music with a unique vocal style, kinda poppy melodies with a little screaming. It evolves and the music in this band is evolving. It’s more “grown up,” as I like to say.
During the show you mentioned Kitten Rescue. Would you care to tell me about it?
Absolutely. When we were writing Never Alone I started to find myself internally. I realized that I wasn’t all that great of a person. What was I doing to help people? I felt selfish. Everything was take, take, take. There are things you can do to help the world so I opened my eyes and started to give back. I started fostering little baby kittens. KittenRescue.org is based out of Los Angeles and they specialize in orphaned kittens that need foster homes and need to be bottle fed. I fell in love with this organization and last year we raised thousands of dollars by donating a percentage of merch sales. It’s been cool to have people at shows be inspired to help other animals. Inspire other people to want to do something to help and give back. We’d love for other people to take note and do something they believe in that can help the world and make it a better place.
Exclusive Interview: Boondox
Fourteen tracks of southern rock and rap mixed a splash of wicked, the album sees the Georgia native collaborating with everyone from hip-hop giant Bubba Sparxxx to Struggle Jennings, the grandson of country superstar Waylon Jennings.
Boondox just released his fifth studio album, The Murder. Fourteen tracks of southern rock and rap mixed a splash of wicked, the album sees the Georgia native collaborating with everyone from hip-hop giant Bubba Sparxxx to Struggle Jennings, the grandson of country superstar Waylon Jennings.
In this exclusive audio premiere, Boondox drops an audio confession in the song “Free Soul.”
Rock Confidential also spent a few minutes with Boondox to talk about the new songs on The Murder, working with new label Majik Ninja Entertainment, and his diverse – but loyal – fans.
Thank you for taking time out for this! How are things going?
Thank you for the time and opportunity to do this interview. Things are going very well. I’m staying busy and my new record The Murder was recently released, so I’m feeling great.
Please tell me about how much time you spent putting this record together, the guests involved and your expectations for The Murder.
From start to finish, I’d say it took around four months. I had to take breaks for touring and a few other things that came up. I have everyone on the Majik Ninja Entertainment (MNE) roster featured on a track called “Outlined In Chalk.” I also have Bubba Sparxxx and Struggle from Slumerican on a track called “Born In Fire.” Jamie Madrox from Twiztid is featured on a few different tracks. I wanted to work with him on making this record and his input was invaluable. We bounced ideas back and forth and he put a lot of time into the record. It was extremely humbling to have someone who was such a major influence on me to invest so much time. As far as expectations, my main expectation or my main hope, is that everyone who listens to the record will find something on it that they like. I hope for the sake of everyone involved in the making of it that it does really well.
When you first started working on The Murder, did you approach songwriting differently than previous records? How would you explain your writing process?
It was a little different. I usually write a song and then record it, and then I’ll write another song and then record that one, et cetera. On this record I did most of the writing before anything was actually recorded. It was good in a way to actually sit with a beat and listen to it many many times before I actually put pen to paper. In other ways I feel like I work very well under pressure, so knocking out writing the day before I hit the studio adds that little bit of pressure that I like to have. I’m now getting back into the habit of writing just to write. Even if there’s no beat or song that needs to be recorded. I got away from that for a little while. Call it laziness, or whatever you want to call it, but I’d usually just write when it was time to make songs. I’ve gotten out of that habit now because I’m feeling much more inspired than I had been.
What’s a typical day in the studio like for you?
A typical day will usually start with jumping right in the booth and recording verses. I’ll do those and then we’ll do a quick mix and then listen a few times. I’ll see what I like and don’t like, and then make whatever changes, then hop back in the booth and correct anything. Getting back on the previous question about writing, I usually write most of my hooks in the studio after I record my verses. There’s no real reasoning behind this, it’s just a habit that I’ve adopted and stuck with.
We’re premiering the audio for “Free Soul.” What can you tell us about that track?
This song is one of my favorites that I’ve ever done. It’s really deep on a personal level. I’m constantly struggling with if I’m living my life the right way, and what really is the “right way” to live. Is there a higher power that’s going to judge me when I expire, am I living my life the way I want to live it or am I just living the way I was programmed to live? Should I even care, or should I just ride life out and not even dwell on the meaning of it and what comes after? Things like that.
What inspires you as an artist?
I’m inspired by other music. I’m inspired by things that happen to me on a daily basis and things that have happened in the past. I’m inspired by the lives of others. I find inspiration in almost everything. Sometimes life will throw me such a curveball that I can’t find any inspiration at all, and then I’ll eventually look back on those situations and find inspiration in that.
I hear so much in your music but at the same time it sounds completely unique. Who are some of your influences? Was there a particular artist that had more of an impact?
I can’t say that any one artist in particular has influenced me. I listen to so many different genres of music and to so many different artists that it’d be hard to single anyone out. As mentioned earlier, Twiztid was a big influence, Three Six Mafia, Outkast, Johnny Cash, Jim Croce, Iron Maiden. There’s so many. I think that’s what has shaped my music though. I’d like to think I have a lot of diversity in my sound and lyrics.
In a day and time where the rules change so much in the music business, you have managed to secure a loyal fan base. What about yourself do you think is most appealing to your fans?
It all starts with the Juggalos, which are my main base, and them being the most loyal base in the music business in my opinion. That being said, they won’t just blindly support everything that you do. If you’re not giving them something that they can feel then they will let you know it. I think that my diversity has a lot to do with my appeal, and I think that I relate to a group of people out there that came up similar to myself and have experienced some of the same things. I also have a number of people who don’t consider themselves to be “Juggalos,” and who aren’t really fans of the overall genre of music that I’m most active in. I believe that some of those individuals are drawn in by that same diversity. Many people dig that I mix in a country feel with a darker tone and that is a sound that it truly unique. If you break it all down, there isn’t really anyone doing exactly what I’m doing and that appeals to many people.
Please tell me about the relationship you have with your new label, Majik Ninja Entertainment.
Well, I had prior working relationships with some of the people that are with MNE. Of course Twiztid and Blaze. I also worked with George, who is our manager and oversees everything at the label. That really got my foot in the door at MNE and they were gracious enough to give me the opportunity to come over and continue to do what I love on a large scale. I couldn’t be happier with being a part of MNE. Everyone and everything is extremely professional, and attention to detail is a large part of what makes MNE continue to grow. Everyone over there is genuinely excited about the music that is put out. Everyone listens to the music that the artists puts out and really gets behind it. I’m in constant contact with pretty much every individual working over there. We will call, text, and email back and forth about almost every detail from the music, to promo, merchandise designs, wardrobe for shows, almost everything. That’s very important to me personally. I don’t ever feel hung out to dry on anything and I know that if I have any issues or ideas, that they will be listened to and considered. It truly is a family over there, and everyone is treated equally and interacts with one another.
How have you seen the reception to your music change over the years?
Well, when I first started there were many who didn’t dig the country twist that I was throwing into the mix. There was a lot of hate based on that fact alone. Most came around that weren’t on board to begin with. I mean there are still folks out there that won’t even give me a chance based on my southern roots and bringing those into the genre, but for the most part that’s not really a big issue anymore. I believe that with every new record release that I win more people over. I also believe that I may lose a few people here and there because some people can’t handle change and evolution. They will remember a certain sound that brought them into liking your music and if you stray too far from that they will drop you like a bad habit. But you can’t really blame anyone for liking what they like. They’ll always have what brought them to you in the first place to look back on and hopefully will give you another shot with future releases to capture that again. If not, it is what it is and such is life. I just appreciate anyone who’s ever supported or gave my music a genuine shot. If it’s not for you after checking it out, then I say thank you and hopefully one day you’ll hear something that I put out you can feel.
What are your thoughts on how new music is promoted now?
In today’s society where everyone and everything is connected, you can’t really be mad at today’s promotion methods. You can reach millions of people with a few clicks, and that’s not a bad thing. I think in some ways it loses the personal connection that being handed a flyer or a demo had in the past, but there are still people out there doing that, so really you can have it both ways. Everyone has the ability to promote now. There are people promoting themselves and don’t even do anything. With social media, you’re promoting yourself every time you post something. Some people make a living just posting a thought, or a video of themselves doing normal everyday things. Life is one big promo these days. In that way I think there’s an oversaturation of promotion which leads to very short attention spans. But if you can catch on with people then it can be a very good thing. Promotion or lack there of is definitely not an excuse these days of why you may not be successful. You just have to do it correctly.
What do you hope people take away from your music and videos?
I hope that they take away some sense of entertainment and also some sense of being able to relate. I hope that in some way I can stick with them so that they will come back and give me an opportunity again in the future. I hope that I’m able to help people or even heal people through my music.
What was the first album you bought with your own money growing up?
Iron Maiden, The Number Of The Beast, at a yard sale. I saw the album art and was sold from that second on. I’d never even heard their music, I just saw Eddie on the cover with the little devil and had to give the lady my $1.75 to own it.
Please tell me about your upcoming tour and what fans can expect from Boondox live.
I’ll be touring nationwide on “The Murder Tour” with label mates Blaze Ya Dead Homie and Lex “The Hex” Master. I’m really looking forward to this one because I haven’t done a headlining tour in a few years. As far as what to expect, they can expect to see me perform songs off the new record, old favorites, and songs from past releases that I’ve never done live. They can expect high energy, and hopefully to have a really good time. We are also doing a meet and greet before every show, so those participating will be able to expect some one on one time with me to ask me anything and sign anything that they want.
Thank you again! What would you like to say to wrap up?
Thank you again for the opportunity, and thank you to all of the Juggalos and to anyone who has supported me or ever given my music a chance, I greatly appreciate it. Please if you haven’t already, go pick up my new release The Murder, and hopefully I’ll see you at a show on the upcoming tour.
Catch Boondox live – the shows start in Knoxville, TN, on April 6 and run more than a month, hitting both coasts and closing in Michigan on May 21.
The Murder track listing:
02. Peck Your Eyes Out
03. Throw Away
05. Feed The Machine
06. Free Soul
07. Purge ft. Twiztid
08. Cannibalistic Prodigal Misfit
09. Born In Fire ft. Jamie Madrox, Bubba Sparxxx and Struggle
10. I’m A Mess
11. Outlined In Chalk ft. Twiztid, Blaze, G-Mo Skee, Lex The Hex Master and Young Wicked
12. Sittin’ On The Porch
13. They Don’t Understand
14. Terminus ft. Jamie Madrox
Exclusive Interview: Moscow
Rock Confidential caught up with Moscow to talk about music, her showcase at the Whisky A Go Go, and how her sexuality drives her primal rock star attitude.
Russian rock goddess Moscow is on a mission to take over the world of rock. With musical influences ranging from Motley Crue to Asking Alexandria, Moscow strongly believes that it’s time to reflect on the legacy of rock icons and integrate a post-hardcore twist to their sound.
From the age of 15, Moscow was a part of the Russian music scene. “In Russia, the market is dominated by cheap pop music. It is next to impossible for a rock/metal band to break out. I hung out with some really dedicated and talented people, they taught me not to give up,” Moscow remembers.
Quickly making a name for herself on the Sunset Strip with her go-getter attitude, she enlisted the help of Shawn McGhee of Las Vegas’s The Hideout Recording Studio and Brian Steele-Medina to produce her first single, “Queen Of Sin.”
Rock Confidential had a chance to catch up with Moscow to talk about new music, her recent showcase at the legendary Whisky A Go Go, and how embracing her sexuality drives her primal rock star attitude.
Thank you for taking time out for this Moscow! How are things going?
It’s a pleasure. I like to keep it busy on a daily basis, otherwise my demons come out and you don’t want to see that.
Please tell me about your recent showcase at the Whisky A Go Go.
It went great. I had a pleasure of having my first showcase at the infamous Whisky A Go Go, to perform on the same stage my favorite bands once did, everyone from Motley Crue to Eminem to Linkin Park, is an honor. I loved every minute of it, and damn – give me the stage! I already miss it.
A lot of people have the dream to be a performer or a rock star, but never see it realized. What did you do differently to make it happen?
You can be the greatest musician, the fastest shredder, an outstanding singer, but you can’t teach how to be a rockstar. I truly believe it’s something we’re born with, like charisma. I never try to perform or to impress. I know very clearly who I am, and I’m not afraid to show it. To know yourself is the first step in pursuing this kind of career. Well, any career.
Has it been easy to stay motivated as you’ve grown your music career?
Of course, I wake up everyday with new ideas and goals. Sky’s the limit, they say. I’m lucky to live my dream, to have found a path that makes me happier day after day. People who are ‘satisfied’ with what they have disgust me the most. Motivation and the will to grow, to perfect yourself and evolve, is the most beautiful thing.
What inspires you as an artist? Who were some of your favorite bands/artists growing up?
Life, human minds, emotions. Growing up, my musical taste was very vast – from Eminem to musical theatre to Gorillaz. Motley Crue is one of my favorite bands to this day. Thanks to them I realized I was going to be a rockstar. While every girl wanted to be Pamela Anderson, I wanted to be Tommy Lee.
Women in music – especially hard rock and metal – are sometimes judged before they’re even heard because of their sexiness or how they choose to present themselves visually. How important is sex and sex appeal to your overall vision as an artist?
Oh God, sex is me. That is a very big part of me as a person and of course it’s gonna show in my appearance. Unlike other female rock singers, I have no problem with people associating me with this primal drive. Bring it on. Can I sing as well? Yes. Can I scream and growl? Yes. It’s Sex, Drugs And Rock ‘N Roll, why take sex away from it? As I said earlier, staying true to yourself is an important thing, so if that’s a part of me, I’m not gonna hide it.
Russia, France, and England to New York and Los Angeles – you’ve called them all home. Are you still on a journey or have you found what you’ve looking for in LA?
Los Angeles is the place where my heart beats. From the homeless on the streets of Hollywood to the night lights of Beverly Hills to the food trucks of Santa Monica – I call it my city.
You’ve been trained in musical theater. How does that influence your overall presentation as an artist?
I love musical theatre to this day. Every time I’m in New York, Broadway is a must. Performing was always my thing – whether it’s acting, singing or dancing. I’m grateful I have an education backing me up in all those fields. As a musician, you have to know how to deliver your material, so acting is a part of it as well. Further down the road, I’m planning on writing a musical one day, so who knows, maybe you’ll see me on Broadway billboards.
How long did it take to capture the sound you wanted while in the studio?
We’ve written and recorded three songs in a ridiculously short time – it took us less than a week. I work fast, and I love when people are on the same speed as me. Shawn and Brian killed it in the studio, and I can’t wait to get back there writing more material.
Would you consider the “Queen Of Sin” video the perfect visual representation of Moscow? How involved were you in the production of the clip?
Anything that has my name under it, I love to be fully involved. I work fast, as you know. Shooting a music video was not an exception. I insisted on shooting it at the Whisky A Go Go. It means a lot for me to have my debut clip shot at the iconic place that I was reading about and dreaming of as a kid.
When will we hear more music from you?
We’re working on a new lyric video for another single now. Also, an EP will be dropping soon, so stay tuned!
What are your thoughts on how new music is promoted now?
Unfortunately or not, we live in the age of social media. Myself, I am not a big fan of it. I go to concerts to watch a live show and share energy with the band. Music is magic. I don’t want to stay the whole time staring at my phone, live broadcasting or anything else. With the advent of social media and internet, the music business changed colossally. But hey, let’s take advantage of what we have and make it work.
What has been the most exciting part about your career so far?
It’s a hard one. When my first single dropped, when I released my first music video, when I played my first showcase. People around me made a bigger deal out of it than I ever did. I’m gonna be doing it for the rest of my life, so I don’t get as pumped. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love every single minute of it, I just don’t get overly excited about stuff. There is always more to come.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
There’s a woman. A woman who can rock. It’s time to erase the boundaries between hard rock and mainstream music, between glamour and underground, between sex and talent.
Moonshine Bandits Talk ‘Baptized In Bourbon,’ Announce New Tour Dates
Moonshine Bandits talk about the new songs and how personal transitions and responsibilities have influenced the next chapter in their musical history.
Backwoods bravado, patriot’s pride, country soul, keg-thumping beats — these are the qualities that Moonshine Bandits have championed since they began burning up the California club circuit back in 2003.
Their new album, Baptized In Bourbon, forges a new depth that encourages reflection, even hints of doubt. None of this compromises the defiant pride that’s always threaded through the songs of Bird and Tex, aka Moonshine Bandits.
This is the music that Moonshine Bandits will take on the road later this year. A confirmed list of new tour dates follows below. Maybe it’s a bit of a risk to mix the sacred and profane, the rowdy and the introspective, on record and then onstage. But the payoff here is twofold: Their music demands attention from first note to last. And because they enjoy a strong mutual trust with their fans, honesty is essential to that bond.
Rock Confidential caught up with Moonshine Bandits to talk about the new songs and how personal transitions and responsibilities have influenced the next chapter in their musical history. Boasting a killer lineup of guest artists, Baptized In Bourbon will be out March 3 via Average Joes Entertainment.
You’ve previously described your music as “hell raising music,” but on Baptized In Bourbon you mix the rowdy with the righteous. It’s not necessarily a change in direction, but more depth to Moonshine Bandits than we’ve heard before. Can you elaborate on the themes that make up the new album?
The title, Baptized In Bourbon started as a vivid dream in the middle of the night that Tex had. When we stepped in the studio and started writing, some of the song topics seemed to follow along the theme of that title. We’ve always believed in God and thanked Him for the life he has blessed us with, but is our lifestyle and our way of living acceptable to God? I feel this album is where we became true artists and not just doing songs about “bonfires and moonshine” over and over.
How has the ongoing battle between good and bad influenced your songwriting?
It has helped us become better songwriters. Our song topics are real life situations that we’ve experienced or stories that inspire us. God put us in the driver’s seat, but are we driving too fast? God has blessed us with a successful career that only a small percentage of musicians get to do what we do. We have been in every state in America. We are always thankful, but often wonder if our life on the road acceptable. It’s a fast life, it’s a lot of time spent away from family and friends, and sometimes it’s hard to come back from 30 days on the road and jump back into a normal everyday life. This is probably our most creative album. It’s definitely a concept album that has a start to finish, or maybe it doesn’t finish, maybe the ending hasn’t played out yet.
To write Baptized In Bourbon you traveled to a cabin studio in a forest in Washington. Why was that the ideal situation for writing new music?
With our road schedule, it’s very hard to focus on songwriting in a bus or sprinter or airplane. However, we always find things on the road that inspire us or might lead to a song, so we will write it down in our cell phone for later use. It might just be a word or two that will lead to a title, maybe a chorus, or maybe an entire song. You never know, we are firm believers that everything happens for a reason. We like to shut off the outside world for our songwriting and recording phase. The Farm Studio is located in the middle of nowhere, GPS doesn’t even work. It’s surrounded by old farm equipment, tall pine trees, coyotes, and beautiful sunsets. We bought some blowup mattresses from Walmart, then stocked up on Jack Daniels, tobacco, food, beer, and locked the doors and camped out in the Studio. We literally slept 20 feet from the recording booth. Phones were rarely checked and the reception was spotty due to our location. We did take breaks in the evening to bbq and listen to what we were creating. It was an incredible setting. We like to do the songwriting and recording simultaneously to catch a better studio vibe. We really wanted to nail the Moonshine Bandits signature sound. We are from the West Coast, and we wanted the world to hear a sound that originated in the Wild West on this record. Our production team, Burn County, are also West Coast based. They have been with us from the early stages of our career. We have all grown together. This album is the signature Moonshine Bandits sound. It’s not country rap, it’s not hick-hop, it’s the Moonshine Bandits sound. We labeled it as “Blu-core” Music. It’s a West Coast sound for blue collar people that have a rebel spirit.
How has the balance of being entertainers vs. being songwriters changed over the years?
We have always been born entertainers, stage performing has always come natural to us. We have performed in front of 10 people and we have performed in front of 10,000 people. Doesn’t matter the crowd size, we will still leave it all on the stage. We feel that if you are going to spend your hard earned cash to come see us, you deserve a damn good “show” that has energy. Creativity and our sound has evolved over the years. Finding our true sound was always a challenge to us, but it also became a time period of evolving into what we wanted our sound to be. Baptized In Bourbon is the project we feel our songwriting has caught up to our performing skill level and we are not just entertainers anymore. We are true artists.
As customary with any Moonshine Bandits release, you have a killer lineup of special guests. Tell me about working with David Allan Coe and shooting the video for “Take This Job And Shove It” at Shawshank.
The thought of working with Coe started as just a dream for us. He’s one of our idols. We didn’t know what to think or expect when we put together the concept of the song to pitch to him. Coe originally wrote the tune so we didn’t know if he was going to tell us to go to hell or if he was gonna be pissed or what. When we learned he and his wife both loved the concept, we were honored. There was nothing better than getting the blessing of a true country legend. We wrapped the song up with him and then proceeded to scheduling the filming of the music video. Our manager Ken Madson, came up with the idea of filming the video at the penitentiary aka Shawshank where DAC served time. The song “Take This Job” has a theme of being empowered and liberated. Taking Coe as a free man, back to a place where he was incarcerated, and capturing it all on film is pretty incredible. We sat in Coe’s hotel room the night before filming the video and shared many stories of the road and recording. Coe told us about his days touring with BB King and how every time he was told he couldn’t do something, he still did it. We shared similarities in our career when we were criticized for crossing music genres, some venues that wouldn’t let us play, and how our middle finger was always held high when we came across these obstacles and we still did it our way. Coe told us about how he used to rap in his prison cell, but he was so young that nobody knew to call it rapping. We also performed “Take This Job” live with DAC on stage to a wild crowd in Ohio. After the show, Coe told us how much he enjoyed our live set. The next day he called both of us and thanked us for everything.
How has the addition of a live drummer changed your shows?
Our live shows are very fast paced, high energy and full throttle. We pride ourselves with giving the crowd a solid show that demands crowd participation. Adding a drummer to our set added even more energy. We are a four-piece band and it has allowed us to create DJ and drummer interactions on stage that are unique and entertaining. With over 1,000 live shows, we have never had one band practice. Part of that is because we don’t want to give a rehearsed performance and look like a bunch of robots on stage. We want things to be organic, interact with the crowd. Plus, we play so many damn shows that we don’t have time to hold rehearsals. What you see is what you get. Shot slamming, beer drinking, hell raisers that will fly a middle finger salute at you as a gesture of love.
You guys have started a new non-profit company called OPC. What can you tell me about it?
We noticed our military was attending our shows early in our career and really relating to our music. We wanted to repay them for defending our freedom, but also for supporting our music. We started mailing jerky, Copenhagen, and other random stuff to soldiers that were stationed overseas. As our band grew, we really wanted to make a a bigger difference and repay them at a greater scale. With a group of dedicated fans, we formed a legal non-profit organization called Operation Packing Company, Inc. OPC was a vision that became a reality. We send everything from hygiene products to letters written by students in school. We are sending boxes of love to or heroes. We are fortunate to have a solid group of Shiners that are just as passionate as us and willing to donate their time to help OPC send over 400 boxes of supplies annually to our Armed Forces Overseas. OPC is growing rapidly and everyone is welcome to be a part of it, just visit www.operationpackingcompany.org for more info!
The Shiner lifestyle and all that’s involved – what do you hope people take away from your music?
The Shiner lifestyle is all about God-loving blue collar workers that work their asses off to support their families, but enjoy their time off and celebrate life. It’s a lifestyle for all people that believe in their country, and believe in family helping each other out in times of need. Ultimately, it’s about living life full throttle and living for the moment. It’s also a lifestyle that says you can overcome all obstacles. Underdogs can become heroes. Hard work pays off and don’t let anyone stand in your way. It’s OK to be different. It’s OK to create your own lane. We hope we convey this message through our songs and that others relate to the way we live and what we’ve overcome.
As your audience grows do you feel an added responsibility when it comes to the direction of Moonshine Bandits and the Shiner Nation?
Our responsibility is to give the Shiner Nation the highest quality product with our music and our live performance each and every day. Our Shiner Family is the reason we have made it so far, so we can’t let them down and there are thousands of Shiners joining the family daily from all over the world. We have to give it our all and we have to step it up with every thing we put out.
Moonshine Bandits 2017 Tour Dates:
2/17 – Jackson, MS – The Hideaway Club
2/18 – Perkinston, MS @ Red Creek Off Road
3/02 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Westerner
3/04 – Colorado Springs, CO @ Cowboys
3/07 – Ceres, CA @ Walmart
3/08 – Sacramento, CA @ Dimple Records
3/11 – Tyler, TX @ Oil Palace
3/12 – Daytona Beach, FL @ Main Street Station
3/13 – Daytona Beach, FL @ Main Street Station
3/24 – Dover, DE @ Cowboy up Saloon
3/25 – Columbus, OH @ Alrosa Villa
3/29 – Greenville, SC @ Harley Davidson
3/30 – Louisville, KY @ Trixie’s
3/31 – Roanoke, VA @ The Q
4/01 – Semora, NC @ Bar 119
4/07 – Charlotte, NC @ Uptown Live
4/08 – Laurinburg, NC @ Outback ATV/MX Park
4/14 – Las Vegas, NV @ Adrenaline
4/15 – Scottsdale, AZ @ Livewire
4/16 – Golden Valley, AZ @ Castle Rock Events Center
5/19 – Wapakoneta, OH @ Auglaize County Fair
6/10 – Merced, CA @ Merced County Fair
7/15 – Dugspur, VA @ Kanawaha Valley Arena Resort
7/22 – Trinidad, CA @ Highway 101 Run and Camp Out
8/05 – Eureka, CA @ Shinerfest Revival
8/12 – Brownfield, TX @ 4B Bike And Music Fest
9/02 – Litchfield, MN @ ABATE Of Minnesota State Rally
9/15 – Hurricane Mills, TN @ Nashville Bike Week
Overdrive: Erik Ferentinos From The Stephen Pearcy Band
Stephen Pearcy’s guitarist and main riff master talks gear, guitars and creating a “Smash.” Pearcy’s fourth original solo album, Smash, is in stores January 27.
Stephen Pearcy’s Guitarist And Main Riff Master Talks Gear, Guitars And Creating A Smash
Watch for Pearcy’s fourth original solo album, Smash, in stores January 27
What influenced you to pick up a guitar?
Watching live performances from AC/DC and Van Halen on early MTV. I was eight years old at the time. I knew right then that being the lead guitarist in a heavy metal band was the coolest thing anyone could ever possibly do in life.
What was your first guitar?
My parents got me my first guitar. It was a really shitty acoustic that had like 14 gauge strings on it that were an inch off the fretboard. It was basically unplayable for my eight year old fingers. They also wanted me to take traditional guitar lessons with it. That was a nightmare. I lasted one lesson. I couldn’t wait to be 15 and get my first job so I could buy an electric. I saved up and later that year bought a decent Fender Strat from Guitar Trader in San Diego.
What do you remember about your first time playing guitar in front of an audience?
The first audience I remember playing to was at my junior high school in the lunch auditorium. Me and two buddies threw down some Metallica stuff and the kids loved it. They stood up and cheered. I remember suddenly feeling a lot cooler and hopeful that I was on the right path.
What is your favorite guitar?
My favorite guitar is my Wayne telecaster that Michael Charvel built for me in 2006. I still play it at the Pearcy shows. The monster graphics are actually printed fabric that he sealed into the guitar. The neck is unfinished maple and I have a Seymour Duncan Hot Rail in it. It’s an extremely well built guitar. He did a great job.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.
Who are your heroes?
My earliest heroes were Eddie Van Halen, Angus Young and Neil Schon. I also loved George Lynch, Jake E. Lee and Warren DeMartini. All of them have inspired me at some point.
Have you ever had something embarrassing happen on stage?
I remember playing a show with one my early bands and the bassist had super long hair that he would whip around. About halfway through the show he whipped his hair and it completely wrapped around my headstock like five times. I tried to yank it away but his whole head and hair was stuck to the guitar. We kept playing but I led him offstage by his hair where we had a tech that was laughing his ass off. I was pissed off and embarrassed. I didn’t even let him finish untangling the dudes hair. I just ripped it away and went back to my spot on stage with a big bloody clump of hair hanging off my headstock.
Tell me about the gear you used in the studio while working on Smash.
I tracked all the rhythm guitars at Matt Thorne’s studio up in Burbank (MT Studios). I used my 100 watt Splawn Quickrod and Matt’s modded Marshall 800. We also used a small Orange amp of his on few spots. I used my Les Paul, Wayne tele, and Fender Strat. Matt had a Martin acoustic for “What Do Ya Think.” I didn’t use many effects, just chorus and delay here and there. I recorded most of the solos at home with a digital interface from Line 6.
You’ve stepped up big time on Smash – some of the riffs and guitar tones have a familiarity that Ratt fans will love, all while sounding unique to the writing style you have with Pearcy. How do you remember the complete experience of writing and recording Smash? How does it compare to previous Pearcy solo releases?
I have a home studio that I record all my song ideas at. If it sounds like something Pearcy can use, I’ll email it to him as a full arrangement. He then writes all of his own lyrics and melodies. In late 2015 we started to put some new stuff out independently, like “I Can’t Take It” that Beau Hill did the mix on. That actually got the attention of Frontiers. In mid-2016 they signed Stephen to do a few records on their label. They wanted “I Can’t Take It” but felt the other tracks had been out too long, so we had to record 12 new ones. It was a lot of work but we pulled it off. Pearcy had enough material from me over the years to make it happen. Matt engineered the sessions and performed the bass tracks as well as some cool synth parts. Greg came in for a few days to lay drums. Matt did the mixes. As far as Pearcy’s past three solo releases, he actually wrote and played guitar on a lot of those. This is the first time that we’ve worked completely together on a record, and he trusted me with all the guitar stuff. It ends up coming out better when we work as a team. I’m excited for his fans to hear it and hope they all love at least something on there! If they are old school rock fans they will dig it!
Is there a guitar moment on Smash that you’re particularly proud of?
I like my solo on “I Know I’m Crazy.” It starts out melodic and bluesy, then builds into some faster stuff toward the end. Also the lead in “Jamie” is pretty cool.
What gear do you prefer on stage?
I prefer to have my Splawn amps live but when we play fly-out shows I typically ask for Marshall JCM 900’s. They get the best old rock sound for what we do. I bring a few Boss pedals – Overdrive, Delay and Chorus. That’s it. I don’t like a ton of effects.
What songs do you think will work their way into the setlist this year?
We want to play at least three or four new songs from Smash. I’m not sure exactly which ones yet. We’ll see what his fans want to hear once it’s released. The set will be a mix of those and the hits from Pearcy’s career.
What would you like to say to wrap things up?
Just a big thanks to Stephen’s fans for supporting us and picking up Smash. We will see you out there in 2017.
Erik Ferentinos photo by Joe Schaeffer
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