Andy Biersack is the cocky young brash frontman for Black Veil Brides. He is a lightning-rod for critics and haters alike but just like his heroes in Mötley Crüe, W.A.S.P., and KISS, he welcomes their venom & often spews it right back with a middle finger soaring! However, just like his heroes of yesteryear, Andy is learning to ignore the critics & haters and let his music do the talking.
Black Veil Brides recently released their self-titled fourth album. It is more introspective lyrically, heavier yet more melodic at times than its predecessors and less of a Us vs. The World statement. Dare we say that young Mr. Biersack is growing up, maturing and realizing he can’t change everyone’s opinions, so why try?
I think so as he has turned this former “hater” around thanks to an interview on the KISS themed YouTube show/Podcast ‘Three Sides Of The Coin’ and by a listen to their new album. I had the pleasure of speaking with Andy by phone just a few days ago as he enjoyed his rare day off from the comfort of his hotel room. I cut the interview short a few questions as he was fighting the effects of a cold & I didn’t want to be the cause of him losing his voice and possibly having to cancel his next show in Philadelphia, PA. Hopefully, after the New Year I can catch up with Andy & ask him those questions, get the scoop on how the last month of touring in 2014 went and get his thoughts on all things Black Veil Brides for 2015.
Legendary Rock Interviews: Hello Andy! How are you today?
Andy Biersack: I’m ok! We’ve been on tour for a just about over two months on this run & got about another month left to go and it is starting to catch up to me physically. I woke up around 6 a.m. today just not feeling my best. Fortunately, we have a day off today in Philadelphia so I am just resting up in my hotel room. I’ve got a couple more interviews then I will probably take some NyQuil and try to sleep it off.
LRI: There you go! Sounds like you are catching that cold that everyone seems to catch this time of year especially on the road.
AB: Oh yeah! It is a pretty common practice when it comes to touring. One person gets sick on the bus & you are all going to get it! We were just counting down until it was my turn. (Laughs)
LRI: I am up visiting family & my three and four year old nephews both have colds, the three year old is my little shadow so I just know I am going to get it!
AB: Oh yeah, it IS going to come your way! (Laughs) I hope it treats you not-too-poorly!
LRI: You said you are in Philadelphia today (Tuesday, November 18th) on your day off so do you have a show there tomorrow?
AB: We do, yeah! We are playing here tomorrow & we just played in Pittsburgh yesterday. We had a run of about five shows consecutively so this is the first off day. Back in the day when we first started touring that was a pretty common practice we’d even do like twelve shows. The scale of show we are doing now which is about an hour and a half set with quite a bit of staging and much larger stages. Three shows, four shows in and you feel like you have played about a million! (Laughs) Nice to have an off day to try to recover.
LRI: Before we get too far in to this interview, a mutual friend by the name of Mitch Lafon wanted me to tell you hello!
AB: Oh great! Mitch is a great guy! I haven’t seen him in a while. He came out to one of our shows in Montreal last year and I haven’t seen him since then. I am supposed to be chatting with him soon.
LRI: Also, the guys from Three Sides Of The Coin, Michael Brandvold, Tommy Sommers & Mark Cicchini wanted me to say hello as well as ask you about “The Shocker” shirt that Michael gave you.
AB: Yes, I have it! It is with me. It is in the wardrobe case. I have a whole folded-out plan for all of the shows and where my shirts are going to be. It is just about to the top so I will be wearing it onstage soon.
LRI: Cool! I was chatting with Michael and mentioned I would be interviewing you and he said to ask about it. I was wondering what the hell he was putting me up to, I didn’t know if it was some kind of rib but I knew the shirts were out. I thought maybe there was a funny story behind it besides the obvious!
AB: (Laughs) No, he brought a shirt out to me at the San Francisco show and gave it to me. I told him that I would wear it onstage so I am sure he is waiting for pictures of that! (Laughs) I promised I would make it happen though!
LRI: Your new album came out last month and debuted at number ten of the Billboard 200 chart with 30,000 units sold. Were you happy with the chart debut and units sold or were you expecting more?
AB: You know, we were in a position where I wanted to sale at the scale of our previous record and that really, to me, in this day and age with the whole industry being down twenty percent from last year. Rock records just don’t really sell that much anymore. So, for us to be able to have our second consecutive Top-Ten record is pretty damn impressive & I am very happy with it.
We are a band that came out just around the time the bottom kind of dropped out for Rock music sales. Every record we’ve made has done better than the previous or been consistent sales wise as the previous. That is something that I am really proud of!
LRI: What are your thoughts on those that say music is going completely digital and that physical product will cease to exist in the next few years? Are you a fan of physical product or would you prefer to just deal in digital sales as an artist?
I am ‘old school’ in the fact that I still prefer to buy a CD, upload it to my MP3 player and still have all the artwork, liner notes and a physical CD! The convenience of MP3’s is nice for the mobility factor but I still digg seeing shelves of vinyl and CD’s in my home even if I hate moving them when I have to move. (Laughs) I still think there will be a limited demand for CD’s & vinyl after a few years and those formats won’t ever completely cease to exist!
AB: Sure. I’m definitely a fan of physical product and a lot of that comes from, notably, I am a huge KISS fan! One of the great things about buying KISS records is all of the artwork & the feeling of having it in your hand and any lil’ extra goodies that might be in there, etc.
We actually have a great history with our fan base & it lead to the point where eventually I had a meeting with the folks over at iTunes asking how we could get the digital sales to be at the level of our physical sales. That kind of blew their minds that our fans were so avid about the physical CD’s themselves. We do great with that!
Just the other night we were in Wal-Mart & I was walking by the CD section and saw the record so I bought it at Wal-Mart. I always like to buy our records on physical CD just so I have them for prosperity. Yeah, I am a fan of the physical product! You know, we’ve been told that it is very likely that this record may be one of the last ones released in physical CD at least in terms of large CD sales. It doesn’t means one won’t be produced it is just the labels are pulling back on that because the overhead is so high for that.
When you look at major retail stores, you are seeing less and less racks of CD’s. As far as I am concerned, we will always try to have a physical product when we can. We have only released a few things that were not released on a physical CD, we had a few EP’s that were just released digitally but I always like to have the CD’s for our fans.
LRI: What are your thoughts on the whole resurgence of vinyl? I noticed that your new album will be coming out on vinyl on November 24th. Do you think vinyl is back for good or is a niche kind of nostalgic novelty that will fade away again like it did in the early 1990’s?
AB: We have released every record that we have done on vinyl. I have a record player in my house and obviously Rock N’ Roll music, the sound and tone quality of vinyl is so much more superior to any of the digital versions. It is one of those things where it is a great collectors piece. We have always had very artistically done album covers.
Every record we’ve done, we’ve had a painted album cover done by Richard Villa who does all of our artwork. Obviously those things look the best on that scale. You know, the kind of grandiose imagery is always going to look better on a record!
All things considered, I think that I like anybody who will buy our music on any platform. Particularly to the younger audience, digital media is so much more accessible. I am a fan of the iTunes idea. I like that music can be out there and purchased. Yeah, I love records, I love the feel of records and love the vibe of records.
LRI: So far, you have released ‘Heart Of Fire’ & ‘ Goodbye Agony’ as singles and videos. As I mentioned in the review I wrote, it was ‘Goodbye Agony’ that song convinced me to go buy the album from Best Buy. Plus, Best Buy offered a bonus track. Any ideas for a third single?
AB: We have got a few. We just shot a live DVD in Los Angeles. That will probably be coming out around the summer of 2015. It is process of being edited right now. That is kind the number one thing is releasing this live DVD & we will probably be doing a live release of the audio as well. So we may do a live video single from that show. It was a lot of fun.
As far as a single, we, in the band, we are all big fans of the song ‘Drag Me To The Grave’. I think that is a song that would make for a great music video. It is always hard as there are always other cooks who try to get in the kitchen but we have always been very fortunate that Universal has always let us kind of pick our own singles. There are always a few options so I wouldn’t be surprised if we shot a new music video at the start of 2015.
LRI: ‘Walk Away’ would get my vote! That song is just amazing!
AB: Thank you so much! That is a song that is very close to my heart. It was a very long & arduous process to get it finished & we were very focused on doing something that we thought would be very fun for the listener. Obviously, it is a nearly seven minute song with several guitar solos, key changes and back-up singers.
Being fans of Classic Rock & stuff like Queen & obviously having the influence of bands like Guns N’ Roses with songs like ‘Estranged’ and ‘November Rain’. We wanted to do something that was like a nod or our homage to that kind of Rock N’ Roll!
LRI: I hadn’t even thought of it that way but now that you mention the likes of Queen and Guns N’ Roses, it definitely has that grandiose influence of those artists. That song struck a nerve with me lyrically and musically. I figured ‘Goodbye Agony’ would end up being my favorite on the album but ‘Walk Away’ quickly changed that state-of-mind.
AB: Thanks so much for that!
LRI: I could definitely see video directors like Wayne Isham or Samuel Bayer doing something EPIC with a video for the song.
AB: Yeah, definitely, absolutely!
LRI: What are your tour plans for the rest of the year and into 2015?
AB: We have got just about a month off after this tour & this tour ends at Christmas. We have got January off to kind of recoup. Then we head out on the next leg of this ‘Black Mass’ tour that we are on. We will be doing a handful of dates in the U.S. and then focusing a lot on Canada on that run.
When that tour is done we go straight back to Europe for a long run then we are doing a short little run of co-headline shows with Steel Panther in Europe. That will be a lot of fun! Then we are going to Russia for a while and doing a headline run there. That will put us near the summer and probably do a lot of the festival circuit in Europe. We are confirming something right now for the Summer of 2015 so quite a bit of touring my friend, quite a bit!
LRI: I hope you will make it out to Kansas because I’d like to check your live show out!
LRI: Since I am new to Black Veil Brides which is explained in the review & since LRI’s demographic tends to be older than your fan base, how would you describe Black Veil Brides to a newbie like me or someone who isn’t at all familiar with the band?
AB: We are obviously influenced by quite a bit of Classic Rock & there are certain elements of the band that are influenced Classic Contemporary and Modern Metal. To me, the biggest influence we have is a nice amalgam of bands like Mötley Crüe and Metallica! Also, heavily influenced by stuff like Danzig & Billy Idol and those kind of things. Obviously, KISS has always been something that has been a HUGE influence on not only me but the whole band!
We are kind of a product of kids who grew up on that stuff. We love W.A.S.P., we love LA Guns, so that is really a great deal of what the influence of the band is. A lot of gang vocals & a lot of guitar solos!
LRI: I can definitely hear all of that! I digg this album but I am going to have to go back and get your earlier stuff.
AB: (Laughs) For sure!
LRI: Funny you mention W.A.S.P. as a good friend of mine is their drummer!
AB: Oh really?
LRI: Yeah, Mike Dupke!
AB: Oh rad! When I first moved to L.A. & we got our first rehearsal space, one of the first people who kind of took us under their wing was crazy ol’ Chris Holmes! (Laughs) He was one of the first people who would come to our rehearsals & rock out and drink beer with us! He always thought we were fun kids to be around so I’ll always have a soft spot for that!
LRI: I’m gonna shave off a few questions & finish with this so you can get the other interviews done and rest your voice! Do you have anything else that you want to plug or if you could say anything to the readers of LRI who may be unfamiliar with the Black Veil Brides, what would you say?
AB: Honestly, the music speaks for itself! I hope people will go out & pick up the new record and if they enjoy it, that would be excellent! The main focus for us is we will be releasing live material. That is a big part of what the band is as far as our live show & the DVD will represent us live! Obviously, there is pyrotechnics, there is balloons, confetti, staging & video walls and all the things we love about Rock N’ Roll! Hopefully, people will see that and get turned on by it!
LRI: Right on! Like I said, bring your asses to Kansas & I will definitely be there as you have converted me from a “hater” to a fan!
AB: Thanks so much man, I appreciate it! Thank you for your time!
LRI: No problem! You are very welcome and thank you!
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