Interview: Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides Talks Golden Gods Awards, 'Wretched and Divine' and Devoted Fans
The year is shaping up to be a impressive one for Andy Biersack and Black Veil Brides.
They've already released The Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones, which debuted at No. 7 in the US; they've unveiled a motion picture, Legion of the Black, done two North American legs and one European leg of the Church of the Wild Ones tour — and they're up for two Golden God awards.
Let's not forget they're also featured in the March 2013 issue of Guitar World, which you can check out here.
We recently sat down with Biersack, the band's singer and founder, and got his thoughts on the Golden Gods. For more about this year's Golden Gods awards, head here.
GUITAR WORLD: Golden Gods-wise, you guys are up for an award in the Most Devoted Fans category. What makes your fan base so special?
I think, obviously, we are noted for having a very dedicated fan base. There is a visual, aesthetic part of it where you have the makeup and the costumes. The devotion of the BVB Army, with its very big online presence, is amazing. We’ve been fortunate from the very beginning. It was something that was really able to spur on our career.
When it came to record labels and management, people didn’t give a shit until the fans sort of forced our way into places. You can't deny a band whose fans are so dedicated. You can’t deny a band whose fans will literally do anything to see them win the awards. We’re very appreciative to the fan base. That mutual feeling of appreciation is something that really helps.
Do you think part of it might stem from early on, especially with your "lyrics of the disenfranchised"? Do you think they struck a chord with fans who were preached to with pop music and that made you guys a great alternative?
Absolutely. The message of the band goes hand in hand with the fan base. We never made attempts to say we were anybody’s role model or the be-all-end-all of what people should look up to. We have always just been very open about the fact that we have difficulties and we are messed-up people just as our fans are. We kind of wanted to do it together with them. With that being said, the feeling of comradery between us and the audience has really always been there.
Bands talk about their audience bringing their kids to shows. Have you seen fans bring their parents along for the ride?
Our shows have always been sort of an all-generations thing, people from 6 to 60. The other night, we played a show and we had a woman who was probably 70 to 75 years old, and she was there alone and she was singing every song. On the other end of the spectrum, there was a 7-year-old on his dad’s shoulders and the dad is singing along. You have the teenagers as well, of course. We are a band that stylistically crosses a lot of barriers and generational gaps. The heavier portion of the band, the modern music elements, the visual part of the band appeal to a younger audience. For an older audience, we have chops and great songs that are reminiscent of the things that were great about rock and roll when they enjoyed it. We’re the kind of band that can cross those lines.
True. You aren’t going to sound foreign to someone who grew up listening to a Motley Crue or a W.A.S.P. Your music has modern elements, but it isn’t going to turn off a listener who's in his or her 40s or 50s.
Honestly, it boils down to songs. Good songs are always good songs. People can listen to a song by an artist such as a Van Halen, and no one in the room is going to go, “Oh, this is terrible." Good songs cross those lines. Our focus on the record was to make them as good as possible, and those things will stand the test of time and relate to any audience. I’m not going to name any names, but we certainly have a lot of counterparts in bands that are popular, drawing well, selling well and are of the same age group as us. My point is always, where are the songs? What is memorable about this?
On the subject of songs, “In The End” is up for Song of the Year at the Golden Gods. If I remember correctly, that was the last track you did for the album. Did you have the complete concept of the album laid out at that point, and how did the story coincide with writing all the album’s lyrics?
It all started with a short story I wrote on a plane and then spiraled. I had two friends, Patrick Fogarty and Richard Millwood, who were very dedicated artists and friends of ours. When we got home, I gave it to them and told them about that story and said maybe we can do something with it. As a band we sort of dissected it and built the record out of it.
Do you write as a unit?
Every song has a different process. There will be some songs where it comes together right away and we’ll all be sitting around and know it. Then there are songs that take quite a while. A song like “Nobody’s Hero,” for example, took a lot of days of back and forth with our producer, John Feldman, with “The chorus should be more like this or that." A song like “In The End” came together fairly quickly.
I think a lot of people overlook or are unaware of the fact that you are extremely talented musicians. You have a classically trained musician in the band and a guitar duo that's reminiscent of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing of Judas Priest.
I think that is something we've always liked with that guitar duo. Even on stage, it’s sort of “classic” rock and roll.
Is there anyone in particular you're listening to right now?
We are big fans of a band out of Europe called CRASHDÏET. They have come out to a bunch of our shows but haven’t toured much in the US just yet.
Black Veil Brides have a few more dates in the US before taking the Church of the Wild Ones tour to Europe for April. The band returns home to the US to be part of the Vans Warped Tour, which runs all summer long. Keep up with their current tour dates at officialbvb.com.