Admittedly, in the past it seemed very easy to poke fun at Black Veil Brides.
After all, when they first hit the scene, the band members looked like something out of a poor man's Mötley Crüe comic book, minus the enduring rock anthems. They exist in a macho metal world that often disregards them. People often wonder if these guys are a band or if this is really singer Andy Biersack's my way or the highway solo project disguised as a band. Regardless of their past these young up and comers may be turning a corner with the help of producer Bob Rock, who has worked with Metallica, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, 311, and more. Their new record, IV, shows promise that they may be more than just a gimmicky rock band your 13-year old little cousin likes.
Despite the gothic James Dean look, Biersack is intelligent, witty, full of positivity, and doesn't come across as the dictator, but actually the opposite. He gave us the skinny on working with Bob Rock and "little people with big mouths" who talk shit about his band.
Up on the Sun: Bob Rock seems like an unlikely candidate to produce a Black Veil Brides record, how did that come to be?
Andy Biersack: That's so funny because we've gotten kind of one or the other [response]. There are some people that have written that it was such an obvious pairing, and other people say it's sort of out there in left field. In some ways I think it's a little bit of both. I don't think I would have dreamed that I'd ever be able to make a record with Bob Rock, just because he's one of those classic producers who is from an era that the bands in our world or scene don't necessarily get to meet.
We were fortunate enough to have a song called "In the End" on our last record that did really well at rock radio, and Bob regularly listens to rock radio where he lives in Hawaii and they happen to be playing it quite a bit. He didn't know anything about the band and loved the song and started doing research on the band and kinda decided on his own he was going to produce this record.
When you sat down with him did you tell him that if you're going to work on my next record you can't ruin me like you did Metallica?
(Laughs) Oh no, the thing that needs to be understood is Bob's process. He likes to have a band come in and do about a month of pre-production to write songs and really work on the elements of what they're doing. When Metallica did the Black Album they did that and spent a lot of time working on the songs. The Black Album turned them into the biggest band in the world, obviously, and when they came back down to make more records, they, admittedly, on Some Kind of Monster had no interest in pre-production ... and you can see by watching it that Bob's influence was less and less by the time they got to that record.
What was the writing process like for you for IV?
Coming out of the previous record which was a concept record I was really proud of what we did but in others ways I think we overshot it. I really wanted to bring this back to the basics of the five of us in a room working on songs and do something that feels more organic.
How much is Black Veil Brides Andy Biersack and how much of it more of a band?
On Wretched and Divine I would say it was much more me, on this record it's the five of us.
It seems that most people have always thought that this band was all you, and it sounds like you're trying to turn a corner and make more of a collaborative effort.
The dynamic of the band is well understood, and I am very lucky in the sense that the guys in my band have never been upset about me being on the cover of a magazine or me being on a t-shirt. They really see it as being a positive for the band, and that's not true of every band. Sometimes people who get angry when the singer of the band is the focal point, and I've never had that with our band. Everyone sees it as a positive for the band if I am well liked. ... The five of us make the same amount of money and we split everything down the middle. At the end of the day I am the founder of the band and I have a certain cachet within that but I don't make the decisions without the five of us thinking it through.
Tell me about your time in Catholic school.
Well I didn't spend much time in class (laughs) and mostly in the nuns' office for getting in trouble for getting trouble. I was asked to leave and was told I wasn't Catholic school material. I was told "this probably isn't meant for you." I do consider myself an atheist, but I have a great deal of struggle with the atheist religion because I sometimes feel that it's an organization of people who are wanting to basically blanket people with faith as ignorant and that's not true. There's a great deal of love and help out there will people who do have faith, and I think that should be seen.
Did you deal with bullying?
To a certain degree, but I always fought back. It think it grew my sense of self strength and preservation
There are people in other rock bands like Ivan Moody from Five Finger Death Punch who hate what you guys do. Does it ever make you feel like you're a 16-year-old kid back in school trying to defend yourself?
No I feel like they are still in high school, and I graduated. I don't have any interest in allowing other people with this idiotic unnecessary either bigotry or hatred they have for me to bother me. When I look at someone from another band who is in a position of power saying something negative about my band I think it's just ashamed. I think it's irresponsible, even if you don't like what I do you might have a fan that likes both of us and why would you want to alienate them. Sometimes I think little people with big mouths get blown out of proportion.
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