Rock, Wings and Ink with the Black Veil Brides

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“Why is it that everyone in college looks older than me? Every person in college,” laughs the 23-year old vocalist of the Black Veil Brides, Andy Biersack. “Every time I go by a college or see a guy in college they all look like they’re five years older than me.”

“I think I’m fucking older than LeBron James! For fuck’s sake dude!” interjects drummer Christian “CC” Coma.

“How weird is that shit?” continues Biersack. “Sorry, we just want chicken wings; our minds are going crazy right now.”

Meet the Black Veil Brides, a self-proclaimed ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ band of 20-somethings brought together from the Midwest into the tumultuous environment that is Los Angeles. Biersack and Coma, along with the rest of their crew, guitarists Jake Pitts and Jinxx, and bassist Ashley Purdy, are all seated around a table in a suite in the Republic Records New York head quarters. The topic of their debate: when they can actually go to Hooters and get chicken wings.

For the last five years the quintet has been climbing through a mid-level music scene filled with nondescript genres ranging from screamo to djent to whatever nonsensical title a creative critic can come up with next. All the while they’ve been playing with one purpose: to be a real rock band in a time when rock is, as Gene Simmons has pointed out, “dead.” “Rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t even fucking exist!” exclaims Purdy, clad in a Crüe-worthy all black get up and leather cowboy boots. “There’s guitar solos in country songs today! There’s no guitar solos in rock music today. Well there is no rock music today, except for us. Rock should be drums, bass and guitars,” continues Purdy citing that the latest VMA winner for best rock video, Lorde’s “Royals,” was a track that didn't contain a single guitar.

 Photo of Biersack (left) and Purdy (right) by Scott Diussa

Photo of Biersack (left) and Purdy (right) by Scott Diussa

Now having made it to a major label with radio airplay and their fourth full-length record, it looks like the Black Veil Brides may finally reach their goal to revive that missing sound in modern music. After the critical success of the Brides’ third studio record, a theatrical concept album complete with a feature film, the group decided to take a more traditional approach, hitting up esteemed rock producer Bob Rock to work with them on their latest full-length release. “Bob’s incredibly talented and super nice,” explains Biersack. “We could not have had a better experience with him. He’s just so perceptive when it comes to music.”

The Brides hunkered down in Vancouver for several weeks of preproduction and recording with Rock, whose resume includes Metallica’s black album and Motley Crüe’s Dr. Feelgood, in order to bring their record together. “It’s self-titled,” says Biersack, “but it’s also kind of “IV” [pronounced ‘four’]. We had like fucking eight names for the last record. It was Black Veil Brides: Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones: Legion of the Black. Like this one, we’re like let’s not have 12 titles, let’s just have it be the fourth record.”

Biersack began writing for the fourth record at his home in LA, but found inspiration for the rest of the album on site in Rock’s Canada studio. “With this record, there’s no call to arms,” continues Biersack. “It is us doing a rock record about the things that we are actually experiencing and that made us closer as a band. I think that all of us became much more collaborative on this album.” The group knew they wanted their progression of sound to speak for itself rather than focus on a more direct message as they've done in the past.

Photo by Scott Diussa

Photo by Scott Diussa

Apart from their dedication to music is a private love of tattoos as all five of the band members are heavily covered in ink, including several pieces dedicated to their time spent in the Black Veil Brides. “The thing is I don’t give a shit about my tattoos or your tattoos, or really anybody’s tattoos. They’re your own specific thing and it’s not worth conversation,” says Biersack who has everything from a portrait of Jesus on his neck by Shaun Kama to a caricature of himself as a whiskey-drinking koala on his arm. “I forget that I have them. You don’t look at yourself in the mirror and go ‘Look at those fucking tattoos!’ You look at yourself and see yourself in a way that you like because they’re an extension of a personality trait that you have. You get them because you like the idea.”

“I went a different route,” adds Coma who is in the process of getting two heaven and hell themed sleeves by illustrative tattooist London Reese. “I was just a fan of my artist and so I just said ‘I want to have a theme and I want to see your artist’s interpretation of it.’ There’s a couple guidelines, but it’s really just whatever he wants to do.”

As the band has gone on, more and more BVB fan tattoos have appeared on the scene, slowly showing their growing popularity as they break into the mainstream rock world. “Honestly, the whole idea of being a polarizing band is so played and boring," explains Biersack of the Brides' steady climb up the charts. "We’re just a rock band that wants to make good music.” Being the first band to ever win the Revolver Golden Gods Best Song of the Year three times in a row, it seems as if the Brides are well on their way to the top as they follow up with a potential 2014 nomination, the recently released single "Heart of Fire," on radios now.

Continuously headed in an upwards direction, Black Veil Brides has a huge fall tour to look forward to in promotion of their self-titled release, including several Halloween themed dates alongside bands like Falling in Reverse and Set It Off. As a band that has already toured all over the world they conclude that Duff’s in Buffalo, New York is actually the best spot to get chicken wings, but for today, Hooters will have to do.

Check out the Black Veil Brides' latest video for their track "Heart of Fire" right here: