Andy Six of Black Veil Brides Interview June 4, 2010

June 23, 2010 by: admin

June 4, 2010

BLACK VEIL BRIDES

Standby Records

Andy Six (Vocals)

Hollywood, California

Myspace.com/blackveilbrides

By: Shauna O’Donnell

MUEN: HEY ANDY, THANKS FOR TALKING WITH ME…

Thanks for calling.

MUEN:  I WAS REALLY EXCITED TO TALK TO YOU, YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME. I LOVE YOUR MUSIC AND I AM A BIG FAN.

Oh well, thank you, I appreciate that. It’s much better than you saying that you aren’t. It’s always a much better situation to go into an interview knowing that the person likes you.

MUEN: WHEN DID THE BAND COME TOGETHER?

I started the band when I was about fourteen. I’m originally from the Cincinnati area. The band has gone through a lot of different incarnations, a lot of different people in the band. The idea for me was that I wanted to have this band that was sort of modernized or something with a message, but was based on the model KISS or Motley Crue. Obviously, we have thirty plus years of hard rock and metal music to play on. We would like to do an updated version of that and bring showmanship and theatrics. It’s creating characters that kids can attach themselves to that isn’t really around anymore in rock and roll. It’s been about a year now that I’ve had this line-up and that I’ve been in Hollywood. Now we’re finally a solidified band and I’m happy with everyone in the band.

MUEN: ARE ANY OF YOU RELATED OR ARE YOU GUYS JUST FRIENDS?

No, it’s kind of the regular way that you meet people to join a band. You meet them and they have a particular musical quality or aesthetic look that you like. You ask them if they want to join and it comes together that way.

MUEN: ON JULY 20TH YOU WILL BE RELEASING YOUR DEBUT ALBUM WE STITCH THESE WOUNDS. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING THE RECORD?

The record is sort of a culmination of different stuff that we all kind of wrote at different times. Everybody in the band has been writing music a long time. When we came together with our new guitar player Jake and our guitarist Jinxx, they had written some stuff previously. I had written a bunch of melodies and lyrics, so the actual writing process itself probably only took two or three months to put it all together. We came up with something that we were really happy with that had sort of a lingering feel to it.

MUEN: THAT’S COOL THAT EVERYONE WAS ABLE TO BRING SOMETHING TO THE TABLE.

Yeah, musically it is definitely a group effort. Jake our lead guitarist is very gifted and wrote a tremendous amount of stuff that we can play off of. I’ve been writing lyrics since I was twelve, so I had a whole collection of stuff that I wanted to use.

MUEN: I WAS CHECKING OUT YOUR MYSPACE PAGE AND I DON’T KNOW IF ANYONE ELSE HAS TOLD YOU THIS, BUT WHEN THE AUTOMATIC INTRO TO YOUR NEW VIDEO COMES ON, I AM REMINDED OF THE HAUNTED MANSION AT DISNEYLAND.

That’s kind of what we were going for. That voice is my grandfather who is eighty plus years old and lives in Cincinnati. The reason I wanted him to do it was because in World War II he would make announcements to the people on his base camp. I grew up in a strictly Roman Catholic area in Cincinnati and he would do all the readings at church. I always thought he had a really cool, interesting, kind of creepy tone to his voice and so it was natural that I wanted to get him involved in any way possible. He did a great job. I told him to make it sound like an old radio show, like the villain on a radio show. He was very excited to do it. If you have an interesting tone to your voice or something that people want to hear I think it is just as much an instrument or a tool to use as to singing or playing an actual instrument. I’ve always loved public speaking and people that are really good public speakers and can speak clearly. It’s always very interesting to listen to people like that and I’ve always really enjoyed old time radio shows where people use just their voice to bring across a message or create a scene in your head.

MUEN: DO YOU PLAY ANY INSTRUMENTS?

I can kind of play guitar and I used to play bass in the original incarnation of the band. I’m more of a lyricist and melody writer. I will come up with a melody in my head and then hum or sing it to one of our guitar players. They will write it from there.

MUEN: I READ THAT WHEN YOU WRITE YOUR LYRICS, YOU TRY AND WRITE THINGS THAT INSPIRE HOPE IN PEOPLE.

Yes, it kind of all stems back to where I grew up. My dad was in a punk rock band, so I sort of took my look and aesthetics from things that he had shown me when I was young. This was prior to the whole emo scene; these are the years where the only thing out there for hard rock was contemporary. There was Slipknot, Korn and things that, although visually stimulating, didn’t have that dark hair, the face and the tight clothes. It wasn’t really prevalent. The things that I was doing and the way that I dressed immediately got me called a freak or a faggot. A lot of what I write about is what I see now; there is a whole scene that has been created with the whole emo thing. I see a lot of myself in almost everyone that comes to our shows. Our fans especially, will dress up fully to come to the shows. When they dress that way or they look that way, they know that they are part of the army that is us. They are part of the Black Veil Brides and no matter what happens to them at home or school, they can come to a show, listen to the music in their room or dress up a certain way. They know they have become more than just the kid that keeps getting beat on, they have become something more. The vast majority of what I write about is dealing with things in life, but knowing that you have strength in yourself. So many people write about life in general and it always seems to be this woe is me attitude. I never sat and felt bad about the things that happened to me, it always inspired me to do more with my career. I could become the person they said I would never be. Everybody has strength within themselves; it’s just about finding a catalyst to help you find it.

MUEN: THAT IS WHAT I ADMIRE ABOUT YOU. I CAN’T STAND PEOPLE WHO PICK ON OTHER PEOPLE JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT. THERE IS SO MUCH OF IT GOING ON, ESPECIALLY IN SCHOOLS. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN BULLIED TO THE POINT WHERE THEY FINALLY COMMIT SUICIDE.

I’ve said this before, when I was growing up, the number one thing that I wanted for my life was to be in a position where kids like me or had the same issues that I had would know about me, know about my band and know that there was someone who was like them that they could essentially in a way project their pain, hatred or anger onto because they knew that there was someone who could take it. The idea is that when faced with these challenges, it is hard when you don’t have something to project your pain onto. It’s very hard to get through it, so if you have a band or a person that you know has been through the same exact things or has been talking about the same exact things, then it is much easier to keep your head up. We as a band are anything that the kids that listen to us need us to be. If they need us to be an emo band or metal band, then that’s what we are. If they need us to be faggots or cutters or anything else that they need us to be, then that’s what this band is. I have never defined the band to be one particular thing because it’s literally whatever is going to help someone in their life.

MUEN: WHEN I WAS WATCHING THE VIDEO FOR “KNIVES AND PENS” I WAS WONDERING IF THE BOY IN THE VIDEO REPRESENTED ONE OF THE BAND MEMBERS. THE VIDEO IS SO WELL MADE AND IT IS BRILLIANT BY THE WAY.

That boy is very much based on me. I still to this day have a notebook that I’ve had since I was very young. It looks just like it did in the video. I saw what kids were doing around me and things that I didn’t really want to get involved in, so I kept very few people close to me. I was always writing or drawing. I’m an only child and the kid in the video has an older brother. Having an older brother was something that we heard a lot of our fans had, like older siblings, younger siblings or even parents that in fact will talk shit to them because of the way that they look or dress. It is something that you cannot even escape at home, but as long as you have a medium to get your feelings out, then that is all that really matters. I was probably seventeen when we shot that video and we just finished shooting our new video for “Perfect Weapon.” We used the same director, but we like to look at it as the sequel to that video in the sense that obviously we had a bigger budget. We had no budget at all with “Knives and Pens.” It was made on hope and wanting to make something that would make a difference to people. We did the best we could with favors. Patrick the director is brilliant and he made it look like we had money going into it, but honestly it was just a labor of love. We made something we were really proud of. Going into this next video, we wanted to use the budget that we were allowed wisely and make something that we thought would be a sequel to the original. The idea behind this video is that the main character named David now has an army. It is supposed to represent the bands growth as well as the fans growth with the band. In the first video, we were a band that not many people had heard of and now because of the video we have been allowed success. Kids are getting to know about us and the kids that are getting to know about us are becoming friends. That is the common bond that they have. The idea behind the second video is now that the fans have grown, they have now become an army and they are strong with each other.

MUEN: DID A LOT OF FANS SHOW UP FOR IT?

We had a lot of kids come down. We shot in a sound stage and there was a lot of concern because there were pyrotechnics. Having too many kids there would have been like a fire hazard, but anybody that showed up that couldn’t necessarily get in there got to hang out with us for a while. We rotated people and we got pretty much everybody in the video, so we were happy about that.

MUEN: YOU ARE WORKING WITH THE INFAMOUS BLASKO. HE IS YOUR PRODUCER/MANAGER?

He’s everything! Blasko is the man. “Knives” had just come out a couple months prior to him taking us on. He produced the record and it is fantastic. I talk to him everyday and it’s really good. Up to that point it was just me and my dad doing this band. It is important to know that my dad is probably the only reason that this band is in existence and that I have anything. He was a musician when he was younger, so I was able to learn so much from him about how to make a band, how to market a product, how to have a message behind what you are doing and how to write songs that would be effective and convey a message. He was always there for me. It was up until when Blasko took us on that it was just me and him. To have someone as respected as Blasko to come along and be with me everyday working on stuff is awesome.

MUEN: THE ALBUM COVER IS ACTUALLY A PAINTING RIGHT? IT’S BEAUTIFUL.

Yes it is an oil painting. One of my very best friends in the world, whose name is Richard Villa, is an amazing painter and is well known in the Los Angeles area. He has painted a million things and has an art gallery in Los Angeles called Exhibit A Gallery. He also works with Tony Alva the skateboarder. It was coming time to do the stuff and I didn’t know anybody that can do artwork like him. I asked him if he would do an album cover for us and he had seen this picture that someone had taken of me backstage on the previous tour. It was a cell phone shot that our guitar tech took. I was doing my make-up in the mirror, painting the little stitch that I have on my face and he was like “What does the stitch mean?” I explained to him that some would consider a band like ours to be the whole glammy thing and we sort of have a dull aesthetic because our faces are very pale with dark, big eyes. The idea of throwing a disfigurement on your face becomes something more than a bunch of guys trying to look glamorous. It connects you with the darker side. Nobody is perfect, there is something wrong with all of us, but it’s those imperfections that make us all so beautiful. We had a song that we ended up re-writing for the record called “We Stitch These Wounds” and we thought the concept behind the artwork is that literally there is a wound on all of us. It is up to us every single day to stitch up our wounds, move on and go into battle. The idea was to make something that was visually interesting and aesthetically beautiful, but that also had a deep message behind it. I think he really conveyed the whole meaning.

MUEN: THERE’S MORE ON THE INSIDE OF THE JACKET TOO.

I’m obsessive about religion. I am an atheist, but I love religion. I think it is because I grew up in such a devout catholic family. It is kind of important to note that my family and the people I grew up with have my respect and I love them more than anyone in the world. Although I have a different view on religion than maybe they do, they have always respected it. I have a very strong distaste to people, especially atheists, that feel like they are somehow better than people that believe in something. At the end of the day everyone believes in something and you need something to hold onto. Even though I do not personally believe that the Bible is the word of God, there are people who have that and that does not make them a bad person or stupid because they believe in something. The artwork on the inside is sort of representative of the five members of the band, but represented in a biblical sense where there were five fallen angels that God sent. We thought about it and each member of the band kind of had similar characteristics to the five fallen angels, so everyone is painted on the inside. Each page of the booklet shows the story of the five fallen angels. When it comes to artwork and stuff I’m very obsessive, I want everything to tell a story and have some meaning behind it. I feel so often people throw up a photo shopped image of a girl or something and that’s their album cover. To me, you put so much work into your songs, you’re telling a story through your songs, so why not have every piece of that record tell a story. There’s another interesting thing that we are leaving to peoples interpretation, but there’s a wing behind me on the album cover and I’m kind of interested to see how people react to it. The wing itself is actually representative of my fallen angel character that I play in the story, Lucifer. He was known for having the voice of a harp and he had wings that had many eyes all over them. If you look at the cover behind me, you can see there’s a wing that has my eyes on it many times. It all ties into the story, I write a lot about biblical metaphors in a sense or religious metaphors. I have always disliked a lot of the metal where bands will write about a chapter from the Bible and it’s not even relatable. I think people missed the boat. I think the idea of the Bible, in my opinion, is stories or parables that are relatable to your life. If you can use something from a biblical sense I think there is nothing more true. In America, especially, everything we do is morally based on a code that was set forth in the Bible. Every human’s moral code is based on things that are biblical. If you don’t do something or you choose to do something, these things you know innately are good or bad.

MUEN: YOU PUT A LOT OF THOUGHT, EFFORT AND TIME INTO EVERYTHING YOU DO AND I THINK IT SHOWS.

I’m nineteen years old and I want nothing more than to do this my entire life. It means more to me than anything, so I feel like I would be remissed if I didn’t put my entire heart and soul into it. I think a lot of the success that we’ve had so far is because the vision has always been very clear. We have no intension of straying from that path. I’ve known exactly what I’ve wanted for this band from the time I was ten years old. The idea behind the pain that I went through and the hope for my future, hopefully separates us from a lot of bands. There is a very clear cut vision of what we want to do and we will always follow that path.

MUEN: I NOTICED THAT EVERYTHING YOU DO TIES IN. FOR INSTANCE, YOUR TOUR IS CALLED ‘THE SACRED CEREMONY.’

Sacred ceremony is a term for a wedding. It’s a biblical term, there’s no more sacred ceremony. Even the name itself, Black Veil Brides, is a catholic term that refers to when a nun marries into the church and gives up the cardinal pleasures in life. She therefore becomes a black veil bride and actually wears a black veil and everything. I thought it was an interesting name for a rock and roll band, which is very much about letting out your aggressions. Regardless of whether you agree with it or not, it takes a tremendous amount of conviction to give up something for something you believe in. We believe in our message and we have given our entire lives to it. Everybody can relate to it on some level, regardless of your age or what you’re doing, there are sacrifices in everything. I think it’s the people who have the conviction to really do those things that are most successful.

MUEN: ‘THE SACRED CEREMONY TOUR’ PRESENTED BY HOT TOPIC KICKS OFF JULY 2ND OUT OF SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. YOU GUYS ARE KICKING BUTT AT HOT TOPIC. YOUR PRODUCT IS THE SECOND BEST SELLING…

Yeah, that’s what we are being told. It’s a great feeling. I think one thing that has attracted the kids to our merchandise is that we have made an attempt to remain a rock and roll band. Not to bag on any other bands by any means, but you’re not going to see our shirts having teddy bears eating a snake. There is nothing straight about that. When you have something that is an aesthetic look that kids can constantly attach themselves to, it becomes something for them.

MUEN: I CANNOT BELIEVE I HAVE NEVER SEEN YOU PLAY BEFORE, YOU BEING FROM HOLLYWOOD AND ALL.

Yeah, well now you have to. I’m commanding you to come to a show. Another thing that we have made a concerted effort to do is, unless it’s going to be a situation where a large number of kids can come to our shows, we try to make our shows an event. We don’t play local shows as part of a tour. We don’t tour excessively unless it is something that is right for our career or right for the kids. Everything we do is very calculated in a sense that we try to keep it to an event. You have to allow for time for people to say that was awesome, we want to see that again. The demand builds. For us to be playing all over Los Angeles every weekend is a cop out. You may get tighter as a live band, but you are screwing kids over by making them come and hear the same songs over and over. We try to bring different songs and a different stage set up every time we play so it is fresh for the kids. When we were putting together this tour and we were choosing the opening bands we wanted bands that the fans wanted us to tour with. We asked the fans who they would like to see open for us on our tour. We listened to that because we want it to be a lifestyle. We want kids to come to a show and know that all these people around them have the same interest. I’m very rarely someone on stage who will talk shit. If things are happening, they’re happening and I’ve had to deal with that kind of stuff the vast majority of my life. The only thing that will set me off and the only time I’ve been violent onstage was on our last tour. These kids go to school everyday and they are bullied, teased and laughed at. They come to a show for one of their favorite bands and that is their escape. A lot of times those assholes who are at school will come to the shows and beat up the kids at the shows. They will make fun of the bands that the kids like and be physically violent towards these kids. We were doing a show in Virginia and I saw this little girl who was wearing a Black Veil Brides shirt and this guy comes up to her and shoves her. He hits her head up against this metal bar and injures her head. He was probably in his twenties and this girl couldn’t have been more than twelve or thirteen. For lack of a better term, I kind of lost my shit, went into the crowd and hit the guy with my microphone. I regret having done that because you shouldn’t react violently to other people’s violence. To me, there’s nothing more shameful than hurting someone because they are doing something that they are interested in, it’s silly. The whole idea behind the punk movement or the metal movement is that it’s about going somewhere that you know you will be surrounded by people with the same angst and aggression that you have and letting it out through loud music or lyrics.

MUEN: ARE YOU INTO THE PARANORMAL?

No, no I’m not. I do not believe in any sort of paranormal. I’m a big supporter of the James Randi Educational Foundation in Florida. They are sort of a paranormal debunking society. He’s been around forever and is eighty plus years old. I got to have some email correspondence with him recently and it was a huge thrill for me. Not to sound like a jerk, but to me, you are better off doing legitimate research prior to putting your fear or beliefs in something.

MUEN: I LOVE PUMPKIN SPICE AND EGG NOG TOO.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we lived in a world where that wasn’t a seasonal flavor and you could get it all year round? Everyone loves it; I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love it. I don’t understand why it’s not constantly available. It’s always a shame. Shamrock shakes, everyone loves those, I don’t know why they do just always have them. I don’t even really go to Starbucks, but I will go everyday during the months of October and November, sometimes multiple times a day.

MUEN: I’VE TRIED TO MAKE MY OWN.

Oh believe me; I’ve done the same thing. There is this smoothie place and for a while they made a pumpkin smoothie. I was thinking that I needed to make it for myself because I knew in about three weeks they wouldn’t be making it anymore. They gave me the list of stuff, I went to Trader Joes and it was just atrocious. I cannot replicate the joy that they make.

MUEN: YOU ENJOY COMEDY AND MAKING COMEDIC VIDEOS. GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF THE KIND OF COMEDY YOU ENJOY, NAME YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE.

I’m really not into movie comedies for the most part. I like anything Ricky Gervais does typically. He is a big influence on me comedically. Usually I’m more into stand up comedy and the alternative, edgy comedians.

MUEN: AS FAR AS MYSPACE, FACEBOOK ETC. DO YOU GUYS RUN ALL OF THEM?

Yeah, if we’re not on it, then my dad is on there. His nickname is Brock and he is on our top friends. He helps facilitate with the fans. When we are on tour it’s harder to get on there, but for the most part it’s usually the members of the band.

MUEN: IT WAS AWESOME TALKING WITH YOU AND I WANTED TO THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW.

Well thanks and I’m happy that

A)    You like our music and

B)    You like pumpkin spice; those are two things that I will take away from this interview with great joy in my heart.

MUEN: I WILL BE THINKING OF YOU THE NEXT TIME I DRINK ONE.

Good, do it, it might be a while though. Maybe you’ll remember me after the first sip. You’ll be like “Wow, that Andy kid!”

MUEN: I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE YOU GUYS PLAY, I TOTALLY LOVE YOU GUYS.

We can’t wait to see you at a show and then we can talk about pumpkin and comedy in person. We play at Chain Reaction on the 3rd of July and then we play the Whiskey in August. The people at Chain Reaction have always been amazing to us and the thing that I like most about that place is the kids in that area are just insane. We have never played a show there that wasn’t sold out. I have nothing but good things to say about kids in Orange County and Chain Reaction. We love the Whiskey too. We want to make an attempt to bring back the vibe to the Whiskey that hasn’t been around recently. We are making an effort to not play anywhere else in Los Angeles. It’s a very historic venue and I love playing there. I think it’s important for the people in this area to remember the history behind it and bring some of the scene back to it.

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