If things don’t work out for Black Veil Brides — though the 12-plus million views their first music video has accumulated on YouTube indicate they probably will — lead singer Andy Six can go into politics. This 19-year-old Alice Cooper fan and soldier in the KISS Army might want to wash the makeup off his face before declaring his candidacy, but he’s got an eloquence and charisma they don’t teach in high school. Six replies to every question like he’s spent hours rehearsing the answer with a press agent.
BVB’s music combines screamo and pop-punk with elements of hard rock and metalcore in a way that’s weirdly catchy at first, but after repeated listens sounds more like an unstoppable force in modern rock. File under My Performance-Enhancing Chemical Romance, and if their debut album (We Stitch These Wounds, dropping July 20) replaces Three Days Grace on your kid’s iPod, thank God (or, considering we’re talking about rock ’n’ roll, maybe Satan) for that.
The video for “Knives and Pens” debuted a little more than a year ago. At what point did it seem like you were going from being a band no one knew to a bigger deal?
Honestly, for me it was just a matter of time. I had always believed that the band was going to be the biggest band in the world, and I would tell people. Obviously that’s a cocky statement, but I strongly believe there’s nothing more important than bringing real rock ’n’ roll back, and bringing that sort of aesthetic and look and the feeling of somewhere to belong. And so few people do that that I felt like, given the opportunity or the outlet to do that, then we’d be very big. It’s happening that way like I had hoped and anticipated … but rock stars aren’t shit from the sky — you really have to put in a lot of hard work. When “Knives and Pens” came out I think it was the way the video was presented and the message behind the video that really garnered the kind of success that it has. I think it was really something the kids were looking for.
What is the meaning of the video? It seems like the lyrics are intentionally ambiguous.
The song “Knives and Pens” is literally about the struggle that so many kids have, especially outcasts, kids that are different, whether they listen to punk or metal or anything else. So many kids deal with the pain of life … and there’s a choice that a lot of kids have to make, which is either you take those frustrations and anger that they have and turn it to the creative side via, obviously, the pen — either writing, drawing, things like that, art. Or you know, self-destructive, which is you cut yourself or become violent, which is not something I ever thought about. I took everything, the shit that I was given from the people around me, and I turned it into something I loved and was beautiful. The song is not necessarily saying you have to choose one side or the other, but to me it’s about choices in life, and everybody ultimately at some point hits a wall, whether it’s a job or early in life, where they just don’t know what to do, and I think it’s at those moments that people find their true inner strength and realize who they are.
You’ve said before that your younger fans might be drawn more to your look than your message, maybe sort of the way you, as a kid, appreciated KISS.
A 12-year-old kid that has all kinds of issues in their life and they’re getting shit every day, and they see us and attach to us because they see something they like aesthetically, then I’m a happy person. They’re a person that’s found something in their life that maybe will be a gateway to other things. Ultimately, if nothing else, rock-’n’-roll music is about finding something you enjoy or rebelling against something that’s happening in your life. Even if it’s on a visual basis, something that someone can attach themselves to is always healthy, because we’re a rock-’n’-roll band. They could attach themselves to a religious cult or something and wind up on a whole different level. If you like the fact that I have blue eyes and we all have black hair, then by all means enjoy the music or the visual appearance. There’s obviously a whole different element to the band, but honestly, I absolutely hate more than anything when people come to our shows or come to other bands’ shows and pick on the little kids for being kids.
Your tour’s being presented by Hot Topic. Did you ever shop there as a kid?
I think anyone who’s my age and listens to this kind of music and denies that they went to Hot Topic to get T-shirts is an idiot. I love Hot Topic because when I was younger I was a weird little kid who grew up on punk rock, and I had to go to fucking creepy bondage stores to get these sort of pants and everything else. Then Hot Topic came around, and I could get things that I liked and looked cool and go into a store that I felt like I belonged in when my mom went to the mall. … I think it’s very true that a lot of kids like going there even just to be around likeminded people and things that they like. I think it goes back to people giving kids too much shit. I don’t know a person in the world that if they wanted a hard-rock T-shirt or something they wouldn’t first think to go to Hot Topic. They’ve kind of cornered the market, and I think that’s fantastic. •
Black Veil Brides
7pm Thu, Jul 8
The White Rabbit
2410 N. St. Mary’s