Black Veil Brides’ Andy Biersack: ‘There Are No Plans to Break Up’
Earlier today, news broke that Black Veil Brides bassist Ashley Purdy said that the band would be breaking up following their eight dates on the final Warped Tour, which kicks off tomorrow. On a live episode of Another FN Podcast, Purdy said, “We start Thursday at Warped Tour in Pomona [California], and we are going to do eight dates through the southern California area. And that is where you are going to see Black Veil Brides for the last time ever in your entire lives. So, you better fucking go, because that's gonna be it." He later added, "You better see us before you don’t see us.”
Loudwire spoke exclusively to frontman Andy Biersack this afternoon (June 20), who told a very different story. "As far as I know, there are no plans to break up the band," he said. "I spoke to the band this morning, and that seems to be echoed by everybody. I can’t really speak to any comments about the band breaking up, because I was never aware of that. As far as I know, that isn’t the intention, and it certainly isn’t my intention."
One of Purdy's complaints seemed to be Biersack's solo career: "To be honest you guys already know that Andy Black is doing his fucking next thing so the rest of us are going to do something separate and easy. Nothing more, nothing less." The podcast has since been deleted.
"I can say that I’m aware that there have been conversations about various side projects and things that people wanted to do," Biersack said. "And, as always, with any band that’s been around for a while, that’s encouraged. People want to make different types of art or music, there’s never been anything but encouragement as far as that goes. I can say that yeah, there probably will be supplementary projects coming up from different members of the band. But as far as the band ending after the Warped Tour, that certainly isn’t my plan."
The singer chose his words very carefully. When it's suggested that the Black Veil Brides could exist with a different lineup, as long as he's the frontman, he answered diplomatically. "It’s a band. At the end of the day, we’re a legitimate band, we’re five members, we have equal say in what happens," says Biersack. "There might be more attention paid to one member or another based on various skillsets. But to me, it’s a group effort. If the general consensus among the band was that it was time to end it, then I think that would be what would happen. But from what I know and what I’ve been told, that doesn’t seem to be the overall consensus of the band."
However, he admitted that hearing about Purdy's comments on Another FN Podcast was surprising. "For me, anytime you hear an idea that you haven’t heard before, it can be jarring. As I said, that was never discussed with me. But I’m packing up suitcases and headed to Pomona this evening. I have a show to play, as do the other members of the band tomorrow, and that’s really the only thing that you can think about. If we were in a situation where we were listless or didn’t know what the next move was, or didn’t have any plans, then maybe there would be some cause for concern. But we just recently signed a deal for a really exciting 10-year anniversary package that we’re doing for our first record. And we have shows planned. Hell, even after these Warped Tour shows, we have Aftershock planned for the fall, and there’s also been discussion about some other shows that we were going to try to do in the fall."
He maintained that he's still as committed to the band as ever. "I wake up in the morning and I think about what we’re going to do next. If someone comes to me and says, ‘We’re unhappy, we don’t want to be in the band anymore,' then it has to be treated seriously. But until that happens, I just have to assume [Purdy's interview] was something that was floated out there in an open forum discussion that he was having, or just something that was said in passing and wasn’t meant to be serious. So I don’t know the full thought process behind it, but I’ve known him, and I’ve known all the members of the band my entire adult life, and I can trust them when they say to me that this is not the intention of the band."
He insisted that no one—including Purdy—wants to leave the band, despite what he said on the podcast. "I have texted with everyone in the band, and everyone’s on the same page. Ashley said it’s not his intention to leave the band. Or, at the very least, he said to me that that [comment] wasn’t representative of his feelings. And that’s kind of it. Look, at the end of the day, it’s five grown men with five different opinions on things. We’re not the Monkees. It’s not a situation where we all live together in a house and share all of our meals. People have differing opinions on things, and people might feel one way in one moment and another way in the next and that’s life. Maybe at the time, that’s what was felt, but I can’t fault someone for thinking or saying something that they felt differently about later. I think we all do that. The truth is, unless I’m made aware otherwise of plans to end the band, I will just move forward with the intention of being the same guy in this band that I’ve been since I was sixteen years old when I started it in Northern Kentucky. It’s been my entire adult life, and I’ve been very lucky to meet the four other members of the band when I moved to Los Angeles, and we turned it into this thing that it is now, and now it’s very much a living breathing band with opinions and ideas."
He then pointed out that the band is planning to hit the studio to record new material for the aforementioned 10-year anniversary package. "I’ll give you an exclusive. We haven’t talked about it [publicly] yet. We may as well have a little bit of sunshine amidst all the clouds. The plan is to do an entire re-record of our first record. We [originally] recorded it for just a few thousand dollars in a studio that didn’t really have the capacity to do that big of an album. We always felt it wasn’t representative, sonically, of the rest of our catalog. We feel that a lot of the songs on that album are very strong, but have never been given their day in court, so to speak. This is something that was set in motion years ago with Jake [Pitts, guitarist] being the producer of it. And we had started it and I think we finally had figured out how we were gonna be able to do it, and the intention is to not only re-record the record, but to include just about every demo we have from that era, songs that were never released before. We have an entire live DVD that was shot in 2010 in San Diego that was scrapped that we never released and no one has ever seen the footage from. We’re gonna put that out. We want to include as much of our old costumes and imagery and photos that no one has ever seen, as well as to record at least two or three new songs for the release as well."
"I think the plan is for every song that we have a demo for, which is just about the whole record, to include. Because the original demos were recorded at our apartment that Jake and I shared, and they’re very raw. Jake mixed and mastered them on his laptop computer. There’s just something to them that we’ve always loved. In many ways, they have a much harder edge than the actual album that was released, and we thought it would be fun for people to hear them. There are lyrical differences, there are stylistic differences, there are things that were ultimately changed from when the real record was made, and so we’d like to be able to show those off, as well as all the new material that we have. And I think one of the fun things has been the idea of as a band we’ve evolved over the years musically. So to be able to go back and write songs from the mindset of 2009 and 2010 Black Veil Brides, I think it’s gonna be fun. We wanna do material that feels like it is the sister song, or the sister-brother so to speak, of a song that was on that album initially."
He also discussed his next solo project: "I’ve got just about eight songs done. I’ll start midway through July, back in the studio with John Feldmann, who is obviously a very close, personal friend of mine. [He is] someone that I have a tremendous amount of adoration for and has been just about the most key figure, for me personally, in my musical career. So, I’ll be going back into the studio with him to complete that record and put it out. For me it was a lot of fun doing the first solo record. Like anything in the music industry, you sign a contract and the time comes when the people who signed you say, ‘Hey, we need another record.’ [Laughs.] So, it’s time to do that, and I’m more than obliged to do it, and I’m excited to get it out."
He continued, "I know for a fact that Jake is doing Aelonia, which is the band that he and his wife developed just about a year or two ago. There is an inability to release [music, due to our contract with our prior label]; he’s been a little bit hamstrung when it comes to releasing a full-length record. But that is ending soon and he’ll be able to release his album, and I assume that they will tour, and that’s very exciting. I know that there has been conversations amongst the other band members of different projects, obviously Ashley mentioned that he thinks they’re all gonna be doing a band together. So, all of that is cool and I encourage all of it."
When asked what he'll say to the band members when he sees them face-to-face later today, responded with a question.
"Do you have any family members, a brother or sister or anybody like that, that you’ve ever had any kind of feud with?
"How often, when there’s a family get-together, is the first thing you say, ‘You know what? I’m fucking mad at you about that feud.’ Or, do you often just realize that you’re family and there are some things you just don’t need to talk about?"
Point taken, although airing the grievance publicly, on social media—or a podcast—changes the scenario.
"I think I can understand that point," he said. "From my personal perspective, at this point in my life and career, I have spent so much of my time with these individuals and they mean such a great deal to me... anyone can say anything that may be upsetting or confusing, it doesn’t mean that you have any kind of ire against them, other than, ‘Let’s handle this.’ And I believe we have. We’ve talked about it, everybody’s on the same page and we’re gonna move forward with the way that it is."
Perhaps the moral of the story is, don't go on a podcast when you're drunk (before it was deleted, the podcast's summary described the episode as "an impromptu drunken summit").
Biersack's response, as all of his answers, was extremely measured. "For me, I don’t drink anymore. I drank for a long time and I did a lot of very embarrassing things publicly; like screaming to people at awards shows and acted like an ass and ruined countless concerts by being a drunk person, so for me I don’t really have any room to talk when it comes to being drunk in public. But the change was: to just not drink anymore, and that’s a personal thing and I certainly don’t think everybody has to do that. Alcohol is what it is and obviously it’s a social stimulant and people enjoy it. It’s just not for me personally."
"The final thing I’ll say is that in these situations where you’re in a public [space] and your livelihood and your job is being called into question, you have to understand that it’s really no different than if you walked into work one morning and there was gossip around that you were getting fired. The first thing you’re gonna do is go your superior and try to address it, and in our context, we don’t have any superiors. So the first thing that had to be done was to contact everyone in the band. And I also told the band that I intended on making a statement on behalf of the idea that we’re gonna continue on and that’s the plan."
Black Veil Brides play the first date of the 2018 Warped Tour tomorrow in Pomona, California.
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