“My ribs are slowly healing,” says Andy Biersack aka Andy Six, frontguy of Black Veil Brides. It sounds like lame emo lyrics, but it’s actually the upshot of an arena-worthy stunt. Biersack busted three babybacks when he attempted to leap from one pillar to another while performing at an L.A. Hot Topic.
You may be thinking what I thought when my daughter—a recovering Disneyphile and on-and-off Belieber (where’d I go wrong, Jeebus?)—started yapping about these guys. She’s in junior high, just learning about scenes and “scene hair” and other dreck. She used the word “emo” like it meant something good and started asking to wear eyeliner. On her cheeks.
Once more, I looked skyward and asked why.
My head imploded when I saw an early video of BVB’s “Knives and Pens.” Clad in all white with matching black scene hair and eyeliner, a whining Biersack and his then-bandmates were the picture of emo blecch. And the song title conjured images of cutting and bad prose. Then the kid mentioned some BVB fans were cutters.
“But no, Dad. Andy Six—he doesn’t spell it with two Xs because that’d be too much like Nikki Sixx—is really smart, and he doesn’t support cutting and …”
It wasn’t that specific plea that got me to give Black Veil Brides a fair shake. It just seemed like if there were ever a time to give the kid a break and try to like her music, this would be better than that unctuous Canadian d-bag, Trainwreck Miley or the Jonas Twats. So I asked BVB’s rep for the CD.
Title? We Stitch These Wounds. “So far, so good,” I thought, as Black Veil Brides ramped up their Kiss-Crue-Maiden attack. But before long, another criticism cropped up: I’ve heard this before. Not from the influences, but from another erstwhile emo band, a petulant and shrill wannabe Guns-Maiden child called Avenged Sevenfold.
In the interest of fatherly investigation, I let BVB play and was rewarded with fist-pumping choruses and guitar solos—those once-endangered but resurgent sexy beasts. For the most part, Biersack had ditched the yuck-sensitive singing from the early version of “Knives and Pens.” He growled more now, stopping just short of histrionic-housewife shrieks and Cookie-Cookie-Cookie-starts-with-C barks. My fingers drummed on the steering wheel; I grooved and wondered if this were a new guilty or legitimate pleasure.
The experiment worked. The kid and I had something to talk about. I gave credit where due, so she allowed me my critiques, actually listened to them. She rebutted and I reciprocated. It’s nice.
So do I love Black Veil Brides? Nah. But it’s good to see a band like them, founded by Biersack while in his teens, and grown, almost completely grassroots, into a major-label act that has legs. The band’s new album, Set the World On Fire, stretches further away from contrived derivation into legitimacy, showing the potential to keep monolithic, leather-clad, cake-faced rock stars alive for those of us who still find fun in them. And they have balls—Biersack finished that Hot Topic show, something like seven more songs, with his shattered ribs. Even if they retain some whine and cheese.
“Our music,” Biersack said on the phone, “is about hope and loving yourself. We have no interest in being a revival band. I mean, there are so many years of hard-rock music and so many different kinds of bands and different kinds of music—you sort of miss if you don’t show your influences. So, if anything, we try to put them in the melting pot, and whatever comes out is whatever Black Veil Brides is.”
I think I get it.
BLACK VEIL BRIDES
Vans Warped Tour
Utah State Fairpark
155 N. 1000 West
Saturday, Aug. 6, 11:30 a.m.
$28 advance/$35 day of show