‘I’d love to make a death metal version of jingle bells!’: An Interview with Black Veil Brides

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Despite being one of the most controversial metal bands in recent history and provoking widespread ire among metal purists, Black Veil Brides have seen their career go from strength to strength in the course of just three albums. Their latest self-titled album is due to be released later this year and it’s being produced by legendary music producer Bob Rock, a man responsible for some of Motley Crüe and Metallica’s biggest hits. In addition to that, the band are currently embarking on a mammoth UK tour, and The Edge was fortunate enough to catch up with guitarist Jake Pitts on the band’s recent Southampton tour date.

How has the tour been for you so far?

We’ve only just started, but it’s been really good actually. Last night in London was incredible; we had the full pyro and a load of stage effects. We wish we could bring that everywhere, but we’re only allowed to do it in certain places unfortunately. We were totally on our game last night as well, and it was just a really fun show. If not my favourite, then definitely right up there.

What did you do before BVB?

We’ve all been in bands previously, and I was actually putting together a band before BVB, but we couldn’t quite get the right singer and we didn’t really have a permanent bass player, it was just friends that would fill in. Jinxx and CC were playing with me before I was in BVB though and that’s how the whole thing just came together when we met Andy and Ashley. At the time we didn’t have CC in the band, but I knew right away that we had to have him in the band and that he’d be a great fit. I had some horrible stupid day jobs as well though; the worst one was probably the one I had just before I joined the band. I was a telemarketer, I worked in an office where the computer would automatically dial people and I would have to try and give them three months free HBO and get them to sign up to cable. I was that annoying guy! I left that job to go on tour and I just never came back!

Are you surprised by the success of the band, especially in the UK?

Yeah, it’s always surprising really. We see it grow every time we come over; we play bigger and bigger venues. After you’ve been off tour for 7 months, you kind of forget what it’s like, and then you go and play a huge show like the one we played last night, which had nearly 5000 people in the audience, and it just hits you. To me it’s just crazy going out to the tour bus and seeing hundreds of kids there waiting for you, or going to signing and having everyone want to take a photo with you. To me, I just feel like a normal dude who spends all his time making music! [laughs]

Do you miss the heavy make-up and war-paint you used to wear in the early days of the band?

It was fun, and sometimes I feel like it would be cool to wear it again. Honestly though it took a really long time to put on and it was really bad for our skin, because we were just wearing whatever paint we could get. Sometimes it would be like latex paint, and that stuff probably isn’t meant to go on skin! We never used body paint and it just made an absolute mess, you’d finish a show and there would be black flaky stuff over everything! Anyway, we all have a lot more tattoos now, so we don’t really need to put it on as much.

What would you do if you weren’t in the band?

If I weren’t in Black Veil Brides I’d probably be trying to be in a band. That’s what I’ve been working at my whole life; I’ve never had a plan B. I think that’s the amount of dedication it takes to be successful; you have to truly want something to get it.

If you could sum up the new album in one word what would it be?

Probably, heavy! I know that’s a bit cliché, but hey, it’s true! [laughs]

What do you do in your downtime on tour?

I work out and exercise mostly. I like to change my routine and do different workouts every day. For example, today was a yoga day. I have my gym bag with me on the tour bus, and that has my yoga mat, whey protein and vitamins, all that kind of stuff. I can’t take my weights with me on tour, so I have resistance bands as well. I try to take as much of that stuff as I can with me. I try and eat healthily as well, so lots of rice, chicken and vegetables!

Recorded your recent album with Bob Rock, what’s your favourite thing about working with him?

When I first started playing guitar when I was thirteen, one of the first bands I was really serious about was Metallica, in particular the Black Album [also produced by Bob Rock]. The thing that really grabbed me about that album was the guitar sound, it was just incredible to me, how everything sounded so good, and I just wanted to sound like that. I took guitar lessons for about 4 months, and I brought the album to my teacher and asked him how I could sound like that. Going from being that 13 year old kid who wanted to play like Metallica’s Black Album to actually getting to record with the guy who helped shape that guitar sound is just incredibly cool.

If you could cover any song what would it be and how would you do it?

There are so many! Well, this one is kind of stupid, but I’m going to say it. I’d love to make a death metal version of jingle bells, because that would be awesome!

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