Black Veil Brides: The Evolution of Rebellion
Black Veil Brides has molded and earned a reputation in the music industry as a band that is able to transcend traditional labels and use their lyrics to inspire and connect with people who have been labeled as outcasts their entire lives. Throughout their discography, the heavy bass lines of Ashley Purdy collaborate smoothly with the phenomenal shredding lead guitar of Jake Pitts, passionate drummer CC Coma, and the gruff lyrical mastery of lead vocalist Andy Biersack. Chasing his dream from a young age, Black Veil Brides was established in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2009 by 19 year old Andy Biersack, the band has refused to define themselves by any particular category or subgenre of music which gives them room to continue evolving as a band. However, Biersack stated in a 2011 interview that he does not care if people associate them with a subgenre because “at the end of the day, it’s still just rock and roll music.” A large part of their visual selling point is their often eccentric theatricality in performances which have evolved along with the style of their music. The members of the band site that they have drawn inspiration for their clothing and make up from the members of groups such as Kiss and Motley Crue and spun that inspiration with their own originality and creativity to create a continually evolving image to mirror the style of music that Black Veil Brides is currently producing, though they also continue to perform their tracks from previous albums during current tours. The band has worked together since their formation to constantly redefine their image and sound, beginning from a darker, more “gothic” and outwardly theatrical style of dress for their premiere album “We Stitch These Wounds” in 2010. This album helped them connect with a fan base because of their “Do-It-Yourself” type of makeup and dress, in the aspect that it was extremely theatrical yet able to be done in one’s own bathroom without professional assistance within an hour or so. They slowly transitioned to a cleaner and much sleeker, self-described “dystopian rebel” style for the release of their punk rock opera “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” in early 2013. The members of the band have stated on multiple occasions that their dress style on stage is extremely genuine because they often dress in a toned-down but similar fashion even off the stage. Offstage, whether at fan events or in every-day public settings, all five have a reputation for being extremely approachable (in socially acceptable circumstances of course).
In regards to their evolving style between the 2012 release of “Set the World on Fire” and “The Wretched and Divine” in 2013, Biersack stated “We like to go out on stage and give a show and we didn’t want to continue to do the same thing forever. It’s not like we’ve completely taken away from the theatrical look to our band…We keep growing and we keep changing. It’s fun for us. We enjoy it and give our fans something new. We don’t want people to see the same show over and over again.” The “metalcore/hard rock” or “emo/goth” genres where Black Veil Brides are often formally classified, has a reputation for being “dark” and promoting “depressing” lyrics. However, Black Veil Brides have set themselves apart from any sort of traditional stereotype in that area by using their lyrical composition to inspire people who may feel like outcasts, giving their fan base a sense of community within their world of self-identification and believing in oneself. Black Veil Brides finds the perfect balance between rebellion and community through their music by giving people something that they can relate to through their music. Biersack believes that the band is bringing back the four pillars of rock and roll that he identifies as “Grease paint, hairspray, leather, and hugs”. He believes Black Veil Brides has achieved success because of their creativity and originality, along with “people being sick of the fake bullcrap” that often comes with theatrical artists of similar genres. “People feel like they can truly belong when they come to one of our shows and if nothing else I feel like we have made a concerted effort from very early on in our career to create a world where people that listen to us can feel like they are a part of something”. Black Veil Brides wants to challenge preconceptions and show people through their lives and music that even when things seem dark and giving up seems like the only option, that things will get better and to believe in yourself because you are never alone. Earlier in 2015 during the Vans Warped Tour, Black Veil Brides teamed up with the Alive Music Project and the It Gets Better Campaign to addressing bullying and homophobia by showing that their music is community building. Bass player Ashley Purdy best summed up the attitude and experience of listening to Black Veil Brides: “We carry a message of believing in yourself and letting no one tell you otherwise. We stand up for the underdog and the disenfranchised. Anything strange, odd, or unique… we embrace that. So basically standing up for yourself; have fun and live your life how you choose. You only have one life, make the most of it”.