Interview and Live Photos : Robert Cavuoto
In 2010 Black Veil Brides charged out of Los Angeles with their debut CD, We Stitch These Wounds [WSTW]. Their music and look caught both the ears and the imaginations of a legion of rock fans who were craving something fresh and exciting.
The CD debuted in the Top 40 of the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the magazine’s Independent chart. Fast Forward 10 years and the band has released four more studio CDs including Set the World on Fire , Wretched and Divine , BVB IV , and Vale .
To commemorate and celebrate the 10th anniversary of WSTW, the band is planning to re-record the CD with better production values and tour in 2020.
I caught up with guitarist, Jinxx, to elaborate on the re-recording process for WSTW, the chemistry he and Jake Pitts share, as well as the offerings available for fans on his new website like an autographed stage, played guitar! www.jinxxofficial.com/home
Robert Cavuoto: Black Veil Brides is on a bit of a touring hiatus for the last 8 or 9 months. Have you been stockpiling riffs and are your ready to start writing when the times comes for the next studio CD?
Jinxx: Oh, you bet! I’m always writing and stockpiling! I have a hard-drive full of sessions and riffs. It’s an arsenal of ideas! Our plan is to re-record our first CD; We Stitch These Wounds. It was recorded ten years ago, and we didn’t have a large budget to do it properly. We had to call in some favors just to get it completed. This time we will produce it ourselves and have it match to what we sound like now. It should be a lot of fun to re-make that CD then it will be released for the 10th anniversary. We are planning to add a new studio song on it as well to tease the fans on what they can expect from the next studio CD.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you feel We Stitch These Wounds was overlooked by fans?
Jinxx: The songs are there; the production value was not. It was unfortunate at the time, but we did what we could do. It would be nice to hear them re-recorded in their full glory.
Robert Cavuoto: I have heard other members talk about the CD calling it “re-imagined.” Are you staying true to the original songs, or are you modifying them?
Jinxx: It will be authentic as to how it was written. What you find over time when playing songs live is you’re playing styles changes. We don’t want to change the song too much as people are familiar with it. We call it “demo-itis” you record something as a demo, and everyone gets so used to that version. Then you do it properly in the studio, and everyone starts to say it’s not the same as the demo! [Laughing]. I think that happened with “Knives and Pens.” When fans heard the demo on YouTube and then we went into the studio to record it; some fans were saying that we ruined it! [Laughing] I don’t want to say too much as we are not there yet. I would say yes to “re-imaged” but don’t be too scared. We will play all the parts with better tone and production. I believe it will be true to the original with all the same notes.
Robert Cavuoto: Will the CD comes with a DVD or videos of the band recording the CD in the studio?
Jinxx: Absolutely it will have all of that type of stuff. We are planning to have a lot of extra goodies like that. We are going into the studio this Fall to knock it, and we are really excited about it. We have been going over all the songs with a fine toothcomb. Some of them we played on the road while others haven’t been touched for ten years. We will be reliving the experience we had when we initially recorded this CD.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you foresee a tour to coincide with the release?
Jinxx: It’s been talked about, and I can definitely see it happening in 2020.
Robert Cavuoto: I assume after that you will start talking about another studio CD.
Robert Cavuoto: Typically, how does the switch get turned on for the band to go into writing mode for a studio CD?
Jinxx: It’s different with every CD, but the constant is that Jake and I are always writing and we have an arsenal of riffs. We jokingly say that we share a brain like Beavis and Butthead when it comes to writing and playing guitars. One of us will have a sick-ass-riff, and the other will have a bridge, one will have the chorus, and the other will have a verse. If one of us is stuck, the other will jump in with an idea. We go back and forth until we finish the song. We sit there until the track is finished and can sometimes complete two tracks in one sitting. Andy then comes in with the top line melody and lyrics.
Working backward with Vale; most of Vale was written through voice memos. We wrote the music for the CD in three weeks. We would spend the day texting each other with riffs on the phone or using ProTools. That soon became too time-consuming. You would wake up with an awesome idea, and by the time you turned on your computer, fired up ProTools, got your guitar out; the idea was lost. I then tried keeping an acoustic guitar by the bed, and even that took too much time. We got to the point where we would send voice memo humming and mouthing the riffs. It sounded like something Beavis and Butthead would do. Funny as it sounds, it really streamlined the process. We would send the voice memos to John Feldmann, who produced Vale. He would have the engineer put a drum track to these Beavis and Butthead recordings, so when we got to the studio, we had a base track to start recording the real guitars [laughing].
On BVB IV which Bob Rock produced; it was a completely different process and more old school. He had us jamming out ideas in pre-production meetings. As a band, we have never collectively jammed together. It was more organic and equally as fun.
With Wretched and Divine when we started working with Feldmann, it was a monster undertaking. We were trying to do a concept CD like The Wall. From there it turned into a movie based on the CD with a storyline. I had to write all of these interludes and orchestral sections. That was a completely different process then we had ever done. Most of the time, Jake and I were trading solid metal riffs back and forth while other songs were started with a topline melody and words. On the next studio CD, we are going to try something completely different than what we did with Vale.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you favor one process over the other?
Jinxx: I think I like the Beavis and Butthead voice memo version because it worked out well and we had a lot of fun with that approach. I’m proud of the way Vale turned out. I wish we could have toured it a bit more. It shows how far we come and the next CD will be even better.
Robert Cavuoto: Your new website is pretty sharp with the offerings for fans to purchase a stage used guitar. How many stages used guitars do you have to sell?
Jinxx: Thank you, it just launched last week. I only have a few stages played guitar left; maybe five or so from the last tour. I also have an option on the site where fans can buy one
of my new guitars straight out of the box. I’ll sign them for you and throw in some extras like stage towel, picks, wristband, setlist, and a signed photo of me playing it. It’s a neat offering.
Robert Cavuoto: What’s it like to have your own signature series guitar; the Schecter Jinxx Recluse-FR Signature Model?
Jinxx: It’s awesome. When we first signed on with Schecter, Jake and I went to the factory here in LA. While walking around, I saw this Frankenstein shaped body that someone was working on. I didn’t recognize the shape as being associated with another guitarist or currently being marketing. I was told that it was something they were experimenting with, and I really loved it. I wanted it to be my signature model, as no one else has it. They worked with me and went back forward on the design to what it looks like now. It’s very comfortable to play, and I can shred on it. It is a perfect weight and the specs are all to my liking. I picked the neck wood and pick-ups. We had a few prototypes before we got it perfect and I still have those guitars. Where it is now with the flat black finish is perfect, I don’t want to change anything on it. It sounds and plays mean. It’s a sexy guitar.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you still have the Ouija board guitar?
Jinxx: I do. A buddy of mine made it for me before I joined Black Veil Brides. I was playing it in my old band, The Dreaming. I came up with the idea, and he created it. I was the first
one to come up with the idea of putting an Ouija board on the guitar; now Kirk Hammond of Metallica and a few other people have them. There is no other guitar like the one I have.
Robert Cavuoto: You and Jake have nice chemistry, was that immediate or more of an evolution?
Jinxx: It was immediate. I met Jake in the Summer of 2009 as a mutual friend introduced us. He thought we needed to meet and work together. We kind of knew each other from our previous bands. I was living in a rehearsal space in downtown LA and traveling in a van touring with my old band, The Dreaming. I felt I needed to do something else. I met with Jake, and he played me a few tracks that he recorded, demo’ed, and produced, and I was floored; this is what I wanted to do. I told him to consider us in a band! We have slightly different playing styles where he is into more of the metal side, and I’m more into the classical metal; I was influenced by Randy Rhoads with his classical elements. Plus I studied the violin growing up. Our styles complement each other very well and our playing is very fluid.
Robert Cavuoto: Was there ever a moment when your faith in playing guitar as a career choice was shaken?
Jinxx: Great question. I was born and raised in Iowa and left home when I was 19. I didn’t want to get stuck there working a job, starting a family at an early age, and just playing music as a hobby. I didn’t feel that anyone I played within Des Moines, took music seriously. I had to go somewhere people sacrificed everything to follow their dream. It was very frustrating. I had a goal to be at a certain place in my career by 25. You have to make your own goals happen. Right before I met Jake, I felt I had to do something else as I wasn’t making any money and eating Ramen noodles when I could [Laughing]. Jake and I had played together with CC prior to BVB, and then one thing led to another; six months later we are on the road. Good things take time, so it wasn’t an instant success. It was a bit of struggle and an uncomfortable touring situation. There was never a time where I felt I needed to have something else to fall back on. There was no Plan B; I had to make Plan A work no matter what. If I succumb to Plan B, I would never have made it. Plan B wasn’t good enough.