Interview and Live Photos : Robert Cavuoto
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Black Veil Brides’ debut release, We Stitch These Wounds; the band will be releasing a re-recorded and re-imagined version entitled, Re-Stitch These Wounds on July 31th via Sumerian Records.
Initially recorded on a shoe-string budget in 2010, the band envisioned something bigger and sonically better for their debut album. Ten years later, the band finally had the chance to fulfilling that goal and entered the studio to tackle the challenging task of re-recording the album while staying true to its integrity and emotion.
Re-Stitch These Wounds delivers the same 11 songs fans have come to know and love with modern-day production. Each song showcases the band’s aggressive and diverse style of playing, coupled with Andy’s powerful baritone voice. The band consists of Andy Biersack [vocals], Jake Pitts [guitar/producer], Jinxx [guitar/violin], Christian “CC” Coma [drums] and newest member, Lonny Eagleton [bass]. The re-imaged version can be ordered here: http://www.restitchthesewounds.com
I had the opportunity to speak with Jinxx about the decision to re-record the album, the work that went into keeping it true to the original, and what fans can expect from their live show at the Whiskey A-Go-Go on August 1st.
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me about the importance of re-recording this CD for its tenth anniversary and the importance it holds for the band?
Jinxx: I know many bands will remaster and re-release their album, but we decided we would completely re-record our first album. The album was initially done on a shoe-string budget, and we called in some favors to get it completed. The production wasn’t up to par to the way we wanted or expected the songs sound; we had a bigger vision for them. Ten years later, our skills as musicians have improved as well as Jake’s production skills, so now we are capable of producing it ourselves to make it sound the way we want. This has been planned for a while. We made some changes to how we would move forward, and started having fun again. We thought it would be a great way to celebrate the ten-year release with our fans. We are eager, hungry, and ready to take on the world in a new light. Working on this re-imagined version brought back a flood of memories. I remember that Jake and I could barely afford to eat while we were writing songs for it. We would pile our change on a desk in Jake’s apartment and decided if we should walk to McDonald’s on Hollywood Blvd to get a dollar cheeseburger or buy some Four Loko at the 7/11 downstairs [laughing]. We pretty much wrote the entire first album on Four Loko! We were destitute and even pawned our guitars to survive and pay rent. Thankfully, we are in a better position now.
Robert Cavuoto: To me, Re-Stitch These Wounds is reminiscent of how different KISS sounded on the first album compared to how they sounded on Alive I. Is that a fair assessment to apply to this CD?
Jinxx: I think so! A lot of people like the rawness of the first album, similar to the way Megadeth’s first album is raw and rough. We envisioned something bigger with our songs, and we want people to hear them certain the way. This album is a new experience for the fans. They can like still like the roughness of the original album, and like this version too.
Robert Cavuoto: I’m confident the fans will be impressed with this album as the guitar tones, and overall sonics of the album are far more powerful. Was there any song that evolved the most since its inception?
Jinxx: The one song I spent a lot of time with was “The Morticians Daughter.” It’s a completely revised song without vocals. Andy approached me and said the song was about his girlfriend when he was a teenager, and he no longer has those feelings as he’s married now. He knew fans love the songs but didn’t want to sing it anymore. He thought it could be turned into “Overture III” and put it to rest in a beautiful way. I thought it was a great idea and took it upon myself to completely re-imagine it. You can still hear the melodies and recognize it as “The Morticians Daughter.” I replayed the piano part like in the original and added a few original elements like the acoustic guitar strumming pattern in the second verse. There some strings and horns parts too; elements that would help remind fans of the original version. It evolved into an epic song. We still think the original is special. If fans want to hear it with vocals, they can listen to the original. If the fans hate the new version, I’m sorry, and please listen to the original [laughing].
Robert Cavuoto: It’s a hauntingly beautiful version; kudos to you it. You have such a diehard fan base, was there ever a concern about how far you could re-imagine songs?
Jinxx: We initially talked about that and kept it true to form as much as possible. We change some of the vocal melodies to make them a little more interesting, but they were only slight modifications. Andy’s vocals have improved so much since we recorded that first album. At the time, he was a teenager, and his voice was still changing. Now he is this bold baritone, and the timber of his voice is so much better than what it was when he was trying to find his voice ten years ago. Jake changed up some of the solos a little to make them more interesting. I get it that some fans will say, “It’s different from what I like.” We call that “demo-itis” when you fall in love with a song the way it is in demo form, then change it in the studio, and you sometimes don’t like it as much. I feel like with this release, there are a lot of people who weren’t with us in the beginning and just discovering us as a band now. For those people who will hear this version for the first time, I want this album to be impactful. There will be the diehards who like the original better, and that’s great too. Fans can now have it both ways.
Robert Cavuoto: Were there any songs you needed to go back and re-learn how to play?
Jinxx: Oh, man [laughing]! Everything except the songs we played live like “Perfect Weapon,” “Knives and Pens,” and “Sweet Blasphemy.” Those songs are second nature, but there is some really tricky stuff on that album. Jake and I were scratching our heads, how did we come up with that? Then we realized it was the Four Loko! [Laughing]. I was heavily influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach, and classical music as you can hear with the guitar and lute. It was a finger twister trying to refigure those songs out. Jake said he was killing himself back then to play some of the solos. You have to remember when we were writing that album; we didn’t have any other songs, so we were trying to outdo ourselves. Since then, we have gotten better as songwriters, and have dialed back on some of the technical stuff. We can write better songs now that allow the vocals to breathe. There was some intricate playing on songs like “Heaven’s Calling.” I have no idea how I came up with all the classical parts that sound like Marty Friedman on the old Megadeth albums. We are currently rehearsing for the show at the Whiskey, and I still have to go over some parts. We noticed it in rehearsal that one of us was playing it wrong [laughing], so last night, I had to figure out the correct harmonies because I wasn’t playing them correctly. We spent a lot of time re-learning and re-teaching ourselves some of these songs.
Robert Cavuoto: I like the new album artwork as it now has a band vibe. Was it a difficult decision to switch it out?
Jinxx: It wasn’t a hard decision at all. It’s a throwback to the original design of Andy’s face and ties into the evolution of the band. We found an artist in Italy who created it based on a sketch Andy provided him. I think this character will be our mascot like Eddie is to Iron Maiden who will make appearances now and again. It has an old school metal vibe and we all love it.
Robert Cavuoto: How is Lonny acclimating into the band as the new bassist?
Jinxx: He is such a nice kid; I call him, but he 27 years old [laughing]. He is a breath of fresh air in the band. He was a fan of the band and then started playing with Andy in his solo band. He said it’s a dream come true, and he’s still pinching himself. He’s very talented, dedicated, and wants to make sure he is playing everything correctly. He slid right into place, and it feels natural. Its a pleasure to have him around.
Robert Cavuoto: It’s great that it came full circle for him from being a fan to joining the band. He played guitar in Andy’s band, so was it difficult for him to transition to bass?
Jinxx: I don’t think so. When you hear him play, it sounds like he has been a bassist his entire life. Most guitarists can pick up the bass quickly. When Jake and I track demos, we play bass on them. To me, it seems like he picked it up quickly.
Robert Cavuoto: Did you audition bassists, or was it a no-brainer because Lonny had been working with Andy?
Jinxx: About a year ago, when we regrouped to make a game plan moving forward, Andy approached us with the idea of Lonny joining us. Andy wanted to run it by us first as he didn’t want us to think he was pushing the guy from his solo project. He told us if we weren’t cool with it, we would audition bassist. We met Lonny and hit it off right off the bat. He is a good fit for us, so we never auditioned anyone.
Robert Cavuoto: You are playing the new CD in its entirety for a live streaming show at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Los Angeles on August 1st. It’s just like a baseball game without the fans.
Jinxx: With everything going on in the world, I know many bands have done this. It’s a way to do a show and generate some income. That is how we make money; by touring and playing shows. It will be weird because when we play live, we feed off the energy of the audience. I’ve never played the Whiskey to an empty crowd even when I was in my old bands; there were always people there. We’ll give it our all and make sure it’s a high energy show. I’m looking forward to it. There will be a camera crew with a lot of cameras to get multiple angles. We also will have professional lights and all the same aspects from our show with the exception of pyro, of course. It will still be a live show experience.
Robert Cavuoto: When we spoke last June, you mentioned you had an arsenal of riffs for a new CD. Can you give us an update on the next Black Veil Brides studio CD?
Jinxx: We have been writing up a storm. I can’t talk too about what we envision for the next album, but we are revisiting the idea of another concept record like we did with Wretched and Divine. It would be fun to do another concept CD, but we’ll see how things pan out. We have six solid songs written, and we are still writing. Once we do this show, we will head back into the studio to write some more. We have been doing it all ourselves. Jake will be producing it, and we are tracking vocals and guitars at his studio. I’m recording the strings at my studio. With COVID going on, we have all been quarantined and working at home, but when we do get together, it’s just us and maybe our wives. When we are all in the same room bouncing ideas off each other, it’s a never-ending flood of inspiration and ideas. I’m excited for fans to hear what we are coming up with.