The Gospel According To Andy Biersack

With Andy Biersack’s first debut album looming, we delve into the mind of the man they now call Andy Black.

Your Ambitions And Dreams Change Over Time

“But my all-encompassing goal was to make something that represented my love of music. And my dream was to do that, whatever that was: be it getting my ideas and lyrics out there, or singing songs, or just being in a band. Just to be able to tread the same path as those people who meant so much to me.”

My Introduction To Music Was Through My Parents

“My dad listened to Kiss and AC/DC and Aerosmith and Twisted Sister, and a lot of that kind of stuff. Whereas my mom liked mostly Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan and those singer-songwriter types. I really fell in love with the lyrics and storytelling of the music that my mom listened to, and I also loved the theatricality and over-the-top ridiculousness of the hard rock. And the marriage of both is what led me to punk rock bands.”

I Wanted To Develop A Community

“A lot of the shows that I used to go to were tough for me – if you go to a Dropkick Murphys show as a kid wearing eyeliner and tight black clothing, then you don’t look like a regular fan of that band. The community that these bands would speak about onstage didn’t accept me. They would talk about us all being in it together, but I was the odd man out. So I wanted to create a place where all the people who felt similar to me had a place that represented that, and they had somewhere to go.”

Where We’ve Been Successful Is In The Creation Of The BVB Army

“It’s something that came out from a bunch of kids who have just connected through the music, and that’s more on them than it is me, really. I know a lot of bands would take the credit for their fanbase, but the reality is that, at the end of the day, if people find something that they have a really strong emotional attachment to, then they’ll do anything to maintain a connection to you as an artist. And we’re very lucky that people are willing to give up so much to stay with us.”

Our Fanbase Has Gotten Older

“As we’ve got bigger, one of the funny things in public situations is telling who is a fan of the band. Time would be that if a kid came up to me and he had multicoloured hair, then he’d be telling me how much he liked the band. These days it could be anyone from the guy working in the sandwich shop, to a policeman, to a high school kid. It’s really grown to mean so many things to so many different people. A lot of bands want a different fanbase. A lot of bands have a very young female fanbase and see that as something to be ashamed of. They should think themselves lucky that they are able to achieve a connection at all. It’s a blessing to have an audience.”

The Evolution Of Our Image Has Been Very Natural

“When we started, it was like we were putting on masks. We were very young, and we felt like we had to ‘get into character’. The longer you do it, the longer you feel like you don’t need that, and you feel more and more disconnected from that character. If you’re touring for nine months of the year, you become that person that you are onstage naturally.”

Download 2015: BVB’s “best ever show” according to Andy

Download 2015: BVB’s “best ever show” according to Andy (Image credit: Getty)

When I’m Onstage, I’m The Happiest Version Of Myself

“I don’t feel like I’m in character – I feel like I’m an extension of myself. I didn’t want to be that guy who stood up onstage and couldn’t smile or didn’t seem to be having fun. The misery of being this dark, brooding, all-in-black character or whatever it is, it never appealed to me. The image in the beginning was more glam, which is fine, although I was never really into that sort of thing. If I did like that LA rock, then it was more street, like Guns N’ Roses, but it was the first time anyone had done it in a long time, so it was a lot of fun to bring that back.”

There Were Times When I Felt Like I Was Becoming A Bit Of A Cartoon Character

“I remember being backstage when we were on tour in Germany, and looking in the mirror and thinking, ‘I really don’t want to put on six pounds of body paint – I just want to go out and play a show.’ And that was a turning point for me. I started to question it, and I thought that if it was disingenuous, then at that point you’re basically the birthday clown. And I had to make sure that whatever I was doing was based in reality.”

Andy’s parents gave him an excellent education in music history

Andy’s parents gave him an excellent education in music history (Image credit: Mick Hutson)

We Have A Lot Of Fans Who Will Listen To Black Veil Brides And One Direction

“And it’s very hard to find a through-line there. That’s an indication of how times have changed – you wouldn’t have found someone who was a committed fan of Avenged Sevenfold and NSYNC! But because there has been such a resurgence in rock culture and it’s become so ubiquitous, there is a lot of rock in pop and in hip hop these days. So I can see why a pop kid would see the costumes of rock but not really feel fulfilled by it, and want to search out where it came from. And, ultimately, I’m proud of these kids for picking that level of eclecticism.”

Download 2015 Was The Best Gig We’ve Ever Done

“It was one of those days where everything fell into place, in terms of the form we were in and how we sounded and felt. It was great, because we were put up as a Main Stage band very early on in the UK thanks to the level of popularity that we achieved. So, half a decade later, we were able to go back and show people, ‘This is the band we are now.’ And I think we’re the best we’ve ever been.”

The debut Andy Black album will arrive later this year

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.