Ashley Purdy of Black Veil Brides

With their surprise debut at #1 on the Billboard Independent charts, Black Veil Brides are single-handedly trying to resurrect the type of metal/glam fusion that made Motley Crue and KISS rise to stardom. Cloaked in black and layered in shadowy makeup, the band is well on their way. I had a chance to get a few minutes with bassist Ashley Purdy and get some questions answered.
“We Stitch These Wounds” soared to #1 on the billboard independent chart a week after its release: Did you expect that kind of reception, or did its first week performance exceed what you thought?
We really had no expectations. But I guess we did underestimate how strong of a fan base we really have. We knew pretty good, but we didn’t expect great! Haa... I mean, yes, #1 Independent release and #36 over-all on Billboard 200. And that was on an Independent label with little promotion. To say we were ecstatic would be an understatement.
The membership of Black Veil Brides has changed a small handful of times, particularly during the early stages. With the success of “We Stitch These Wounds,” do you feel like the band has found a comfortable lineup that will gel with time?
The success of our debut album is definitely a testament to the talent, showmanship and professionalism we have within the current group. Like any band, it has its initial inceptions and stages. Lots of things change and grow, including members, music, image, direction, etc. etc. You just gotta’ go through those stages until its right, or it just doesn’t work. In our instance, there was a clear vision to create the next Arena Rock / Metal band with looks, talent, showmanship, musicality and members with the personalities who understand what it takes for such a band to exist today. It’s definitely a hard thing to accomplish that many may not understand just how difficult it is to find such a line up and put together such a band.

You’ve said in previous interviews that KISS and Motley Crue gave you inspiration for your image as a band. Where do you feel like you’ve be able to fold that into your act, and where do you feel you’ve been able to take the image to the next level?
Well, its not only image, but lifestyle. It’s a personality that each BVB member has that makes them perfect for this band because they were each influenced by more street tough bands that had an attitude and image. Sorta’, you’re either Rock n’ Roll at heart or you’re not. It can’t be faked. The Danger element in Rock n’ Roll has been missing for a long time. So right now it’s a natural progression for us to go from our daily leather and black image and begin to naturally progress as we put more fuel in the fire with our next album releases. A lot more of our KISS, CRUE, WASP, Cooper, Maiden influences will begin to be more prevalent.
The rise of “Knives and Pens” on You Tube is a success story of the internet generation. What was it like to see your video become wildly popular, and how much of your success do you credit to that kind of medium? Would you be in the same place if you’d had to go through more “traditional” channels?
Knives and Pens can only be accredited to that internet medium. It was only released on our own YouTube channel, and never played on any other mainstream medium. Again, this was due to our loyal fan base the Bridesmaids, Ushers and the BVB ARMY. Who’s to say where we would be at with out it, or what was right or wrong or what worked and didn’t. This worked specifically for us in this instance.
“We Stitch These Wounds” featured a curious combination of harmonious vocals, and screaming lyrics, backed by music that is one part straightforward head-banging fodder and one part layered orchestration. Also, the album has a very mature, well balanced sound, especially for a full-length debut. What do you feel makes your sound unique relative to your contemporaries?
Well, first and foremost we have amazing and talented musicians who have a wide array of musical influences from Classical to Metal. And again, with the intentions of creating a band on a larger scale, same goes for the music. We wanted more harmonies, melodic leads, crazy solos, intricate drum and bass breakdowns along with lots of classically composed arrangements. We just pulled out all the stops. We always say that this band doesn’t have any limits. So we just created a band visually and musically that we have always longed to hear ourselves and hopefully created something everyone else wants to hear as well. I don’t think we over thought it too much. We know what we like and what we don’t. Our only conscious choices was to work on creating timeless music, again that carries the spirit of our influences but is also contemporary without being pigeon holed by a specific label. We’re just a Heavy Rock / Metal band.
The gang choruses and songs filled out with piano and violin lend the album a sort of unexpected theatrical flair. Was that a conscious decision, or something you knew you wanted to experiment with, and it came together in the final mixing?
Visual imagery within our music is definitely a conscious decision, especially for a visual band of our nature. It was never intended to be a concept album. But the album does have a theme and carries you through a journey you can lose yourself in for an hour. A lot of production stuff we knew we wanted going into it, but inversely a lot was on the spot or after you track everything and sit back and give another listen.

Are you or the other band member’s horror fans? What kind of films do you enjoy, and what are your favorites? Do you have directors or actors or characters that you especially enjoy?
Yeh, I was definitely exposed to horror films, all the way back to the Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price. My grandmother was huge in to those films. I would also watch Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt with her. I grew up on Nightmare on Elm Streets, Night of the living Deads, Fright Night, etc. Vampire and Zombie films were definitely my favorites. They always had scantily glad women in them... oh; Vamp was a great Vampire Stripper flick!!
Clearly, the band has a fixation with dark imagery, where does the inspiration for that come from, and would you/have you ever taken inspiration from a horror film?
Who knows, maybe we’re just all demented... haa haa... I don’t know, I think our dark imagery is of edge and attitude. We’re not meant to be creepy or scary. Everything that we are is of what I always thought was cool when I was growing up. When I envisioned my take on the look of this band it was more about the gang and brotherhood unity that was tough. And sure, a lot of our ideas for our look and marketing come’s from all over, even including Super Hero’s and Villains to Horror Films. But mostly, from an outsider’s point of view, a look where you’d either wanna’ fuck us, or fight us…
What’s next for BVB? Or are you just soaking it in for right now?
No time to sit stagnant or reflect. I think a lot of our success is because we work on this band every single day in whatever aspect. Art, merchandise, business meetings, writing, staging, costumes, preparing and planning future tours, the list goes on… We’re currently working on our enhanced CD Release, soundtracks, (actually some horror films in the mix too) and preparing for our next tours and working on getting over seas soon.

"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum."

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