Q: What sort of kid were you when growing up?
A: “I was never the introverted, traditional goth kid growing up, but I was definitely different and weird. I never had a huge friendship group, but what I could do was perform and be funny. I could find my niche that way. I was always the outcast kid; I was never really that popular and girls never wanted to talk to me. My whole life I was confident I was going to be in not only a band but a popular band, who could help the kids who were like me, who felt like they were cast out from society whether it was because of what they listened to, what they wore, or anything else.”
Q: What did your parents do for work?
A: “My dad worked for the country as a litigator and a social worker, and my mom worked at the hospital. Where they always busy? They were around when we got home - my parents have worked full-time jobs my entire life, and they still do. They’re the hardest workers I’ve ever met. The most important thing my dad said to me was that rock stars aren’t gods, a lot of them came from modest upbringings like myself and worked their assess off until they had the ability to do what they wanted to do with their lives. Watching their work ethic inspired me a great deal. It was just the three of us growing up, and they are my best friends in the world.”
Q: What did you enjoy in school?
A: ” I didn’t really enjoy anything in school. I felt like what is was learning, I didn’t really need to know, and that I didn’t need to learn stuff that wasn’t applicable to my life. More than anything, I enjoyed being at home, building sets or costumes and writing songs. All that I really cared about was the idea of being in a band. The weird thing is that at 11 years old you can’t be taken seriously in a band, but if all you want to do is be in a band it puts you in a wierd catch-22-situation. You know that’s what you want to do but you don’t have the opportunity. I spent a lot of my life waiting for the opportunity to do what I do now.”
Q: Did you feel older than you were?
A: “I guess so, though I didn’t really have anything to compare it to. I felt like I was ready to do what the bands I looked up to were doing. I don’t like the idea of ‘old souls’ because I feel like anybody has the ability to become intelligent to a topic. To me, intelligence and the ability to communicate are things that come along with what you want to do. I couldn’t tell you about a complex algebra problem, but I could tell you about the history of Mötley Crüe. I learned things I knew were going to be applicable to my life and that I could use, rather than general knowledge. In the US, schools don’t care what kids are intrested in. I think every child knows what they want to do when they’re young [but] it’s the parents of those people, and the school system, all the stuff that’s pumped into their heads, that changes their minds. Fortunatley, I was never given the opportunity of settling, I was always told by my parents that I could do whatever I wanted to do. It was everyone else that told me that I couldn’t.”
Q: That’s quite a blue-collar work ethic, to strive to reach the American dream…
A: “If you want to be in a band and that’s all that you want to do in the world, you put in the work. There’s always the chance that you could crash and burn, but you have to work to become the person that you want to be. It’s about transcending the complacency in your life to get were you want to be. If you look at the image and theatrics of our band, these are all things that we chose because we enjoyed them, not because we though that they were going to sell or whatever. People will say that we dress a certain way because were trying to sell to a certain demographic, but we wouldn’t be doing interviews in full make-up if we didn’t enjoy it. We enjoy becoming other people by dressing up like we do. This means everything to us. Without Black Veil Brides there is no life for us.”
Q: How often do you talk to your parents?
A: “Every day. How much do I tell them? Everything. About the drink, drugs, girls? I don’t do drugs, but [I tell them about] the drink and girls, yeah. To me, it’s strange how little people tell their parents about their lives. I guess maybe that’s why I know I could never become an adicct. I have friends who are hardcore alcoholics or addicts and I don’t understad it. If I’m not enjoying something, why would I do it? To become a heroin addict… it takes a great deal of self-hatred tobecome that. I was raised [with my parents telling me], ‘If you’re going to do something, tell us about it, and don’t fuck up your life because of it’.”
Q: How often do they come and see Black Veil Brides perform?
A: “They try to come two or tree times a tour. I want to earn enough so they can stop working. They’ve given so much to me that I could never put a price tag on it. They’ve taken out a hundred mortgages on our house just to help the band buy our first van and, via that, I learned dedication. Every month I dedicate most of my paycheck to try and pay back my parents whay they gave to me. I think it’s important… if I can gain anything in my life, it’s to help out my family.”