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Concept fuels Black Veil Brides on new album, film

For Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013

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Black Veil Brides has "always wanted to do something that's felt a little bigger than just a rock record," according to frontman Andy Biersack.

But the Orwellian, futuristic concept that became the Los Angeles quintet's latest album, "Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones," wasn't exactly what BVB had in mind. At least not at first.

Biersack says the group was "about "six songs into" its planned third album by the spring of 2012 but was unhappy. "It just wasn't feeling right," he recalls. "Nothing we were writing or doing felt like it was all that different. It felt like a very logical follow-up to our previous album (2011's 'Set the World on Fire'), which is what I WASN'T interested in doing."

Coming back from playing some festivals in Europe that summer, Biersack began writing a short story about a group of rebels battling a futuristic religious/political autocracy known as F.E.A.R. (For Every and All Religion). After a meeting with producer John Feldmann, [cq] the idea for "Wretched and Divine" -- which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Rock Albums chart in January -- was hatched.

"I've always been a big fan of utopian, future, new world stories -- 'V For Vendetta,' comic books, graphic novels," says Biersack, 22, who co-founded BVB in 2006. "It's not really an anti-religion story; more than anything it's based on the concept of the five of us in the band as these Che Guevara, rebellious leaders unified against this big church/government bad guy.

"It became something that was really fun to write, and when we went to start working with John Feldmann...he started asking me, 'What's going on in your life? What's been inspiring you?' I told him I wrote this story and it expanded from there."

"Wretched and Devine" has turned into more than just an album, too. BVB has also turned the story into a film, "Legion of the Black," which features eight songs from the album, with the band featured in performance footage while actors depict the plot. "We started with the intention of making it half dialogue, half music," Biersack says, "but we found the music was so much more interesting than the dialogue that we wound up removing the dialogue from it and just let the (cast) interact. We're really proud of the way it came out."

BVB is in the midst of a lengthy campaign to give "Wretched and Divine" its due. The group is currently on its The Church of the Wild Ones World Tour, which heads to Europe and April and then to the Vans Warped Tour during the summer. A "Legion of the Black" DVD will be released at some point this year, and Biersack is hoping to mount a full-scale "Wretched and Divine" concert in the future.

He also acknowledges that a sequel is possible since the story is left a bit open-ended.

"We want to bring it around the world as many times as we can," Biersack says. "This is new ground, a rock band with this concept album and a crazy, high-concept movie to go with it. It may take a little bit of time for people to understand what this is, but we'll definitely do our part to help them -- and then maybe get inspired and start working on a sequel."

Black Veil Brides, William Control and What Happened in Vegas perform Friday, Feb. 22, at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are sold out. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com. Black Veil Brides will also appear at the Vans Warped Tour on July 19 at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $37.50. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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