So here I am once more. And here you are too. And, of course, here as well are our mascara-smeared dynamic-duo, Jake and CC.
And they aren’t finished yet. No, these guys have plenty left to say. So; are you seated comfortably? Good. Let’s get our third and final instalment under way, then…
“I was looking at a map the other day”, says Jake reflectively, “and I’m like, ok, we live here but we’re over here now, on the other side of the world, playing a show to kids who don’t even speak our language, or us theirs, and they’re singing the lyrics to all of our songs. Man, it’s awesome”
CC cuts in, “I tell ya, dude, we died somewhere along the way. All of us died and we went to heaven ‘cause this shit is just too good to be true. It’s unreal!”
“Yeah, they’re something else”, continues Jake. “I think of the times we’d get home from the day job and we’d be up ‘til three in the morning, writing the songs, the lyrics, working on the arrangements and now the fans are so dedicated, so supportive. That’s why we try and make as much time for them as we can. We meet them, you know, we sign their stuff and we try and give back as much as we can because, I tell ya again, man, it’s all down to them. They’re the best fans on the planet and they made us so it’s all about them, it aint about us”
So far, so good but what about the music? The next album? The writing? How does all that come together? Enquiring minds need to know, guys.
“I think the next album’s gonna be a little different”, advises Jake. “The first two were almost pre-written in the sense we just had to work up and smooth out all the stuff we’d done on demos and so we already had the material when it was time for the album, you know? We didn’t need to do a lot of writing in the studio. The structures, arrangements, things like that, were pretty much in the form you hear them now on the albums.
This time, though, because we’ve touring constantly, there’s not a lot of down time. So, you know, you’re sitting on the bus, you get an idea and you record it on your iphone real quick, or there’s a riff and you just hum it out and save it and work it out later but this album I think will be more kinda in the studio and doing it. I’ve got a bunch of riffs and I know Jinks has a whole stack of ideas and even CC has some cool riffs”
Oh? A drummer who plays guitar as well, eh?
CC squirms a little self-consciously, “well just a little bit, really, just enough to kinda [hums along] and we can work things out from there. We’ve got a lot of ideas but as we’re touring internationally, constantly, and we’re booked solid until we get back in the studio, we can’t carry a whole pro-tools rig with us”
“Right”, agrees Jake, “I mean I’ve got my laptop but, really, we’re kinda just stockpiling ideas and scratching things down here and there and we’ll work ‘em out later when we hit the studio”
In terms of heroes, influences and the people to whom the dynamic duo aspired when they were dreaming those rock ‘n’ roll dreams in teenage bedrooms; they had this to say…
“My favourite guitar player is Paul Gilbert,” states Jake firmly while CC adds, “In terms of drummers, I listen to everything from 1920s jazz drummers right the way through to the most modern, full-on metal dudes, so I’m all across the board. I listen to dub step and crazy electronic shit so I’m all over the place. As a band, collectively, obviously there’s KISS, Alice Cooper and Motley Crue but as individuals, we’ve all got our own, very specific, influences and they’re incredibly varied”
Jake continues, “I think one of the cool things is lately we’ve become friends with Adam D from Killswitch Engage, he’s supercool, and he worked on the Times of Grace Record and All That Remains, everyone in that band, they’re supercool. I know Adam D produced and engineered the new Unearth record and I’ve been listening to that a lot. It’s a really cool record. There’s tons of shredding and just really cool music so, yeah; really been listening a lot to that.
But Paul Gilbert, man, he’s just amazing. I like the weird stuff he does; it’s different from anybody else, just off the wall. I like Buckethead as well. He’s another amazing player and he studied with Paul Gilbert for a year and you can hear the influence.
Gilbert’s incredible. He’s so complete. The string skipping, what he does with arpeggios and tapping licks, he’s just phenomenal. I think he was voted, like, the fourth greatest shredder ever, in Guitar World or something like that. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to play as fast and as accurately as he does but he’s definitely my biggest guitar influence.
And my Mom is a huge influence, just musically, in general. She plays piano, she’s an incredible musician. She knows all the theory and stuff like that and she really helped me a lot when I was starting and trying to understand everything.
I spoke to her just before we flew out and she’s like, ‘oh the new record is great. You’ve really mastered the guitar’ and I’m like, ‘Why thank you, Mom, but I dunno if I’ve mastered anything yet!’ But it’s great to know our parents are proud and we owe them so much, so that’s all cool”
CC, perhaps predictably, given his sheer energy and penchant for skipping from one subject to another with machine-gun rapidity and limitless enthusiasm, doesn’t have a single, defining influence.
“I don’t have like just one dude; there are so many different ones that mattered to me. I kinda tick boxes and take little bits from each of ‘em and incorporate that into my playing. I take aspects, you know?
As far as early jazz guys, well, definitely Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, I saw Louie Bellson when I was twelve, all the way up to the dude with Dave Mathews. That guy’s sick, man. It’s the sickest groove ever that he’s got going on and metal dudes like Joey Jordison.
If I could take something from each of them, it’d be the syncopation of jazz, the groove of maybe R&B and the dude from Dave Mathews’ band and like the technicality of metal. I try to incorporate all of those things and sometimes I think I do a decent job but other times I have to just kinda lay it back a little.
With this record, though, it’s all been about the songs. We’d be writing something and I’d think, ‘I could do something really cool and super-crazy here’ but instead I’ll lay it back on the groove a little so the song can breathe, you know?”
Jake chips in, “One song I think you can really tell you’re doing something different in a really cool way is ‘Saviour’. It’s not a lot but it’s subtle and it fits. I mean I’ve played with a million drummers but you’ve got it all. Great feel”
CC, shrugs bashfully, “Well, yeah, you know, that’s really all I do, man. Just try and think of the song, put that first and play something that complements that. It aint me, it’s all about the song”
And that, dear readers, is that. That’s your lot. At least for now. You’ll probably know by now that Black Veil Brides are heading back to our shores next spring and who knows? Maybe we’ll get the opportunity to bring you some more dispatches from their frontline.
In the meantime, thanks to CC and Jake for being so generous with their time and for speaking frankly and openly. Thanks to you guys, as well, dear readers, for sending our traffic through the roof.
Until next time, then…
Missed the previous two installments, fear not… for your clicking convenience: