Harry’s Soapbox – Black Veil Brides : Keeping It Real?


This week Harry renews his membership to the BVB fan club and asks why they are so hated by some but adored by others…


By Harry Paterson

Following Black Veil Brides’ appearance at Download last month, during which they were bottled for pretty much the duration of their set, I thought this piece (originally published on my website last autumn) was worth sharing with you.

Frankly, the extreme reaction the band generates mystifies me, as you can see, so if anyone can proffer an explanation, I’d be fascinated to hear it. Over to you…

On course for being one of the biggest bands on the planet, the phenomenon that is Black Veil Brides continues to inspire Beatle mania-levels of adoration and loyalty among teenagers worldwide.

Covering their recent set at Rock City, for Midlands Rocks, and interviewing both drummer CC and guitarist Jake, afforded me the opportunity of seeing first-hand what can only be described as the mass hysteria this band induces.

Their pre-gig signing session threatened to bring the city to a halt and by ten in the morning there were already hundreds queuing outside the venue.

Mystifyingly, though, for every hard-core fan, Black Veil Brides spawn legions of haters, too. There is currently no band anywhere in the world that excites such polarised opinions. Not even Bring Me The Horizon.

Understanding why they’re so revered, though, is far easier than getting  a handle on the levels of vitriol, scorn and, yes, pure, unadulterated hate, that pours forth from internet chat rooms, Metal Hammer’s website and online forums everywhere.

The make-up, the costumes, the youth of the band, the sense of being a part of something, while still remaining an outsider, are all obvious attractions for a fan base predominantly still going through puberty and its attendant existential crises.

To quote Lava Records’ Jason Flom, “They are bringing back what has been missing for over a decade: they are rock heroes that are truly larger than life. The make-up, the hair, the leather, and most importantly they have great songs, great playing…”

Of course, we’ve seen it all before. Shout At The Devil-era Motley Crue (Jake told me Nikki Sixx himself is a fan), bits of Kiss, Alice Cooper, all of whom Jake and CC freely admit are favourite bands and significant influences.

But so what? Marilyn Manson owes a debt to the aforementioned. Motley Cue themselves, back in the day, were slated for ripping off Kiss. This is nothing new, or even particularly controversial, so why the hatred?

It’s not as if the band can’t play either with Jake, in particular, actually something of an accomplished shredder. During our discussion he spoke of his abiding admiration for Paul Gilbert, and of his daily six-hour practice sessions following the mind-numbing day-job. As CC told me, “We’ve paid our dues, man”.

So, again; why the hatred? Frankly, it’s inexplicable but to those haters, I would say this: the Brides have brought the fun back into rock ‘n’ roll. They love what they do and want others to love it too. And any band that can attract so many young people to the life-affirming joy of live rock ‘n’ roll and away from the shoe-gazing monotony of the Indie scene or the artistic heresy of the X Factor aint doing too much wrong in my book.

Right now, all over the world, there are kids learning to play guitars and drums and putting together their own bands, all because the Brides have inspired them to do so. For that alone, they deserve a medal.

The Brides can play. They write their own material and their live show is the ultimate tribal experience. They are, in fact, the real deal. A bunch of kids barely older than their fans, absolutely committed to what they’re doing and having the ride of their life, they’re just thrilled to be here.

You don’t like ‘em? Fine. But be thankful your kids do. While ever we share a world with Coldplay we need bands like Black Veil Brides.



  1. The answer is simple but dare I say it there is an element within the “Underground” Metal Community that takes itself, and the music, far too seriously. They can rip bands apart for not being technical enough or not fitting into a narrow sub-genre or other such nonsense, I’ve seen it in some underground reviews too where bands have been criticised for the way they look, the way they sound their age or that of their fanbase not because they are good or bad at what they are doing but what it really comes down to is that they are not seen as “Metal” enough by some. Black Veil Brides, and I’m not a fan, have taken it glammed it up and are having fun playing with it and they are bringing hoards of teenagers along to the party and a percentage of those teenagers will go on to explore Metal further and become life-long devotees. More power to them and any other bands who can bring in new blood I say.

  2. Personally I feel that Black Veil Brides are not really bringing anything new to the party. I think their songs are “adequate” at best, with just enough of the right characteristics of a sing along chanty song to appease the masses. Kind of like a modern kiss/motley crue/my chemical romance mash up, except not nearly as good as the aforementioned bands. If it were not for their teen-appeasing image, they would be a very average band with an average reception. With a band like My Chemical Romance; who had simular negativity and amount of haters at the time of The Black Parade with a simular band image/uniform concept, I can understand why they deserve the spotlight: they’re fucking good and original, coming back to the concept of “bringing something new to the party”, even if they were taking elements of music gone before, as BVB have done. Nothing’s original of course, but although I dont disrespect to Black Veil Brides, after of all the songs and footage i’ve seen, including download 2012, they’re average and do not deserve the attention they’re given. Bands like Biffy Clyro on the other hand…

    But hey, as a musician myself who’s been off the scene for a while, I have no right to complain. Good for Black Veil Brides that they’ve garnered success so quickly.
    If it means that theatricality can be adopted by a better band through influence, then all is hopefully not lost. :)

  3. “….continues to inspire Beatle mania-levels of adoration and loyalty among teenagers worldwide…”

    Either a piss take or completely delusional

    • Er, not really. If you’d witnessed the scenes I did, you’d agree it’s an apt comparison.
      Sobbing, screaming girlies, hysteria and a complete loss of self-control and the band mobbed by lunging, grabbing, screaming fans.
      Not exactly the most contentious thing I’ve ever written.

    • Black veil brides are talented musicians with numerous awards by various institutional renowned magazine publishers/ music companies/instrumental manazines, golden gods,mtv,etc. around the world. Each member in their own right Jake, Jinxx, Ashley have won numerous guitarist awards, CC coma has won awards best drummer of the year for his skill & talent on drums & Andy has won for best newcomer/song writer. Some of the top musicians also are acknowledging their talent. motley crue,alice cooper, asking alexandria,sebastian bach, the list goes on & on. black veil brides are an inspirational band who detest bullies and haters who do not let people live their lives (with harassment) as they see fit. As i see it, black veil brides- instill a philosophy in life to be who you are- or who are inspired to become. Since the beginning of time,it seems musicians, writers, & artists (who live outside the box of conformity) were always outcasted for being different. Some of the most brillant Einstein, VanGogh, Beatles even Christopher Columbus were discarded in their time as insane. Due to this fact, i applaud these outcasts for what would life be without musicians who are demonstrating there is life beyond the status quo (thank god).

  4. Constructive criticism, great, welcome it, however the point remains that BVB are SHIT! They must be one of the most appalling bands I’ve had the misfortune to witness live, Andrew Ballsack should go back to welcoming costumers at Wal-mart. ‘But Motley Crue are not that good live’ ..I hear you all shout!!! True, Vince has been at the pies for a few years now but they atleast have some substance.As for BVB they’d better enjoy their 3 years of fame while it lasts as playing the role of pretend plastic rock star will soon come to an end!

  5. OK Harry! When you put it like that who can argue that they are anything but a good thing. I remember the shit Motley Crue got (and still get in some quarters) and I personally love them and they are still one of the best live bands I have ever seen. If the kids are getting turned away from X Factor dross and on to Rock by these guys then I for one will back them to the hilt. Good to know that they also write their own stuff and are good musicians (and I get the feeling that they quite impressed you as people!).
    That’ll do me Harry — Sold to the man in the Badass hat!!

  6. You know what? Thank you. Thank you for posting this, its true, and the hate they get is completely unnecessary. Once again, thank you for noticing the true talent these gentlemen have and the amazing message they spread.

  7. Personally, I can’t stand them – the music just isn’t my thing anyway (though I’ll concede I have admired some of their riffage on occasion) and their image throws them way down the well of self-parody. Nonetheless, I accept them and I think it’s a healthy sign that the music world has Black Veil Brides; the fact that a bunch of young and clearly musically talented guys are taking their cues from older groups like Crüe and putting them into a revised, radical and modern form is encouraging – we can only hope lots more young bands can do the same with other genres.

    • There’s nothing like constructive criticism… and that was nothing like constructive criticism! I than-yow… I’m here all week.

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