Andy Black has opened up about how making peace with his adolescence helped create the “twisted superhero” story of his new album and comic book ‘The Ghost Of Ohio’ – as well as discussing what the future holds for Black Veil Brides.
Watch our full video interview with Black above
This week sees Black, real name Andy Biersack, release the follow-up to 2016’s solo debut ‘The Shadow Side’. But this time, it comes with a comic book loosely based on Black himself.
“You know how Batman or any other comic book character will have many different iterations?” Black told NME. “The Adam West Batman is the one who’s jokey and running around with a bomb over his head, then over the 80-year canon you’re seeing Frank Miller and it’s very gritty, then you have the Tim Burton version before it goes back to being very camp in the mid-90s.
“You see all of these different directions that the character has taken, but they’re all valid forms. They just represent different elements of the character. My idea was that the record would be a representation of how the character is me and these are songs that are about my life – as opposed to writing concept record fiction. They’re inspired by the story but directly about me. Inversely, the comic book is not about me – it’s about this character in the superhero world where he’s fighting the bad guys.
He continued: “It all loves somewhere inside me in my consciousness, but they’re different depictions of the same character.”
The story of ‘The Ghost Of Ohio’ really started to take shape when Black found in his muse in the town he grew up in.
“I had a complicated relationship with my hometown,” Black admitted. “There was a level of resentment. Like many people that come from a small town, when you succeed outside of it you’re either like, ‘I’m gonna do it for my town’ or ‘I’m gonna do it in spite of my town and I’m gonna show them!’ I felt like I was somewhere in between.”
Back in 2014, when Black’s grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to head home to spend time in Cincinnati with her during her treatment. While he was there, he laid to rest the hang-ups he had over his adolescence and made more sense of his childhood. However, he also discovered that things were a lot spookier than they seemed just beneath the surface – and that his hometown came with quite a lot of ghosts.
“The place that I went to summer camp was a tuberculosis hospice care place where people who had consumption would die and be taken through tunnels underneath the baseball fields I grew up playing on to this potter’s grave, which is where the school I went to was. I asked my grandma, ‘Why are there three headstones in my old school playground?’ and she said ‘Oh, they just paved right over it – there are all kinds of graves under there’.”
But would he like to follow in the footsteps of Gerard Way with The Umbrella Academy and see ‘The Ghost Of Ohio’ made into a Netflix series?
“Oh absolutely, but I don’t think anyone’s offering it to me right now,” replied Black. “That’s a level of success that would be a dream to achieve but I just want people to read the book first.”
“I’ve been pretty open with the fact that we do have strong plans to do something cool ‘We Stitch These Wounds’. At this point, the plan is to do a reimagining of the record. We got started to a certain point, we’re self-producing, and it’s been fun to re-examine those songs.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen next, and that’s what’s so exciting. For the longest time, there was a trajectory where I had set up this story with ‘The Wretched And Divine’ then we did the more hard-rock oriented record with Bob Rock, then we re-entered the ‘Wretched And Divine’ story and there were pre-determined elements to what the band was gonna be. This is the first time in years where I don’t know what’s going to come next.
Black added: “It’s going to be a really exciting period for the band. It’s a new situation. We’ll regroup and see where it goes.”
Watch our full video interview at the top of the page to hear how Black avoided writing ‘a Halloween record’ to create a “genre-bending” album, his relationship with his fans, his knack for singing falsetto with his wife and his creative process.
‘The Ghost Of Ohio’ is out on Friday April 12. Black’s upcoming UK tour dates are below.
Friday July 5 2019 – LONDON Electric Ballroom
Saturday July 6 2019 – BRISTOL SWX
Sunday July 7 2019 – GLASGOW Garage
Tuesday July 9 2019 – MANCHESTER Academy 2
Wednesday July 10 2019 – BRIGHTON Concorde 2
Thursday July 11 2019 – BIRMINGHAM Institute