Earlier this year, locally based Alternative Press
magazine announced that Black Veil Brides frontman, alt-pop artist and “raconteur extraordinaire” Andy Biersack will host the fourth annual Alternative Press Music Awards, which takes place at the State Theater
on July 17. If you didn't get a ticket to the gig, you'll be able to stream the show live.
In addition to fronting Black Veil Brides, Biersack heads up the alt-pop solo project Andy Black. He’s attended every APMA to date and has displayed his comedic side while touring with his Andy Black project.
Biersack recently phoned us from a hotel in Nashville where he had a day off from the Warped Tour and managed to get a rare “good night’s sleep.” Performing on the tour for the first time since becoming sober, he says it’s become “easier” now that he’s not “getting drunk in 102 degree heat.”
Here's what he had to say about hosting this year's awards ceremony.
How’d you get recruited to host this year’s event?
I’ve known [publisher] Mike [Shea] and [editor] Jason [Pettigrew] for quite some time. They’ve been champions of my band and career from the start. One of the first big headline tours we did of the U.S. was the AP Tour. They put us on the cover of the magazine. Getting going in the U.S. and getting some press in the U.S. was slower than England where there was a big rock boom. AP
was the first magazine to champion the band stateside. Since then, I’ve had a good relationship with them. It’s come up several times in the past that it’s something I might be interested in. They’ve had great hosts in the past, and they were looking to do something different this year. So Mike and Jason came to my solo show in Cleveland. I only have one album. When you’re doing a headline show, and you only have one album, you only have so many songs you can play. So I did some standup comedy, and the show was kind of half music and half comedy. I only played six or seven songs. It was a good opportunity to talk to fans as segues between songs. Mike and Jason were excited about the prospect of having me bring that to the awards and offered [the job] to me right there. I was over the moon.
What excites you about the opportunity?
The need for legitimacy in any awards show is paramount. If you go up there as a master of ceremonies and treat it serious, that adds an air of legitimacy to it and keeps it away from becoming a night of drinking and performances that weren’t taken seriously. And that’s not knocking other awards shows. The fans love it, and they have this special night. I’ve been on Warped Tour and heard bands talk about the awards, and I can tell you that it is legitimate. After being out on the tour getting burned by the sun every day, it’s a night for everyone to dress up and really connect with the fans.
What do you do to prepare?
I do a weekly podcast with my cousin and friend Patrick. It’s a comedy-based show, and I thought it would work best — and thankfully everyone at AP
agreed — that since we take on the writing ourselves that we would write the script for the APMAs. It comes down to wanting to make sure the script is funny and true to the spirit of the show.
What strategy do you have in place in the event of a technical difficulty?
It’s live television, so you can expect something to come along. I’ve performed at APMAs in so many different capacities that I know the crew is great, and we’ve never had any technical difficulties. Having said that, I can’t wait for the night of the show when something goes wrong, and you can laugh at me.
Are there some performances you're really excited to see?
Yes, not only the ones that are announced, but the ones that people don’t know about yet because they are to be announced in the coming days and week. Veteran bands like Korn always bring an intensity to their live performances.
Many of these bands don’t get Grammy nominations. What gives?
Truthfully, there is an element of the hard rock and alternative rock worlds that’s not taken seriously. I don’t know how to describe it. There’s so much life and passion in this scene. The bands that are working hard are doing it right for the right reasons. It’s not like the '80s when if you had a band that became popular, you would get a million dollar advance. That doesn’t happen these days. The bands that are out there, for better or worse, are working hard. Whether the mainstream culture sees it as legitimate or not, I don’t know.
How has the public's taste in rock changed?
There are lots of ingredients that go into people’s love of music. In my generation of young kids coming up, I love the classic rock and punk rock, but for my peers it was seen as passe. Rock was king and then died off because it needed to. It wasn’t about passion or art as much as it was about posture. Having said that, I’m a fan of that era of that music. I like it, but I understand why something like grunge came along. The unfortunate thing about grunge is that it killed the fun of rock. At the same time, hip-hop was about was all about art and fashion. I can understand why my generation of kids gravitated to that. Think of something like [the musical] Rock of Ages —
the punch line is “ha-ha remember rock music.” It does a huge disservice to our genre. Whether these bands get nominated for Grammys or not, we have this now, and it’s something that legitimizes our scene.