On February 10, 2014, HayleyRocksU was the envy of teenage girls all over the world, and they didn’t even know it. She got to sit down and talk for hours with one of her idols, Jake Pitts from the Black Veil Brides. But she would never keep that good fortune to herself. Hayley has watched every BVB interview & video there is to be had hundreds of times. Every fact memorized. Every lyric sung by heart. New information HAS to be shared with what is called – and the true meaning only known to the members of – THE BVB ARMY.
Tragically Jake lost his dear beloved Mom, Carolyn, shortly before this interview. Though Hayley didn’t want this to be a focus, she did give her condolences. And Jake admitted that music, and talking about music, is not only a good distraction, but a great healing tool for a grieving heart.
“Picking up a guitar is probably what saved my life.” ~ Jake Pitts
HRU: I’m honored to be here with Jake Pitts from the Black Veil Brides. Jake is the lead guitarist & one of the songwriters of the band. Jake, thanks for sitting down with me today.
JAKE: No problem!
HRU: First I want to say Congratulations on winning the Alternative Press award for Guitarist of the Year. How did that feel?
JAKE: To be honest, it wasn’t something that I really expected to get. Jacky Vincent (guitarist, Falling in Reverse), I’ve become friends with him recently, incredible guitar player, super nice guy, I thought for sure he was going to get the number one spot. And I didn’t really promote it that much. But it just kind of goes to show – the whole BVB army, the fans, how powerful they really are. It wasn’t something I was looking to win, but it happened because of our fans. They’re incredible. And it’s really cool to win something like that and be recognized. Another one that really meant a lot to me was this one (holds up Revolver Golden God award) for Best New Band. We were up against Avenged Sevenfold. Again I’m friends with those guys. I thought for sure they would take it. They don’t go on social media and promote stuff, their fans do all the work. So I thought for sure they would win that one. I guess it just goes to show our fan base is growing, and you can’t mess with them!
HRU: Things are going well. You just got back from Germany, and next you’re going to Australia and Singapore. How does it feel to reach fans all over the world?
JAKE: That’s a good question! I don’t really know how to explain it. I kind of feel like I live in a bubble. Obviously to me, I’m just me. There was a point in time when I didn’t have fans all over the world, that was my dream. It was a goal I was shooting for. To me, I’m just me, I’m just another human being. I play music, I like to do it, I think I have a talent for it & clearly other people enjoy what we do. The best way to explain it – it’s just kind of surreal, unreal, unbelievable. It’s really a weird thing to go from being on tour where every night we’re going in front of thousands of screaming fans playing our music and hearing them sing along, having that rush of adrenaline & when that last show is over, and you go back to regular life, it’s a weird transition period. I used to be that kid in the crowd watching the shows. Then I became the person on the stage. I was a kid with a dream, and I was determined to make it a reality.
HRU: Do you get to do any sightseeing, or is it just hotels and venues?
JAKE: That’s another part of it. Sometimes… not really. A lot of people will think “Being in a band on tour, it’s got to be this crazy glamorous big party all the time”. It’s not. It’s a lot of hard work. There are a lot of fun moments, but a lot of time it’s just exhausting and it really takes a toll on you. But I got to do some sightseeing, obviously a lot more than I would if I wasn’t touring. I’ve been to the Eiffel Tower three times. No, twice…. I can’t remember (laughs). A lot of times you wake up, you don’t know where you are. You’re inside a dressing room, or on a bus. There’s just a lot of what I call “hurry up and wait”. On this recent tour, we’ve been doing a lot of “meet and greets”. So there’s a schedule & there’s three things we look for – sound check, meet & greet, and showtime. Then you’ve got this 2-hour period between sound check and meet & greet. It’s your opportunity to shower, if there is a shower. Sometimes showering is more of a hassle than not showering. What’s the point? You’re going to get sweaty & dirty later anyway, right? Being on tour you get used to being a gross human (laughs). You learn about wet wipes and dry shampoo.
HRU: You joined the band in 2010. How do you think the band has changed in the past few years.
JAKE: Andy had Black Veil Brides, and Knives and Pens was a video. I remember watching it and thinking “Ok it sounds like my style of things that I do”. In late 2009, I met Andy, and I had my own thing going on. I had known Jinxx and had been playing guitar with him. I’ve known CC longer than anyone in the band. CC was drumming with me. We had a project we were working on, which became a lot of the songs on the Set the World on Fire album. Really since I moved to LA in 2006, everything just aligned and formed. It was being in previous bands, and meeting so-and-so who knows so-and-so, and this person introduced me to that person. That’s how I met Jinxx, from an old friend who was in a band. He said “You guys would be scary together” (laughs). So literally that night I played him (Jinxx) two demos I had, the music for “Love Isn’t Always Fair” and “New Religion”. Jinxx was bored in what he was doing musically, and I found him at the right time. Long story short: We met Andy & Ashley through people. Basically what I thought was just going to be helping write an album….
HRU: You got more involved with it.
JAKE: Yeah, and it happened really quick! The first song that I did was “Beautiful Remains”. I heard a demo Jinxx had & there was an idea there. The way I work, my mind explodes with imagination. I picked up my guitar and the riffs just started coming.
HRU: What is your favorite thing about playing guitar?
JAKE: It’s such a versatile instrument. You can do so many different things with it. It’s fun. It makes me happy. It was a thing in my life that I needed, otherwise, I don’t know if I’d be here. A lot of people say that without us, they don’t know if they’d be here. People say we save lives. Well, I believe it because music does save lives. It saved mine. Picking up a guitar is probably what saved my life. I didn’t have the best childhood. I didn’t have a lot of friends. I didn’t come from a wealthy family. I’ve been through a lot in my life, and I still go through a lot. My favorite thing about guitar is it gives me an opportunity to express myself.
HRU: Who is on your Ipod right now?
JAKE: (grabbing his phone) I don’t have anything… This phone’s kind of new….
HRU: Who are you listening to?
JAKE: Well I’ll tell you the short list that’s on this phone. Billy Idol, Black Veil Brides, Kiss, Sir Mix-a-Lot, and Within the Ruins. I know the Sir Mix-a-Lot is weird. In our live rig during our sound check, it’s something with levels for our sound guy. You know which song it is, I’m sure (laughs). I’ve been listening to a lot of crazy technical metal stuff. This band Within the Ruins, a lot of death metal, progressive, not sure what you call it, very heavy. I’ve been listening a lot for production ideas. It blows my mind how awesome it sounds.
HRU: You’re engaged to your beautiful fiancee, Ella. And by the way, I love her name! How did you meet her?
JAKE: Again I have to give credit to my career. I met her in London. We were staying at the same hotel. Black Veil Brides was playing a show, headlining tour, sold-out. We had been in Europe. I think that was the tour where Andy broke his nose.
HRU: I saw pictures of that!
JAKE: I don’t know how he ends up doing some of these things. It’s really funny… I know it’s horrible… but if you YouTube “Andy Biersack” or “Andy Sixx falls offstage”, you’ll see some amazing videos that are hilarious.
HRU: Yeah I sent him Band-Aids for his birthday. Batman Band-Aids.
JAKE: (laughing): He seems to be a little bit better now with not hurting himself. He’ll still fall down and whatnot. I don’t know what he did. He somehow slipped and fell and smashed his face on the drum riser, and broke his nose. I remember that show in London, he had two black eyes, his face was black and blue. He came out and said “I’m just gonna go for it!” I can’t imagine that felt good singing. But the band and she was in the same hotel. I guess it’s what you called “love at first sight”. I was a creepy stalker. I wouldn’t leave her alone and tried to convince her to like me.
HRU: It worked!
JAKE: Apparently it did!
HRU: Is it hard to balance being married and touring with a band?
JAKE: Not right now. If I had kids, maybe. I do want to have kids someday. Not in the too late future, but not in the too near future. I don’t know when I’ll be ready for that. I’m a very independent person, and I do like my personal time. What I call my “man cave” is my studio, and I spend a lot of time in there. I talk to myself a lot. I’m a weird person. And it takes being with somebody who understands that, and is just as weird. And that’s Ella! We’re very opposite, but there are things where we are very similar. We’re back and forth between London and LA all the time. Right now, she’s in London but she’ll be coming over to LA when I get back from Australia. It sounds crazy. It is crazy. It doesn’t work for everybody, but somehow we make it work. It doesn’t seem to be very hard. It comes natural. You find something that works and if it works, (he knocks on wood). If something doesn’t work, you change it. Whatever we’re doing, it’s working.
HRU: Now a question about another member of your family, your dog Trixy. Is she a rescue dog?
JAKE: She’s actually right here, I’ll grab her. Come here, you little punk! (holds up her up) Here’s Trixy.
HRU: Hi Trixy!!
JAKE: She gets so confused, I Skype Ella all the time. Trixy adores Ella, and absolutely goes nuts. I think she thinks that Ella is hers! She hears her on the TV and gets confused, but she’s a dog, she doesn’t get it (laughs). I guess she’s kind of a rescue. Basically I got her from a family in Santa Ana. She was tiny and covered in fleas. She was maybe five weeks old. I remember the first night sitting there picking those fleas out of her and burning them with a lighter to kill them. It took hours until I picked every single one out and gave her a bath. I like to think I saved her life because being that young and infested with fleas, who knows what would’ve happened if she ended up in someone else’s hands.
HRU: You just posted your aquarium on Twitter. Have you always had fish? What kind of fish do you have?
JAKE: I’m a big animal person. I love cats, I love dogs, I love fish. That probably comes from my dad’s side. My dad loves scuba diving and I really want a saltwater tank. But that’s probably down the road, I’m still trying to figure out this freshwater thing. I’m learning a lot of things I didn’t know about. It’s like building an ecosystem in this tiny environment. I’ve always liked fish. I had one tank before and I have a pretty funny story. When I lived in Minneapolis, I had a couple of fish called oscars. I didn’t know what I was doing at all. A guy sold me a tank, I set it up. I had what is called a Jack Dempsey and they’re very aggressive fish. This fish kept bullying my other fish. It was fin-nipping and attacking my other fish. The fins were shredded off the fish and they were upside down still alive swimming around! So I tried an obviously stupid method that isn’t going to teach a fish how to do something. I caught him. He was really hard to catch. I put him in a cup of water and stuck him in my freezer.
HRU: Wait… the fish was in the freezer?!
JAKE: Don’t worry, it gets even worse! I didn’t kill him… yet. I tried to teach him a lesson. I took him out of the freezer, I thought he was dead. But he was just kind of stuck there. I put him back in the tank and he… thawed out. What do you know, he came back to life! I thought “ok maybe he’ll get it now and leave my fish alone” but he kept attacking them. So I got fed up. I caught him and chucked him out the window.
HRU: So basically you gave him a “time out”?
JAKE: That’s what I tried to do. I put him in time out. I didn’t like this fish that was bullying and killing all my other fish. But now I have two angel fish, a couple dwarf frogs, clown loaches, and a couple roseline sharks.
HRU: I heard you are getting your tonsils out in March. Is it true? Have you ever had surgery before? Are you nervous?
JAKE: Well I plan to get my tonsils out in March. I’ve had my wisdom teeth out, that’s the only surgery I’ve really gone through. I was put under, they gave me the option of laughing gas or put under. I said knock me out! For some reason my tonsils have been giving me trouble. I don’t know what triggers it, if it’s stress, or what. I don’t get a sore throat like normal people, I get tonsillitis where they need to get drained. It’s a nightmare, I need to get rid of them. Yeah I’m nervous, nobody wants to get pieces cut out of them. But I need them out, I know it will be good for me in the long run.
HRU: Well I’ll be thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery.
JAKE: Thank you!
HRU: Thanks again Jake for speaking with me. Best of luck with the band, I saw you play at Warped Tour last summer and you were incredible. Hope to see you play again soon!
JAKE: Awesome, thank you. I hope you can see us play again too!
Postscript ~“Now nobody will call me a liar about the fish story” ~ Ella
__________________________________________________HayleyRocksU Copyright 2014