Interview: Black Veil Brides’ Lonny Eagleton on “Re-Stitch These Wounds”, the Full Band Livestream and New Record
(photo above by Joshua Shultz)
We’re entering five months now since the touring industry shut down, seemingly March 13th was the day. And as bands adapt to the “new normal” until touring can resume, the content is free-flowing. Groups are getting creative with how they handle these uncertain times, yet still, connect with their fans and be kind to themselves. As the site has lurked back into the forever Warped Tour vibes that I’ve always been drawn to, it’s fate that the next band I spoke to would be one of the longest-running groups in the modern-day rock scene. That band? Black Veil Brides, a band that has continued to prove themselves and their longevity for over a decade now. When the debut album “We Stitch These Wounds” first came out, there were both avid supporters but also avid dissenters on whether the band would succeed. The former category knew the group was something special considering the longlasting success the band has had. To celebrate ten years since the release, the band just dropped a re-imagination of that first album with “Re-Stitch These Wounds” yesterday. It’s an album that the band, unfortunately, cannot support in the ways they’ve gotten used to, but it has allowed them to get creative and lucky for fans of the band, and today’s your day.
The band is set to go live in just over a half-hour with a full album live band play through coming at you from the iconic LA venue Whiskey A-Go-Go. You can still pick up tickets here for this once in a lifetime event, and bands need your help now more than ever, so while being entertained, you know it’s for a good cause too!
I caught up with the newest member of Black Veil Brides, bassist Lonny Eagleton yesterday, to take a deep dive into the new re-worked record as well as a sixth Black Veil Brides full length which is music to our quarantine living selves. Eagleton talked about how the band has been staying safe in these unheard times as well, and also touched on the process of creating “Re-Stitch These Wounds.”
You have the live stream tomorrow, which is something great, you get to play at Whiskey A-Go-Go, playing an actual stage for a live stream. Versus being on the phone in a bedroom. How have you kind of been preparing for that stream, rehearsals for playing this album in full? Considering this will be the first time it’s ever been done. Being that artists can’t tour right now.
Lonny Eagleton: We’re all pretty excited to be back on stage together. Just be in a room playing music. You can only stay off the stage for so long before you kind of go crazy. We’re excited to get up there. Play for everybody. And the fact that we can’t have an audience in the room doesn’t even matter. You can still play a show, and the internet is an excellent thing for that. We’re so excited that we can play for fans all around the world in a way that’s kind of classic because we can be playing for fans in Brazil, England, Russia, Canada wherever they may be. And the fact that we get to do it in such a historic venue is also really exciting too. The Whiskey A Go Go was one of the venues that Black Veil Brides played while supporting the original release of the record ten years ago.
The first record, “We Stitch These Wounds.”
LE: Yeah! So it’s great to play this record in a room that is historic to when it came out. So yeah, we’ve just been rehearsing as usual. With the masks on social distancing, try not to get too close to each other. And we’re going to take all the precautions necessary to stay safe while we’re doing it. We feel it’s a good way to stay connected with our audience. Support the new record in a world where we can’t do what we would normally do in this situation.
And then to jump ahead, from reading about it, I believe Jake (guitarist) produced the album or had a large hand in creating the album. You mentioned it before about how you’ve been wearing masks while rehearsing, keeping your distance from each other. When was the first time that you were able to be in the same space together? Before was it mostly you in your own homes in the early months.
LE: Yeah, we have been doing some stuff remotely. We’ve all been sending recordings back and forth in email or whatnot. We were trying to be as safe as possible. Being in a band, we do have to get into the room together eventually. The good part is we actually recorded the bulk of this record prior to the virus starting. We had done a lot of this earlier on in the year, in the wintertime, before any of this hit. So we were able to get a lot of it done. So the virus didn’t get in the way of that too much. Because the bulk of the record was finished before the pandemic hitting.
So this was an intentional album. There was always a plan to do this; it wasn’t affected by quarantine or a decision made in quarantine. It was always a plan to re-work this record.
LE: Yeah, it’s something that’s been discussed many times over the years. And really what it comes down to is that when the first record was recorded ten years ago, the band didn’t really have access to the kind of recording equipment, the facilities that they wanted to at the time. So given that fact, the band sort of just produced almost demo recordings. And it did really well. It surprised everybody. And now that we’re in a position where we have access to better recording equipment, even members of our own band can produce the album. We did the whole thing ourselves in Jake, the guitar player’s home studio. We think it sounds great. We’re super proud of what we’ve put out. We feel that the audio quality and the production is now at a place that the songs deserve to be heard in. When you move back and forth from the old one to the new one, you really hear an enhancement. It’s something that we’re super proud of.
Then I know from reading about it, and seeing interviews, you kind of stepped into the band in 2019. I know you toured with Andy when he was doing his solo touring. How is it been to kind of immerse yourself in this recording process? Jumping into the studio and being engaged in this process with Andy and the rest of the band.
LE: Yeah, it’s been really exciting. So I’m a new member of the band, and I just joined last year. So yeah, it’s just been super exciting. I first met Andy about a year and a half ago, I had toured in his solo project, Andy Black, as a hired gun in that band. And when that record cycle came to a close, he told me he was going to be doing some more Black Veil Brides stuff, putting out a new record, doing the “Restitched” recording. And he asked if I could fill in a little as the new bassist because they needed somebody at that time. Of course, I said yes, given that I’ve been a pretty big fan of the band over the last decade or so. It’s a great opportunity to be able to be a member now, and kind of lend my expertise to songs in the bass department. It’s an honor and a privilege that I don’t take lightly, but I feel like we’re all excited about what’s going on now. And yeah, I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.
Then when it came to the arrangements of the record, I know from listening to a lot of songs, yes, it is very familiar, but there is a lot of growth. Were there songs on the album that the band wanted to re-work as a band or maybe something they wanted to try new on one of the songs within the process?
LE: So yeah, a few of the songs, there didn’t need to be much tweaking. A song like “Knives and Pens” is so iconic; there isn’t much that you would want to change about that song. We kept it pretty close to the original. However, other songs such as “Carolyn” or “The Mortician’s Daughter” were really re-worked. “Carolyn” always had the potential to be an epic rock ballad, an ending piece. And I feel like the way we did it now is the way it was wanted to be done back then. But we just didn’t have the resources. Now it’s the way the song was always meant to be heard. The way it would have been desired to put out ten years ago. Now it has been. A song like “The Mortician’s Daughter,” that was just an acoustic and vocal track on the first album.
And now it’s enormous.
LE: Yeah, now it’s a big orchestral moment. Listening to it, you can just picture a giant symphony playing it. So that one has been completely re-worked, but it’s still got all the original melodies. You can still hear the original meaning in there, but it’s definitely a whole new animal.
Exactly! Then I know, at least form looking at it, the band was set to go on tour with In This Moment, in late March, just after the touring industry got shut down because of COVID. That was a huge blow, but how has the band been staying mentally creative, or being kind to yourself in these unheard-of times. How did the group stay connected and creative in those times?
LE: So, when that first tour got canceled in March, we were pretty devastated. We had played a show in Mexico City on March 6th, a one-off show where we flew in and out. And at that time, COVID was starting to creep in, but it wasn’t anywhere near as serious. And we were taking extra precautions anyways. We were wearing masks and gloves on the plane, and we were the only ones doing that. And we were getting all these funny looks. And now that’s just become common practice. Then we got back home and had a tour a week or so later, and we’re like ‘Okay, alright, see you in a few days,’ and it ended up being ‘oh okay guess I’ll see you in a few months.’ And we were all crushed by it. We can’t wait to get back out there whenever we can. Because of that, we’ve just been focusing our energy on other stuff. There’s always something to be worked on. Even when we can’t be on the road, we can put our energy into a new album, for example. In addition to the new album, “Re-Stitched,” which just came out, we’ve also been writing, and recording demo’s for a sixth full-length Black Veil Brides album. Which we can’t wait to put out, and we’re already halfway through the creation of that. And we can’t be more proud of it. I feel like it’s the catchiest, driven rock and roll songs for the band. It’s really going to blow people away when it comes out. So even though we can’t tour, we’re busy in the studio. We’re busy with our live stream concert too as well. It’s a never-ending list of stuff to do.
And that Black Veil Brides tour, would that have been your first tour with the band, besides the Mexico City show?
LE: So that one-off show in Mexico City was my first concert with the band. And then the following tour would have been my first tour with the band. Prior to that, I appeared on the Duology EP, “The Night”.
Then to end it up, you talked about working on the next record of original music for Black Veil Brides. I’m sure that will be a big focus for the band in these next few months while obviously the touring climate is not a thing, but is that going to be the focus for these next few months? I know we still have a while to go to the big goal year that 2021 is.
LE: Yeah, obviously, we’d like to tour as soon as we can, but in the current state, we’re not sure when we can do that safely. It will be a priority whenever it’s manageable. Presently though, we’re just focusing all of our efforts on this new album.