Andy Biersack Reveals What Drove Him to Get Sober Over Six Years Ago
As a guest on Machine Head leader Robb Flynn's 'No Fuckin' Regrets' podcast, Black Veil Brides frontman and Paradise City actor Andy Biersack opened up on the factors that drove him and his wife, Juliet Simms, to lead a sober lifestyle more than six years ago.
Biersack, who turned 31 in late December, explained to Flynn that a combination of youth, inexperience, uncertainty about himself and the need to put on a false representation of his personality, among other things, contributed to him relying on alcohol to ease social situations and help maintain the character he had developed.
"It was just one of those situations where I was so young," the singer began (transcription via Blabbermouth). "All I wanted in the world was to be in a rock band and to go on tour and to get to do this thing that I had this dream to do. I didn't really socialize much growing up. Basically, my childhood was I'd play sports and then I'd come home and I'd paint my face and I'd sing into the mirror and then I'd go to hockey practice or whatever and then I'd come back and paint my face and sing into a mirror and dream of drawing and making costumes," he continued.
Because of these preoccupations, Biersack said that it didn't leave "much time for friends" and described himself as "just kind of a loner kid" who wasn't sure how to conduct himself around others or how to construct meaningful friendships.
"And then I'm touring regionally in a car, things are happening and we go play a basement to five people. Well, that's five more people than I thought were going to be there, and they all say, 'Hey, you're the shit.' And I'm, like, 'Oh, that's awesome. I am the shit. And you're 22; you must know everything about the world.' And so as it happened, being so young and then heading into a career in music, I started kind of piecing together a personality based on these other people that I was around," the Black Veil Brides frontman explained.
Biersack also noted that he was surrounded by individuals older than him on tour and, by watching their actions, he was under the impression that this was what was expected of musicians in rock bands. "You've got to party hard, you've got to be crazy and you've got to cultivate this personality," he said of the false perspective he had gained at the time.
"And it just became by the time I'm 21, 22, I've just got this weird suit of armor that I've made of this thing that I've read somebody say in an interview and this aesthetic choice that somebody made and all this stuff that I'm kind of taking and making it into whatever my thing is. And by the time I hit my mid-20s, I was just kind of over it," he recollected.
In developing his onstage persona and character within Black Veil Brides, Biersack relayed that he battled with becoming the character he had created over his genuine self.
"We've gotten so much shit from the day that we started from so many people and it made me so mad and angry and I wanted to defend myself and defend my band," he said, "and more importantly, as a kid who came from a small town of modest means, who just wanted to be around other people who liked the same shit as me, I felt this sense of responsibility to our audience to be the guy who will stand up for them and fight against people that talk shit about the band."
"And I still do, but the way that I was doing it at that age was I'd get really drunk and we'd play three songs and I'd spend the rest of the show trying to fight people. It wasn't necessarily healthy. And then I would feel down and so I'd go to a hotel room and drink by myself and then try to write songs and just spinning out. And it just got to the point where I didn't have an addiction so much as it was just a crutch," Biersack went on.
He recognized the habits stemmed from being "socially awkward" and then manifested themselves in another way once a producer suggested he track vocals while drunk.
"The first major label record we made, the producer told me that I sounded better when I was drinking," the singer said. "So, I'm 20 years old, not even legally allowed to drink, and I'm being told by an A-list producer on my first major label record, 'You sound better when you're drunk, so you should get drunk before we track vocals.'"
Having a support system close to him helped change these habits as Simms, who now operates under the moniker Lilith Czar, had "dealt with similar things" being a musician herself.
"She started really young and had a very similar trajectory in terms of her life, and we both were just, like, 'We've just got to cut this shit out,' and we just did it together. And now it's been the same amount of time for both of us, and we're exponentially happier and healthier people than we've ever been," Berisack concluded.
Black Veil Brides, who released The Phantom Tomorrow last year, are one of three co-headliners on the upcoming 'Trinity of Terror' North American tour alongside Motionless in White and Ice Nine Kills. The trek begins March 17 and you can view the full list of stops here.