Andy Black: “I Was This Inactive Bald Guy Who Didn’t Want To Leave The House”
With his new album The Ghost Of Ohio out on April 12, via Republic Records, Andy Black took the time to sit down with Kerrang! for a revelatory chat about both that record, and his life in general.
He revealed that when Black Veil Brides took a break in 2014, he ended up in a dark place. He was struggling with guilt over the death of his grandfather, his grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer, and he was drinking heavily to avoid coping with his anxiety and OCD. He ended up shaving his head and eventually just stopped leaving the house altogether.
Thankfully, he’s since found positive ways to cope with life, like working with animal charities and talking to friends instead of just isolating himself from the world and those close to him.
Check out an excerpt from the interview below…
“In 2014 we had a little bit of time off and I was going through a tough time in my life. I was drinking heavily and my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. One of the biggest regrets I have is I was touring so extensively that I didn’t get to see my grandfather before he died, and we were really close so it was upsetting. So when we had time off the road just as my grandmother was going into her chemo treatments I went back home to take care of her. It was the first substantial amount of time I had spent there in a while, because I had only been seeing the anger. And maybe it’s because I was a bit older, but running errands for her and walking around the same six places, seeing the same people that I went to school with every day, that need to be acknowledged started to melt away. It didn’t matter, because this was what mattered: being with my family during a potential crisis. Thankfully, about a year later she went into remission and since then I started making a point of going home more often.”
How have your memories of these periods
changed since you got sober?
“In the movies where someone gets sober everything feels better, and I did have that for maybe six months. And then out of nowhere the sledgehammer of emotions came where all the stuff that I wasn’t processing and had been trying to drink through – whether it’s my anxieties or OCD or whatever else – came all at once and it fucking crushed me. I shaved my head, I went full hermit, went off of social media. Between The Shadow Side record, the Black Veil record [2018’s Vale] and this record, there was a time period where I was this completely inactive bald guy who didn’t want to leave the house. And I’ve had to learn to process that stuff and be okay with it and, as it stands now today, I feel like I know what I am a lot more. I haven’t left parts of my life in the past unchecked – as much as I can remember, because again there were times where I was just blacked-out drunk and I hate that I don’t have those recollections.”
So how do you handle your anxieties when they come up these days?
“Work, more than anything. I immerse myself in positive things like sleeping at home when I can, working with different animal charities, trying to remember to talk to friends and not just close into myself. As annoying as it is to be the OCD guy who carries a lint roller everywhere, there are applicable uses of that. It makes me prolific; I do a lot of shit because otherwise I would go nuts. Things I do tend to be very thought out and specific, from the aesthetic of Black Veil to the concept records and everything else I’ve done. That’s been a way of turning it into a superpower, I guess. If you have this weird thing about your brain that other people don’t have, then maybe it’s a gift.”
You can read our full interview with Andy Black in the new issue of Kerrang! – in stores Wednesday, March 27 and available to order now.
Andy Black will tour the UK later this year. See the full dates below.
05: London, Electric Ballroom
06: Bristol, Anson Rooms
07: Glasgow, Garage
09: Manchester, Academy 2
10: Brighton, Concorde 2
11: Birmingham, O2 Institute
PLUS! Slipknot, Soundgarden, Black Veil Brides, blink-182, Ghost, Green Day, Metallica, Frank Iero and LOADS more!
According to the band’s Instagram, the exchange appears to be all in good humor.