Black Veil Brides' Andy Biersack to Host 2017 Journeys Alternative Press Music Awards, Fueled by Monster: Exclusive
Andy Biersack, the lead singer of hard rock band Black Veil Brides, has been chosen to host the 2017 edition of the Journeys Alternative Press Music Awards, Fueled by Monster Energy. The show will return to Alternative Press' home base of Cleveland, Ohio, on July 17. Other details are yet to be announced.
Being named host is a full-circle moment for Biersack, who regularly read Alternative Press while he was growing up in Cincinnati, harboring dreams of rock stardom. His band Black Veil Brides landed their first AP cover around the turn of the decade (in fact, they grace the cover of its January issue) and has become a regular fixture in both the magazine and at its awards.
"I'm very excited, and I'm very thankful to do this," says Biersack, "so I hope that comes across."
Apparently what sealed the deal for AP to approach Biersack was seeing him perform in Cleveland last year when Biersack was touring as Andy Black in support of his debut solo album, The Shadow Side. The setting was much less bombastic than BVB's pyro- and video-heavy live productions, with just Biersack onstage with a drummer and guitarist.
"We were playing in a lot of small clubs; it's a more intimate setting," explains Biersack. "That allowed me to just tell stories for a while. And I found that we were playing about seven songs, and I was talking for about an hour and 15 minutes." He laughs. "I pared that down a bit and I started turning that into a routine where I would do a version of stand-up onstage, and [the AP staff members] were really responsive to it."
Watch a teaser reel for the awards show below, featuring Biersack and former APMAs hosts Jack Barakat and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low:
Biersack further discussed with Billboard the role AP has played in Black Veil Brides' success, how he's prepping for the show and just how political (or not) he expects the production to be.
Is this your first time hosting an awards show?
Yes -- well, in reality. In my mind, I've been doing all kinds of awards shows my entire life, but in reality this is the first time I am able to do it.
Are you nervous?
No. That's what makes me insufferable to be around, is that most of my life I have assumed that everyone wants to see me perform and do things all the time. [Laughs] While I'm not nervous, I'm sure other people are nervous that I'm going to overshoot this.
Is the type of performance you were doing on your solo tour what made the hosting gig appealing, or was there another element to it?
To be honest, I've always been really interested in the role of the host, whether it's our kind of Billy Crystal-style traditional awards show host or when you have someone like Louis C.K. or a more edgy stand-up comedian do their take on a hosting role. It's always fascinated me, because in many ways it's a thankless job unless you can turn it into something that's fun for you and you can show your personality. So often you have these people who are very talented and funny people doing a job that seems almost miserable, in a sense, because they're just reading a script and they're doing what they can, but you really have to work really hard, I think, to inject your own personality into it, and then it can be amazing. When I was offered the opportunity to do it, I was very clear with everyone at AP that I would do my homework and obsessively try to do the best job I can because I think all the great examples of hosts that ever knocked it out of the park are ones you can clearly tell put a lot of thought of how to put their spin on this show or how they would be able to inject their own kind of comedic sensibility.
How does one prep for an awards show?
There's a certain level of it that's going to be indulgent, because that's kind of the nature of it. But [I am] trying to veer away from that and make sure what my plans are and what my jokes are, and what I'm writing and working with writers on is representative of the awards show, because at the end of the day, the most important thing is to represent Alternative Press and the award show itself in a way that's respectable and in a way they would be proud of.
What can you reveal at this point about what is being planned for the show?
It's early stages, obviously, but I think we'd be remiss if there wasn't a mention of the times we live in now. I don't want it to get overly political, but there certainly will be a nice little through line of some stuff that hopeful is funny to everybody. My job as the host of a rock awards show is not to be as divisive as possible, but certainly you want to be able to interject your jokes and how you feel about stuff. So we're not going to be hyper-political, but it's a fine time to poke fun at a few things.
Black Veil Brides has had a long-running relationship with AP magazine and its awards. How would you grade the impact that the magazine's support had had on the band's career?
[It's] paramount, particularly [to our success in the] United States. We as a band kind of took off in a big way in the U.K. a little bit before the U.S., and I think in many ways, the U.K. tends to be a little bit more accepting more quickly of hard rock bands. When we came back after doing our first full-fledged tour in the U.K., we kind of got a little bit of a fire started in the U.S. We were just about to sign to Universal, things were kind of falling in place for us to make a little bit more of a run in the U.S. Right about that time is when AP came to the table and said, "We want to put you on the cover," and that was kind of the perfect storm of everything. The story of my life publicly has been told through Alternative Press. Former employees, people who have worked there -- my friend Ryan Downey, who wrote for AP for a long time -- I've been able to have really great articles written about me and talk openly about things in my life. Every year, we make a new record, I get to tell a new story, and I've always had that opportunity because of the magazine.
For information and updates about the APMAs, visit altpress.com/apmas.