November 19, 2020 Interview – Christian “CC” Coma of Black Veil Brides
If you love heavy music, chances are pretty high that you know the name Black Veil Brides. Formed in 2006, these Hollyweirdos would go on to deliver their infamous debut, We Stitch These Wounds, in 2010, and the rest, as they say, is Rock-n-Roll history. Of course, as the group of leather-clad, silver-studded misfits took over the world, they delivered additional evidence of their talents on discs like 2013’s Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones and 2018’s Vale. But you already know all of this.
In late July 2020, to celebrate a decade, as well as to use the unplanned downtime to thank their fans, the band issued Re-Stitch These Wounds, a re-recorded and gently re-imagined version of the album that put them on the map.
An exciting time for the band, they recently put out their latest single “Scarlet Cross” and are preparing for the release of their 2021 concept album The Phantom Tomorrow. With plenty on the horizon, to celebrate the release Re-Stitch These Wounds, their jovial drummer, Christian “CC” Coma, sat down to discuss the past ten years, the re-recording of their debut, other famous musicians named CC, and more.
Cryptic Rock – Black Veil Brides is celebrating a decade of your debut album. So, to start off, what has the past 10 years taught you about yourself and music?
Christian “CC” Coma – Oh man! It’s really been a roller-coaster. Recording Re-Stitch These Wounds, and now with this show coming up, we’re playing all the old music and the word that just keeps coming back to mind is “nostalgia.” Working on these songs and recreating these things, you can’t help but remember certain times or experiences that all of us have gone through together. There’s been so many highs and lows of our career, especially my career—we’ve all matured a great deal, independently, throughout these ten years.
Now, going through this pandemic, all we have is time to kind of self-reflect and have some kind of internal, reflective thought process going on. I’ve definitely chilled out. I think I was kind of a wild party animal in the beginning about ten years ago, and that’s even more evident when I’m practicing these drums parts. I’m like, oh crap, these are really fast and pretty difficult to play! (Laughs) I guess I was a little spasmodic back then!
But yeah, I think I’ve just matured. I’ve learned a lot of different things. We’ve all flourished in our own ways independently. Me, personally, I’ve grown as a person and as a musician. It’s just been a really great process playing these songs and remembering all these funny experiences or interesting times we’ve had—or flights we’ve missed in Frankfurt airport going to Tokyo and what a crazy nightmare that was. (Laughs) It’s been a lot of fun to do this!
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) Obviously the band chose to re-record your debut album, We Stitch These Wounds. Re-recording an old effort has very mixed views: some see the past as something that should be left in the past, and others see it as a fun way to pay tribute to their beginnings. What was it that inspired the band to make this decision versus releasing new music?
Christian “CC” Coma – It initially started with Jake [Pitts]. All of us were not happy with the way the album was mixed: it was very kind of squashed and compressed; it didn’t have the full-bodied sonic sound that we were looking for. Obviously it was the band’s debut album. I, personally, was not on that album, so that was another big factor.
We were on tour and [Jake] was in his bunk remixing it, and saying, “Oh my god! I could make this sound so much better!” Him and Andy [Black] were bouncing ideas, and Andy was like, “Yeah, try some songs out.” Even with him remixing the songs, there was such a difference; it sounded so much better.
The idea kind of grew and grew and grew, and we had some downtime, we weren’t touring, and we thought, alright, let’s just re-track drums. We did that last year. We spent a couple of days in the studio and instead of just remastering it and remixing it, we wanted to give a whole re-record. Throughout the years, I would play drum parts differently, and even some of the songs were arranged a little bit different from how they were originally. It was a really fun process! We just redid the whole thing.
I do understand that a lot of people are kind of like, “Well, why would they just do the same thing again?” I think, for our die-hard fans, we’ve been fortunate enough to have a career for ten years and this is kind of a throwback. It’s been a lot of fun for us and it’s been well-received with the fans. We’ve got a ton of great, positive messages so far for everything we’ve released from this. But yeah, we just wanted to redo it and put it out as we felt it should have sounded in the beginning. I think fans will find that there’s enough similarities, it doesn’t deviate too much from the original, however, there are enough differences for it to stand on its own.
Cryptic Rock – What things from the original were important to preserve when you went into the studio?
Christian “CC” Coma – There were a lot of aspects we wanted the same, and some that we wanted to build upon. For instance, the song “The Mortician’s Daughter,” we are very blessed to have Jinxx in the band and he can orchestrate. He plays violin and cello, and he’s a musical mastermind. However, there are classics, such as “Perfect Weapon” and “Knives and Pens,” that we didn’t want to differentiate too much from the original. We stuck with a lot of the basic things; there might be little differences here and there.
For me, personally, my drum parts and drum fills were a little bit different here and there, but we didn’t want to completely change those. We didn’t want to come out with a completely different album and rethink every single song. Our intention was to make it sound incredible! You know, I wasn’t on the original recording, so I’ve been all over the place changing parts, but not, as I was saying, egregiously. We wanted it to have a lot of similarities yet be different enough to be interesting.
Cryptic Rock – You achieved that: it sounds like the original and yet it reflects how much the band has matured, musically.
Christian “CC” Coma – Yeah! Andy’s voice has improved dramatically, and I think a lot of us have grown as musicians and as people. I think you can kind of feel that!
I look at the comments and certain fans are like, “Wow! They’ve grown so much, I’m so proud of them!” And occasionally there will be that person that’s like, “They sound the same.” (Laughs) I guess it just depends on what you’re expecting to take from it. A lot of people are like, “Wow, this drum sound is so much bigger and fuller.” Everyone has their own critique and everyone takes something different from this, and it’s cool to see what everyone has to say about it.
Cryptic Rock – While you were recording, what kind of feelings were evoked, aside from nostalgia, and did any of the songs take on a whole new meaning for you?
Christian “CC” Coma – Yeah, they did. I remember playing really fast and making parts that were a bit challenging and fun to play. Going back and listening and playing these parts has just reminded me how much fun I can have playing my instrument. I try to keep myself grounded and not get jaded, and not be depressed because of the pandemic and having all of our touring being postponed. But it kind of made me fall in love again with my instrument, ‘cause we didn’t have a big-budget producer controlling us and we were doing it all in-house.
The vibe of the band has been so healthy and fun again, and it’s made me really enjoy the recording and creative process. Not that I ever thought of it as a chore or just a job, but I think sometimes… We used to be on a major label and when you’re on a major label and you have a big-budget producer, the producer goes in there looking for a byproduct or an expectation. There might be a lot of pressure on what you can and cannot do as a musician; sometimes you’re kind of constrained creatively in the studio. However, with this process, all of us were just buddies having a good time. It’s been such an easy process, and it’s been such fun. It made me fall in love with my career and my instrument again. That’s been a very healthy byproduct of this whole process.
Cryptic Rock – That’s wonderful! Now, as an outsider looking in, even after all of these years “Knives and Pens” still appears to be the song that defines BVB for many fans. What about that song do you think has lasted the test of time so well and continues to be so beloved?
Christian “CC” Coma – I don’t know. I was not in that music video, so that was actually the song that got me into the band. When I was first asked if I was interested in possibly joining the band, you Google it and that’s the first thing that pops up. So I think a lot of people would hear about us—either through magazine articles or word of mouth or Warped Tour or whatever—and they would Google the band and that would be the first thing that popped up.
I actually have a really funny story. One of my favorite restaurants—I probably shouldn’t be saying this because people will show up there—but it’s a restaurant in Beverly Hills. I go there all the time. I was telling one of the waitresses, oh yeah, I’m a musician. She goes, “Oh, what band are you in?” And I said I’m in a band called Black Veil Brides.
I guess word got to [the manager] and he comes over and he goes, “No shit! ‘Knives and Pens’, huh?” It blew my mind! A general manager in a suit working at a restaurant in Beverly Hills and he knew about “Knives and Pens.” The reach from that song has gone through the masses, and it’s just so funny that doctors, lawyers, managers of really high-end restaurants in Beverly Hills know about that song. It just blows me away!
It might be due to the fact that it’s just an incredible song or it could be the fact that it’s the first thing that pops up when you Google the band. I’m not quite sure, but I do think that that video was pretty revolutionary and had a moment of its own in the scene; it was a very defining video.
It’s always been a crowd favorite. It’s crazy, ‘cause you were saying about the fans and their age and our demographic—some of them get older, but we still have a very young demographic. I think it’s great! That just means that new people are still finding out about the band. After having a career for ten years that just proves our success that people are still just finding out about the band. It could be their older siblings that tell them about the band, I don’t know. Maybe they walk into Hot Topic and see our t-shirts on the shelves. I’m not exactly sure, but it’s kind of cool. There’s such a diverse demographic in our fanbase and I love it!
Cryptic Rock – It seems like there are a lot of fans in the, let’s say, 14-17 age bracket and they weren’t around when the band first started—they weren’t watching the “Knives and Pens” video when they were four or five. And yet, now they are fans and they’ve latched onto the first album instead of the most recent, which is kind of awesome that they went back like that.
Christian “CC” Coma – (Laughs) It’s really cool. We do get young fans at our shows. We had four-year-olds, and it was so adorable because they’d be decked out in the face makeup. Their parents would be there, and I’d be like, oh my god, you guys are our youngest fans! Then, on the flipside, we’d have people who are old enough to be our grandparents. You’d expect them to have children with them or something, and I’d be like are you here by yourself? They’d just be like, “yes,” and we’d be like, “Oh my god, that’s amazing!”
I remember, in particular, there was a woman and she was either 68 or 78. We expected her to have family there, but she just came by herself and wanted to see the band. She loved the band and she bought a VIP ticket, and wanted to meet us and take photos. I thought that was the most incredible thing that at the same VIP we could have somebody in their late 60s or late 70s, and also a four-year-old. Again, that just proves how dedicated our fanbase is and how vast our demographic is. It’s just absolutely incredible! To be on the other side of that and to see it, I’m very appreciative of that.
Cryptic Rock – That is really amazing to have such a diverse range of fans. Now to circle back to the album, when you were recording did you have a favorite song to work on, and what made that particular track special for you?
Christian “CC” Coma – I think the most difficult song to record was my favorite, it’s called “All Your Hate.” It’s very challenging in the drum parts. We were rehearsing it yesterday and even my drum tech—we just started working together, so I have a new drum tech and he never heard me play that song. Yesterday was the first time he heard me play and he was like, “Wow! That’s pretty crazy!” (Laughs) I was like I know, right? I’m huffing and puffing after the song. So I think that was my favorite one to record just because it’s challenging to play.
Being ten years older, just as a human, I think I can feel it a little bit playing these parts. As a challenge to myself, I gotta nail this song. And, again, the word that comes back is “nostalgia,” that was always my favorite song to play in our whole live set at that time, ten years ago. I’ve definitely changed a lot of the drum parts and just made it really fun for myself to perform live— and record for that matter. So I think that that was my favorite one.
Cryptic Rock – A favorite of many is definitely “Sweet Blasphemy” as well.
Christian “CC” Coma – Oh yeah! That is another favorite—I think it’s kind of a tie. There’s something about the melodies and the vocals, and the guitar parts and everything; I think that one is my favorite. But my favorite one to perform, just thinking about the drums, would be “All Your Hate.” But yeah, as a whole, that would probably be my favorite if I think about the vocal melodies and the way everything comes together as a birthday cake. You know, a little sugar and spice and everything nice. (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) Okay, this is an admittedly strange question, but whenever many hear the name CC, they think of CC DeVille of Poison. Have you ever met him and the band? Are you a fan of Poison?
Christian “CC” Coma – I love Poison! I don’t believe I’ve met CC DeVille. There was an experience I had one time when I was out partying, I was at home in Hollywood, and it was one of these crazy weekends. I was with a bunch of friends and we were partying, years and years and years ago. It was Sunday, so I was at the end of the whole party cycle of a few days of going to clubs, going to parties, going to mansions and doing all of that stereotypical stuff that I used to do.
We were at a bar-restaurant called Saddle Ranch and we thought it was CC DeVille, and we were like, “No way, that’s totally him!” The group of us went up and we were totally chatting with this guy—we thought it was him the whole time and it wasn’t even him. (Laughs) We ended up finding out it wasn’t even him, but we didn’t even care by the end of it because he was just such a rad dude. (Laughs) But no, I don’t recall ever meeting him or having an experience, but we’ve met a lot of look-alikes. (Laughs) If he’s anything like the guy we met at Saddle Ranch when we were having brunch and mimosas, I’m stoked. (Laughs)
I’d love to meet him and hang out one day. It’s just amazing the people you run into when you’re playing festivals or doing industry stuff; that’s one of my favorite byproducts. One of my favorite shows to play is Download, because you just never know who you’re going to run into. There was a time when I was walking around, years ago, with the makeup on. There was a guy and he was just like, “Oh my god, you guys look awesome.”
Then he turns around and he’s like, “You know what? You wanna have a beer together?” I was like sure, and it was the lead singer of a band called Puddle of Mudd—it was Wes [Scantlin]. I’ve heard so many horror stories about that guy, but I ended up bringing him in the dressing room, we had a beer, and we had a great conversation. And I was that guy’s awesome!
It’s so funny because it’s like the schoolyard thing where ‘I want to be friends with that guy,’ but then there’s the whole thing like success and rock stardom. You see these people on TV and listen to their songs and it’s just such a cool dynamic. On that same day I walked to the stage—I’m checking out my drums to make sure they’re ready to play—and I’m on my way back and this guy with this really cool looking mustache and long hair is like, “Hey man, can I take a picture with you?”
I was like, oh sure, buddy! And then I was like, wait, you look really familiar. I’m so sorry—who are you with? (Laughs) He was the lead singer of a band called The Darkness. I was just like, oh my god, I’ve been listening to you for years! I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you. (Laughs) He was just like, “No worries. We’re just coming off of an extended break.” And again, I had another incredible chat with that guy, and we would have never run into each other without a great show like Download.
I’m getting chills even thinking about it. (Laughs) Running into all of these people, sometimes your idols, that’s been my favorite thing: seeing some of my people that I idolized as a kid and getting to know them on a personal level; finding out that they are the coolest and most down-to-earth people ever is so refreshing. On the flipside, there are people you meet and you’re just like, oh god, I hope I never see that guy again. (Laughs) But that’s one of the most refreshing things, and I’m just rambling on about all my faux pas in the music industry. (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) When you meet someone whose music you love and whom you really respect, and they prove you right by being a wonderful person, that’s definitely a great experience to treasure. That said, let’s get to the last question. If you are a fan of Horror and Sci-Fi films, what are some of your favorites?
Christian “CC” Coma – I used to watch an incredible amount of Horror and Sci-Fi, I still watch some Sci-Fi movies. Anything that Blumhouse puts out—I don’t work for the company so this isn’t a promotion for them (Laughs)—but I genuinely enjoy their movies. So it’s like any time I see their production logo at the beginning of a film, I’m like, okay, I know I’m going to like this one.
Oh my god, there’s so many! In more recent years I’ve kind of stopped watching that stuff, because I was having tons of nightmares. (Laughs) I don’t know if it was anxiety or stress that was happening in my life, but I kind of removed everything that was scary and negative. But all of The Conjuring movies, that whole franchise, they have really stood out for me, more recently, as some of my favorites. I don’t know why, but those really stand out for me.
I’m kind of thinking of older movies now, and when The Ring (2002) came out, that one scared the absolute crap out of me. I loved it! I remember when the girl came out of the TV I was like “Oh my god, no way!” (Laughs) Freaking out. It was such an epic scene and, oh man, that one stands out as one of my favorites.
Going back to some of the classics, some of my favorite Horror movies when I was a kid would be the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Freddy Krueger, he would always scare me as a child, because he would get you in your sleep; he would get you in your nightmares and you have no control at that point. To me that was even more frightening than somebody chasing you down the street, because how do you fight the supernatural? A crazy murderer, you can try to fight him off or something; it’s a struggle of brawn at that point. But when somebody attacks you in your dreams, you can’t really touch them. It’s scary! That always really freaked me out, and still to this day Freddy Krueger is probably one of my favorite villains.