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The New Music Biz: Bands, Brands, Managers, & Tours

Lesson 11 of 13

Andy Biersack Interview

Kevin Lyman

The New Music Biz: Bands, Brands, Managers, & Tours

Kevin Lyman

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Lesson Info

11. Andy Biersack Interview


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3 Day of Show and Q&A Duration:20:26
5 Damon Atkinson Interview Duration:17:58
7 Kevin Lyman's Career Story Duration:24:33
8 Recording and Distribution Duration:10:21
9 Jake Round Interview Duration:43:54
10 Being an Entrepreneur Duration:30:10
11 Andy Biersack Interview Duration:45:16
12 Mike Kaminsky Interview Duration:24:26

Lesson Info

Andy Biersack Interview

Oh gosh you guys this is you know, like I said when they were asked me who to invite on this show it was kind of I think what I know a lot of people in this but there was one that was about who do you want to invite as an artist you know, to me in an artist there's lots of people get up and sing on stage and there's a lot of people who do things you know on stage but there's people who I think they're going to be around who are kind of visionary who understand where where really where they're at in their life and have a big picture perspective of what's going on and when I when I got to meet andy, it was it was it was a very interesting thing in andy if you don't mind me, I'm to tell this little just the story of how I kind of met you was you know, I didn't meet him first label and everyone was over saying this band blackmail brides they're going to be they're going to be huge and I get that all day long it's what this man's going to be huge fans going to be huge and they honestly show...

ed me like, you know, a photo of the band and they were wearing this when they were wearing all the makeup and everything and and and I was like you know, if they're going to be a huge they're going to have to be able to make it through a summer in the sun and that make up, you know, in my book and that was a band that was going to get out there and do what everyone else did listen to the music it was adequate I kind of liked it and so I put him on the whole warped tour, but every day I would watch him and watch that band like, if they were just going to melt in the sun like, you know, it was going to be like it was like a boot camp I think for for them and you know what? They were out there they played great shows they went right to their booth, they met every kid they shook their hands like we were talking about earlier they connected with their audience. You know, I met andy through that summer and this is someone that you know, I feel vested in is a person to that I think is going to be going to be great for kids in his message to kids is really inspiring and helpful. So let's welcome andy to the show so andy, I don't think you can see us, but we can see you I cannot see you but I can hear you yes and you know you hear me so welcome to the show, and thanks for being on it's been it's been a fun afternoon, and I know you're really busy right now now, yeah, we're you know, we're and I'm gonna make shift production office right now getting ready to leave for a tour, so but I'm really excited to do this, and I wish I could see you, but I guess I'll just have to listen well, we had a nice time eating lunch last week at the house and having a nice time talking, so we'll be seeing it, we'll be seeing each other, I'm sure down the road, so, you know, so, annie, your stories you need, you know, you grew up a lot like a lot of warp kids telling me that you're a little bit about your early background and getting turned on the music you were, you know, in ohio and kind of that kid that probably get picked on, just like a bunch of us did were growing up, I think it's it's only unique in some circumstance, but I think it's it's a pretty commonplace thing in terms of I'm a firm believer that rock stars or rock musicians or people that are developing the sort of pseudo celebrity in any way in terms of the genre of rock music, are not people who have been given some sort of amazing gift that have been crapped out of the sky but they're people who worked very hard and so to me I don't necessarily think of myself is having some special circumstance apart from the fact that I was born to my parents and I am the only one that is me but I was born in cincinnati, ohio um I was never an incredibly social kid I not say that I didn't enjoy being around other people I just didn't necessarily associate very well with people of my own age group on day didn't they did miss may suppose it a problem, so but I just I I always loved rock music for whatever reason I mean, I think like a lot of people I got into rock music through the interests of my parents my dad was really into kiss is well is really being into bands like stiff little fingers, so I had a lot of sort of the classic rock influence as well as the punk rock influence on dh so that was like my whole life uh the first time I'm sorry can you hear me way we could hear us perfect and ears you're saying it's so well I don't need to interject there you know what I do? I do have the visions of, you know, stiff little fingers and kiss playing in the house you know, I think that's probably why we like you stiff little fingers is one of my favorite bands of working those shows and everything so we can relate, but but, you know, that's he lived on an ipod on shuffle before ipods were even in existence, you know, home, you know, exactly. So I think that because of that sort of broad and again, it's important to note that a place like cincinnati, particularly this is pre sort of widespread internet. As a kid, I didn't have that we didn't have a computer with anything but dial up internet until I was after after I was out of high school. S o I didn't have the immediate connective ity with everyone, so I didn't understand the distinctions that other people felt from a band like the sweet as opposed to a band like the misfits I saw it is rock with a chorus, and it had feeling it wasn't until I actually went to a warped or that I had I got a chance to experience what it's like to be a punk rock show, because at that point, I had only seen bands that were fairly antiquated in a way you go to see kiss in. The late nineties, and you're seeing a kiss that's not moving on stage, but you're seeing a lot of explosions, you go to see rancid and dropkick murphys at the same era in their career and it's a much more immersive experience. So for me, warm tour was the first time that I got to feel like I was part of a community, because, again, is someone who was, in some ways, introverted. I felt that I didn't necessarily have ah, great deal of connective ity with the rest of my peers, a band like dropkick murphys singing songs that felt very community based watching, uh, discovering bans, discovering man's like groovy coolies, air phenomenon. So those kind of bands that were playing on egg crates when you walk around war tour, that felt like something that was important to me. And so, like many kids, I looked forward to just the very act of going to work for every year because it became, uh my was my bastion of hope. It was I know at one point during this summer, I'm gonna go down to for me was riverbend, I'm gonna go down the river bed, it's going to be the best day of my life, and you know what, you know, and I've heard this from a lot of people, you know? Was that the catalyst for you to start a band going toe warped tour that you want to become more of this or was it some other moment in time because you said I want to be in a band and inform this ban? I never had any other interests except to be on stage playing music, um and I played sports and in other things, but I never had my one goal from the time I could talk was that I was going to be the bandit, and this is, of course, a story that is, uh, very true many people that I meet in bands and music, some people find it later, but many people their whole life, that's what they want to dio, and we all know how annoying it can be when you say I want to be in the music industry, and then someone tells you, well, that's not how it works, what's your backup option bubble blocks. So for me, it was always know this is what I'm going to do, and you don't have to necessarily understand that. So goingto work tour was watching a bunch of people that in my mind, we're getting to do the only thing I wanted to do now at the time, like a lot of young kids, I didn't necessarily understand the hard work that they're put again and how the rock genre in many ways particularly for the last ten to fifteen years has been something where there isn't like you and I have talked about there is not a great deal of income coming in directly from the music but you confined alter alternate means of making a you know, at least financial gain in some capacity but when I was a kid it is only I wanted to be on the tour I wanted to be around those people and these people were doing exactly what I wanted to d'oh all right, so let's be let's fast forward you know you found the band you guys you know, everyone's kind of getting together we know that there was influences of kiss on your first band by that's the appearance is a little bit but you know, you know what you know a lot of people are asking what, like stand by like, you know, how did you get their attention? Because obviously it wasn't like they found you and said let's be a bit you you start doing something what did you do in cincinnati, ohio or sometimes it's kind of it's where a lot of band lobbying musicians come out asses it but it's kind of like void he place ohio you know it's going to be politically confused maybe that's what why so much good music comes out of there because everyone's just like confused about really who they are because you're democrat republican use north south kind of vibe going on, you know, I think it's, you know, I think in some ways you've hit on something. There it is, it is the a lot of people like, you know, people that I bring to cincinnati for the first time, or people that have never been to the area. I try to explain how in some ways it is the most desolate major city there, the money is all gone everyone's kind of mad there's a feeling of anger all the time. It's not detroit, by any means, but it's certainly like it's it's, a very strange environment. You have the people that are on one side of the river, people on the other side of the river. Um, I always just say that I'm from the north kentucky cincinnati area because all my band's growing up were all located on the other side of the river, because for some reason, on the cincinnati side, there was never much music, um, early sending I could associate with s o I think it is in some ways the beauty of being in a place where things are kind of desolate and angsty, and the innate feeling is always one of kind of frustration or anger that leads people to some artistic interest and then leads other people down to you know losing their their interest or their dreams or what have you on dso that's obviously that the double edge sword but with me I started playing in line bands when I was about fifteen I started the name of the band black feel brides when I was sixteen or seventeen I mean black veil brian's as it were played in my high school battle of the bands a version of it it was me and that some people that I could pull together to play music it was very hard to keep a band together at that age because that go with them playing in the high school with administrators look atyou that way I think it was one of the well here's what I did and then this is something that I was very ultra aware of the fact that if the public opinion is on your side you can hopefully get away with doing something that maybe wouldn't be necessarily conventionally popular. So my thought was I need to make it look to people who are the administrators on this that this is a positive thing that everyone's enjoying themselves. So what if people like more than free t shirts? So I developed I learned how to screen print and I made screens with emotion and I screen print I went to a place called steven berries which sold old oversized and weird colored t shirts flags and I got like malvo and green and brown t shirts is that my friends it blackmail brides on and like a weird kind of thought and I gave them out to everybody and so the idea was that when people walked into this battle the vans it would look like this is a really great thing everybody's enjoying it everybody loves his fan in reality they were just wearing these free t shirts that I gave them because again everyone loves a free t shirt but it got kind of got me to skate along for well, needless to say we did not win but you know came in close for a band that was playing uh you know, guns and roses and alkaline trio cover is in high school balaban so this isn't just listening to you and that's why I find really fun to talk to annie because you you come one if you don't make it in the music business, you could always go into the branding world you know you've got a business, they're doing brad ad campaigns but to you come off, you know, very are chicken and sound like a ceo of a company almost like, you know what you know it did to the band guy that andy you speak very articulate about what black veil brides is that's one thing that impresses me, you know what blackmail brides is and you and your and you work on black veil brides I think I mean anything that you do, um, whether it is, you know, a job that you are god has nothing to do with the entertainment industry and certainly in music or or any type of entertainment media, you have to be aware of what it is they're doing. I am aware that my band is not the same as another band that maybe I'm friends with, and I think a lot of times, the difficulty that particularly younger orders faces that they want to associate immediately with their friends or what they think is cool and whatever else it's very hard to find your own sense of self or your own sense of accomplishment in a world where magazines and everywhere else, that they're the outlets that we haven't rock music or putting you together and saying that your man is this in your band. Is this and these people, you know, the certain fan group all like this type of music, finding self awareness and knowing what it is that you're doing is really the only way that you continuously revamp and re energize and renew what you're doing with every new record cycle in every new tour. Also just in excitement for what you're doing I know that myself and the other members of my band are all very excited about doing what we're doing we have fun with it and if you're not enjoying what you're doing that it's probably not the right field to go into I know a lot of bad guys who complain about having teo you know, do an interview we're having to get up early to eat we should be so lucky you know you should never be elected to be pleasant president and then complain about having to wear a tie if you're lucky enough to get what you want you should pay attention to it and study it and live it yeah, which leads to you know your first release came out where it was and I think it was two thousand nine on standby how you stand by if I find you so I was again they're certainly tow any success there is luck involved on dh certain time and circumstance I was able to meet a guy named patrick fogarty I was at the time dating a girl who was in films and I was basically because I was, you know, poor band guy I was living off of her dollar and holding her person kind of that you know, the beginning that movie sarah marshall where the guys just holding all the stuff that was kind of much help and you know, if nothing else we had it we had a tumultuous relationship, but if nothing else you know she was letting me live off her diamond I thank you for that, but one of the things that gave me the opportunity to do was by virtue of me standing around all the time while she was filming or doing photo shoots a river up I could meet people and just talk to them cause I had nothing else to dio I was developing in my own mind my band working on my band writing songs and then during the day I'd go and visit, you know, do whatever she was doing on her job and I happen to run across this gentleman on one of these sets who was also very bored his job was to film behind the scenes content for a dvd release of the film and so he had not a lot to do and I had nothing to do and so we would just start to talk and at one point he said to me, well, you have a band right? And the reality there is that I did have a band, but the band consisted of me and a bunch of songs that I had worked on it written back in kentucky in cincinnati and no actual members of my band but of course and it stopped right there that this is what it comes down to that confidence cockiness that I like to say is good in business like he had nothing to lose so of course he had a band a band look that I'm trying to you know today and you've been talking a lot about that moment like give you had nothing to lose you're not really just think that's why you have a band just just in case he wants hopefully doesn't ask me to play form tomorrow but they had a ready to go that is the thing if he did has to play then I would have to figure it out so what happened was I say yes of course I have a band there's a full band when you know you says well I direct music videos so if you ever want to do a video when you get back and you have a budget let me know so we go our separate ways and we were at the time in georgia and uh what by the time we get back to l a like a week or two has passed that I get a call from him saying and then I have to have some free time if we can wrangle together even a small budget and you guys are ready to go let's shoot a video I know you sent some of some of those songs that you've been working on at the time I had maybe three or four songs a few that I had written with a friend back in kentucky who couldn't come with me out to l a's with situation where I only had this kind of material and um I was like yeah let's do it so then as I'm getting off the phone I realized that I've committed to making a music video with no band and no budget on this guy now assumes that I have all these things so I call him back real quick and I go look uh if you trust made here I promise to you and again this is I don't know why he believed this but I think I'm seventeen time I say if if you uh book may if we can get together budget I don't necessarily have to pay a lot out of pocket I'll pull whatever money I can together but I promise you that in a few years you will be making big major label videos with big budgets and we'll have a movie together all this couple I'm promising him all this stuff all a lie of course I'm just you know, pulling those discos into complete fine line between like just bullshitting exactly I willing to admit at that point I was not I was certainly pulling out of my ass so to speak so I for whatever reason I think maybe he liked my hubris so he agrees to it and then I have the arduous task of pulling together a band. So I remember that I had met someone from dayton, ohio, a couple weeks ago at a party who said he kind of played guitar, called him up a man. Do you want to be in a music video and pretend to be in the band? Sure sent moving song, learn it. Oh, is this when you have to start thinking about, is everyone gonna wear make up against you have to change people later? Yes. Well, if I thought was that since the makeup existed that I could just and anyone could look like anything and you just dressed them up. I mean, at one point we had people who were in their late fifties under drummer. The first tremor in my band was my dad's drummer from, uh, theeighties who's in a band called white lies, and he was names frank schmidt, and he was fifty five years old, and I was fourteen. It's a make up kind of brought down a jdam a little bit. Yes. So, anyway, so the thought was that I could, uh develop a band in that way. So I called up this girl that I knew who was a drummer. I say, do you want to be the drummer of the man I met? This guy named I think his name is alan and I said, do you want to play bass in this video? And the night before we actually shot the video, alan, sadly, his dog died, and he flew back to san antonio, where he was from, and he was never in the video. So if you watch the video for the song knives and pens, there is on ly, guitar player and me and a drummer, there is no bass player in the video, and that wasn't a creative statement that was just because I couldn't get the guy to stay long enough to shoot the video, I guess you know, and so that want a developing this pseudo band, the reason I told us, and that video of someone I think, you know, it was one hundred million views of that video or something. Yeah, that will have the reason I tell that story is that the reason that standby or anyone found us was by virtue of that video going online and becoming viral and becoming so big, really, I, oh, so much of my career in my life to, um the belief that pat had in me and now you know, and what's cool is that last year, patent I we did make a movie for our record that was shown in theaters. He's done every video that blacktop brides has ever done since then wait, just shot two videos last week, big budget videos. So I mean, it's, it was it's kind of cool to be able to repay that and that's what? I mean, just, you know, we talk about loyalty and people that help us along in our business, you know, and that's where, you know, I think I'm seeing with andy and you know that threat we've talked about today, it's like someone stepped out for you. And now it's, like things are going well for you and you bring your your team, you're working with this team and you bring them along with you, there's nothing wrong with that. You guys, you know, I'm sure you get approached all the time and probably had influence is coming at you sometimes going use this guy to shoot your video, use this person, this person as a concept. How often does that happen? And you had to say, no, this is the guy who got me here. Well, we I mean, like anybody, we were put in a position where when we made our first video for universal for our first record first major label record were put in a position where we were kind of told, well know, this is how we do it. There's, this director nothing against the director, but we wanted doing a video that I don't like very much. And so we literally the next, I think, was the next week after it came out, I called a patent said, you know, let's, get back on this let's, make the videos that we can do better in that song, actually, which is so called legacy that he directed. That was the one that became the one that actually hinted radio and did well for the record as opposed to single that the label initially thought. And I think that in some ways nothing against label. But that was something that taught me a lesson, which is, uh, you know, the people that you develop these relationships with, like you just said, kevin, are the people that have your back the most. They're gonna give you the best we have the same manager that I've had since I was seventeen and he's not with a big management company we you know, until very recently we had an independent booking agent we've had the same tour manager for the last half a decade we like to keep people that do good for us in our camp and to be able to reward them with you know, the bigger the band gets to be able to pay them or to be ableto give them experiences and, um we really are all about that and I think sometimes you know, and it's this new business model teo you know and he is you know, I keep going back to ceo of your of the black veil brides brand and you've got a mission to it and people are more you know, they have to listen to what he wants because he's intelligent about the business, you know, no during the eighties balaban think I just partied in the rage and the labels and nineties and they just they just the labels they just followed along like kind of sheep and did whatever they were told I mean, I know that and he said, you know, some of the discussions we've had some things people have asked me, you know, sometimes you don't agree with people you're pretty focused on what you want to do with blackmail brides over the next course especially you know every you you plot and think everything through, I think so I think it's the only way to be certain that what you do in your life has any positive effect I mean, I think that I told you this a million times I don't look at it pessimistically, but I know that in anything the bottom could drop out any day and if you are not paying attention it's going to be a lot more likely that that's gonna happen and you talk about theeighties there's so many famous quotes in the eighties of people like you know, kipling or these other people who were saying things like, I'm going to be famous and important forever and you know, this time the greatest um those people do live on through their music and a lot of people still enjoy their music, but to me my life is I want to have every accomplishment I possibly can and to be aware hyper aware of what's happening not only with the inner personal relationships in the van but also the business and because there anything congressional for something that's successful or something that's popular by public opinion is often it's trickle it can leave you, but if you know what you're doing and you know what your band in your brand and everything else surrounding that is, you could make that last people give jerry only a lot of guff because he markets and merchandise is so much with the misfits brand jerry will never really have to work a a day of work in office, whatever else for the rest of his life. And he was in a punk band that the output of records that they put out has only been what, like eight or not records in total in the last nearly forty years. That's pretty impressive, he's always been hyper aware of people around. You are aware of what the branding is. I look up to things like that I look up to people who care so much, not necessarily in a all I must sell out of whatever else way, but in an artistic way that you care so much about your brand andan interject there because I know I don't know there's politics. But when when? When andy got to sing with the misfits at the a p awards at first, there was a little bit of from the mistress who's is andy guy almost, you know, it was like, you know, and there was some little, you know, there's things go on back behind, you don't see everything that goes but there's a little bit and everyone knew it was going to be awesome knowing that you loved the misfits and you grew up with the misfits it was just, you know, there is this gonna work they don't know if it's gonna work for their brand, you know? And it happened and rumor has it you get you and him are up to, like, four in the morning, plotting your lives together, you know, like writing on napkins. I didn't get to go because war after we had a jump in buses and go, mayhem was going, but we left a couple people stayed in cleveland overnight, and it sounds like you and that's what I heard, I don't you may contribute, but it's, like, four in the morning, you guys were writing lyrics together on napkins or sometimes, really, I'm very fortunate, tio have matt jerry through, you know, everything that happened with the a three awards, and, um, I'm very fortunate to say that he wants me to be further involved within the world of the misfits. So that's that's great. Hopefully, that could be something that comes to fruition. Yeah, you know, so it's. Interesting. Sometimes, you know, but then you get the artist together, and then all of a sudden it's, like, then it's cool, because and he's going to control that and you know it would be like sorry I can't hear I'm going to go and pay out the misfits to do with you know the next video but you know so you know any you know touring you know we're talking about it you seemed you know, pretty stable life right now you're you're doing nothing but you're also like you're getting ready for this big cycle coming up around an album you're also doing other things now you've got businesses you're involved in you know juliette on then and jewelry and what do you believe that diversifying into other interest is important as an artist while they're still doing what they're doing or you just having fun with that? I think I think that it's a delicate line that you walk right because you look at the climate of every band member has a t shirt wide kind of thing and people will make fun of it but the kind of goes back against what I was saying earlier which is that there isn't a whole lot of money being made from the music that has made you know me and you makes you take six months eight months to make a record and it's released and there isn't a lot of money that's coming back to the arctic so you have to find an alternate way of making a living within the context of your career I feel that if you're doing something that is genuinely interesting to you, regardless of whether it is a marketing ploy or whatever else, you're doing it because you enjoy it, it's it's impossible to be disingenuous. That might not always be the perception of the consumer or the person you're seeing you do it. But if you were doing something that you really like or something that you really enjoy, I don't see it as a problem. I think that with never taken off stuff, I believe in the company, I believe in the cause with the exhibit, a art gallery that I'm involved in. I believe in the artists that are involved in, and I believe, most importantly, in the person who put it together, anything that I involved myself, it has to be something that I truly love. Uh, and for me, I have not yet crossed that line where I feel like I'm being, uh, a corn unquote sellout, but I think it's important and something that I want to say is that every artist that I know always has the opportunity to sell out court quote every single day, I think sometimes people, uh, think that there's one, you know, dramatic fork in the road, and you decide to either sell out or not. But every day that a company is offering you x amount of money to wrap your thing in this or to wear this wristband whatever every day that you had to choose to do or not do it is a incremental level of quote unquote selling out because you have to survive every day that a band sells a t shirt that doesn't play a song you're not just in it for the music anymore you're doing something that's a merchandising thing s o I think as long as what you're doing is fun for you and enjoyable for you and you can defend it in that manner that it's fine by me, what we're gonna do and he is you know, I could sit here and ask questions for you, but I mean, you know, we have talked we talked for about three hours the other day and stuff, but I feel like almost a guest on the anti show because when you said you were going to come on here, people start paying attention to kevin lambert's live so a key of ah host when he does this is you've got you know, you bring some people in, but you know what, brian? Was it he's, very intelligent human being on dh and I'd like surrounding myself with people that inspire me and kind of make my mind thinking different ways and andy being where he's at his career has been great so I know there's lots of questions okay, so we're going to ask questions you know we're not going you know what questions based on this is an educational process, you know? And I'm sure if you what on the business side? So if you have some questions for andy let's, ask him some questions from madison on dh many others have asked the same question you talked a little bit about getting started early on and a lot of people are saying I live in a small town I live in the middle of nowhere how am I supposed to get my start? Can you talk a little bit about some of the challenges that did come with starting somewhere that's, not l a or new york and then how you overcame them to find her success it's very hard to tow answer that without getting, um are very dance without any business way or a factual way without becoming in some ways hyperbolic. I mean, I think that the idea that you have to say believe in yourself and you have to say, um don't listen to them and kind of defeat the outward demons or the drudgery of life because I truly believe those things but it's very hard for me to break it down in terms of steps there is no one way in my estimation to become successful, um I do however think that a nate belief that what you're doing is right and what you're doing is is right for you and justifiable for you obviously the bounds of the law I'm not saying I'm not advocating people go do horrible things to people because they feel it's right? I'm saying that in the context of what you want to do for your career or something that you love and it's a passion of yours um the biggest step is really to believe in it so much that you're willing to work on it at least mentally all day every day now that's not something that is said by a lot of people because to be fair, most people say you should probably do your school work and you should do these other things. I I personally believe that if you're going to become successful anything, you have to be thinking about it constantly and you have to think about how you can be better at it then you previously been and how you can improve upon what currently exists and how you could take the things that are out there what's missing and you could become something that special or different um and the reason for why you're doing it so my biggest advice is to constantly be considering how you can be the best version of what you want to be and it's that negativity to of that, I always hear a lot like what people aren't small towns we have are seen as negative, you know, there's a negative, get rid of the negative and your scene don't pay attention to find the positive people, and you're seeing that want to move it forward and ignore the negative because of you ignore the negative it goes away and kevin, you know this so often if you are positive and what you're doing, you might not find the positive people they may come to you of what you're doing is great, and they're excited about it. You will be surrounded by this people on example, is the fact that you and I have even met in the first place or I'm involved in this growing up, I obviously was not connected to people who are so positive and made so many opportunities for bands, but by my pushing for my career was able to get to the point where I could meet people such as yourself and so many other people. Okay, questions great one from memory here. Have you ever encountered fakes or people who you believe will help you and then rip you off? How advice on do you have any advice on how to tell if it's really something that especially as your success froze more people come to you with offers with different with requests how do you decide between the people that are worthy of your time or not worthy but you know who are someone that you want to be involved with versus the people that you don't it's very hard to say because I think that in some ways I don't know of any bands or any artist who have not been burned in some regard in their career by someone who is promising something that they couldn't deliver or was ripping them off directly I feel like I've learned a great deal about the business because of my negative experiences that I have had I've been fortunate that I haven't had a myriad of naked experience but I've had certainly my share of them I think that the most important thing is that you was a person my mom always says that people tell you who they are the first time you meet them and so I feel like if you listen to that as opposed to denying who they are and saying no, I think this is gonna work out that you're ten you'll be able tio maybe drive the ship a little bit more more directly as opposed to kind of going off on tangents with people who may screw up your career for lack of a better term and do your research that's one good thing about the internet you can do your research on people you can find out if they've diver with especially the music scene, we see it that usually when you're getting it, you're not they're not burning the first people person when they're trying to burn you, right? Yeah, yeah, many questions from anyone here in the room love taking against questions. All right? I'm going to keep going for people online, then, uh, we've got somebody they're getting tired in the room and he we've had him sixty nine o'clock in the morning, so our audience in the room here is I think they've been processing a lot all day, so we're gonna go back to the internet when you went to california to really get the band started where you wanted to be. What do you think was the biggest challenge in finding others that shared your vision, or at least agreed with it? And then you talk about how you tried to execute your vision while agreeing with the rest of your band again, this is speaking specifically from a business side when you're looking at what tours to go on, what gigs to take, how do you how do you deal with those agreements and disagreements when I first on I always I always say that the strangest thing about being in a band is that for anyone, can you imagine spending every single day and working concurrently with people that you met randomly on the first day of school, when you were fifteen years old, you know what I mean? Like, with no reason for why you should be around them, other than the fact that you all happen to have to go there for, to get the education that you required, or the state law, whatever else you don't necessarily know why you like each other, or whether you dislike each other, you just have to be there. The strange things about bands is that sometimes a band is formed based and predicated on the on the idea that that guy, also as a guitar anywhere's, a led zeppelin shirt and that's enough to get together and start playing music. Because it's, so hard to find someone who maybe has a similar law interest or a similar feeling about music, it doesn't mean that you're necessarily going to get a get along with them. I like to say that our band is a collection of puzzle pieces, with all that all have the same image printed on them, but they do not fit together initially and it's over time and through the sheer force of will that you put them together and you make them fit because you have to work together for so long, and now. Five years, six years in we are the best of friends. We all understand each other's ideas and we all understand why we are these this way or we can respect each other's idiosyncrasies in terms of personality traits. As far as finding a band of people, I could not have been more lucky when it came to coming to los angeles, I moved out here with very a small amount of money. I lived in my car for the first year that I was here, I, you know, bounced around on girls couches, I slept in rehearsal studios, I did not have the opportunity to fail. I needed to meet a bunch of people I needed to meet musicians because I needed to form a band because I was going to start without it. So I happened to meet a bunch of people. Once they came out here, they were absolutely excellent. I did not have that look where I was from. The people doing that where I was from, who were playing music with me ultimately have spent their entire life trying to claim that I ripped them all for stole things, whatever else, ironically, they've never been able to produce another song or record or write a single thing ever since that, but at the time, apparently I was stealing all their ideas, but I was very fortunate to meet wonderful people when I came out to los angeles and so my kind of quote unquote fairy tale began there and something tells me he didn't have to sleep on the couch if he didn't want him no no just joking and you know I'm just saying people love and lots of love sorry oh that's all right tons of love coming in here uh anybody in the room again because you stick your hand up and I will watch for you way had another one here that was great obviously a band lives and dies on the music it actually puts out so how do you decide what songs to record in which wants to put on the art put in the archives what's your process for deciding what is what are you going to put out in the world? Well, I would ask what anyone's processes determining what they put out in the world for anything if something sucks and you don't like it that much you probably focus lisa like that's a very good point. So and he was you know, how do you mean? You know, you know blasco you know, how did you guys hear what was on the manager? Just you know, you know, you say you've been with him for a cz long, you know, when you know like, you know, when you when you you know how did he become your man? A lot of kids won't know how do I become a manager having how did how did he become your manager? Were you hunting for one or is it naturally you ran into him and thought it was time way first had a manager in in l a it was the first manager that we had and this is back when we were playing shows at the time the only place that would book us and I told you this kevin was tony alva skate shop on fairfax which is now part of the gallery and everything else we would play in the back parking lot of the skate shop illegally of course and then we could shut down by the cops but we would have show is regularly back there and there was I think our backdrop with people loons in like a half pipe and so we would play shows back there and we started getting interest from people and people started showing up there would be two hundred three hundred people in this parking lot for us to toe watch this play on and so by virtue of of that interest on obviously coupled with the fact that there was online attention um you know from the video and everything else for knives and pence I started getting people toe kind of pay attention so we had this manager and I won't say his name but he kind of messed around with the idea of being our manager for a little bit, and it would never show up to anything. He would never really answer anything, and then eventually I got a call one day just saying that, uh, you know, I'm sorry to say this to you, I just don't see a future for the band. I don't think that there's that there's anything I can necessarily manage with blackmail brides, I don't think it's going to be anything, but, you know, I wish you the best of luck. I hope that you can get it together. I hope you have a good career and, you know, I've got these other bands, all of whom have fallen by the wayside right now, but I've got these other band side to focus on uh, and so, you know, the best of luck, I got the phone, and naturally I did not agree with him. So which is that? A moment? And I think that's something you probably and it is an intra preneurs that you go back to that drives you to success. I once had someone told me that the warped tour, your opinions, I was the guy who started might come, your opinions don't matter, and the warped tour won't amount to s okay and you know what it's not I don't hold it against I almost look it is that that mentoring moment like that that he sparked that in me and it drove me in many ways and I bet that manager telling you that I don't see black bill brides becoming much was that next catalyst in for the next level probably absolutely there and there's I mean that's that's not an isolated incident obviously it's been well documented that my band is very divisive in terms of ah you know public opinion and you know I think in england they call us the marmite test band meeting with some people of it and some people absolutely hated polarization was what punk rock was about and you know and that's the cool thing I like about you you've got the most passionate passionate fans and then you know something's going pay forty bucks come flip you off let me take you further ones you like way for those like you you know it's there's a very strong passion towards there so this man is so how how did you end up you know with this so that gave us a situation where at the time we had gotten a booking agent at the time and he uh you know I was like oh we need to have a manderson now we had through the the development of not having a manager we've got the book engaging in an attorney um attorney tina loophole to was uh, at the time she was representing motley crue she still represents elements molly grew she does steven tyler's actual steven tyler's personal manager and so many others she kind of took a risk on us. She said that I reminded her of the the star power that share head so that's, why you're hanging out with she talking motley crue's steven tyler because share like shit walks in the room, there's a certain magnetism absolutely so on and then obviously ashley in my bass player at known I think six is based tech and nicky's based tech was like, oh, I love this fan and introduce us to dina on dso we had dina so now we have a lawyer in place and have a booking agent in place and they're like, we got to find your manager, so start meeting with different managers and people who don't just know people just don't get it. Um, I would walk into meetings with people and they would be saying things such as, you know, we really we all I see you is the next my chemical romance rescues this and nothing against any of those bands, and I and I love a lot of those bands that were listed when we were in our early days, but I didn't want someone that was so quick to say, I want you to be the next something I wanted someone who was interested in building this and seeing wherever this was going to go because I knew in my head that I wasn't always going to be wearing two inch heels and giant make up and lipstick and have thirty foot hair. I knew that that was an evolutionary process, and we wanted to grow and change with every record. So for someone to say, oh, you're the golf band or you're the band at the time, twilight was a big deal. Oh, you like the vampire band. They just didn't get it. I happen to get a new email from, uh, last go saying, hey, man, I would really be interested in meeting with you. I just started a management company, a time's managing a few bands, casualties and a few others, nothing like us. Um and so I said, I would love to come to your office where is it? Of course, it was all the way out in calabasas or something, and I'm living in hollywood with the crappiest of cars so I go out there and I tried to drive it I'm on ventura boulevard and my engine I was driving an eighty eight cadillac eldorado at the time and my engine actually caught fire so I had a flaming car that I'm now pushing and I finally arrived I pushed it with my then girlfriend of the time we get it just around the corner and then walk the rest of the way put out the fire call triple a have them take care of the car then I go to the meeting I'm covered in soot and I go up to him and I say, look man, I'm so sorry but uh I hope we can still have this meeting I've covered and so I'm sorry about this is like, well, you know that that's not anything that doesn't happen every port musician like it's not a big deal and then we sat down and had a lunch and it was just we connected immediately. Um I don't really have anyone in my life that apart from my direct family I'm so close with that immediately understood it so quickly blasco richard villa, patrick fogarty there's these two people who have always worked with us that to me immediately understood what we wanted to dio and was interested in and developing whatever this was I'm very fortunate that belasco he teaches me so much and uh you're very lucky we'll have to talk about that over barbecue terms, we have the same common, but that's how my first date with fran has been my wife now for almost twenty three years was on. I was going to see her and someone totaled my car really back to the car and I stayed managed to get there how to show it, but I showed up at her doorstep, like covered in sweaty. It was one hundred ford. You know, I've been working at the fair all day, so we'll talk about that. I'll tell you that story when we were together. So one here from amy rogers, this kind of talks a little bit about what you talked about earlier about selling out and all that, she says black bill brides successfully built an extremely loyal fan base the baby, the army. Did you have a marketing strategy for building your fan base, or did it evolve organically through social media? And how do you approach that kind of the marketing and the social side of the business of, like, bret I think that it's there's a very, very distinct split in terms of the two reasons why those happened one being look, you don't you know it's in some ways it's like some people will say, oh, you have a very dedicated fanbase how did you do that? And I go you don't ask the guy how he won the lottery he just happened to win the lottery, you know, in some ways I'm very lucky to have achieved that dedicated fan base by virtue of them enjoying our music or being dedicated to the elements of the band. The other part is that the members of our band connect very much with our audience there's five of us who's, different personalities very easily reflect different elements of how the fans feel about us. There are different parts of the music and the message and we tried very hard to give an inclusive, important feeling toe what we do on so people come to see black o'brien show and that's what we always terminology is church in mass and those kind of things we wanted to feel like it is a cathartic experience where they are safe, thie elements of the band with the artistic and where we've always had very kind of over the top visuals and we've always put a lot of detail at all of the records and obviously doing concept records and those kind of things we want to give people an immersive experience, so I think it's really a combination of a genuine connection on a philosophical and personal level with the great deal of our audience and then also a lot of luck in the sense that they've helped us I've been fortunate to say that our fans have helped spread the word about the ban and help other people find the band by again by virtue of them being so dedicated and passionate all right and maybe just one final there are a lot of people who are sharing the love for you and thank you saying thank you for being here do you have any kind of final just go forth and conquer message for the people out there who are inspired by what you've done by how successful you are and would love to kind of have that on that on success in their own lives to have any final thoughts absolutely it goes back to what I first said there is nothing about me that is any more special than any of you I just happened to work very hard to develop something that I feel that I'm I'm confident will be my life um I I don't think that I necessarily buy into the idea that some people are just innately gifted more than other people I think that some people might be given something that is beautiful and wonderful and they don't necessarily work towards having it but they have it in some capacity obviously things like looks or a natural beautiful singing voice that's great I don't I don't have the natural, beautiful singing voice. I was a chubby kid, it was told to do the truffle shuffle growing up, I was never the guy who was just sort of the wonderful, like, you know, golden god, everybody said was going to be famous and great, so I don't necessarily buy into that. I think that hard work trumps everything if you're willing to put in seven days a week of true love and dedication is something, regardless of what it is, I believe that you will succeed. Uh, and again, I am not something that was dropped down from on high I'm just a regular guy from cincinnati who works constantly to try to have a career and do something that the fans can really enjoy and that most importantly, I can enjoy. All right, so with that andy, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule and I hope to see you down the road sometime I will see you down the road sometime, but be safe travels. Thank you so much. Anything way really smart got super smart, that's why I thought you guys would like them here e talking today you will have, you know, it's, like someone looks like I don't really have time but will take time said the house. We don't have a meeting at the officer comes over. We hook because it's cool to listen to him and his vision for what he's doing. And I could be a small part of that sometimes it's cool.

Class Description

You can have a career in music – in The New Music Biz: Bands, Brands, Managers, & Tours, Kevin Lyman will show you how.

If you want to make a name for yourself and make an impact in the music industry – you have options. Kevin is the founder of the Vans Warped Tour, Rockstar Mayhem Fest and the catalyst behind an impressive range of successful projects and artists. In this class he’ll introduce you to your (many, many) options for building a career in the modern music industry. Kevin will talk to musicians about getting on festival tours and about operations jobs for people who are looking to get in on the business side. You’ll learn how to build and maintain a professional brand that will open doors for you and help connect you to the right people and expanding your opportunities in a constantly changing environment.

If you are serious about setting yourself up for a lifetime career in music you’ll want to watch this course. Kevin will set you on track for developing and sustaining a career that lasts.

Special Guests include:

  • Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides)
  • Mike Kaminsky (Manager of the Summer Set and 3OH!3)
  • Jake Round (Pure Noise Records)



Beyond one of the greatest, if not the greatest, music biz courses I've ever taken. So thorough, with great speakers, and included such rich information. I truly appreciated and valued all that was said and all the hard work put into it. It was by far a class that's still worth talking about! - Tori Otamas

Janice Jacobs

I loved this class, as it showed different careers in the music industry, which was so eye opening. It helps as a musician too, so you get a basic understanding of how promoting, touring, and distribution works, especially if you're doing it yourself. Very well spoken, and well laid out, I loved it

a Creativelive Student

AMAZING! I teach a rock band class for an option at my school and this covers a lot of what I wanted to do. I particularly like the PDF showing what job in the industry would be best for you. Great site, overall.