ASHLEY PURDY – Former BLACK VEIL BRIDES Bassist Talks Solo Career – “I Want To Be Genreless”

November 20, 2020, 2 months ago

By Aaron Small

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ASHLEY PURDY – Former BLACK VEIL BRIDES Bassist Talks Solo Career – “I Want To Be Genreless”

Unsubstantiated yet very serious allegations made online against a rock star by supposed fans. What Ashley Purdy, who used to play bass for Black Veil Brides, went through earlier this year sounds like the plot of a crime drama television show or movie, but this is reality. “Exactly dude. I went to the point of going after these people because I feel like it almost needed to set a precedent, cause I’ve seen it happen to other individuals before myself – not just celebrities or entertainers – and they didn’t have the resources, or tools to figure out how to locate people,” explains Purdy.

“These days, it’s not just misinformation, it’s disinformation,” continues Ashley. “It’s completely fabricated false information that people believe online, no matter what they say about you. Then people take it as fact, and you can’t defend yourself, because there’s nothing to defend yourself against when it’s not true or real. You’re basically guilty until proven innocent. So, I had to go to the extent of attorneys filing defamation suits, hiring private investigators, it was like combatting ghosts. It’s a weird world we’re living in generally, and this whole cancel culture in general, where if people just disagree with you, or they don’t like your opinion, then they want to disregard you or cancel you; that’s not right.”

The accusations came from a female fan, alleging sexual assault. “Correct, but I don’t even know how much I can speak on it because it was settled. The same thing how Black Veil was… we reached a settlement, and you move on with your life, you don’t discuss it. That’s sort of how that defamation suit was as well. Then in today’s culture, you have bandwagon people go on to champion the victim; that’s just the wrong way to do it. Not everyone’s a victim. A lot of people play victim, and a lot of people are liars. Obviously, we know that by making up fake (online) profiles and pretending to be people they aren’t.”

Ashley had previously stated, “Someone with such mental illness posing as multiple people and communicating with herself via these multiple profiles is just mind blowing.” That in of itself raises questions. Was this a criminal or civil trial? Secondly, was this female judged mentally fit to stand trial? “That case in point is my own assertion via Facebook, letting people know this is what I dealt with. And these are different people, from the defamation suit to this anonymous person. But we found out that she had multiple accounts, even admitted to it online. There’s like an acknowledgement factor to it as well where they want to be recognized. So, whenever they would post stuff, they would screen-cap it and post it again from another one to verify it. In the beginning, I never once acknowledged these people because that’s what they wanted. That’s why I didn’t speak about any of this publicly; I just dealt with it privately. I didn’t want to give any acknowledgement to these individuals, but these ones crossed the line legally to defamation; then I can go after them. So, I did that. I never said their names publicly, I got a lawyer, did my due diligence, and went after it that way.”

Unfortunately, Purdy was unable to recoup his legal costs. “I’m out of pocket significantly. They don’t have any money, none of them do. But you have to defend yourself. I have to protect my name, my brand, my reputation. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I couldn’t just walk away, and then when you Google my name, I’m labelled a rapist – because that’s what it went to. The initial person didn’t even use those words. She insinuated that she had a bad time with me; or was mistreated. Then the internet trolls turned it into, I’m a rapist and a pedophile, shit like that. That’s not even what was said, it’s not true. It’s just crazy out there!”

Also bewildering is the fact that this was never about financial extortion. “No, it wasn’t. I think the main thing about it was the attention factor,” surmises Ashley. “Because when all this stuff happened, they went straight to my fanbase, anybody I worked with. They tried to discredit me, saying I’m a horrible human. They wanted the attention. They never went to the authorities, not once. I did! After I started being harassed at my home, they located my addresses, registered vehicles I had, any court documents I ever had they were posting online. The critical thing, when these people are talking about being bullied or harassed, they’re doing it to me! It’s a complete hypocritical thing, standing there calling themselves victim; I’m the one going through this, asshole. It was the attention. They never tried to sue me in a monetary way because something happened or went wrong, because it didn’t. We eventually settled the case because when it got to the point of discovery, when you’ve got to have evidence… that’s how it stopped.”

Now that the legal proceedings are complete and situated in the rear-view mirror, the time has come to focus on new music and the road ahead, which has Ashley excited. “Right, and that’s the whole thing man. Life imitates art, and I’m a firm believer that everything does happen for a reason, you just don’t know why. No matter how horrific or tragic it is, but something like this that I had to go through, I don’t think I would have released music, or be going in the direction I am, if these things didn’t happen.”

Digging into Ashley’s new five-song EP, Nashvillain, the title is a play on words regarding the residents of Purdy’s hometown Nashville, known as Nashvillians. An adorable photograph of a very young Ashley Purdy adorns the cover, yet there’s a dark side to this little boy; he’s a Nashvillain. “I wasn’t even in kindergarten when that was taken, so I’ve got to be three or four. I have all my photo albums from when I was a kid and I was going through them fairly recently, and I found that picture. Me living in Nashville now, I had to use it somehow. I didn’t have any music written yet, but that photo is perfect. I have the country western garb on with the cocked cowboy hat, and the peace sign too. You’re right, it’s a play on words, but it’s also so fitting with everything that’s been going on with me since I’ve lived here, being in the news and headlines more than I anticipated. It’s so funny cause Nashville literally is the home of country outlaws. I’ll own it and create a country outlaw record, why not?”

Prior to Nashville, Ashley “lived in Los Angeles for like, 18 years of my life. I grew up in Missouri – super rural, very country, in the middle of America. When I was 18, I had California dreams man. I didn’t move to Nashville until… I’m going on three years now. It’s literally music city! I don’t know if a lot of people understand, but there’s so much live music here, more than anywhere I’ve ever experienced. On Broadway, there’s three and four storey bars, shoulder to shoulder, and they’re all playing live music on each floor at the same time, it’s amazing! It’s been good living here, ‘cause it’s made me more creative than I was in LA. When you’re in LA, you’re just creative when you’re in a project. Even when I was in Black Veil, I didn’t really work on anything until we needed to work on it. Here, I’m constantly being productive, and always working with someone on something.”

Nashvillain is a digital-only release, it’s not available on CD. “CDs seem so archaic. I did a survey online before I even worked on this – where do you listen to music, and who listens to CDs anymore? Hardly anyone was listening to CDs, people are listening to vinyl now instead. So, I’m pressing a limited amount of vinyl now, which makes more sense for a Nashville country outlaw rock thing anyhow. I’ll hand sign them and have them for release, maybe into Christmas. But right now, it’s just digital.”

Comprised of three originals and two covers, Nashvillain begins with “Don’t Think Twice”, which is definitely a country song. will Black Veil Brides fans like this, or is that not a concern? “First, I did it for myself. The entire record’s for myself, it was fun to do living here. I wanted to do something that wasn’t reminiscent of my previous band. Doing something for ten years in the same genre, it gets old for someone who – I’m more than a musician, I’m an artist as well. I want to be creative and I want to do extra stuff. At the beginning of the year, I started releasing music that lent more alternative; it didn’t sound like Black Veil either. I was sitting on that music for a while and being kind of bored. I just want to do something fun, completely different. Let me do some outlaw country. Then, to my surprise, people are enjoying it, including my fans. They just enjoy whatever I do. It still leans rock, more like Southern rock. My main obligation as a solo artist, I want to be genreless. Just create music, I don’t give a fuck what category it needs to be put in. I’m just going to create music I want to do, that’s the main objective really. In September, I released a single where I redid Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Zero’. It was their 25th anniversary of Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness; I love that record, and that song is killer! I beefed it up, made it a little heavier. I recently saw The Pumpkins at The Forum in LA while I was recording my solo stuff, the record that’s finished that isn’t out. That’s what re-inspired me, I love their sound. It helped me find my way more into the synth-based rock when I was doing my solo stuff.”

Returning to Nashvillain, the second song is called “Outlaw Man”, and Ashley has the word Outlaw tattooed across his abs, making it rather appropriate. Lyrically, it’s an attention getter with the line, “Some men call me Abel, some men call me Cain.” “That’s how I approached basically that entire record. Lyrically, it’s all thematic. I chose those songs in particular because of the lyrics. All the lyrical content is on purpose. I just love that chorus – ‘Woman don’t try to love me, don’t try to understand, life on the road is the life of an outlaw man.’ That sums it up right there. I’ve always shown myself as not being monogamous, living my rock and roll lifestyle, having fun and partying. It’s kind of like they’re trying to villainize me and dude, I’ve already explained and shown you who I am.”

“Won’t Take Me Alive” echoes a similar sentiment. “Those lyrics are written completely in that same thing. In the verse it says, ‘I’m always feeling like I’m vilified, love ‘em and leave ‘em, not my crime.’ You won’t take me alive. I’m going to keep fighting and be resilient. I feel like that song is very much like ‘Out Ta Get Me’ from Guns N’ Roses, that kind of vibe. Appetite For Destruction is my number one album of all time.”

“Long Haired Country Boy” – is this Ashley’s new identity? “Well I am a long-haired country boy. But that’s a Charlie Daniels cover. He just passed (in July 2020 at age 83), and he’s from Nashville. I had to redo that. So many people were redoing ‘Devil Went Down To Georgia’, cause that’s the only song (of his) that they know. It was his most popular song; it was on the radio. ‘Long Haired Country Boy’ is bad ass, that’s a rock and roll song! It suits me, especially the lyrics. The chorus line is, ‘If you don’t like the way I’m living, leave this long-haired country boy alone.’ It all fits with the shit I was dealing with the past year.”

“Turn The Page”, originally done by Bob Seger in 1973, also fits because Ashley is turning the page to a fresh, new start to both his life and musical career. However, that choice of cover is surprising because Metallica covered it in 1998 and their version still gets extensive radio play, on both FM and Satellite. “I think it’s the relatability. But it’s so long ago, my fans don’t even know what that is. I had to make it fresh and new to my audience at least. Maybe this one will get some legs to it too, it’s a great song. A lot of my fans are teenagers going into their 20s, just finishing school, setting out on their own. I’ve seen a lot of people say that ‘Turn The Page’ is one of their favorites cause they can relate to it as the next chapter in their lives.”

Ashley played bass in Black Veil Brides, but he’s only singing lead vocal on Nashvillain. His band is rounded out by Aaron Sparling on guitar, Martin Motnik on bass, Scott Metko on drums, Andrew Lambie on guitar and mandolin, as well as Ryan Snyder on guitar. “I had to write and produce it all, so I’m literally sitting behind the engineer and guiding the ship. Martin is the bass player in Accept, the metalheads will like that. He lives here (in Nashville), they’ve got a new album (Too Mean To Die) coming out early next year.”

Although the misuse of social media wreaked havoc on Purdy’s life earlier this year, it’s a necessity these days when it comes to marketing music. “I’ve always been cautious about what I do (online). I have a marketing degree as well. I’ve never really put my personal life out there, and I still don’t. I guess that’s a misconception a lot of people have, my persona that I put out there is just being an entertainer, and that’s how I’ve always used my social platform. And people twist it. Today’s society, they don’t love the rock stars we loved in the ‘80s; that behavior is frowned upon now. I don’t know how bands like Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses would exist today. I love my rock and roll dangerous and full of rebellion, unapologetic and fun. I don’t know why these sensitive people get super offended, come on man. It’s rock and roll, I’m not a politician or preacher.”

(Photos courtesy of Jason Herring)

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