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An interview with Bleeding Through vocalist Brandan Schieppati

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Tuesday, March 7, 2006 @ 9:13 AM

At the Avalon, Hollywood, CA

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Southern California has been known for its smog, beautiful beaches, bikini-clad baby thangs in thongs, 3 ft. tall bongs, bad-ass chronic-hydroponic weed (no stems, no seeds, that you don’t need), drive-by shootings, movie stars, anorexia, cutters, Disneyland, The LBC, The CPT, Hollywood, Motley Crue, The Osbournes, and as of late, a few heavy music bands.

Down in the Orange County area, some notable acts have that been making a great deal of good noise are Eighteen Visions, Avenged Sevenfold, and Atreyu. Another is Bleeding Through, currently out on a headlining tour pushing the band’s new release, The Truth. While receiving several accolades from magazines like Revolver, Metal Hammer, Metal Edge and Kerrang -- not to mention fan action from MTV2 “Headbangers Ball: The Tour”-- Bleeding Through is more visible (and audible) than ever.

Will the music continue do the talking, or is Bleeding Through just a sextet of new press darlings from “The OC?”

Brandan Schieppati spent a few minutes with me in the BT tour bus to talk about his, and his band’s, humble beginnings prior to the sold-out show at the Avalon, Hollywood, CA.

KNAC.COM: Nice bus. You’re going in style.

SCHIEPPATI: From now on we got to do this, because in vans you have to worry about so much shit.

KNAC.COM: So, this tour -- Bleeding Through’s headlining tour-- starts officially tonight?

SCHIEPPATI: Well, technically it starts tonight, but we had to play a make-up show in Reno on Saturday, but this is going to go for six weeks. I think it’s like, forty-three shows. Not many days off, but we’re looking forward to it. When the new record came out we had some other things that were up in the air that we had to cut off, like the In Flames tour, but we just decided to headline and to put together a good package, and see what we’re made out of right now. We’re really looking forward to it, and, if anything, we want to see if this could be a sign of things to come for the band. If this tour goes well then we can kind of relax about the future. But, when you headline it’s always stressful. It puts so much tension on you and the band, because if it doesn’t go well then you wonder what to do then, and what the next game plan is. But, I think we’ll be alright.

KNAC.COM: Right now you’re riding on your new release, The Truth –are you doing any spots on Headbangers Ball?

SCHIEPPATI: Yeah, we did a spot on Headbangers Ball about three weeks ago, the day after the record came out. We were on there to push the new record, push this new tour, and sort of get our name out there. Were doing a fair amount of press –we’ve got a few covers on magazines, which is crazy. A lot of Internet interviews, which I’ve never realized that so many people read.

KNAC.COM: Hey, I read a good article on you and Bleeding Through in the Los Angeles Times about a week ago.

SCHIEPPATI: That was cool. They came to my house.

KNAC.COM: Where do you live?

SCHIEPPATI: I live in Corona Del Mar.

KNAC.COM: But you grew up pretty much in the Newport Beach area, right?

SCHIEPPATI: Yeah, Newport Beach/Costa Mesa area.

KNAC.COM: Did you do any surfing?

SCHIEPPATI: Yeah, of course.

KNAC.COM: Are you still surfing?

SCHIEPPATI: Sometimes. Our bass player surfs a lot more than I do, but I still know how, and get out there and see what I got.

KNAC.COM: It was big news when the van accident happened in Utah. Are you superstitious at all about traveling these days?

SCHIEPPATI: Well, yeah, it’s a big thing why we have a bus now. I mean, we trust each other driving, but accidents do happen, especially a lot of accidents that happen because the driver falls asleep. And that’s just something if it happened to us that would be devastating. That’s why we’re constantly on a bus now, because we just don’t want to worry about it.

KNAC.COM: So you got a hired hand to drive that has their shit together.

SCHIEPPATI: It’s a sort of thing that I’d rather have someone else who makes a living out of driving a bus do this.

KNAC.COM: The photography on the insleeve of your album is amazing, man. Who did the design?

SCHIEPPATI: It’s insane, right? Asterik Studios in Seattle. They’ve done stuff like Norma Jean and stuff here and there. They had this idea –and I had this idea as well –doing, like a black and white, kind of stark-looking layout, and then they had this idea of the parts of our bodies being ripped off and stuff like that. They really did a good job. I can’t even see how they did it, but the fact that they pulled it off is pretty intense.

KNAC.COM: One of the tracks on The Truth, “Line in the Sand” –that’s your ballad.

SCHIEPPATI: Yeah, I guess (laughs).

KNAC.COM: Are you going to be doing that as part of your set list?

SCHIEPPATI: Of course. What’s the point of recording the song if you don’t play it? We’re thinking like maybe we should give it some time to, like ...really sink in to kids, and have them get familiar with the material –and maybe that song will maybe not do as well now or do really well in a year or so, but we want to put it out there and show the kids that we can actually play the song. That’s something we’re really looking forward to doing.

KNAC.COM: In Bleeding Through I can hear your punk roots …

SCHIEPPATI: I think it all comes from …we all listen to such different types of music. We kind of stay away from the whole metalcore/metal hardcore genre. What I listen to now –it has an influence, but not directly to what we’re doing, you know?

KNAC.COM: What are you listening to now?

SCHIEPPATI: Right now I’m listening to newer bands, like a band called The Decembrists, a band called Copeland, the Arcade Fire…indie-type rock stuff, I guess. But then I listen to older stuff, like old Entombed, and old Slayer, and old Metallica and stuff like that. I rarely listen to modern-ish metal or hardcore bands. Killswitch Engage is a band I listen to –other than that, man, I listen to the bands on this tour. I picked all the bands on this tour because they’re great bands. But it’s weird; all of us listen to different things. I listen to Morrissey and Johnny Cash, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, too.

KNAC.COM: In the Bleeding Through DVD [WOLVES among SHEEP] you talk about a little pain growing up, like your parents divorce, and having had to go from home to home –that kind of thing. Do you draw a lot of your lyrics from that?

SCHIEPPATI: I don’t think that I really pull from that, but I do pull from things, where, maybe that broke me down a little bit where I couldn’t deal with other things that happened in my life. So, maybe it is kind of what I sing about –maybe just being broke down from that. But, mainly just from breakups and stuff like that, and relationship problems, which is always funny, because I’m sure people are kind of sick of hearing about that shit, here and there.

KNAC.COM: You’re not too into the happy, jolly stuff?

SCHIEPPATI: Well, I do like some of the stuff, but for me –when I sit down and write about something I know –that’s what I know about. I know about relationships and what not. I know about not having certain things. I sing about alienation that I felt from that and insecurities that I felt. That’s what I sing about. Johnny Cash sang a certain way because that’s how he sang …you know, I write lyrics this way just because I know how to write lyrics this way.

KNAC.COM: Coming from the “have nots”, as you call it –what’s it like now … to have a little something?

SCHIEPPATI: It’s nice. It’s rewarding, and at the end of the day you can kick back and think that all this work that we’ve done has paid off. Even if we came from a place where we didn’t have anything, it made us work a little bit harder. I think it did … it made us work tremendously harder. I think it makes you appreciate it more –doesn’t allow you to take things for granted. It’s more rewarding now that we have a little bit (laughs).

KNAC.COM: You guys definitely remember where you came from, right?

SCHIEPPATI: Oh definitely. We know, and we know the fact that we’re happy that it’s been like an uphill climb instead of just being at the top somewhere. But we all know that it’s not going to be like this forever, like we’re going to get to a certain point that we might fall off a little bit where were playing second or fourth on the bill. Maybe we’re opening for Haste the Day one day. It could happen. That’s just the nature of the beast, and we know this. So we’re going to be as nice to these bands as we possibly can, and just be real people –we’re not going to pull the whole attitude --because we’ve heard of a lot of bands that have the attitude and then all of a sudden they’re off the map.

KNAC.COM: What do you think of bands like Lamb of God?

SCHIEPPATI: I love Lamb of God. I love that band, man. They put it out there, and they’re just uncompromising in what they do. They have the same kind of mentality we do, where, they take it one day at a time. They’re really fortunate to be where they are right now and they know it. Not like, “Oh, we should be here”, they’re fortunate for all the breaks they’ve been given, all the tours they’ve been given –it’s a good thing to model yourself after a band like that, a band that’s having a lot of success and still maintains being really level-headed.

KNAC.COM: From a band member standpoint: what can you say about Marta, your keyboardist?

SCHIEPPATI: She’s cool, I mean, she hangs with the boys. She just wants to be treated like one of the boys, but, of course, a female in the whole metal thing, like Cristina [Scabbia] from Lacuna Coil, or anybody like that –they’ll get vibed a lot. There are pluses and minuses. For two or three people that like it – there’s one person who’s the naysayer of the whole issue. But it’s cool, we just consider her one of the boys. We like the aesthetic of how it looks onstage …we just like everything with it. That’s why we went from one girl keyboard player to another one. We felt like we established ourselves with five guys and one girl, and we didn’t want to lose that aesthetic.

KNAC.COM: Marta said that you were the guy who is very positive in a band that’s pessimistic.

SCHIEPPATI: Yeah, we generally try to draw as much to the positive as we possibly can. I’ve been a victim of this in the past year and a half, where I think I was so tense and so stressed about everything that I didn’t enjoy anything –I was so negative. It’s better just to try to be as positive as you possibly can, you know? Take everyday as, “Fuck, we’re playing the Avalon right now and it’s sold out.” That’s great. Now, tomorrow, we go to San Francisco and if the show’s not sold out, at least LA was sold out.

KNAC.COM: When you play down in your home turf at Chain Reaction, you pack the house no matter what, huh?

SCHIEPPATI: Yeah, on tours we usually play House of Blues shows, those are normally sold out. But, we keep on doing Chain Reaction to do small crowds, because we feel like a lot of kids in Orange County want to see us play shows like that, and we owe so much to that club and those kids, so we still do those shows. I’ll be honest …it’s kind of uncomfortable sometimes to play the shows there, and we’re so used to having space and room to move and amazing sound, but it’s awesome playing there.

KNAC.COM: Bands like Eighteen Visions and Throwdown –are you guys pretty tight?

SCHIEPPATI: Yeah. Most of the members of Eighteen Visions are here tonight. They still come out to our shows and we still go to theirs. We all kind of helped each other get where we are now. All the bands in Orange County are really cool with each other, like Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu and Thrice. All those bands are really friendly with each other, so there’s a really good vibe and core element to it.

Click on the thumbnail shots for large pictures.

Photos by Charlie Steffens, aka Gnarly Charlie

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