Fearless Vampire Killers sound like a bad B-movie and look like they haven’t washed for weeks. But, as Simon Rushworth discovers, there's more to British metal’s new kids on the block than meets the eye.
THEY’RE Kerrang! cover stars, draw their fan base from behind the bedroom doors of disaffected teenage girls and weren’t even born when Kiss first took off their make-up and unmasked.
However, Fearless Vampire Killers aren’t lazily attempting to reinvent the wheel as rock’s answer to One Direction. There’s significant substance to complement the style. Grizzled cynics will find much to admire in this band with a plan.
Self-financed debut album Militia Of The Lost doesn’t deal in adolescent romance and tales of alcohol-fuelled partying – it’s a cerebral yet accessible concept record focusing on the fantasy world of Grandomina.
The story took seed in the head of flamboyant frontman Laurence Beveridge and has already spawned Fearless Vampire Killers’ critically acclaimed album, a complementary novel and soon-to-be-released comic book. And that’s just the start.
“One day I was just sitting at work and I thought there’s all this noise going on in my head and I need to get it out,” says Beveridge, whose band burst onto the scene last year before sealing the opening slot on this month’s Kerrang! tour across Britain. “I had this whole alternative universe that I was obsessed with and I thought it might be best if I write it down so that the band understood what was going on.”
They did but by then the floodgates had opened.
Waves of creativity flowed from Beveridge’s pen in the weeks and months to come and keeping pace with this artistic powerhouse is a full-time job.
“I didn’t intend to write books because I thought people would just think it was some kind of vanity project,” he adds.
“But I got 200 years into the story and said to the rest of the guys that I’d send them a document with the first few years in there.
“At the same time our manager wanted us to get out there a bit more and reckoned we needed something as a selling point – and how many bands simply release music?
“He suggested I write a novella to complement what we were doing with the band. I agreed but just went on a little bit longer than we intended! I was trying to squeeze a whole lifetime into one book but it gave us something to use alongside the first EP.”
In Grandominia was released in 2010 and featured five tracks including the live favourite Fearless Vampire Killers. Supporting 334-page novel Ruple & Evelyn was made available at the same time but instant success was far from assured.
“A year ago the music scene already had us down as has-beens,” adds Beveridge. “We were seen as a band desperately clinging to the emo scene (or whatever that was) and trying to be My Chemical Romance. Of course that wasn’t us at all.
“But for a time we were worried people wouldn’t take the band seriously. Suddenly James McMahon at Kerrang! saw something that other people didn’t and felt we deserved to get some attention. He was right. We do play music that’s better than other people play!”
Now the biggest challenge facing Fearless Vampire Killers is attaining the widespread acclaim their artistic talent surely deserves.
It’s a task not lost on the fiercely ambitious Beveridge.
“Look at the Beatles,” he says, setting the bar typically high. “People wrote them off as teeny boppers causing a fuss without any substance at all. Mainly it was girls who liked them at first and that didn’t help their credibility.
“Now people talk about the Beatles as the greatest band the world has ever seen.
“People might want us to have nice hair cuts and talk about football but that’s not FVK. It was a big struggle to justify our image for years. Now we know what we’re doing is right.
“People tell us every night that the approach we’re taking is the right one.
“They might be teenagers but they still have a valid opinion.
“If other people continue to judge us on how we look alone then fair enough. But I don’t really want them listening to our music anyway!”
Fearless Vampire Killers play Newcastle O2 Academy tomorrow night as part of the Kerrang! tour headlined by Black Veil Brides.