Matthew Lickona 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10
Pierce the Veil
Sound description: Aggressive metallic punk somewhere between Kiss and Green Day.
RIYL: Atreyu, My American Heart, Pennywise, NOFX, Circa Survive, Sleeping with Sirens, the Amity Affliction, Chiodos, You Me At Six.
Breaking NewsA new tour documentary, This is a Wasteland, features concert footage shot this year on tour and scenes filmed in their San Diego practice studio.
Upcoming Local Shows
- Blurt: "Mexi-Core" · Sept. 7, 2011
- Jam Session: "Fearless Signs Pierce the Veil" · Aug. 23, 2011
- Blurt: "Fueled by Testosterone" · Aug. 4, 2010
- Blurt: "No Kids Who Like Punk?" · Oct. 11, 2007
Influences: My American Heart, Underminded, Lower Definition, the Blackout, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Pennywise, NOFX, Thrice
Pierce the Veil was founded by singer/guitarist/songwriter Vic Fuentes and his drummer brother Mike, both former Mission Bay High School students who previously played with Early Times and Before Today.
Early Times had a cult song, “5.9,” written in reference to Natural Ice beer: “I hit up the bar every day/ Before I go to Mission Bay/ Every weekend and every night/ I’m drinkin’ 5.9.”
“My brother Mike and I had that band out of high school,” says Vic Fuentes. “That’s the band we signed to Equal Vision Records.” Early Times specialized in double- and triple-time melodic punk and mosh-pit power blasts fueled by boy testosterone. They grew a little cult following, mostly of surfers and skaters. They played backyard keggers and such and over time they improvised “5.9,” a song that made reference to the alcohol content of Natural Ice beer. “Natty Ice,” he says, “was my high school beer.”
After signing with Equal Vision, the band changed their name from Early Times to Before Today and released A Celebration of an Ending in 2004. They broke up, and the Fuentes brothers started Pierce the Veil.
“It wasn’t like we had a hit on the radio and blew up overnight. It took years. What happened was [Pierce the Veil] started building a fan base in San Diego and [Equal Vision] flew out to see a hometown show. We got signed that night. From that point, life turned upside-down.”
Pierce the Veil's debut album Flair for the Dramatic -- recorded in Seattle and in the studio that their parents had built for them in their home near Mission Bay -- came out in summer 2007, during which the band took part in that year's Warped tour. The addition of Tony Perry and Jaime Preciado made Pierce the Veil complete.
In September 2007, the group finished their third U.S. tour opening for Chiodos, the Michigan band who at the time had the #1 record on Billboard's Top Rock Album and Top Alternative Album charts. They next embarked on a two-week tour of Europe set up for them by the Agency Group Ltd., the L.A. booking company that handles the White Stripes, Nickelback, and 500 other nationally recognized artists.
The group embarked on a national tour and another Warped Tour in 2008, wrapping up in San Diego at the end of November. Shortly after that, it was announced they'd be on the 2009 Taste of Chaos tour, where they frequently rocked but bewildered many with their cover of Michael Jackson's "Beat It."
The band claimed that Fall Out Boy copied them for their own cover of "Beat It."
Isles & Glaciers was a shortlived 2008 supergroup featuring Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil, along with members of Chiodos, Emarosa, Cinematic Sunrise, The Receiving End of Sirens, and Underminded.
In June 2010, their album Selfish Machines debuted at number one on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart. They toured that summer again with the Warped Tour, as the proggy metal band’s album racked up over 700,000 downloads. “It’s basically a mix of heavy music with a little Spanish feel.”
PTV has sold out main-room shows at Soma San Diego (Switchfoot and As I Lay Dying are the only locals that have bigger SOMA draws). PTV's success would seem to be an example of how wide the chasm is between what appeals to the local teen crowd and the music tastes of SD's over-21 crowd.
"I think a lot of bands in our genre are content knowing they aren't necessarily radio bands," says Vic. “Kids find out about you on the Internet or MySpace. Bands don't even have their own website, they use MySpace...we don't get approached a lot by over-21 clubs.”
In late 2010, the band booked an Australian tour, supporting Attack Attack, running from November 11 to December 20, and then a tour of Japan with Confide, Bury Tomorrow, Crossfaith, and Lost. Following that, Silverstein tapped Pierce The Veil to support them on their headline tour.
Summer 2011 found the band signed to Fearless Records, a California-based alt-rock label. “Just like we do with our fans,” says Vic, “we never take anyone's support for granted, so thanks to everyone at the label. We are excited and grateful to be part of the family.”
The band began work on a new full-length while touring through the end of 2011. “We got a bus and set up a studio in the back lounge,” says Fuentes, “and that’s where we cut demos while we’re looking around for a producer.”
Around the same time, Fuentes contributed the Bruno Mars tune “Just the Way You Are” to the Punk Goes Pop 4 collection. A 5-week tour with Miss May I, Letlive, Woe Is Me, and the Amity Affliction wrapped up December 16, 2011, in Portland, Oregon.
In early 2012, a new performance video for their Bruno Mars cover “Just The Way You Are” (from volume four of the Punk Goes Pop compilation series) was made available online.
Their third full-length Collide with the Sky was released in July 2012, their first release on Fearless Records, as their previous two albums were released on Equal Vision Records. The album entered the U.S. Billboard 200 at number 12, selling over 27,000 copies in its first debut week. Guest singers include Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens on “King for a Day,” as well as Jason Butler of Letlive and Lindsey Stamey of Oh No Fiasco.
The record marks a step in the maturation of Fuentes as a lyric writer. “I’ve been dealing a lot with people that are close to me over the last year.” An example? “I have an ex girlfriend who is going through treatments for breast cancer. I wrote ‘Match Into Water’ for her.”
Fuentes says the bulk of the record was created on the road and was recorded over three long weeks in New Jersey with producers Dan Korneff and Kato Khandwala. “But we did demo some of the new material in Mission Bay.” The Fuentes brothers’ parents built a recording studio in the family home years ago.
“I spent a month or two at home, writing lyrics there as well. When I’m writing, I separate from everyone. Even my band. I push myself, and I’m alone with my thoughts. Separating from friends and comforts and family lets you think a lot deeper about subject matter. Working alone drives me a little crazy,” he says, "but it makes the writing as honest as possible.”
They spent August 2012 playing the Vans Warped Tour, and September on their first headlining UK tour. Their next video, for “King For a Day” (from their full-length Collide with the Sky), featured Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens.
In early 2013, they played the Slam Dunk Festival in the UK (May 25 - 27), alongside All Time Low, Deaf Havana, Four Year Strong, Wonder Years, Memphis May Fire, Sleeping With Sirens, and Polar Bear Club.
In summer 2013, the British music magazine Kerrang! awarded the band Best Video for “King For a Day” at the annual Kerrang! Awards ceremony. They then toured North America with A Day To Remember and All Time Low, kicking off September 11 in Broomfield, CO at 1st Bank Center and concluding October 24 in Orlando, FL at the UCF Arena.
All Time Low released a music video for their track “A Love Like War” in Autumn 2013, featuring Vic Fuentes guest starring with the band.