I recently had the opportunity to chat with Michael Vampire after his show in Charlotte, NC. Vampires Everywhere, originally formed in 2009, recently made a resurgence after disbanding in 2016. You can currently find them on tour with Alesana and Palisades.
MSM: So, tell me about your background. Where did your interest in music come from, and was it something that you always knew you wanted to pursue?
Michael Vampire: No. I was very heavily into ice hockey for a large part of my life, and I brought that to a pretty high level. I started listening to punk music when I was 13, so that kind of intertwined with the hockey. We’d open up stuff and kinda be part of the sport a little bit. Hockey players tend to lean towards rock, and one of the guys on my team was a guitar player that was really young during the time, and he took me to go to see Korn, and I was like, oh, my god. I was hooked. I went down a spiraling path, learning how to play bass. I’ve been in the music industry for about 20 years and played bass for about eight years, something like that. And then I was tired of all the crazy singers out there, so I became one. Yeah. I went through a dark time when I was transitioning from hockey to this. When you leave something you love, it’s like leaving an old girlfriend or boyfriend. You don’t really want to see them anymore, or think about them. So I started listening to a lot of darker music, a lot more metal, especially Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, that type of stuff. And it sparked into something that I wanted to do mixed with the punk. So I lived in the Warped Tour world, and I meshed it together, and that’s how this band was made.
MSM: And I love The Lost Boys reference. My mom played it all the time when I was growing up. So, is there anyone that has kind of guided your journey as an artist or helped you in your music journey, and what did you learn from them?
MV: Yes, Tim Skold, actually, from Marilyn Manson. We came very close for a number of years. He taught me a lot about how to keep the mystique, not give away your secrets, don’t get a day job *laughs*, you know, keeping the whole rock star thing alive. And it’s kept me in this industry a long time. I got a lot of information from him. That’s about it. I learned a lot myself.
MSM: When fans recommend Vampires Everywhere to someone else, what song would you hope they would choose, like to introduce you?
MV: It has to be “Immortal Love”, mainly because it caused so much controversy at the time, and I don’t think it describes our band at all. But they need to hear that first in order to understand where it all came from.
MSM: The journey.
MSM: So, you’ve done a lot of tours. You’ve been on some festivals as well. Some pretty big festivals, actually. Do you have a favorite so far, or is that too hard to pick?
MV: No, I do, it’s always the same one. Its Warped Tour 2012. We all were coming up on the Monster Stage…Sleeping With Sirens, Motionless In White, The Ghost Inside…we were all there together. And then we got the call that morning that we were opening. And so, I expected people to be there. You’re opening, whatever, but then it was 20-30,000 people. There’s videos of it. It always blows my mind watching it. They ripped off my shirt and took it into the crowd.
MV: I didn’t want that to happen, mind you. It’s just something that always sticks in my mind. I always try to recreate that moment.
MSM: Yeah. So this might go back to what advice you’ve been given, but what do you attribute most to your success?
MV: Consistency. Determination. I would say it’s the normal stuff, but it’s also a bit of insanity. You can’t do this otherwise. And by normal, I mean have any sense. You live in a really weird alternative reality and it has to be positive. Not your actions, but your mindset. What I’m doing is right, even if there’s a slight hedge that you’re doing it wrong, you have to continue on. And I think that’s the hardest thing is to convince yourself that what you’re doing is the right move. If I wouldn’t change my band over a million times when I got these crazy offers, it would have been a bigger spot than where I am now, but it’s a trials and tribulations thing.
MSM: What else are you passionate about besides music?
MV: Wow, passionate…I don’t have anything else. I feel like if you do, then you’re not wholeheartedly into it. I like watching movies and stuff, but…
MSM: But it’s not what drives you.
MSM: Yeah, I get that. So the big question, what prompted the return? Which there’s a lot of bands that did it. I mean, did it have something to do with COVID? Because I know a lot of bands came back after that.
MV: It didn’t. Dead Girls Academy, at the time when we were on Victory, we were pretty consistent. We were touring during COVID, we were recording during COVID. I don’t think we stopped, but we came to a period where Victory was not giving more money, more opportunities to grow. They did a great job. I’m never going to put down Tony and Victor. I know a lot of people do, but he put a lot of money and time and effort and heart into it, and I still talk to them to this day. But it came to a point where there are finance guys like, look where it is right now, and with the pandemic and everything going on, we can’t keep doing radio. Is anyone listening to the radio right now? And Dead Girls was a radio band. So I asked my lawyer at the time, I was like, look, is there anything I can do to release music right now? And he’s like, do you have any side project or anything like that? And so I was like, Vampires Everywhere. Why not? I’ve been thinking about bringing it back for a while anyway. This was a perfect opportunity to like seize the moment.
MSM: Did you miss it?
MV: Always. I’ve always missed it. It was hard. It was a hard transition for me. Very hard, changing where I was. But I’m back, and I think it was the right move. I was pushed by a couple of people very close to me to do it, and the response was instant, whereas Dead Girls Academy was very hard to break it…but you have a brand name that’s been around for a long time… “I’ll come see you because I remember that song.” I know Alesana, everyone is feeling nostalgia right now, and we’re just blown away. We’re just like, holy crap. Because this would have never happened to three years ago. We’re living in an amazing place right now.
MSM: And I think the nostalgia is important. I think people, it just reminds you of a simpler time.
MV: It does.
MSM: Everyone likes to go back to that. So, last but not least, but do you have any closing messages for your fans?
MV: It’s interesting, I think. We’re surrounded by a social media world right now where it’s on all pay-for-play. I think a lot of people don’t even know that we’re back. And why would you know we’re back? I’ve changed my band twice. It’s not @VampiresEverywhere anymore, it’s @VampiresEverywhereOfficial on everything, because everything took the name. And so, trying to find our band, again, trying to find that we’re doing things again, has been hard. But a lot of the true believers have been supporting me even since we started headlining out of nowhere. I can’t thank them enough for that, obviously, and I appreciate them sticking around with me. And hopefully, as things grow, people start figuring it out. Every day, everyone’s like, oh my God, you’re back. And it’s like, yeah, the last year. But it takes a couple of years to start fighting the algorithm, seeing that you’re doing things, and touring with Alesana and Palisades…people are like, oh, well, they’ve never went away. And they’re like, okay, you’re touring with them, you’re back. And it’s been like we’re all connecting on the same page.