Tell us about where you are from.
I was born in Los Angeles, California, and moved to the United Kingdom at 5 years of age. I moved back and forth from San Antonio, the UK, and California for quite a few years. But eventually, I moved back to Texas permanently in my late teens. Being raised in three very different places had a huge impact on me, and for a long time, I didn’t feel a connection to any one place. I’ve since learned to seek out and find a sense of permanence in places and things.
When did you first get into goth & darkwave?
My years in The UK were significant in the formation of who I became. I would spend a lot of time listening to music that I discovered on late night television (120 Minutes Europe). The UK also had a way of incorporating music into their regular programming at times, and it was there, while watching reruns of a show called The Young Ones, that I first discovered The Damned. That changed everything for me. The look, the sound, the theater element of it … My staple bands quickly became Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Sex Pistols, and The Damned. Then, once I returned to the States in my mid-teens, bands like The Misfits, Joy Division, Bauhaus, The Cramps, and Skinny Puppy were thrown into the mix. I’ve always enjoyed punk and darkwave sounds. And I often like to listen to that darker, edgier rockabilly/psychobilly sound as well. But when it comes down to it, my foundation artistically is always rooted in darkwave and post-punk.
What projects have you been involved in and/or are currently in?
My first band was very much influenced by My Bloody Valentine. We called it Red Velvet Venus, and it was started with one of the first people I met once I moved back from England in about 1991—a guy in my ninth grade English class, Lenny. Shortly after that project, I was in a punk band called Agent 99. We played venues like The Cameo Theater, Wacky’s, and The DMZ. Tony Chainsaw, who operated the DMZ, was very encouraging and helpful to a lot of local bands back then. And it was at the DMZ that I met Julian, co-founder of Veronica’s Veil. After about a year and a half with Agent 99, Veronica’s Veil was formed. So in the beginning, Veil was very much influenced by punk, but it always had a darker feel to it.
As a side project, I recently started performing a few songs with a punk/rockabilly band out of Austin, TX, The Smokin’ Burnouts. Steve, the front man of the group was a very close friend of mine in high school. I’m also writing still. I have this double-life as author Ronnie Stich who writes supernatural thrillers and sci-fi. Some of my books have won awards and it’s been a lot of fun, but attending book signings and traveling to do so can be very lonely. I am working on a third book for my Creepy Friends series (middle grade readers), but I’m taking my time on it. As far as film work goes, I won Best Documentary and People’s Choice awards at the Horrific Film Fest in 2016 for a no-budget film I had put together and filmed myself entitled Returned to This. Since then, I’ve only taken on smaller projects like short interviews. I do have an interest in music videos also, and foresee that interest tying in nicely with the reboot of Veil.
Tell us about the history of your band Veronica's Veil.
The original lineup of Veronica’s Veil was Julian on bass, Nick Tellez on drums, Doug Anderson on guitar, and myself on vocals in 1993. For the first year, we did half covers and half original material. We’d all come from other bands, bands that were very punk rock, so of course that influenced the sound at the time. At some point, Julian moved to Austin for about 8 years and Veil was kind of just hanging there. We still practiced and he would drive into San Antonio when he could. I honestly can’t remember why Doug wasn’t in the band anymore at some point, but Shawn Terry joined in his place in 1998. Most of what we did when Shawn joined was studio work. He brought with him a very Christian Death/The Cure influenced sound in what he wrote. I remember how Julian and Shawn would just come up with things together and the lyrics would just pour out of me. It was really nice. Those are some of my best memories. People from around the world would listen to our tracks on music websites and ask us to play in their towns. It amazed me because this was a time when Internet music uploads were a very new idea.
We contributed a track to a Rozz Williams tribute album entitled The Tongue Archives The Dialect which was released in Germany in 2002. But by the time it was released, Veil had parted ways. I always kind of felt like it was my fault that it ended, and I kind of buried that deep inside myself. So when we were in talks to start things up again in 2015, I was thrilled. Unfortunately, our friend Shawn Terry passed away before we could make that happen. We waited another year before talking about it again, and in late 2016, it felt right. Besides Julian and I, the new lineup includes Sanford Allen and KC Fiedler on guitars, and Ken Robinson on drums.
What is your role in Veronica's Veil and what are your influences?
As the singer and lyricist of Veil, my influences vocally have always been a mixture of Siouxsie Sioux, Ian Curtis, and John Lydon. A strange mixture, but I actually warm up to these vocalists’ songs before band practices. It’s also very important to me that I write my own lyrics. I put my heart into the words I sing, so those words must be my own (unless it’s a cover song, of course).
Being that you reside in Texas, how do you think the Texas underground Goth & Darkwave scene is defined as opposed to other places?
The Texas darkwave scene is very welcoming. I’ve talked to people who have visited and attended shows here from out of state and they love the feeling they get while here. It’s hard for me to compare Texas music scenes to other scenes as the Internet and social media tends to connect people in ways it didn’t before, but I think I appreciate Texas more now than I did as a teen and younger adult. Back then, I had plans to escape back to England at some point. Not anymore.
What are some of your favorite, current post-punk, goth, darkwave bands?
I’m still pretty stuck on much of the same stuff I’ve been listening to for the past 25 plus years. Joy Division, Corpus Delicti, TSOL, Siouxsie, Christian Death, Turbonegro, The Reverend Horton Heat, and everything in between. But as far as some more recent sounds out there, I’d have to say that I’m enjoying She Past Away, The Koffin Kats, Nim Vind, and She Wants Revenge for right now. And what I love is that the guys in the band also have varying tastes in music. If they didn’t, we’d sound like everything else out there. Veil, for me, reflects my darker taste in things and taps into my post-punk side. But sometimes I’m driving around and want some Motley Crue and Judas Priest in my day—you’d never know that when listening to what we create with Veronica’s Veil. I’m also very much about supporting the darkwave DJs so I can get on the dance floor at the clubs.
Any plans for recording this year? Where can we listen to your music?
Veronica’s Veil does have plans to record this year. Some of our older tracks from the 90s are available at Reverbnation.com/Veronicasveilband. As soon as we start releasing new material, we’ll expand our availability online. Our new album cover is already in the works. The cover artist is a very talented friend of mine in California, who designed almost all of my book covers, Steven Juliano (lead vocalist I Am Ghost, Requiem). Our planned release date is for fall. Check out VeronicasVeil.net for updates and links.
Which events are you looking foward to this year?
I am definitely looking forward to Convergence 23 Dallas in May. That will be the first time Veil will perform with the new lineup. San la Muerte Fest in San Antonio is sure to be amazing for us also. Veronica’s Veil is that one project I’ve always wanted back in my life again. So when it happened, it really was a dream come true for me. I’m laughing at myself because I know how cliché that sounds, but I actually am living my dream.