FACETIME- Color them happy: Bright future for dark band?

Bella Morte bassist Gopal Metro is excited about the band's new album, Bleed The Grey Sky Black, and not just because it was released this week. Even while they were still working on it, he found it invigorating to write without a lot of tweaking and editing every step of the way.

"That's how it's supposed to be done, I think," he says. "A lot of people tend to forget that these days, including me." That suggests they'll probably work that way from now on. "It was so much more akin to how we started that it reminded me what was good about music again," he says.

Singer Andy Deane, at 32, is a little more pragmatic about the October 10 release: "It's the first album I think could break through to radio," he says. "The big thing is just putting a budget together to hire a radio promotion company."

Things are already taking off. Bella Morte has just set out for their next tour, having landed a sponsorship from makeup and hair dye manufacturer Manic Panic, which Metro says is going to make them more visually outlandish than ever. 

"Right now it's just blonde and black," he says of his own hair, "but I've got a whole stack of dye just waiting."

The sky's the limit, according to Deane. "A Taco Bell endorsement would be excellent. That would save us a ton of money, thousands of dollars a year," he says, "and something like Six Flags, so we could stop on tour and ride roller coasters for free. I'm sure they have strippers in the VIP lounge at Six Flags."

One of the more ambitious promotional tools they wield is BMTV, a series of Internet-only video shorts shot by Shawn Decker, the HIV-positive author recently highlighted in the Hook for his new book, My Pet Virus. 

Decker says it started when he shot a music video for Bella Morte's last album: "We did zombies killing the band members; one of them takes a hammer to the head while sitting on the toilet," says Decker. "We couldn't end it there, so we just started kicking around ideas about an MTV knockoff."

In other news, it was recently revealed that one of the students arrested in January for plotting to blow up Western Albemarle High School put Bella Morte as the top of his favorite band list. Deane voices frustratration.

"We find it funny that everytime someone wants to commit a crime and they happen to listen to Goth, the media has to mention it," says Deane. "I think Chris Rock said it best– 'What the f–- was Hitler listening to?'" (Well, Richard Wagner, most likely, but, being really dead, he's not nearly as marketable as these guys.)

In seeking encouragement, Deane points to the mainstream success of fellow Goth-rockers A.F.I., although they're actually subject to a bit of a backlash, having been sniped in a recent Rolling Stone article with the suggestion that lead singer Davey Havok ought to autograph boxes of Count Chocula for fans.

"You look at how they did it– they did it the same way we did: grassroots, good performances, and actually giving a d*mn about your fans," says Deane. "We're where they were four years ago."

It probably wasn't Wagner who said "the past is prologue," but what the hey– it's apt.

Andy Deane