Interview with a Vampyre 

Chyanne Lynne has only bitten one of the band's fans

Vampires walk among us right now in Atlanta.

At least that’s what guitarist/vocalist Nosferatu (née Scott Lewanowicz) and drummer/vocalist Chyanne Lynne of the goth/metal/industrial band Vampyre would have us believe. Strangely enough, frontman Nosferatu hesitates to fully disclose his vampiric ways, but his scantily clad counterpart Lynne makes no bones about it. “It’s true, I am a living, breathing vampire and I don’t care who knows,” she declares. “I am what I am and if you don’t like it, then it’s just like my song says, ‘Fuck You’!”

The song she invokes is a cathartic little ditty that Lynne wrote while stewing in a jail cell after being arrested for biting an overzealous fan — an incident over which she is still attending anger management classes. But as a mantra, “Fuck You” typifies the group’s sound, carried out in other such songs as “Light It Up,” “Memories" and “Real Vampyres.” Their sound is a lo-fi concoction of distorted, Ibanez guitars, keyboards and drums crunching out dark riffs in a wash of watered-down industrial rock. When citing influences, 29-year-old Lynne, who has been playing drums since she was 5, drops the names of everyone from Rush’s drummer Neil Peart to Nine Inch Nails to Pantera. But her No. 1 all-time favorite musician is Ozzy Osbourne. “I love the fact that he bites, too!” she giggles.

By and large, Vampyre’s music is unremarkable. The band plays live shows very rarely — mini-goth festivals that they produce, called “Gatherings” — and thus far has released only one five-song demo. But over the last three years, the group has become an Internet phenomenon. Their regular Friday night streaming live performances have jumped from an initial audience of one to anywhere from 400 to 1,000 viewers. According to MySpace, as of press time Vampyre is the No. 1 indie industrial band, the No. 2 indie goth act, and the No. 23 top indie metal act in the state of Georgia. The group is also being courted for an upcoming installment of the MTV documentary series, "True Life: I'm a Vampire."

But it isn’t the music that’s garnering all of the attention, it's Vampyre’s bite. As Lynne so passionately illustrates, they are the real deal. And with the recent popularity of the undead rising, with such films as Twilight and HBO’s “True Blood” series, vampires seem to be making a comeback.

“Vampyre is much more than a name for us,” says Nosferatu. “It comes from our [respective] Eastern European family ancestries; our families have been intertwined for literally hundreds of years within the culture of real vampirism.”

Their image is not that of the fishnet and patent leather loving goths. Nosferatu looks like someone’s uncle who listened to the later albums by the Damned and the Sisters of Mercy in the ’80s. Lynne, on the other hand, is the provocateur. She appears in most photos wearing not much more than a wife-beater and pantie combo, striking trashy, seductive poses. It is a look that's distinctively their own, and according to Lynne, the Hollywood notion of the vampire image is far from reality. “What you see in the movies is all bullshit,” she adds. “If you look on you’ll see kids saying ‘Oh … I’m a werewolf,’ or ‘I have all these special powers!’ It’s not like that. You have Hollywood vs. reality, like when you watch a movie and you see these horrible Southern accents, it’s the same thing,” she reiterates in her own sweet, Southern drawl, sounding nothing like a ghoulish night stalker who's driven by an insatiable bloodlust.

“You can walk in the daylight, and you don’t have to live off of the flesh of other humans,” she adds. “I eat normal food and I drink coffee all day. I will admit, though, every now and then I do get a huge craving for blood. So I go to the grocery store, buy a steak and I don’t cook it. I just eat it raw. You don’t have to kill for it and you don’t have to hurt anyone to live amongst everybody.”

As far as the incident in which she bit a fan, Lynne says he asked her to bite him, and it was the club’s owner who had her locked up. “I’ve never bitten anybody since,” she laughs. “Other than that one bite, it’s the only problem that my vampirism has ever caused me.”

If anything, these vampires are philanthropists. The next time Vampyre plays live it will be at the Hooters restaurant in Cartersville as part of the Sam Ash Music Fest. The show also doubles as a fundraiser for the Ride for Dime benefit, fallen Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott's cross-country motorcycle ride that raises money for various children's hospitals and veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars. “They approached us to play the show at Hooters and we said yes,” Lynne says. “But only on the condition that we play after dark.”

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