Full time front man/funny man Keith Buckley, of Buffalo bruisers Every Time I Die, caught up to talk about beards, circle pits and bands that suck so bad they make your stomach churn.
Hey mate, how are you this evening?
Hey, how you doing?
Really good thanks man, yourself?
Not too bad… just kind of stressing out while trying to write this record. I’ve been sitting here trying to write all day actually.
It’s not all that often that you’re off the road, what have you been doing with your downtime apart from working on your record and giving “Call Of Duty” a thrashing?
Well, like I said right now we’re writing the record. They’re ploughing through it man, they’ve got like seven songs down, and I’ve finished two songs completely and have the skeletons for a third and fourth song.
I pretty much just wake up and sit down in front of the computer and write all day, every day. I take a break every now and then to listen to Howard Stern – which I’m actually doing right now – but other than that I’m just writing. You can probably tell from my voice that I’m not actually in good health.
I feel bad for interrupting Howard Stern, my apologies…
Haha, that’s ok, they’ll play it again later. Actually, prior to this call I JUST finished a song so I think I’m finally ready to eat a meal today.
I know you only started writing for your new record a month ago, and like you said you’ve already had some songs come together, but how’s it all coming along stylistically and whatever else goes with that?
It’s awesome man. I just feel like, I dunno, lyrically I feel like this is more of a “Hot Damn” record, and I’m having so much fun with it and everything is just a lot faster and a lot heavier. I’m not worried so much – and I’m not saying I’m NOT going to incorporate it – but I’m not too fussed about melodies this time around. So far (from what I’ve heard), there doesn’t seem to be a lot of places for it so I think it’s going to be a very aggressive record.
This is the first record you’ll be doing with your new bass player Josh (ex From Autumn To Ashes, Reggie And The Full Effect), what’s he brought to the table as far as song writing and the overall dynamic of the band?
Everything. It’s really cool because we sort of have a knack of incorporating a lot of rock feel to the whole thing, you know, we were raised with classic rock so we try to work it into our songs as often as possible, but Josh has a really unique rock sensibility about him. He used to play in that band Shiner and he’s into stuff like The Ramones and The Hellacopters, so it’s really upbeat and has a heavy rock feel, so it’s not as slowed down and southern as it used to be.
Speaking of Josh, he’s been in the band since September 2007. Do you think he’s got what it takes to hang around a little longer than his predecessors?
Yeah, haha. We all totally agree that he’s the man for the job as long as he can tolerate us, haha. Just as long as he wants to stay around we’re happy to keep him.
On “Shit Happens” (ETID’s DVD release) you described your then bass player as being like “the fat girl on Spring Break”. How could you not want to keep a dude like that in your band?
Hahahaha, you know, it was a joke at the time when things were kind of starting to fall apart, but we’re still really good friends and it sucks, because there’s a new light shed on that joke and it looked like we really hated him and were disgusted by him which isn’t the case at all!
At the time we were just being playful and he would’ve loved it – and he still does – he doesn’t have any ill will towards us because we’re still all great friends. It’s funny now but looking back on it, anyone who didn’t know the band or the story would be like “oh fuck, they hate that guy”!
I do think though that it would be good for someone like that to be associated the band, haha, maybe a merch guy or a sound guy or something, but within the band we are trying to be a little more professional these days. Just a little though…
You guys have used a different producer on your last three records. Who have you got lined up when you hit the studio again on April 1st?
For the production job?
That’s the one.
Yeah, we’re going back with Steve Evetts, who’s the same guy that did The Big Dirty.
We have such a great relationship with him and he totally gets our band and we love his ideas, so we figured if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. We’re going to go back and settle in with him again.
“The Big Dirty” topped a lot of people’s album of the year polls in 2007, is that something you guys have been conscious of since writing for the new record, given that you’ve set a fairly impressive precedent?
No, not necessarily. We’re our own biggest critics so I think the only vibe that’s been set is to make ourselves prouder… I want to walk out of the studio feeling even more proud than I did last time, you know?
We just want to make sure that we’re extremely happy with what we’ve done.
I’m sure more than a few labels came knocking once you finished up with Ferret. Why was Epitaph the best choice for you guys?
I just think that right now, unless you’re a band that’s going for radio singles – which we’re definitely not – honestly, it really feels like it’s the biggest label left for people that aren’t concerned with traditional, commercial success. Well, them and Metal Blade depending on what kind of band you are. They’re the two labels left for bands who just want to tour and who don’t really need a huge video budget.
I really feel that Epitaph is the only logical choice for us.
Does signing to Epitaph mean your next record will sound like Pennywise?
Hahaha, no, it’s definitely not like that. It’s cool because Converge is on Epitaph too. I think that the whole image of the Rancid, Bad Religion kind of mould… you know. Rancid, Bad Religion and Pennywise are fucking amazing bands that I grew up with but the label’s image, even by signing Converge – and they just signed Bring Me The Horizon – has sort of changed and shown that we can still keep ahead of the game a little bit and that kids still want a place to go for new, aggressive music.
Back when – and I don’t know how old you are – but back when I was thirteen and fourteen Bad Religion was aggressive to me because it was fast and loud and awesome, so I think this is just a new breed and a new appreciation for a different sort of fast and loud, and I think Epitaph have really set the standard by signing Converge and Bring Me The Horizon.
Totally. I grew up on Epitaph bands and I’d look for that Epitaph logo as a seal of approval on records, so it’s cool that it’s still going down like that even when they’re signing groups like The Locust and Sage Francis…
Yeah man, especially The Locust. It doesn’t get more experimental than that, so the fact that they’re willing to take risks on bands like that is awesome.
People love hearing a good story or a good rumour at least, so tell us why you guys really left Ferret?
Hahaha, I think we were actually kicked off the label because when I was in New York Paul and Carl (Ferret Records co-owners) came out to see and hear my show called “The Weekly Riff”. So the took me out and I ran up such a tab on their credit cards that they couldn’t afford to keep the band or me anymore.
Moving forward, are we going to be hearing any new jams at Soundwave and your sideshows?
Yes, you actually will! Yesterday I attended practice for the first time yesterday, so the one song we completed got a run through and yeah, we’re ready to play it.
I’m definitely hoping that we’ll have two new songs to play, so when we get to New Zealand it’ll be the first time we test them out.
Typically, a band gets asked who they are excited to see when they’re part of a festival, so I want you to take this opportunity to write off a band that you’re not stoked on seeing.
That I’m not stoked on seeing? Ok, this sounds really bad, hahaha, and it’s not intended as an insult in any way, but Alice In Chains man.
Now I realise they’re a seminal band, but they’ve got this – and I haven’t even heard the new singer yet – weird way of recording vocals where he’d do a harmony which was like a “two note off harmony”, which is what they were famous for according to a vocal coach I worked with, but the actual sound of it hurts my stomach.
I can’t explain it, but there’s certain notes I hear that make me feel uneasy, and unfortunately EVERY Alice In Chains song contains some notes in it that make me feel uneasy. They’re a great band and I loved Dirt growing up but once I listened to it and was like, “something is wrong with this” and from then on it hurt my stomach.
I heard Andy shaved his beard off recently, is this truth?
Yes it is, but he’s still rocking a pretty fierce moustache!
Did he feel threatened by the members of Four Year Strong’s five-pronged beard attack on Warped Tour, or was there another reason?
He feels threatened by Four Year Strong did you say?
Yeah, they’ve got some pretty epic facial hair…
I don’t think he’s threatened; he retired at the top of his game as far as I’m concerned. He was like, “you know, I’ve had this beard for three years”, and it was getting grey, haha. I think it’s better to burn out than to fade away so he just cut it off and was fucking done with it, haha.
Once you’ve wrapped up the new record and finished up in Australia, what are the rest of your plans for 2009?
We really have no idea yet. We’re going to come out there and do the New Zealand and Australian dates; head back home, finish up the writing and hit the studio in April. Once we get out of the studio we’re going to England and Europe with Gallows and then coming home to mix and master the record.
Once all that’s done I think we’ll go out for a headlining tour.
*** At this point the operator gave us the hurry on ***
Oh wow, that’s very professional, haha.
Haha, indeed it is. That’s all we’ve got time for mate, is there anything else you want to throw out there?
Nope, I just… I don’t know. We’ve never been to New Zealand so I’m extremely excited about that and I’ll try to limit my Flight Of The Concords references where possible, haha.
Sounds like a plan, haha. Thanks again for your time and good luck with the record.