Senses Fail’s singer, James “Buddy” Nielsen, is a pretty outspoken guy. A quick look through his personal social media accounts as well as the band’s Facebook page reveal as much. Thus, when we spoke with the musician recently, to initially discuss the band’s 2016 Australian tour, the topics instead focused in on some of the terrible events unfolding in the US in relation to gun violence. Throughout the discussion, a forthright Nielsen needed to vent his thoughts, and we were more than happy to listen as the vocalist reflected on these current events.
Hey there Buddy, how are you doing today, man?
Hey Alex, I’m okay, thanks. There’s a lot of weird stuff going on today…
Oh? How so?
Well…I just went and visited some of the guys from The Ghost Inside earlier, and that was kind of heavy. They just got in a really bad bus accident. So there’s that, and then there’s a guy killing a bunch of people here in America right now with assault rifles.
Wow, that is a heavy combo to deal with right now.
It’s just another [week] in America now, just a part of the American Dream. Just go killing people with assault rifles.
Over here in Australia, that’s a lot of what we hear every week or so; another shooting at a college campus or at a Planned Parenthood. It’s fucked up.
Yeah, it is man, and you can’t really do anything about it though.
When Australia had the Port Arthur massacre in the 90’s, our government just cracked down on the gun control and brought in way stricter laws, and no shooting of that scale has really happened since.
Yeah, but we’re America though, we are stupid. There are too many people who are deeply afraid of so many things. It would be very hard for America to get rid of guns, as so many people are married to the idea that it’s their right to be able to protect themselves.
I don’t know if guns themselves are the problem, I think you can get rid of guns but it won’t change the culture of people wanting to do these things. Like, get rid of the guns if you want, I don’t fucking need them, but it’s not going to change anything. It’s super complicated.
For sure man, and I think some people take the Second Amendment, and many others, way too seriously when it comes to these issues.
Well yeah, one of them says that you can form a militia, and it allows you to bear arms. It’s deeply engrained in the American idea to own a gun and use it to protect yourself. But that’s not even the issue. The issue isn’t the dude who’s at home with a gun in case someone breaks in, that’s not the problem. The problem is the people who are completely detached from society because of the way we’ve setup our current world, and they’re able to lash out in a very violent way. There are enough responsible gun owners that you can’t just blame gun owners. So people go, “Well, we won’t do anything.”
Yes, more often than not, in-action can lead to more problems down the road, and it won’t get better if you don’t try to change.
The problem is very large, and it’s a lot larger than just guns. It’s the way in which people relate to Hollywood and the reality of what our culture puts out. People want to make a statement now, about their disillusion with the world and they want to do that by killing lots of people in a very public manner.
I view that as always being a very cowardly way to go about ending your life; killing a lot of innocent people that you do not know, when you’re the one who’s not satisfied with life and the world. It’s just unnecessary violence.
Definitely. I do think we live in a society that’s very harsh towards those that don’t fit in with the mainstream, so they say, “I’m going to fucking take you down”. I don’t have an answer.
It happens every week over here, and I can’t do anything about it. I can only talk to my own circles, and hope that other people are doing the same thing, and just hope people aren’t turning to fear…but that’s what most people are doing.
And recent world events only seem to exacerbate these issues and the fear of some people even further.
Yeah, it really is. There’s a lot of violence out there, coming from a lot of different directions, but the world has always been unstable. People like to think that at times it hasn’t been this way, but it always has. It’s the way in which information travels, and now you can watch it all unfold live. So there’s a stronger reality to it. You can turn on your television in Australia right now man, and can be a part of the show.
Yeah, it’s one big comedy of horrible errors man. Well look, Buddy, we’ll leave it there for today. Thank you for taking the time today, I really do appreciate it.
No worries Alex, thank you for the chat.
Catch Senses Fail touring this March. Details via Killrockstar Entertainment.
‘Pull The Thorns From Your Heart’ is out now.