Every Time I Die’s unorthodox approach to music has allowed them to crossover to various scenes and make dedicated converts all over the world. “I’m really grateful for the fact that we can go on Ozzfest one year and Warped Tour the next,” says Keith Buckley. On these tours, Every Time I Die have bonded with countless acts from across the sonic spectrum which is evidenced by the fact that Bronx’s Matt Caughthran lends his vocals to “The Sweet Life” while Dillinger Escape Plan’s screamer Greg Puciato is featured on “The Marvelous Slut.” (both songs from their latest record, “New Junk Aesthetic“) “Obviously as a musician you have an obligation to the people that like you and you don’t want to let them down,” Buckley explains, “but as someone who listens to many types of music, being able to work with people in so many different avenues is a blessing—and I’m not going to bypass that because I’m worried about what other people think.” I caught up vocalist Keith Buckley to discuss Every Time I Die, his supergroup, The Damned Things (featuring members of Anthrax and Fall Out Boy), his musical influences, and what he’d change about the music industry.
State your name and position in the band.
Keith: My name is Keith. I’m the big time lead front man; fronting the band in a leadership position of power.
If you had to describe The Damned Things to someone who has never listened to you before, what would you say?
Keith: If I knew that they wouldn’t listen to what I said, I don’t think I’d bother telling them about my band. But if it was perhaps just a misunderstanding and they weren’t ignoring me last time I saw them; they were just really preoccupied with something they had read in an email earlier that day and showed a genuine concern in my band, I’d tell them it was for fans of the Misfits, Led Zeppelin, QOTSA and Thin Lizzy.
What records have you been really enjoying lately?
Keith: The Chariot’s new record “Long Live” is fucking wonderful. The Dead Weathers “Sea of Cowards” is in heavy rotation, as is the newest Radiohead.
Do you find it hard as a musician to enjoy yourselves at somebody else’s show without analyzing it all in your head?
Keith: I find it hard as a human to enjoy myself in life without analyzing it all in my head. A show is no different.
What’s the stripper’s real name?
If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Keith: Only bands that play their own instruments and sing their own songs would be allowed to tour. They can record and sell all the records they want, but touring would still be sacred, and believe it or not, LIVE. It has always been and always should be an intimate and personal time between the band and their “fans”.
What were some of your music influences and how involved in music were you growing up?
Keith: I had a vast array of influences growing up. Obviously, the first thing you listen to is what your parents listen to. Then you break out on your “own” and start listening to what your friend’s older brother’s listen to. Luckily, my dad was/is a guitar player so riffs were a big part of my upbringing. Pink Floyd was my first real concert but secretly, I was using my allowance to get rap tapes because that’s what suburban white kids do.I remember buying Cypress Hill. I think I stole an NWA tape from a friend. Then then a cool dude moved into my neighborhood and showed me hardcore and metal. Oddly enough, one of the most astounding things I had heard was Anthrax and P.E “Bring the Noise”. It was the first time I had really heard something so heavy and so catchy simultaneously. Imagine my boner when the “Judgement Night” soundtrack came out. I mean, Aerosmith did it with RUN DMC but Aerosmith sucked. I would eventually grow to like them, but at the time I thought they were garbage. I had influences all across the spectrum. I still listen to everything. My last purchase was just this morning: a Peter Gabriel record. My dad would be proud
What did you think of the mashup that Legion of Doom did with Every Time I Die’s song, “Ebolarama”? and Norma Jean’s song, “Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste?
Keith: My band and one of my favorite “hardcore” bands at the time? It was like being in a gangbang, but ears were the only holes available. Kind of my very own version of a Judgement Night soundtrack song. I was stoked. It came out incredibly. I’m glad you reminded me of it; I haven’t actually heard it in a while. Maybe it sucks now. I know I personally sound like a child in that song. You know, I’m gonna let that one just sit in the vault. But I’m honored to be a part of it.
Any chance of seeing The Damned Things on Warped Tour this year?
Keith: Warped Tour and Kevin Lyman and every single person involved that works for him has always been so good-hearted to ETID that I can’t just say “absolutely not”. I just think that TDT is a different kind of band, one that might not go over as well with the kids. We don’t have the history yet; the rapport that ETID has. I can see us doing it MANY MANY years down the road in the same way that Helmet did it or Bad Religion, but we’re not a hot new synth pop band and therefore, probably have no place. I wonder if ETID will even be able to find any space at the table in the upcoming years? Trends are changing so fast.
Can we expect any new singles or music videos coming from The Damned Things this year?
Keith: I just received the first draft of a video treatment yesterday from Doug Spengenburg and Space Monkey Studios. Doug is one of my best friends and he’s toured the world with ETID and filmed every second of Shit Happens, but he has never worked with us in a video capacity. I don’t know why, maybe we just figured that we always wanted a fresh perspective on our brand of idiocy. But TDT is new to him, so I suggested it right off the bat.
Who is your favorite super hero/heroine?
Keith: Jesus. No wait, Wolverine. Wasn’t he able to magically heal all wounds? Shit, they both could do that. I dont know anymore.
Favorite band you’ve toured with? And speaking of tours, if you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
Keith: From the first time we have ever toured with them, I have said Norma Jean, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Underoath but people probably already know that so I’m gonna flip it up. I loved touring with Alkaline Trio and Terror; they’re the best. I think I’d like to tour with Converge in ETID since we never have and Foo Fighters with TDT. Fuck it, Foo Fighters with ETID too.
What was your motivation for writing the blog you did about generic, autotuned bands while you was on Warped Tour 2010? We all knew it was there; just what made you feel the need to comment on it?
Keith: Because it shouldn’t go unaddressed. It’s not the drunk friend that offends everyone, but most people just wait until he passes out without saying anything to him because “that’s just how he is”. That’s horseshit. Being a raging asshole is not acceptable, it’s not a “quirky character flaw” and infringing on other people’s peace of mind and pursuit of happiness is something that needs to be dealt with head on. That blog was kind of my way of staging an intervention.
Last question; pick three songs. If I was gonna check out The Damned Things and/or Every Time I Die for the first time after reading this interview, what twosongs (one from each band) would you recommend I check out? And one song from any band/genre.
Keith: For ETID, I have always said “The New Black” but that changed when we wrote REndez-Voodoo. Everything that ETID is good at is in that song. For TDT, I know it’s not the catchiest, but “The Blues Havin’ Blues”. It’s where, in my head, TDT will move as we get further along in our career. It feels like I feel. It sounds like the things we collectively like. I know a lot of people say we don’t sound anything like our constituent parts, but if you putAnthrax, FOB and ETID in a blender, this is the song that would pour out. And you want my recommendation for ANY song that people should listen to? Tom Waits – “Falling Down”
Any last words for the fans?