Here’s the very first article I did this year. I saw Every Time I Die at Warped and did an interview with Keith Buckley. This remains my favorite interview ever, and possibly best article.
“He’s throwing up!” Keith Buckley, vocalist and cowbell of Every Time I Die, yells into his microphone as he points to his brother and guitarist Jordan, whose vomit is just barely missing the security guards in front of the barricade at the Hurley stage. “That circle pit was so bad, you guys made him throw up.”
Keith notices that Jordan is wiping his mouth.
“Let’s try this again,” says Keith, and a sick, red-faced Jordan launches into the opening riff of “The New Black,” one of Keith’s favorites from their latest release, Gutter Phenomenon. By their second to last date of the Warped Tour 2006 in Bristow, Virginia at Nissan Pavilion, after rocking hard on every date, who could blame Jordan for feeling a little nausea?
In reality, “I think he drank some warm Monster energy drink”, said Keith in response to Jordan’s vomit, “He and I throw up a lot.”
Every Time I Die doesn’t mess around when they take the stage. Where does that energy come from?
“It’s no act, really. It just is what it is,” said Keith. “I think it’s because the days are so boring. We just look forward to the show so much.”
It’s obvious from all of bassist Chris Byrnes’ eye contact with the audience, guitarists Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley’s constant head banging, and Keith Buckley’s beckoning of the audience to sing along. The boys’ love for rocking out is easy to see and feel, even with the three-foot space from the edge of the stage to the barricade. Karate kicks are visible in the middle of the crowd while the kids holding onto the barricade mouth every word they possibly can. Keith Buckley writes some very intense lyrics.
“I think I’ve found a niche in my writing style. Independently, if you read lyrics, I think you’ll be able to pick mine out. Out of hundreds, really,” said Keith. “I think I’m getting better at it, hopefully.”
He admires the writing styles of Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows, and Stephen Jenkins of Third Eye Blind. For inspiration, he turns to the book Word Virus by William Burroughs.
Keith explains: “Usually if I just read a story, I have all of these new images in my head. It’s sort of like jumping onto a moving train. It’s really fast and powerful. You just gotta get on and think about it, and you’ll have a bunch of new ideas to work with. But, you know, that’s just one tactic. Another tactic would be to just get incoherently drunk and see what comes out.” He says he might work best when the pressure is on.
Knowing his deadline for recording always helps to add to the pressure. “May 13th, I think we have to be in the studio,” he said. After an upcoming two months of touring, Every Time I Die will be writing once the winter starts. This means we can expect a new album by next summer.
Every Time I Die played their favorites off of Hot Damn! and Gutter Phenomenon at Nissan Pavilion on August 10.
“We just wanted to split it up with old stuff and new stuff. That’s the worst part of getting ready for a tour, the set list. I f***ing hate making set lists. Nobody agrees on anything. Everyone ends up pouting,” said Keith, explaining how they decided what they’d play on the Warped Tour. “We had an idea that we were going to make two or three set lists. Once we got comfortable with the one, we were comfortable with it. Why change it up? By the last two weeks, we were so bored of playing those songs,” he said.
Not only were they bored of playing those songs, but being on tour is prime time for boredom. There is evidence of this on their upcoming DVD, Shit Happens due out on Halloween. In a preview available on their website, Jordan is shown setting his own hair on fire.
What else goes on in the tour bus?
“Nothing. We just set our hair on fire,” said Keith. “Imagine being locked in your apartment all day. What would you do? Video games, I read, drink. You know what’s cool is, when I’m at home I write music on my laptop and stuff. I finally buckled up and bought a portable little keyboard. That’ll take up a lot of time on the road. I can write music on the road instead of waiting until I come home.”
Being on Warped Tour also provided them the opportunity to check out new music.
“Travis from Gym Class Heroes was an amazing front man. When Mutemath was on the Warped Tour I really liked watching them,” said Keith as he tried to pinpoint the best performance at Warped Tour. These days, Keith has been listening to Iggy Pop, Mutemath, Jimmy Eat World, and the new Thom Yorke. He also would’ve liked to see Ozzfest this summer if he wasn’t on the Warped Tour.
There is a noticeable change in sound from Hot Damn! in 2003 to Gutter Phenomenon in 2005, but quite possibly for the best. At least Revolver magazine thought so, praising Gutter Phenomenon as 2005’s best album. Some fans are not in favor of the change in sound, which leans more towards rock ‘n’ roll and less toward metal-core. You can sense the poppier riffs on Gutter Phenomenon, making it easier to shake your hips, but you’ll have no trouble head banging and pumping your fists.
“Sorry, bro,” says Keith to any fan who criticizes the newer sound. “When you see them next with their big wallet chains and baggy jeans, you tell them I said ‘Sorry, bro.’ There’s no way we should have to vindicate ourselves. It’s a band. It grows and it changes just like anything that grows. We’ve been together for nine years. Why would we keep the same formula? It’s not our goal to have a select demographic and cater to them all the time. We’re in this for us. We want to try new things. A majority of the people realize that change is good. It’s exciting, but there are still those who are hung up on the old tactics and formulas. We can’t seem to keep them happy. So, sorry!”
Keith is happy with the evolution of Every Time I Die’s sound. “I think the songs themselves have gotten better and bigger,” he said.