Shabooty Interview Series: Keith Buckley (EVERY TIME I DIE)
Keith Buckley is the lead singer of the band, Every Time I Die. We got a chance to sit down while they were in town, and talk about the standard shabooty-fare which includes: Cage, Howard Stern, broads, and bad habits. Enjoy!
Shabooty: Being from Buffalo, New York, do you ever drive over to Toronto to party?
Keith Buckley: Yes, a lot actually. I think my fiance is having a bachelorette party in Toronto. We go there a lot. We know some sweet dudes up there. There was this old band that I probably would not be a musician, if it was not for this band called, New Day Rising, and this dude Chris Gray, who I am still friends with luckily. He lives in Toronto, so yeah, he comes to Buffalo, and we go up there to party sometimes. It’s pretty close, so…
Yeah, when I visited I was shocked at the close proximity of T.O.
Yeah, it’s insane. One time, it actually –to take a bus from Toronto to Buffalo costs a certain amount of money, but to take a bus from Toronto to Fort Erie, which is still in Canada, costs significantly less, so I was in Toronto, I took a bus and walked home from Fort Erie. I crossed the border and walked home, I’m so close to it, it’s insane.
Are you a fan of the Buffalo Bills and Jim Kelly?
Yeah, huge fan of Jim Kelly. I’m kinda a fare weather fan when it comes to the Bills just because we’ve suffered so many humiliating losses in the Superbowl, but I’m a huge [Buffalo] Sabers fan. Oddly enough, my mother was a nurse for the Buffalo Sabers, so I kinda grew up watching the Sabers, and following them. So, what happened was, going to Sabers games my whole life, and then all of a sudden this cat comes in — Drew Stafford from Minneapolis and starts playing for the Sabers and apparently he was a heavy metal fan and the Buffalo news did an article, like on the Sabers’ music choices, and what they warm up to, and he said that he loves Every Time I Die and he was glad to play in Buffalo, because we’re from Buffalo. So, we read that, and got in touch with his management. Now, Drew and I are really good friends, and yeah, he comes to our shows, we go to his games, and it’s awesome. Then, him and Ryan Miller, the goalie for the Sabers, have a charity event every year and it’s like a 50’s theme, so my fiance and I went to that with [Drew] Stafford, and Jim Kelly was there and we hung out with him and it was awesome.
Aside from you guys, what’s the heavy scene in Buffalo like?
I dunno man, I dunno, there’s a lot of good music coming out around the area. The Polar Bear Club is from Rochester and actually, we’re going on tour with them around March , so it seems the heavy music scene in Buffalo right now is sort of a nostalgic music scene, where I know there’s us and ‘It Dies Today’ are from Buffalo – I feel like anybody that comes out to the shows is coming out for the fact that they used to listen to a lot of heavy music that isn’t around in Buffalo anymore. Last huge show I was at was the final Snapcase show, which was monumental. I think there are definitely kids that appreciate it, but I think Buffalo’s sort of slowly morphing into the indie hipster rock scene, which is kinda weird ’cause we don’t really fit that.
Is Jordan Buckley your younger or older brother?
He’s younger. He’s two years younger, but his birthday is four days ahead of mine, which didn’t make sense to me growing up, why he was younger, but he got his birthday presents first.
Is it weird having such a multi-talented brother – with the huge art presence?
Yeah, I mean obviously, I’m extremely proud of him – it was cool ’cause this last record he did the art for was, kinda the first time that I’ve really ever opened up about lyrics. Because he was doing all of these illustrations based on the lyrical content of every song and then applying them to the pages of the layout, so to have him come to me and be like, “alright, I need to know what this song’s about, what you were thinking about when you wrote it, because I have to draw…”
Or what chick the song is about?
Well, that’s the thing, my songs aren’t really about girls. Which, I think it might be subliminally refreshing for a lot of people. It’s not the typical boy meets girl sorta shit, so yeah, to have him come to me and rather than just a random interviewer and to be like, “hey, what’s this song about?” Jordan’s like, “hey, I really need to know what this song’s about because I have to know what to draw for our band’s layout.” So, it was kinda weird. Hopefully I think he learned a lot about me through that [process] and I learned a lot about him.
How did you become friends with Cage (Chris Palko)?
Cage was one of the dudes where [I met him] through Chauncey [Johnson] and Daryl [Palumbo] and F. Sean [Martin]. Actually, I knew that Cage was a huge supporter of XO Skeletons, which was Chauncey and an old friend Wes’ band. And so, I kinda got introduced to Cage, because I knew he was collaborating with them and I knew he was collaborating with Daryl, and then it was odd, one day, I think Chauncey called me and he’s like, hey, he’s like, “um, you gotta meet our friend Cage, he’s an up and coming rapper,” so, I am like cool you know, awesome. And Cage called me out of the blue and we talked about like horror movies like we had been friends forever. Like it was just random cause I had never met him in real life, yet, but one day, he called me and we just started chatting about shit and it was like fucking great! And then, I finally met him on Warped Tour. He came out and hung out and we played some Frisbee games, and I had a very bad host disorder where I felt OMG, I gotta make sure dude has a good time, ’cause I never met him, but we’ve been chatting on the phone, so, uh yeah, it was awesome. He’s a fucking great dude and yeah, I just saw him on the Depart From Me Tour.
How has the reception been so far on this tour?
It’s cool, it’s a very young crowd – it’s a lot of kids. You can kinda tell the difference when you look at the line you see dudes with beards in flannel, or you see like little girls with neon shirts on, so you know what demographic you’re playing, ya know? But, I think we’re winning some fans over, I think that all the bands are playing in front of a lot of new people, which is def. beneficial to everyone on the tour.
How did the band ETID originate?
Right after high school, I went to Virginia Tech for like a semester. Talking to my Dad the other day about the details of it. Got accused of cheating on an exam, fought it in court, lost, so they were gonna take all my credits away from me, they were gonna have me do this community service thing… I absolutely did not cheat on the exam, so my Dad was like, “well, maybe you should just come back to Buffalo and go to University of Buffalo,” so, I did that, came to University of Buffalo. Started spending more time with my brother obviously, ’cause we’re both in the same neighborhood and wanted to do a band and Jordan’s like yeah, well while you were gone, I met up with these dudes, Andy and our old drummer Mike, and he’s like, they kinda wanna start a band, too, so let’s do it, that’s kinda how it started.
By the end of a tour are your physically dead?
Nah, I’m emotionally dead. Physically, I’m fine. But I think emotionally, I’ll go home and just fuckin’ do nothing but lay on my couch. When I get home I just lay around on the couch and eat.
And veg out?
Yeah, I totally veg out and play video games.
Do you travel with your girlfriend on tour?
She’s very appreciative of the fact of like, “okay, this is their job and they gotta do what they gotta do” and like I said, I have a very difficult time making sure… I mean, you know, you came here tonight, and I’m like, “ahh, whatever’s ours is yours, just have a beer please, just have fun, okay, is everyone having a good time?” So, Lindsay knows I’m like that, so she doesn’t put that pressure on me . She comes out if she can. Like she’s coming to New York City in a few days hang out for a little bit, but she’s gonna hang out with her friend and you know, we’ll meet up at the show, but other than that, she’s like, she basically understands I wouldn’t go to her work and sit next to her while she’s designing and be like, “hey, show me a good time, show me a good time,” so, she takes that pressure off me. So she’s very understanding.
You’re a big Howard Stern fan I understand. When did you first start listening?
I actually first started listening right when they moved to Sirius, I think cause – Jordan’s a bigger [fan]. He’s been a Stern fan much longer than I have — he was ready for the move [to satellite] and I had never really listened to on terrestrial radio. Once and a while, we’d catch him on tour, but I was like if I’m driving, I would check out Art Bell, things like that, ya know? I would catch Stern once and a while, while we’re driving and Jordan was prepared for the move, so he got a Sirius radio and then I remember the first day that Stern moved to Sirius, Jordan was down in the van at like 5:30 in the morning, ready to listen to it, and all of a sudden, he said one of our songs came on and I guess they used one of our songs in the intro, so he told the rest of us and we were stoked and we drive and listen to it, so I’ve been a fan ever since they moved to satellite.
Did you know indie rapper, Aesop Rock’s a huge Howard Stern fan, as well?
I didn’t know that until I heard that thing that he did with Lisa G (takes shits at work). I didn’t know he was a big fan, but I appreciate what he said about Artie, ’cause I kinda had the same feeling about Artie. It’s like, yeah, trust me, there’s enough fucking alcoholic drug dealers that I would rather hear complain, ya know? I don’t wanna hear him cry and throw glasses at people.
Is the whole band into the Stern show?
Yeah, it’s inevitable. You can’t get away from it. if Andy, drives chances are he’s gonna put on some death metal and jam to it, but when Stern’s playing, you can’t really get away from it, so yeah, when I’m driving, or if Jordan’s driving, or when Josh is driving, we’ll all listen to it, so everyone is kinda kept in the loop.
Do you admire Richard Christy’s drumming?
I love Richard Christy. I honestly think that he’s the best thing to happen to Stern. Jesus. like I don’t even know who’s been such a huge contributor to Stern. I hated Jackie Martling for a long time. I like Artie once in a while, I think he’s really funny, but fuck, Richard and Sal are like such a …the prank calls they do. Honestly, if you could just take the Stern show, and cut it down to all prank calls that they do, and just play it for like three hours straight, I would listen to nothing but that. I think that the fucking the “Tradio” is ingenious. The one call that they do where Richard Christy keeps playing the double voices trying to buy shit from people, and the other day, I heard Richard Christy called a Christmas warehouse thing, and he just kept quoting Christmas songs, and tried to get this lady into the Christmas mood, I was laughing so hard, I was crying, and so, luckily enough, we’re friends with Richard through music, that we can tell him how much we appreciate it.
If you had to either go to a Richard Christy comedy show or a Richard Christy music concert, which would you rather go to?
I’d rather go to the Richard Christy comedy show. Obviously, I like heavy music, but I hear it all the time, so I mean, I’m honestly at the point where I am pulling for stand up comedians to open our shows, instead of other bands. So, if anybody is as good at comedy as Richard Christy is… I would much rather go see that.
What is your worst habit on tour – the boozing?
I guess so… like I was telling you before, I’m not a blackout drunk. I mean, it’s when you’re on tour, you don’t have anything to do until 3:30 [pm] the next day, so there’s no real reason to have a responsibility, but yeah, I do drink a lot. Honestly, I feel much more comfortable playing, if I have some alcohol in me. I dunno, I just feel like i loosen up a little bit. And I can talk a little more, I think I perform a little better, I think that, yeah, I smoke, but I never smoke in the van, so I think if there was something that people were offended by, it’d be by drinking, probably just because I stink when I drink.
Which band is your sound most similar to?
That’s a rough question, I def- don’t wanna flatter myself, but I mean I know right when we got signed to Ferret Records a long time ago, the owner of Ferret came to me and said, ” you guys are very similar to glassJAw, and I’m kinda worried how to market it.” But you know, like i was telling you before, I met the dudes in Glassjaw right when our band started and it was kinda like a, maybe it was a subconscious influence, but Daryl’s fucking one of my favorite vocalists of all time, but that didn’t have anything to do with the music that my band wrote so, think maybe vocals, the vocal cadence was a little bit of Glassjaw, but… I dunno, Deftones I was in love with the Deftones before we started playing, Radiohead, things like that.
Are you into Sean Martin’s guitar playing?
Yes, I love Sean – it’s weird because now Sean’s like – I talked to him backstage in Cleveland, when I went to see Cage play and Sean was telling me about, you know – when Sean left Hatebreed, I was kinda amazed, because I had known Sean through Hatebreed and we had toured so many times together, so when I heard that he left, I was like, “Oh, I hope everything’s alright,” ya know? But, he was explaining it to me that just playing for Cage and being able to have that freedom of just relaxing with the music and sort of just getting into a vibe, is where he’s at in his life and that’s fucking awesome. So, that’s why I appreciate people that kinda slow down, do a little bit softer music. Yeah, like I have another project going on that’s a little softer, too. You get older, you wanna do something you’ve been doing something for so long, but I remember the first time I met Sean was in Japan, and actually, hung out with him ’cause we were on tour with Hatebreed, and fuck I was so scared of that dude, and then we partied so hard. Ya know what, maybe if we run it by Sean, I’ll give you pictures of me and Sean partying in Japan, when I was like fucking 23 years old, just him and I on the Hatebreed, Every Time I Die tour in Japan, it’s gnarly, we’re just at a bar raging. I think we all had our shirts off, just spilling beer on each other.
I saw him on the Depart From Me tour.
Yeah, I totally get it, he wants to kinda settle down and he was saying he wants to get a house and wife and I’m getting married on Halloween – I got like three weeks until I’m married, so I’m totally feeling it. I understand wanting to settle down.
How long were you working on your latest album, New Junk Aesthetic?
We started January 2nd, of last year, and then we went until March, so we wrote for three months, recorded for two months, and then sat on it for fucking six months.
What’s next for ETID?
Probably going to get drunk with you, and hang out and then I dunno, go to Philly tomorrow, have some BBQs, and I’m pretty stoked. Through the tweeter [twitter], I kinda gotta prepare myself for this New York show, because I know a bunch of dudes are coming out and hanging out, so it’d be a reunion of sorts, with a bunch of old friends and meeting a bunch of people for the first time, so yeah, we’re just gonna finish this tour, we got like ten days left, then head home and I get married and then we hang out, then we go to Europe.
Are you and Pete Wentz going to work together?
Yeah, well, we did on the record! Yeah, yeah…
Yeah, he’s on “After One Quarter Of A Revolution,” which we didn’t want to him and I agreed that we weren’t gonna say what song he was on, because there was so many predispositions, “Oh Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy? The song’s gonna suck!” So, we wanted people to hear the song and like it. And then say, “hey guess what, Pete’s on here,” yeah.
Nah, I fucking love it, i hope that we can do it live together, some day.
Buffalo has a bad wrap, is it a “shit hole”?
It’s a shit hole, I mean the thing is, it’s kinda like a mini-Detroit, where as Detroit went from the crowning jewel of Middle America to unfortunately – as dilapidated as it is, and I know the Times’ running a bunch of articles about it, trying to revitalize it, but I think Buffalo gets overlooked, it’s unfortunate, because ya know, the Pan-American exposition, it was such a huge city, through Lake Erie, it was a port, where you know, all these major ships would stop, so a bunch of industry was going on. Bethlehem Steel is the reason that Buffalo bars are open until 4 [AM], is because people would get out of Bethlehem Steel at like 2 AM, so then, there was a mandate in the city to keep bars open an extra two hours, so when they got off work, they can drink and that stuck, so now, people are just getting hammered. Now, jobless dudes are just getting hammered until 4 in the morning, but I feel bad for it, man. It’s a really small town, its got amazing architecture, the people there are fucking amazing, but uh, yeah, it’s kinda falling apart.
Do you leave all of the art decisions to Jordan?
I mean, no, he’s not necessarily going to say he’s the deciding vote, so we kinda all go through it. But yeah, no one obviously opposes him, because his drawings are amazing, so it’s good to see. I mean, we wanted Jordan to do the layout, because we wanted people to actually hold the record in their hands, rather than digitally download it, ya know. After the leak, we wanted it to get to the point where people are like, “ah I would like to actually have a piece of this art, so they buy the record, but yeah, he did amazing…