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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

Every Time I Die

Interviewed by Josh Turner
Interview with Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die from 2004

This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 3 at

How's Ozzfest going for you guys?
Great, great. Aside from some technicalities like our bus breaking down, things like that, but aside from all that it's a blast.
MSJ: How did you get involved in Ozzfest?
I submitted a bid, and we were there for the whole month and everything approved and underway and, uh, just kind of stuff that came to us like through phone calls, and, you know, one day it's like, yeah, it's done, you guys are on, and then we started breaking bottles and screaming.
MSJ: How did you meet your band mates?
Jordan's my brother and, uh, the other guys in the band we just knew from going to shows in Buffalo. Some of us are in a softball league together, our softball league.
MSJ: Who are your influences?
The music's definitely like Pantera, stuff like that. You know, it's kind of like a classic older metal. I don't know. I don't write any music, so lyrically it's, you know, a lot of The Beatles, you know, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and stuff.
MSJ: How do you guys write your songs? What's your songwriting process?
You know, I'd tell you if I knew, but I'm not a part of it. I'm the wrong guy to ask. I just show up on the last day and write some lyrics to it and stuff, but I know for the last album it was just a lot of, uh, crunching, you know, like before a big exam. You lock yourself in the basement and just come up with anything you can. See if it works and see if it gets a majority vote and, you know, just sort of Jordan and Andy write the parts and then they call me and tell me when the recording date is and tell me that we have to have lyrics by that time.
MSJ: You write some of the lyrics yourself?
I write them all.
MSJ: So what motivates your lyrics?
Um, out of loneliness {he laughs}, a lot of personal time. So, basically, you know, sort of paying attention to everything and sort of taking it all in on tour - kind of the friendships and relationships that I have and the ones that get screwed up, so, that is like a major topic. Nothing really profound, but I hope that I can sort of convey it in a different approach than a lot of other lyricists do.
MSJ: Your latest album, Hot Damn!, what's that about? Is there any kind of meaning you are trying to convey in there?
No, not really, you know, it's just more fun than our last recording. I guess if there was a theme to it, it was just be total blank denial of everything that's going on in front of you and just sort of like having this ideal of what you think real. For me personally, things should have been like in my life that weren't happening that way and just sort of forgetting it, just ignoring the fact that it wasn't as good. It wasn't as good as it gets and, just claiming that it was even though it was so obviously not.
MSJ: Ok, so how did you come up with the title of that album?
I was in a bar in Connecticut. I was sitting around and it was just sort of like an absolute that I heard somebody say in response to something somebody had said. I just sort of caught it, you know, and I was like, that was kind of catchy. People don't say they that very much. I haven't heard that very much., so I just kind of stuck with it. I wrote it, you know. I just kind of kept a bunch of names on file just to bring out to the band, and that one definitely was the one I didn't get sick of and everyone seemed to agree.
MSJ: I hear a lot of hostility in your music. With some bands they actually are hostile themselves. They are aggressive, that sort of thing. With other bands, it is just a way for them to channel their emotions, enjoy themselves, just kind of work things out through the music. I'm wondering where all this hostility originates? What's it all about?
You know, it's hard to say. It not really hostility and that's a problem. It's just sort of an excitement I guess, you know, you scream for a lot of reasons, you know. They're scared. They're excited. I think that ours comes from an excitement, you know, just sort of a zest for life.
MSJ: How did you guys come up with the name for your band Every Time I Die? That's kind of original.
You know, I don't know, I mean some things just sort of like we're sitting around in practice and start talking these out, you know, when we realize we wanted to be a band and we actually had people and we were starting to write songs. Like I go, we gotta do an interesting name. Honestly, it was just like everyone is just saying something that came to their head and that just stuck. It stuck for some reason. So, nothing, nothing too ethereal behind it.
MSJ: How did you actually get involved in music yourself?
Uh, my dad, had been playing guitar, I mean, for his whole life and, you know, the music was very pervasive in my house just growing up. I mean, it was everywhere, you know. It would be him listening to, you know, The Beatles or James Taylor, or Three Dog Night or whoever. That sort of got me, you know. I started with the punk, hardcore thing, but I had a friend with an older brother, you know, with a driver's license that we used to go out and hang out and go see bands.
MSJ: Have you played any instruments yourself?
No. I don't play. You know, I took piano lessons a few years ago and violin and cello through my middle school years, but nothing that I pursued. I sort of leave that to somebody else. I'll focus on the literary lyrical aspects of it.
MSJ: How did you decide to become a singer yourself.
I didn't. I really didn't. It was just sort of like, I just wanted to be a part of music and I figured if you don't really have any talent, you might as well sing. So, I offered my services and here I am.
MSJ: Yeah, I've got a lot of friends and family members that our singers.
Yeah, no offense with that. I was talking about me personally.
MSJ: I know, I know. Just to get an idea of your musical tastes, what was the last CD you purchased yourself?
Um, the last CD that I actually bought was The Best of Ray Charles before he died, not after. I wasn't like cashing in on his career after he died, but that's the last one, which sucks because I haven't purchased a CD in so long, but yeah, it was like an old, old recording of Ray Charles. That was the last thing I think I bought.
MSJ: That shows that your musical tastes are very well-rounded.
It's so varied, I mean, I think that if you were to keep a tally of what kind of music I listen to the most, I think, probably metal is played the least in my CD player, or my iPod or whatever. It is usually like, definitely Pink Floyd is very big just cause right now the only time I get to sit down and listen to music is whenever, I'm going to sleep and if I'm falling asleep it is either Pink Floyd or Jeff Buckley.
MSJ: You've got to be careful when you're talking to a lot of the hardcore metal guys, you don't want to admit that all the time.
Yeah, I know, see that's the thing, I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for those bands, you know, for those, for my admiration of musicians like that, you know. My dad took me to see Pink Floyd when I was like fifteen years old, you know. Things like that definitely sculpted who I am and what I have to contribute to the band.
MSJ: What is the last concert that you attended as a fan?
As a fan the last concert I attended, I just went and saw Simon and Garfunkel. That was about two months ago with my mom. Went to see Simon and Garfunkel in Buffalo.
MSJ: So, what did you think of that?
Oh, it was amazing. It was amazing, absolutely incredible.
MSJ: This is kind of a hard one. I guess this gets asked a lot and people have trouble answering it, but can you recall any Spinal Tap moments?
Oh my god, I love Spinal Tap. I always rent Spinal Tap, because I sort of, put ourselves in comparison to the bands that take themselves so seriously that they don't feel like they can have fun being musicians and I always use Spinal Tap as an example cause when I first saw Spinal Tap I thought it was a real documentary. And, I thought they were a real band. I mean, they are now a real band and everything after that, because of that movie, um, it was really embarrassing, because I grew up and realized it wasn't real. I really try to avoid Spinal Tap moments in my life. {he laughs} So, I think probably, you know, showing up in a town and having the show cancelled that you didn't know about, you know, the flights cancelled or whatever. Just sort of being punked off, you know, by bigger, better musicians. {we laugh} Kind of like having drummers explode or die in an accident.
MSJ: Being on tour with Ozzfest, do you have any moments with Ozzy that you can reminisce about?
Not with Ozzy yet, you know, like he's a huge idol of mine. The first time I ever got a chance to meet him I was wearing these extremely short cut off shorts and I was really embarrassed and I didn't capitalize on my opportunity to meet him just cause I felt like a huge douche bag and I didn't want to convey the wrong image.
MSJ: What would you say is your favorite movie?
Um, probably Rushmore, uh, Wes Anderson. I don't know if you've ever seen it. Jason Schwartzman was in it, Brian Cox is in it. Bill Murray's in it. It is based on one of my favorite books. I think the humor in it is absolutely unstoppable. I have watched it numerous times in a day.
MSJ: I was going to ask what your favorite book is, but I take it that it's Rushmore?
Yeah, but there is one that is based on the mysticism of the universe. It is not a best-seller by any means. I came across it a few years ago. It really changed what I thought about everything. If anybody wants to read it, it's called "Walk on the Wild Pendulum" by Isaac Ben Tao.
MSJ: Who would you say is your favorite band.
The Beatles
MSJ: What's your favorite album?
B y them?
MSJ: By anybody
Yeah, um, see, I really think it is more like Jeff Buckley Grace is definitely up there, but I think The Wall is probably my favorite album just cause of the concept of Pink Floyd's The Wall. The concept of it and the lasers can absolutely dominate your mood no matter how you feel. When you begin listening to it you are guaranteed to feel like something totally different by the end of it.
MSJ: Would you say you are a fan of progressive rock?
Yeah. Oh yeah, definitely, definitely, I mean it's also a very fine line between that stuff, are you talking about Yes, things like that?
MSJ: Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, totally, but I mean to a certain extent that, you know, could kind of be called stoner rock, old stoner rock, which I'm a big fan of.
MSJ: Do you have any pets?
Do I have any pets? Yes. I have a dog and her name is Jade. I miss her very much. She still has yet to be identified as to what kind of dog she is. Because we sort of got her from someone who had saved her, you know. It's sad. She was abandoned, so we are not really sure what kind of dog she is, but she is unbelievable. Anybody who knows me and knows this dog would say our personalities are exactly the same. It is uncanny how exactly alike I am to my dog.
MSJ: What kind of mix? Do you have any idea? What does she look like?
Somebody said like an Australian Sheepherder. Part Lab something. I don't know. She is so weird. She's so skinny and malnutritioned just like me.
MSJ: Are there any final words for the fans?
Um, no, I just hope that people are still coming out. Ozzfest is definitely a different experience, and I think it is an opportunity for us to make new fans of a different demographic, but anybody that has been, you know, with us for these past two years are definitely a priority and, you know, we will always be doing hardcore tours. Hopefully people still come and check us out.
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