Thrash Hits

November 30th, 2009

Interview: Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley on new supergroup, The Damned Things, making loads of money and getting naked in front of schoolkids

Having released one of 2009’s best records plus the recent announcement of a supergroup with Anthrax and Fall Out Boy, Every Time I Die‘s Keith Buckley is on a high so what better time to send Chris Cope out for a cosy chinwag on the band’s bus in Glasgow while they’re here on the Taste Of Chaos tour?

every time i die 2009 band promo photo thrash hits ferret

Last time you came to UK you were supporting Gallows, and this time you’re supporting Killswitch Engage and In Flames. Are you getting tired of opening for bands when you come here?
“Not really, this is a Taste Of Chaos tour and it’s done by the guys who do the Warped tour. We haven’t done this yet so we’re not gonna be pricks about it. If we get offered it, we take it. That’s pretty much the way of our touring for us.”

It’s the Rockstar Taste Of Choas tour. Does that mean Every Time I Die are selling out?
[laughs] “Not at all. I tried to have a Rockstar – kinda tastes like a urinal cake a little bit. It’s not like Rockstar is giving us money or jewellery or anything.”

How’s the new album New Junk Aesthetic going down?
“Good. It’s selling well and all the shows we’ve played off of it have been incredible. We did a headliner in the US with Bring Me The Horizon and all the shows were amazing.”

It’s your fifth album. Are you reaching a peak or is there still some way to go?
“Well I think we’re on a new stage now since we’ve signed to Epitaph. With this being our first record out with them we’re not gonna reach a peak anytime soon. But once when we think we’ve reached a peak, that’s when we’ll knock it off. You don’t wanna go downhill and have everyone watch it.”

So you’ve still got plenty of juice left then?
“Oh yeah. As long as there’s alcohol, we’ll be on stage.”

Every Time I Die New Junk Aesthetic cover artwork packsshot etid Thrash HitsClick for our 5/6 review of Every Time I Die’s New Junk Aesthetic

You used to be an English teacher. How come you’re in a rock band then?
“I don’t know. Life handed it to me, I guess. We went to school cause that was what I planned to do and all of a sudden the band came along. I was already teaching when we started going on tour full-time and it got to a point where I could sign a contract and teach for the rest of my life, or take a gamble and go on the road. I rolled the dice, and it seems to have paid off. Through my early twenties I couldn’t imagine doing lesson plans every night and dealing with the same little brats all the time.”

You’re a fan of fine literature then?
“Yeah I guess so. My main focus was on Shakespeare.”

I’m an English graduate myself, it’s a fine subject.
“And then you can pretty much do anything. I know that a lot of professions hire English teachers and teach them to do other stuff. Like computing engineering for instance, they hire English graduates first because they know how to communicate, then they teach them about computers. It’s important to have a background in being social and being articulate.”

I’ve got ask you about your new supergroup side project, The Damned Things. How did that come about?
“I think it started when Scott [Ian] and Joe [Trohman] met on a vacation or something, and they just started jamming together. We were on tour and I got a call one day sitting in the van and he said they wanted to do a side project and wanted to know if I wanted to be involved, and I said absolutely. It’s very organic. We’ve been writing and recording for two or three years already almost but now everything is coming together and we’re ready to record.”

I heard you’ve got 15 demos?
“15 full songs maybe, and a million parts of songs. Everyone’s got their band so it’s hard to get everyone organised and together at the same time but we’ve been lucky as of late – I’ve going out to New York with everybody and writing songs there and practising.”

Can you go through all 15 songs for us, describing it bit by bit?
“Nah I can’t! There’s no screaming. It’s very rock, Thin Lizzy-esque. Kyuss sorta stuff. I’m very excited. It’s not like we’re gonna tour full-time but we’ll play some festival and shows and stuff.”

Are you worried that because it’s got two members of Fall Out Boy, and Scott Ian too, it’s going to be bigger than Every Time I Die?
“Nah. Fall Out Boy is Joe and Andy [Hurley]’s priority, Anthrax is Scott and Rob [Caggiano]’s priority and Every Time I Die is my priority, but if this can happen, it’ll be fun to do. Everyone has time off between recordings and tours so it’s cool to keep the juices going and keep writing with another band. If we were to tour for 10 or 11 years full-time then maybe we’d be bigger, but it’s just for fun and it’s not going to be a cash cow or anything.”

But I’m sure it’ll make you a lot of money.
“I hope so, I do hope so. Actually I think it is my cash cow.”

You just in it for the money then?
“Oh God yeah, that’s what I’m in Every Time I Die for, the 4 dollars and 50 cents I get to eat everyday. I live like a king.”

Do you think being friends with Fall Out Boy has alienated some of your ‘truer’ fans?
“If it has, they’re not ‘truer’ fans. I don’t think that anyone should stop listening to music they like cause they’re associated with a band outside of their genre. If all we did was hang out with the same kinda people into the same kinda stuff, our music would get extremely stale. I think the fact that we can venture out and try new things and meet new people is kinda the best thing possible for a band. It’s about trying to grow. Y’know, people are idiots too, if they were like ‘We’ll stop buying your records because who we’re friends with’. Unless we’re friends with like Glen Beck – dunno if you guys are familiar with him – some crazy Republican on TV, then I can understand, but they’re just a band that writes music and they’re all good dudes.”

Watch the video to ‘Wanderlust’ by Every Time I Die

New Junk Aesthetic seems to be in a lot top tens for 2009…
“That’s cool. I think it’s because it’s getting late in the game and people are getting lazy. I grant it’s a great record, but the fact that we’re on tour so much – other people are like “Just name ten albums that even came out this year that you listened to”, it’s hard to do.”

What would be on yours?
“It’d definitely be stuff like Converge, Cage. Umm, new Modest Mouse came out, what else?”

Taylor Swift?
“Oh yeah, the Taylor Swift album is great!”

It really is.
“Is it really?”

I have no idea.
“I’m sure it is. Adam Lambert. That guy from American Idol.”

The one that kissed the guy on stage?
“No, he pretended to give fellatio or something. They’re trying to make him into the new David Bowie. It’s not going to happen. Kids don’t care about Bowie, adults care about David Bowie.”

Are you a fan of extroverted stuff like that on stage?
“No. I mean it depends. Obviously if it’s sincere, you know, but he’s a product of industry. It’s not like he was playing basement shows like a GG Allin, really fucking weird, and all of a sudden somebody caught onto him and we’re like ‘Holy shit this guy’s a star, we’re gonna put you in sparkles and you’re gonna be the extremely extroverted guy, you’re gonna be our token gay guy on the label’. It’s such a farce. I kinda feel bad for people like that.”

Back to being a teacher in bygone days – do you see the venue and stage as similar to a classroom?
“Teaching definitely helped with that – it helped me get a little more comfortable with being in front of people. But also no, ’cause in the classroom I talk down to people [laughs]. In a classroom they have to be there, so it’s a different attitude. You’re more appreciative when you’re playing music cause they don’t have to be there if they don’t want to, so I appreciate music fans more than I appreciate students. Students are fucking jerks. High school kids are the fucking worst. They’re so entitled and bratty. I’d never do that again. If I were to go back to teaching, it’d be back to college level. You’re not babysitting.”

Were you your kids’ favourite teacher?
“Yeah [laughs]. Everyone was so stuffy. I just kinda had a relationship with the kids and yeah, I think kids like a younger teacher and they participate more and are less afraid.”

Were you the outcast in the staffroom?
“No not really. I had tattoos and I guess that’s what set me apart but they made me cover them up – staff not of the high school but of my programme through university that had placed me in the schools, they were like ‘Don’t let the students see your tattoos…’ But 14 years olds have tattoos anyway, what’s the big deal? They were never allowed to ask about the band or my tattoos til the last day of classes.”

Did you get naked on the last day then?
“OH YEAH I GOT BUTT-ASS NAKED AND JUST STARTED JAMMING. Just started moshing.” [laughs]

I’m so happy you said ‘jamming’, I thought you were going to say something else. Do you have any closing words?
“I hope that this tour goes really well. We haven’t done a metal tour in so long and I hope that people who came see us before reappear. It’s gonna be fucking lonely as shit as it gets towards Christmas and we’re still here, so I definitely hope people will be kind to us, else I’m getting the fuck outta here.”


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