Interview: Every Time I Die

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This is the true story of Every Time I Die.

Every Time I Die has been on the forefront of the rock world for years. The band entered the hard rock scene in the ’90s and has been a permanent fixture ever since thanks to its roots — heavy metal mixed with a punk rock vibe. Every Time I Die has carved out a unique niche for itself and will continue to do so once it releases its seventh studio album in 2014.

Currently on the road, Every Time I Die is reaching audiences and rocking out nightly but the band’s drive to get out a new album has driven it to utilize sound check time to get some writing done before entering the studio in March. Don’t worry, the show does not suffer because of this as long as the audience is willing to party and have some fun.

Before bringing that party to New Jersey, (Tuesday December 17 at The Asbury Lanes) lead singer Keith Buckley made time to chat with Pop-Break. I may have spoken to Buckley back in 2006, but I must say, I learned a lot more about him this time around. Buckley talks about how the band has grown and changed, his favorite seasons of The Real World, and a little bit about making his life on stage more difficult than it has to be because of an insane amount of lyrics.

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Pop-Break: So this is actually crazy because I interviewed you back in 2006 for my university newspaper.

Keith Buckley: Really? I hope it was a good one!

PB: It was. It was right before you guys did the Sinners and Saints festival at the Convention Center in Asbury Park so it’s been a long time!

KB: Yeah that was 2006 huh? Wow, I remember that.

PB: Well obviously that was seven years ago.

KB: Seven years ago!

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PB: Well lets start there. I mean you guys have been playing music for what? A decade and a half and that was halfway through your journey. How have things changed from then and well the start until now for you guys?

KB: It’s a completely different band. I know seven years may not seem like a long time but in the music community that’s an eternity. Bands have a hard time lasting that long for whatever reason. Some do and some don’t but if you don’t kind of adapt to the way things are going in the world and in the music scene then you know you don’t really have much of a chance and so looking back it’s a completely different thing now I think. I don’t know, it just feels like, you know you talk about seven years ago you look at pictures of yourself when you were babies like I can’t believe what that kid did.

PB: I totally understand. Well obviously you guys as a band has changed. Do you feel like your audience has kind of changed as well? Do you think you still have the same fans from back then or do you think there is this kind of new nu metal kids group coming out?

KB: No, I definitely don’t see stuff like that. It’s one of the things that I, personally, am most grateful for. It seems that the people who got on early have been loyal and stuck with us. They’ve changed and they’ve matured and they’ve gained a lot of weight and had a family you know, stuff like that, but it’s cool to see. You play a show and there are some younger kids, which is great because I think that it’s cool if a younger kid likes us because there is a lot worse they could be doing to themselves and I think it’s a good place to start but it’s also cool because you see dudes you haven’t seen in like ten years and they haven’t been to a show in forever and it’s cool to kind of, like at Every Time I Die shows, even for people who haven’t seen us before, it’s a way for people who haven’t seen each other in a long time to just get together and to hang out.

Photo Credit: www.JoshHulstein.com
Photo Credit: www.JoshHulstein.com

PB: Well how are the shows going? You guys have just kicked off another tour.

KB: Yeah, it’s going really well. We’re playing, we did two shows in California so far. today’s our third. We have our fourth tomorrow in San Diego and they’re all sold out as far as capacity is concerned. It’s cool because it’s little venues so no barricades or security or anything like that to kind of get it a little more exciting.

PB: Well the last time I talked to you when you guys were on tour you told me about an incident with your van flipping over.

KB: Oh yeah!

PB: Has anything crazy like that happened lately? I hope not!

KB: No! And I hope you didn’t jinx it either because we haven’t.

PB: Oh God! I’d feel terrible!

KB: No, we haven’t; I hate to say this, but it kind of feels like you have to know you can survive something like that and it just makes you a little stronger. I think we all drive safer now and we know what we are all capable of and how to work the road and no, nothing that tragic has happened since then so we’re lucky.

PB: The only other thing from the past I want to address is that the last time I spoke with you, you said you’d love to tour with Say Anything. Since then, I know you’ve sung with them and played with them so how was that, that you got to play with someone you really wanted to play with, and who do you want to play with and tour with now?

KB: It was great because I knew that saying and putting it out there helps make it happen. We were just talking the other day that we have never played with Converge, which seems odd because our careers have just kind of paralleled each other. I would really like to do that, that’s definitely a goal. I mean there are so many bands out there that I love but it’s weird because it’s not, it sounds great but it would never make sense as a show. We couldn’t. The crowds are too different. I just found out Manchester Orchestra is going on tour and I would love to be a part of that tour but it’s only because I’m a fan and would love to watch them each night but we would never do well on that tour. No one would give a shit about us. I don’t know. I’d like to do a tour with the Deftones. We only did one show with the Deftones so I would love to do something like that.

PB: Well your music is so powerful and strong and you guys play a lot of heavier and harder songs; what is your hardest song and heaviest song?

KB: Hard like Hatebreed hard or hard like difficult to play?

PB: Both actually.

KB: I think hard like Hatebreed hard is for some reason it still seems to be “Floater.” I don’t know if it’s just because it’s so tried and tested but that song seems to get a lot of people pretty riled up but I think the hardest song for us to play for me personally is “Who Invited the Russian Soldier” because the problem is, when I write songs, I don’t ever consider how I’m going to do them live. I just fucking write. And then in rehearsals I put so many fucking lyrics in that song and then it was too late to change it so now every night I’m just gasping for breath by the end of that song. That’s the one.

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PB: So…when does the world get to have a new album?

KB: We go into the studio in March so as you and I are on the phone right now, the band is inside using our sound check time to write songs. That’s how this album is getting written, at sound checks on tour, then we go home after this tour we have a month off to finish writing then we get into the studio in March.

PB: What’s it going to be like for you guys, are you guys excited to do this whole tour with A Day to Remember and True Story in Europe? How’d that come about?

KB: It’s going to be cool! It actually came about because we played a festival in Toronto just recently. A Day to Remember headlined and we’d never played a show with [them] before and we have mutual friends that work for them so they introduced them and we watched them and the kids just fucking love that band. And the guys were super cool to us and we just hung out and really didn’t even talk music or anything. Just kind of shot the shit and that’s what happens when you get along with someone you just meet and then two or three weeks later we get a call like, ‘Hey they’re going out on tour in Europe and they’d like to bring you guys with them.’ I guess we did get along as well as we thought. It’s just one of those things which is cool because it’s just no politics involved, just we got along with those guys, lets go on tour together.

PB: Really cool.

KB: Yeah, it is really cool because it’s a different crowd.

PB: So if you weren’t on tour or recording your own music, what would you be doing?

KB: I think if I wasn’t with the band I’d try to get in another band. I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not on tour. If I wasn’t in music I’d just go back to school and try to write. I don’t really know what else I’m passionate about if not music and writing so it would have to be something in those two fields.

PB: Well, now I usually ask the bands that I interview what is the weirdest question you have ever been asked in an interview.

KB: Hmm. The weirdest question. That’s a pretty weird question but I don’t think that will qualify as an answer. Well okay, here’s the thing … I don’t really remember the specifics of it but right after our last drummer left, a lot of people doing interviews thought it would be a perfect time to find out if rumors they heard about him were true like. I was hearing a lot of weird shit and I don’t think it was true but I just think that any question relating to our old drummer always weirds me out.

PB: Alright, to stay on that topic, not to ask a question about your drummer, but you guys have gone through a lot of bassists.

KB: Yeah…

Keith Buckley
Keith Buckley

PB: What’s the deal with that? How do you feel about the line-up you’ve got right now?

KB: Right now it’s the most ‘on’ it’s been in a long time. I think the problem was, I’ve used this analogy before and I will again because it works … location is everything and I think that in the band, the bass player was the first person to leave the band originally. Our first bass player was the first member of the band to leave so as soon as he did that the position was jinxed so the location of that was jinxed and I think that no matter who came in it was just going to get weirder after that. It just became this thing where it got known that we were losing bass players and that made it weirder and there was this pressure on us to keep a bass player. So, I really think it’s like trying to put up a store in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a lot of foot traffic. It just isn’t going to work there. So it doesn’t matter who or what it is, it’s the location of it and it just wasn’t a good location for one.

PB: Alright so now I have a weird question for you. If you could be on any TV show, what would it be?

KB: This is like a sitcom?

PB: Any show, it doesn’t matter. Sitcom, Reality TV, anything you want to be on. Soap opera, I don’t care.

KB: Oh man! I would pick the ’90s Real World like within the first five (seasons).

PB: Which season was your favorite?

KB: I mean there’s so many of them! Well whether I’d want to live in the house with them, I don’t know but just watching it. I fucking love it. I love the first one. I love the one, you know the one obviously where Irene gets smacked is great.

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PB: Yes! By Steven.

KB: Yeah, all of those — they changed the game of TV. I think actually I’d probably pick Cops. If I was going to be on a TV show it’d have to be Cops.

PB: Awesome. Okay well then my question to you now goes back to the music. What can we expect from you guys on this tour right now since you guys are going to be in Jersey at Asbury Lanes next week, what can we expect?

KB: It’s kind of up to the people that are there. We don’t have any production. We’re never the kind of band that’s like we’re going to play with pyrotechnics and we’ve got a new cello player. We don’t have shit like that. It’s a fucking punk rock show so hopefully you can expect the unexpected and hopefully people are drunk and expect a lot of stage diving and partying!

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