FANS WHAT THEY WANT ... AND SOMETHING ABOUT CIGARETTES:
An Interview with JORDAN BUCKLEY of EVERY TIME I DIE
Interview by Ray Van Horn, Jr. - August 2005
There are some bands you spot right away and know without a doubt they’re going to make it. Whether that measure of success means they play arenas worldwide or hit a watermark of album sales in their respective genre, a band like Buffalo’s Every Time I Die, in case you’re out of the loop, is destined for absolute greatness. Having seen this band twice in two years, I can vouch that Every Time I Die has rocketed from a damn good band to a soon-to-be-legendary band. With poetic and sardonic lyrics by Keith Buckley and a rhythm section that has escalated its shtick from a noisy shriek value to serious metalcore with classic rock influences, such bold ingredients are the things pioneers are credited with. Let the record stand that Every Time I Die will be glanced upon in ten years as pioneers of their frantic art form. What you’ll read here is footage from a very extensive interview I conducted with guitarist Jordan Buckley of Every Time I Die. The remainder of this interview will appear in an upcoming issue of Impose magazine. This isn’t cutting room filler stuff, I assure you. I felt this material was entertaining enough as a standalone and I hope you’ll agree with me….
You guys played some festival over in Europe, some pop rock festival…
Jordan Buckley: Pukkelpop?
Rough Edge: Yeah, that’s the one. That had to have been a bit of a weird mix with The Hives, Franz Ferdinand, The Bravery…
Jordan Buckley: It was, but it was fun. I was like, ‘Okay, what am I going to get out of this? I’m going to go see The Hives, a band I’ve been waiting to see for awhile, and we’re going to play to a bunch of fucked-up people who are just going to stare at us.’ But it turned out to be amazing! It was very, very humbling to go into a country that you’ve never been and play outside for all these people who are…who knows? ‘Do you know, or are you there because you got here early? Do you think you’re watching some other band by accident? Why are you actually watching us right now?’ It was awesome, enough said.
Rough Edge: I was reading how Every Time I Die structures its music with actual arrangements instead of piling riff upon riff and breakdowns ad nauseum. I know you guys do use a fair amount of breakdowns, but tell me about the arrangements you guys utilize.
Jordan Buckley: Well, on this CD, I can tell you for sure that the first EP and the first full-length was with no knowledge of musical structure at all. It was ‘Okay, this riff will sound good, now this riff will sound good after that, all right, I’ve got this riff that’ll sound good after that, and okay, it’s been three minutes now, maybe we should stop.’
Rough Edge: (laughs)
Jordan Buckley: That’s just how it was. It was kind of what we were into at the time. Now we’re into the same energy, the same attitude, the same heaviness, but we’re older and more mature and we’re looking for longevity now, you know? We’re not 17-year-old kids just looking to annoy anybody who doesn’t get it. We’re here to say, ‘Alright, this is our job, let’s be good at it, let’s actually make people care about us when we’re gone.’ I think when you start taking influences from things that have been around for 30 years as opposed to only three years, that’s where the AC/DCs and the Black Sabbaths and Motorheads came into play, you know? We’re not a verse-chorus-verse-chorus band, but we did pick up on a lot of things from these bands that have been playing heavy fucking music the last 30 years. Obviously they’ve done something right, so yeah, we started completing more parts. We made a couple of our parts into more memorable riffs, I guess you could say. Not catchier, but harder to forget, I guess! (laughs)
Rough Edge: (laughs) The video for “Kill the Music” off your new album "Gutter Phenomenon" has been out for a few weeks and (laughs) when I first saw it, I roared at the end with Michael Madsen’s tirade!
Jordan Buckley: Yeah!
Rough Edge: Was that a caricature of an actual event in your guys’ lives?
Jordan Buckley: No, Andy (Williams) has this ability to hear music and immediately think of a music video, and this goes back to the first year we were in a band, where we’d just be driving in the car to a show and he’d be like—and it wasn’t even one of our songs, it’d be other songs—he’d be like, ‘This would make a cool video!’ He just happened to tell us his ideas like ‘Okay, right here, this happens,’ or ‘This monster does this right here,’ and I guess that’s kind of cool. (laughs) So for “Kill the Music” he just had a vision; he wanted The Brady Bunch meets Gladiator!
Rough Edge: (laughs)
Jordan Buckley: We were like, ‘Sure, man, let’s go for it!’ And it worked. I think it looks great.
Rough Edge: Right on. "Gutter Phenomenon" runs at 35 minutes, which seems to be a recurring theme for Every Time I Die’s albums, and this trend is starting back up again overall, which reminds me a lot of the ‘80s punk and some speed metal albums which ran a half hour. Do you have a keep them wanting more kind of thing going on?
Jordan Buckley: Yeah, I do, I do, for sure. I definitely do. I just try to look at it from the perspective of… If I wasn’t in this band, how long would I want to watch us play for? How long would I want to listen to a CD by us for? Our audience, you’ve got to take into consideration that it’s hard to keep their interest, you know what I mean?
Rough Edge: Absolutely.
Jordan Buckley: You can’t do a Pink Floyd thing with 18-year-old kids. It’s just not going to work, and I’m not saying that we’re here to cater to our fans, but at the same time, we’re here to cater to ourselves as if we were our fans. Do you know what I’m trying to say?
Rough Edge: Yeah, yeah.
Jordan Buckley: If the five of us were standing in the front row of an Every Time I Die concert, what songs would be played? How long would the songs be? How long would the album be? How long would the show be? We’re a very no-filler kind of band. We just want to get in, get out, you know?
Rough Edge: Sock you in the teeth and leave the town burning!
Jordan Buckley: Yeah! (laughs) We don’t want to bore anybody. That’s the last thing on our minds.
Rough Edge: You bring up the live performance, and I was impressed with you particularly the last time I saw you guys. I was standing right in front of you and you had this way of swinging your guitar within inches of my nose a whole bunch of times…
Jordan Buckley: (laughs)
Rough Edge: I didn’t even flinch!
Jordan Buckley: Sorry, man!
Rough Edge: No, no, no! It’s all good! I totally trusted you because I could tell you knew what you were doing!
Jordan Buckley: (laughs) I guess so! It’s just good luck, I guess!
Rough Edge: (laughs) You haven’t had any unfortunate whacks, have you?
Jordan Buckley: No, no. I think I hit Keith on the chin once, maybe. It’s just the kind of music it is, you can’t help it!
Rough Edge: No, not at all. It didn’t bother me any. As I said, I was impressed. Well, I caught you guys hosting Headbangers Ball and I was disappointed that you guys only had a few camera spots.
Jordan Buckley: Yeah! It’s weird, you know? They’re like, ‘Okay, get ready…5-4-3-2-1, Go!’ It was real impromptu and then it’s like, ‘Hello, we’re Every Time I Die, welcome to the Headbangers Ball.’ Then in parentheses it says ‘(Band talks about new video).’ They don’t even tell you! They’re not like, ‘Okay, we’re going to come back, introduce yourselves and then talk about the new video’ so that you can gather your thoughts. It’s totally on-the-spot, get in, do your job, then fucking leave. Oh, my God! Then if you want to ad lib or tell a story, they’re like, ‘Okay, he’s ad libbing, everybody get ready!’ It’s super-strict! It’s not a job I’d like to have. You’d think hosting Headbangers Ball would be awesome, but we were there a total of like, twenty minutes. We had to do it all off the top of our heads, and have maybe one practice run. Everybody who’s seen it has said the same thing. They’d be like, ‘Yeah, I was waiting for you guys, you’d be on, you’d tell a funny story, and then I wouldn’t see you for another 45 minutes!’ (laughs)
Rough Edge: (laughs) Speaking of funny, what’s this about someone shitting in your tour manager’s cigarettes?
Jordan Buckley: (laughs) Yeah, we struck gold with our merch guy, Jeff. He’s just nonstop…I can’t say entertainment because I don’t want to make him out to be this thing that you just put on a pedestal, but we love him and he loves us back. It seems whenever we need a good laugh, he’s already two steps ahead of us in getting ready to perform. Our last day in Europe, we threw out a bunch of ‘what ifs?’ and we’d just smile and he said, ‘What if he came back and there was this shit in his cigarette box?’ We’re laughing and thought yeah, that’d be really funny, so Jeff said ‘Yeah, alright, I’ll be right back!’
Rough Edge: (laughs)
Jordan Buckley: Okay, this is great, it’s going to happen and it’s going to rule. So it happened, and it ruled! At first, there was no reaction and it was funny, because he was in the middle of settling things in the back, and we’re like, ‘Oh, what a bummer! He didn’t even fucking do a thing!’ He just played it cool, I mean…how do you open a box of cigarettes, see shit and not say a thing?
Rough Edge: (laughs)
Jordan Buckley: So then later he was getting us pizzas and we ordered way more than we were supposed to, and he went, “You know what? First you shit in my cigarettes!” We were just like, yeah, up until then we were like, ‘Didn’t he realize there was shit in his cigarettes?’ So yeah, it was funny.
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Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:10 -0400.