Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley Talks Festival Gunfire Incident, Lyrical Inspirations + More
During our coverage of the 2013 New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, we had the chance to catch up with Every Time I Die vocalist and lyrical mastermind Keith Buckley. Shortly after an incident where the band was forced to stop mid-performance at this year’s JAMboree Festival due to gunfire, we got the inside scoop on what really happened that day, along with plenty more essential Every Time I Die knowledge.
Buckley spoke passionately about the JAMboree incident, telling us about a JAMboree employee who reportedly lied to a local Ohio newspaper about the details of Every Time I Die’s mid-set exit. We also spoke with Buckley about his biggest lyrical influences, going on tour with bands from different genres and much more. Enjoy!
There was recently a scary incident that happened at this year’s JAMboree Festival in Ohio…
Unless you ask people who weren’t there. They know that the gun was firing blanks, they know exactly what happened, they know exactly who did it, but everyone there is still uncertain. I dunno, maybe it wasn’t scary.
Well, you were forced to leave the stage mid-set because gunshots were fired on the festival grounds. Details have been a bit hazy, so could you tell us exactly what happened?
From the horse’s mouth, this is what happened: We were playing a set at the JAMboree Festival and about halfway through our sixth song, our tour manager comes up onstage and he whispers in my ear that a gun has been fired and that we have to leave the stage, so confused, we walked off the stage. That’s all we knew. The next day, our friends in Terror find a casing on the ground from a .44 or something. I don’t know, I’m not really good with guns, I don’t have one. They found that on the ground and we later found out that someone who worked at the JAMboree fest told a local newspaper that there was no gun and we were never asked to leave the stage, which, I guess, is implying that we just don’t know how to play our songs and didn’t want to finish our set and just walked off.
Your fans are so passionate about your lyrics. Who are your biggest lyrical influences?
I don’t know if I’ve ever really listened to a record and have been inspired to do something because it’s kind of too close. I think if I listen to a record and hear a lyric that I love, I think that automatically kind of steers me away from writing like that because I don’t want to borrow anybody else’s voice. So when it’s time to write a record, I find myself reading more books rather than listening to more music. I think that’s kind of how I recharge my batteries. I guess you could say that surreal fiction is kind of the best way to get my brain going. Haruki Murakami, Italo Calvino — people like that.
Who are some lyricists in metal that are doing great things right now?
Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) has always been one of my favorite lyricists, to be honest. I know that may sound weird, but I think he’s kind of on a different level. I think Thom Yorke (Radiohead) is a great lyricist. As far as our scene goes, I think that Greg from the Dillinger Escape Plan is a great lyricist, I think Brian Fallon from Gaslight Anthem is a great lyricist and I think Jake from Converge is a really great lyricist.
You’ve been on all these different types of tours lately. You recently did a pop-punk tour with Four Year Strong and New Found Glory, then you went on two metalcore / deathcore-type tours and now you’re booked to headlining this year’s All-Stars tour. What is it about Every Time I Die’s music that makes it so accessible to all those different kinds of audiences?
I don’t necessarily think it is accessible to a large fan base, I think sticking out is where we feel most comfortable. I feel like if we play a tour with a pop-punk band, people are going to go home and be like, “What was that that I just saw?” Maybe it’ll promote our music a little better because they’ll go home and look up our stuff on the internet and so on. I think sticking out is working to our advantage.
Were there any noticeable differences in the reactions from the crowds on all those different tours?
Yeah, when you play a pop-punk thing people are a lot more confused. I definitely do think though that there is a lot of sensibility, even in the hardcore music scene, where people just like to have fun. They like to catch on to something like a good melody — something they remember. I feel like that’s a common thread no matter what kind of music you listen to. Maybe we’re the band that gets all the hard metal dudes to put down their guards and have a little fun.
Every Time I Die are currently touring destinations such as Europe and South Africa. Catch Every Time I Die on the 2013 All-Stars tour, for which official dates will soon be announced.