Interview With Buddy From Senses Fail
I recently caught up with one of my personal heroes, Buddy from Senses Fail while the band was in town for their Out With The In Crowd Tour. Buddy has always been known for his blatant honesty, so I got to enjoy that while we discussed their new album, the tour, and why the Saints and Sinner’s tour sucked.
How has the tour been so far?
It’s been great, really awesome. Going very well.
Did you pick the openers (Balance and Composure, The Title Fight)?
Yeah, we picked them, us and Bayside.
How did you come across those particular bands?
They were just bands that we had been listening to, liked them. Decided hey let’s put them on tour with us.
How has this tour been in comparison to (last year’s) Saints and Sinners tour?
Oh way better, that tour sucked. I love this tour.
What was the source of the conflict with Brokencyde on that tour?
Oh I just hate that band. They’re just a terrible band. Absolutely one of the worst things I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s just unlistenable.
How did you guys end up doing that tour?
I didn’t know any of the other bands that would be on it. It just kind of got pitched to us, Saints and Sinners, just a package tour. We signed up for it, and all these other bands just show up on it. We thought it would be more of a hard, heavy, metal kind of thing and it ended up being like, a hodgepodge of everything.
It definitely did seem like a really weird line up.
It was, it was a terrible line up. Hollywood Undead drew all of the fans, I don’t think any of our fans even came out to those shows. Hollywood Undead had just blown up at that point.
When you were onstage you seemed really irritated.
Yeah, because I was on tour with a bunch of bands that sucked.
Did you at least enjoy Hollywood Undead?
Yeah, they were actually a bunch of really good guys. They were fun guys. It wasn’t a great tour, but they were cool.
As far as conflict with other bands goes, I head there was something with Mayday Parade now?
I don’t know man, every band that plays music without any substance is mad at me, because I say what I think, but apparently I’m not allowed to have an opinion. All the boys, the little boys in those bands stick up for each other… I mean, I dunno, it’s whatever. I don’t care.
Moving on to the new record, The Fire, I’ve noticed that you have this theme of fire throughout your records.
Yeah it’s always been a common thing, I guess I use it more as like, a mythological reference, the idea of fire and how it plays a role in things. I like that it has that common thread, and the imagery used in the lyrics, because it makes it kind of a cohesive thing. If you listen to all of it together, it feels like it’s all one stream of consciousness.
With former guitarist Heath no longer with the band, how did that impact the sound?
We just kind of stripped it back down to the straightforward stuff, and it got a little heavier, honestly with less solos.
Does having a new record out affect your song line up at all?
Not really, we just play a couple new songs. We aren’t gonna play a ton of new songs, because people don’t know them yet, so we just try to play a couple songs off of every record.
On the DVD that comes with the new CD, you mention that if fans don’t like a song when you play it, you don’t like it anymore and it gets tossed.
Yeah, pretty much.
Has it ever happened where you were really excited about a song, really proud of it, and that fan’s didn’t like it live?
Not really, usually it’s just like, if I’m [not excited about] a song, the fans feel the same way.
Are there any songs from past records that you aren’t as proud of?
Nah, I just think there are certain songs that don’t go over live well. The fans just don’t want to hear them live, they don’t sound good live, or are maybe just better album tracks that just don’t work as well live.
On past albums you’ve kind of hinted at certain problems in your life, but on this album it seems like you got a little more specific, and really just raged.
Haha yeah, I think that’s a good way to put it.
Was there anything specific that sparked that?
Not really, it was just, going through two lawsuits, dealing with everyday strife, I just feel that fire and have to let it out.
In another interview you mentioned one main album that influenced you lyrically…
Yeah, Jets to Brazil. Orange Rhyming Dictionary.
Where do you think you would be now without that album?
Oh I have no idea, I probably wouldn’t have gone down that path I guess. That album really set the tone for how I wanted to write lyrics. He is much, much smarter than I am, and his lyrics are really good.
Was there any specific moment when you knew you wanted to do music?
No, not really, it was just something I always wanted to do, it’s just one of those things you know.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a musician?
I have no idea, I think that I would have ended up in the music industry either way, if not in music then around music.
Back to the record, are there any songs that you are really proud of, or are really important to you?
I really like “New Years Eve,” that’s one I’m really proud of, I really like “Lifeboats,” I really like “Headed West,” those are kind of my top few. I also really like “Coward.” I really overall am proud of the entire record. There’s not a single song I don’t like, versus other records where there are a couple songs that are like, I don’t really like that song, it just doesn’t do it for me. But on this record, I’m just really really proud of the whole thing.
Speaking of “Coward,” when I first heard that song, it threw me off. I think it’s the first time you really, blatantly called someone out like that. What are some of the issues behind that song?
That’s one that I think is pretty self-explanatory, but letting the stuff out in that song was really cool, I really like it.
Can you go into the meanings of some of the other songs on the record?
I actually like to leave the songs pretty vague for people. I don’t like explaining too much about it, because I might ruin it for someone. Someone might find a meaning that is different from what it means to me personally.
Even with a new record out, are you constantly thinking and writing new material?
Nah, I can’t write all the time, I would freak out.
On the new record it seems, with the anthemic choruses, that your voice goes higher than previous records.
Actually on the new record my voice is lower than the other ones. I think that just the way this record is written, it’s written for my voice and the way I sing, so it ended up sounding higher, but it’s not… I think that before with Heath in the band a lot of stuff got written that wasn’t in my range, and that’s not necessarily the way that I like to sing, and it wasn’t natural to me. This record is, and so it sounds a lot better.
Are you personally involved with the band’s Facebook page and those areas?
Yeah, I actually write all that myself. Except for the ad stuff for the label, like when the new record is $3.99 and stuff like that.
Do you take the time and read all the responses and opinions?
Nah, because most of it is just bull, people that don’t know what they’re talking about trying to talk [crap].
Was there ever a point where you did care what people were saying?
Not really, like the other day I responded to a comment about the new album and just ended up taking the whole thing down because I didn’t want to end up sitting in interviews, talking about what some kid that doesn’t know what they’re talking about said. I just don’t want to deal with it, because apparently I can’t have an opinion.
It seems like people join these fan pages just to hate.
Oh of course, it’s the internet, that’s what it’s all about. It’s weird how all these kid’s are growing up this way with the internet… the future, where the internet’s going, it’s gonna be strange. The internet is taking over, that kind of social interaction…
You’re obviously not in music for the fame or the money, what would you define as success for you personally?
I just want my music to be good, to play great, have people be like that was a great show. That’s for me is why I’m here, that hour of rocking and being outside of my own head, just being in that moment… Playing is what I live for, and being creative.
Are there any bands you haven’t been on tour with that you would like to do some shows with?
I really want to go on tour with Thursday. I think us and Thursday would be a really good tour. I would really love that.
Are there any new bands you have been listening to that you really like?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Man Overboard, Hostage Calm. It’s hard to find completely new music, I sometimesnget to it a little late, but those are a couple bands up and coming that are really good.
If somebody has never listened to Senses Fail, what songs would you recommend they listen to?
“Can’t be Saved,” “Wolves At The Door,” “You’re Cute When You Screm,” those are a couple that people seem to like, and “Rum Is For Drinking, Not For Burning.”
Check out Senses Fail at www.myspace.com/sensesfail, and their new album The Fire is in stores now!
My review for The Fire can also be found in the Reviews section of the site.