Keith Buckley On New Musical Project Many Eyes

Photo by Jena Yannone

For Keith Buckley, the last few years have been life changing. But if you had asked him at the beginning of 2022 when he stepped away from Every Time I Die, resulting in them breaking up after 20 years of chaos, whether he would be playing music again in the form that he is, he probably wouldn’t have believed you.

The truth is that making such a huge decision was necessary for Keith, no matter how much it cost him, professionally and personally. Taking steps to combat his long-standing and destructive alcoholism and connecting with and nurturing his family once more in the way that they deserved. Music wasn’t particularly at the forefront of his mind. But a catch-up with Hatebreed‘s Jamey Jasta then introduced him to brothers Charlie and Nick Bellmore, and Many Eyes was born.

Possessing all of the furious riffing and throat-shredding passion you should expect from anything Keith puts his name to, there is more to unpack here. With a love for 90’s alternative rock and grunge, a plethora of positive affirmations and a lust for living life to its fullest and clearest like never before, it feels like the beginning of one of the most exciting chapters in his life.

Now, as they head out on tour for the first time as support for Thursday across the US, Rock Sound catches up with Keith to talk about how we got here and what it means to be right back at it again…

RS: You’re three songs into the Many Eyes journey and stepping back onto the stage again. How does it feel to be right back in the middle of things after it feels like this part of your life might have been over?

KEITH: “It’s a welcome feeling, for sure. The nerves are familiar, though. I remember the first The Damned Things show, and I remember the first Every Time I Die show. I have had all of these firsts, and it’s weird to think I will have another one. In my 40s as well. But it is a welcome change and a second chapter in my life. There’s so much different about it that speculating what it will feel like from my past experiences is not even fair. It’s like apples and oranges. This is a sober version of me who knows my worth, is confident in what I have done, and has a good team around him. I know what I’m doing and that it’s what I love. There’s a new perspective, as far as I’m concerned, and it’s about not trying to make everything perfect. It’s about radically accepting the will of God, as I say. Whatever happens will happen. This is something that I have been doing for a very long time, and it’s something that I have built into muscle memory, so I’m just going to trust myself and trust what I have always done.”

RS: In terms of the public-facing side of things, this has been a rapid process leading up to now, but there has been so much work behind the scenes to get to this position. Within that process, was there a moment you can pinpoint where you knew you were on the path that you wanted to be on again? When did you know Many Eyes was something you wanted to put yourself into, mentally and physically?

KEITH: “It was early on, but not at the beginning. I loved it when we first wrote ‘Revelation’, the first song we wrote. There was no doubt that it was something special. But to me, it was questioning whether I really was going to enter this arena again. I will be playing many of the same venues and seeing the same promotors. It would be on par with what I had been previously doing. Is it something I want to do again? I had the opportunity to do anything I wanted, but what was important to me was recapturing the community I had lost. I had lost the scene with the Every Time I Die break-up. I needed not to make that community feel like I had disavowed it. Like, ‘I’m not in this band anymore, so I’m not going to sound like that guy anymore either’. I didn’t want to do that, but I wanted to do something different so that I wasn’t putting anything new on the table for anyone to take from.

“I think it really changed for me in April last year when I came back from treatment. The real VIPs of the story are my wife Angela and my daughter Zuzana. They were with me when nobody else was. When everybody had given up on me, didn’t believe me, didn’t think I was a good person, or didn’t want me to be sober. Angela was the one who said that it was too much to do on her own and that we had to get me help. She really pulled out for me to seek therapy and the 12-step Program. I went to this rehabilitation clinic in Salt Lake City for a month, and the things that I was writing there, and writing after it, was when I realised how much my mindset had changed. My writing was now being affected, too. My subconscious was processing these things differently from how I had normally done it.

“Normally, I would sit down and write lyrics and be angry at God. That would always be my go-to thing, which is strange because I never admitted that I believed in him, but I was always mad at him. How am I mad at this force that I don’t believe in? But then, when I came back from treatment, a lot of the things that I was writing about were myself and processing the trauma I endured. Processing the things that I knew I was responsible for and those I wasn’t responsible for, the things that jumped out through the therapy. My writing was changing, so if I could put it into a band, it would be a completely different thing. That’s when things really changed for me. I could be someone new in a band whilst still being the same person. As someone who has experienced something they have never experienced before. That’s when I knew Many Eyes could be something special.”

RS: The main thing that stands out is how you initially processed what you were going through based on the thoughts and opinions of those who liked your music. The switch is that you start processing it alongside your family, the people who know you the best and will be there no matter what. The main feeling there is guilt, which is a really complex emotion, especially in a situation like this.

KEITH: “Guilt is a really horrible thing, and I was really thankful that I had as much experience with spirituality as I did. Spirituality is built on not being guilty but being lessons learned from regret. Regret and guilt are two different things. I have always pushed myself forward with that perspective. But this has all been a personal journey that it’s hard to explain. I know many people disagree with what I did, but nobody was living the way I was. Nobody was suffering the way I was. If people don’t believe that I was suffering and believe I could have done things differently, then you didn’t read what I had been writing for 20 years. Growing into an alcoholic before people’s eyes and then realised that I was stuck within that alcoholism and couldn’t get out and needed help. That’s something I have always said pretty loudly. I know it is what I am known for, but I don’t necessarily feel like this is all of me. Once I stopped drinking and so much of my life and time in my day opened up, it felt like I was meeting someone for the first time. I was exploring things I had never explored before; I was reading things I had never read before, and I felt like I was a brand-new person. I can’t apologise for any of that. Those things tap into something higher, and you know you’re on the right path. You know you’re in sync with what you should be doing. The fact I am in a band, and people are willing to work with me must mean that I’m not the awful person I’ve been led to believe I was.”

RS: A lot of strong emotions only exist within a single moment. A lot of them directed towards you were in the fallout of the Every Time I Die break-up. But those feelings will be incredibly different now they can see what it has allowed you to do and what it has allowed you to become.

KEITH: “I really hope that enough time goes by for people to get the whole story and know that what I was doing was, from the beginning, for my daughter. It was me protecting her, and anyone who isn’t a father can’t really speak on how that feels. So now, I have moments with my child where we go sledging at eight at night, whereas four years ago, I would have been too drunk to even acknowledge anybody’s existence at all at that time. I have a whole other side of my life that breathes, moves, and interacts, which is amazing. The things I did to reach there may seem different from some people, but it was always correct. As the movie Frozen 2 says, I always did ‘The Next Right Thing’. It’s all these lessons you learn whilst watching fucking Disney cartoons with your kids. They know what they are doing!”

RS: When you compare the songs you have released so far, ‘Future Proof’ feels like the moment where you have pushed the furthest into new territory. The track has a psychedelic feel whilst still possessing all of that same hard rock power you have channelled your whole career. What does it mean to be able to dive into these pools with full force? How do songs like this come about?

KEITH: “It’s crazy because Charlie and Nick already came with those elements. It wasn’t even a conversation that was had with intent. It was just what we felt like doing. This part sounds like Alice In Chains, and this part sounds like Soundgarden, so let’s do something more like this. Charlie is amazing – a riff factory – so I was just guiding him. There’s a song that will be heard once the album comes out, but I was really pushing him on it. Adding piano, putting stuff in there that we didn’t initially think to put in. Now it is one of our favourite songs on there. Ultimately, as long as what we are doing is honest. Your own internal honesty rate is such an easy beacon to follow. Do you love it, or is it trying to fill some quota? Are you trying to go after some image, or is it a natural and true version of yourself? Everything gives off such a different feeling, but the feeling I had when they showed me this stuff was very much, ‘This is special. I love this’.”

RS: The result of writing like this is the light that exists within it. The positivity of the music has inspired you to write lyrics which belong in that, full of self-love and affirmation.

KEITH: “If you have read my lyrics, there has always been a tinge of hope. I haven’t ever left anyone totally hopeless with my lyrics. I’ve always liked to shine a little light. But you will find that that is a majority of the lyrical content here. It is brighter and more hopeful, from writing from a subconscious that has been cleaned out. I have got a good handle on what has been going on, and that makes me excited to try and convey it. It’s been a lonely journey, and being able to share it is something else.”

RS: How did it feel to have someone like Jamey Jasta batting for you when it felt like nobody else was? Not just checking in and supporting you, but even encouraging you to work with people again and consider music again? A pretty amazing person to have in your corner.

KEITH: “It was a gift, it really was. It was beautifully poetic in the way that it came about as well. I just so happened to hear Jamey on his podcast talking to Scott Vogel, another hero of mine. They were talking about what I would do next after the break-up, and I wasn’t thinking about doing anything. I was perfectly happy at that time just being sober and a dad. But I couldn’t ignore what that was; it was such a sign. A burning bush in the desert. This thing is here, and it wants to be addressed. So I called Jamey and said that I heard the conversation and that it was incredible that they were even considering me. He then introduced me to some guys. Just in a, ‘I don’t know what you’re feeling, but don’t write it off until you’ve met these people’. It was all great, but what was sensational was the fact that it was Jamey Jasta. Even more so when I was coming off a period of my life where my reputation was in a tizzy. I was still determining where I stood with anybody. All my friends had gone, and the scene very upset me with how everything ended. I needed to keep my head down for a bit, but when I looked up, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.”

RS: It’s also the fact that when you have been associated with hardcore and the hardcore scene throughout the past two decades, it’s fitting that two legends of hardcore are there to remind you what it is all about. Holding each other up, helping those in need find their way and not letting life get the better of you.

KEITH: “They’ve just been stalwarts of the music scene for as long as I can remember. With Scott Vogel being from Buffalo, as soon as I got into hardcore, I was seeing his band. As soon as I could go to a bigger show and buy a demo, Hatebreed was around. These were the first two guys who got me into hardcore, so I will pay attention if God puts them in the same room together, and they talk about me. Having them vouch for me upfront was so moving because I felt like I had lost everything. It felt like a hand out of the darkness.”

RS: As we look to the future, you have an album coming. This hasn’t just been a case of a few singles to test the waters and then go from there. This is a whole body of work ready to go. What does it mean to have that in place to represent this period that excites you but also makes you proud?

KEITH: “I’ve been thinking about that. This has been such a long journey that I don’t know what the last step of it will be. I haven’t had that moment to stand on a mountaintop, look around, and know I’m out of the woods. This story goes back to the pandemic and has been a long journey since. I don’t know if I can take a breath and know that I have done it until the first show is played, which is about to happen. Once that is officially done, things will be clearer.”

RS: A flick of the switch is all it will take to change how you feel about it, and that’s a pretty magical thing. Lessons are there to be learned every single day…

KEITH: “Absolutely, I feel like I am back at school again. Alcoholism keeps you trapped in a loop where everything is going to be the same every day. You don’t realise it because you don’t think that’s possible, but the truth is that you are spinning in circles. You never grow, you never learn. Now, it’s crazy to wake up and be excited to take my daughter to school. These little things are so wonderful to me. My life has changed so drastically that I feel there is no going back. I’m in a cool limbo where the universe is open. It’s just a matter of what I drift towards now.”

Source link

20% off

Especially For You

Sign up to receive your exclusive discount, and keep up to date on latest releases, new inventory and exclusive offers!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *