by SashaS

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Every Time I Die's 'Gutter Phenomenon'
Power of obliteration
Every Time I Die: pretty dirty and ready to kill crap music

“Gutter phenomenon” is a term that was used in the 1950s to describe Rock'n'Roll music. It was society's reaction, at the time, to a style of music it considered 'sinful' and it was actually viewed as a discredit to the American way-of-life. The grownups of the time believed that rock music would lead to the moral and general social downfall. They also reckoned that Rock'n'Roll would never last.

50 years down the timeline it has become a watered/dumbed down in the hands of the world that is become ever-so-corporate, an iPod commodity, just a showbiz tranche. Still, there are cabals of rock bands that challenge the notion of Rock being just a career, a ‘Rock Idol’ TV-reality show or populated with more than an army of wannabe cashers in. Every Time I Die understand this delusion and are set on annihilating it. They're making rock music new, exciting and rebellious again.

For five years before the release of ‘Hot Damn!’, ETID - featuring vocalist Keith Buckley, drummer Michael ‘Ratboy’ Novak, guitarists Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley and [“try-out”] bass player Chris Byrnes - have crisscrossed the States many times in variety of permutations that would include a stint on OzzFest second stage last year. ‘Hot Damn!’ (2003) was a breakthrough record for ETID, with ‘Gutter Phenomenon’ set to become the yardstick by which other albums [and acts] will be measured.

We catch up with the Buffalo band’s guitarist Andy Williams as they were preparing to play the last date on the Under The Gun tour in London alongside 12 Tribes and A Life Once Lost.

“The tour has gone amazing,” Williams sounds equally astounded and excited. “We’ve been doing better than we thought; we thought there would be 100 kids but every night was a sell-out… Our album is not even out yet but the kids knew the songs and the reaction to new songs were phenomenal. Especially ‘Bored Stiff’, every kid was asking for it and it really surprised and delighted us that the kids knew the new stuff. It’s got something to say about the power of Internet.”

Your album combines the elements of traditional Rock, perhaps a bit Southern, with some very contemporary elements; were you aiming for such a hybrid or it simply occurred in a studio?

“It basically just happened; we wanted to achieve something that was still the Every Time I Die but also make an album that someone hearing our music for the first time would feel proud. If an ‘old-skool’ fan heard it, he should like it as much as a fan of current rock. You know, I played the album to my dad and he said, ‘Oh shit, you guys can really play!’”

Well, it sounds like AC/DC-meets-Clutch with a dash of Thin Lizzy…

“Wow, thank you man; these are the three of my all-time favourite bands. I couldn‘t think of a better compliment!”

‘Gutter Phenomenon’ was an expression to describe rock in general and it appears to be still applicable to the heavier kind of rock, as far as the mainstream is concerned?

“Yeah, there is still that element of shoving it into an underground; there is still that view of Rock being for losers. That’s what it originally referred to but it may not be as relevant in our case. When people talk about ‘Rock’, it is what they hear on the radio, bands like Puddle Of Mudd, or Green Day. AC/DC were once the pinnacle of Rock, then Elvis before them, and that bad-ass element. They had a good time all the time. That’s the reason why we named the album ‘Gutter Phenomenon’, to bring back - the real Rock.”

“This band stands for music and what we are feeling - the rebel element. There are too many acts nowadays who are in just for success and worrying about record sales and all other aspects but music. It’s like fashion and we stand against it. The media in America doesn’t help it with its restrictive playlisting… That’s why we have had to go out and play live.”

“And, you have to work 10-times harder in the States. It is a huge country and there is no national radio and there is no station where a listener can hear Every Time I Die. There is a help from Internet even if people steal music; we are not against it and as long as kids get to hear our music, it is okay with us.”

There were a couple of guest-vocalists on your album, My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way and Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo; how did they get involved? [Not mentioning the coolest acting dude, Michael Madsen, in the ‘Kill The Music’ video!?]

“Gerard came to us asking to sing on the album and we thought it was pretty cool. He really made it happen by flying a day earlier - and paying extra out of his pocket - than the band, they were over in Europe. We did a tour with them few years ago and became fast friends; now we are coming back with them and it’s gonna be a great tour!”

“We’ve been fans of Glassjaw for ever and Daryl’s been awesome to us; every time they played Buffalo they’d ask us to open for them. I went out to New York to hang out with him and then asked him if he wanted to guest on our record. We were recording ten minutes from where he lives and he came out, did four takes of the song and it was a religious experience. It was pretty insane, it was really great.”

The band’s name is really curious although an enquiry only illuminates it as something that “just happened and you can read into it - whatever you like”. Apparently, when they played the first show, back in 1998, it was known as The Andy Williams Band, later changed to Dead Heroes… Until someone suggested Every Time I Die. Anyhow, it is a name you’ll be encountering a lot in the future.

Tour dates [with My Chemical Romance]:

01 November – Civic Hall, Wolverhampton
02 November – Guildhall, Portsmouth
03 November – Brixton Academy, London
04 November – Brixton Academy, London
06 November – Academy, Glasgow
07 November – Academy, Newcastle
08 November – Apollo, Manchester
09 November – Apollo, Manchester
10 November – Ambassador Theatre, Dublin
11 November – Centre, Newport

Every Time I Die’s album ‘Gutter Phenomenon’ is released 22 August by Ferret/Roadrunner