After Every Time I Die suddenly broke up in early 2022, Keith Buckley largely retreated from the public eye, with the exception of a solo show in London a few weeks after the news broke. He dedicated his time to his personal life and his family, focusing his time on his path to recovery from alcoholism and strengthening his connection to his daughter, whose childhood he was often forced to miss out on due to touring commitments. He wasn’t really thinking about music at all until receiving a call from Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, who put him in touch with Charlie and Nick Bellmore, who have also played together in Jasta’s band, Corpsegrinder’s band, Dee Snider’s band, Tim “Ripper” Owens’ band, Kirk Windstein’s band Kingdom of Sorrow, and more. The trio connected over a love of ’90s grunge and alternative rock, started writing some songs together, and Many Eyes was born.
Many Eyes have a full-length album on the way via Jasta’s Perseverance Media Group (details TBA), but first, they’re sharing their debut single “Revelation.” It’s a seamless fusion of Keith’s love of grunge and his long-standing roots in metallic hardcore, and it finds him mixing his trademark shouts with one of the brightest, most soaring choruses of his career. Keith’s lyrics were inspired by the journey of getting sober, and “Revelation” marks a new beginning for Keith in every way–thematically, sonically, and symbolically. It’s a very promising taste of this new project, and you can listen in this post. It comes with a visualizer created by 3D artist Matthew Collamore, and single art created by Nick Steinhardt (of Touché Amoré) and Ryan Sanders.
Many Eyes’ first tour will be alongside headliners Thursday (playing War All The Time for its 20th anniversary) and the reunited Rival Schools. The final stop is at NYC’s Irving Plaza on February 24. Tickets for all dates go on sale today (10/13) at 10 AM local. Full schedule below.
In his first interview on Many Eyes, Keith tells us about his life after Every Time I Die, how this new band came together, influences and themes behind this new material, plans and excitement for the upcoming tour, and more. Read on for our interview with Keith Buckley…
To start, can you fill us in on what was going on in your life between the day Every Time I Die broke up and the day you got the call from Jamey Jasta?
I had focused entirely on sobriety. My life became pretty monastic; I kind of locked myself in an apartment in Buffalo with my daughter who was five at the time and my current wife who at the time was my fiancée. We were just focusing on getting me sober because there was a lot of temptation to drink back then–I mean I could have used an escape, you know? Things were getting pretty hairy. So, we just kind of looked inward and I really diverted all of my energy into my new family and making sure that I could be present for my daughter as a father. The most important thing for me was trying to re-establish a connection with my daughter. We had obviously known each other, and the story surrounding her birth is no secret to anybody that’s read Low Teens, but I was just always on tour and she was young and so I don’t feel like I ever really imprinted on her, and she didn’t have a wonderful relationship with me where when I came home she had missed me, you know? I felt like I was really missing some pretty valuable time with, you know, a miracle as far as I was concerned.
So that’s all I did. I focused on sobriety, I started reading the Bible, I just worked on myself and that’s when Jamey called, and when Jamey called, things kind of changed. I realized, this is someone who’s looking out for my best interest; this wasn’t someone who was trying to get some money from me or who saw me as some sort of cash cow who they wanted to exploit. This was a good friend of mine who had pretty much gotten me into hardcore with the Hatebreed demo–I used to listen to that demo when I was on the school bus going to soccer games in 1996/1997, you know? So, until then, it was a lot of self work, a lot of spirituality; the house was very spiritual, because we were just trying to be as loving and as positive and kind to each other as possible.
So tell me about that call with Jamey. What did he have in mind exactly and what was your reaction to what he was suggesting?
He didn’t necessarily have anything specific in mind at the time, and neither did I, but I just knew… I heard it in his voice in the conversation he was having with Scott Vogel, who’s another just absolute legend of hardcore–especially Buffalo hardcore. They were talking about me on a podcast, and it really, really surprised me because all the things that I had kind of caught wind of about me were very negative, so to hear two people talk positively about me, and with a genuine concern, I was more than willing to open up to them and see if they could help me in any way. So, Jamey and I got on the phone and his idea was not for me to like have some sort of Patreon or some reissuing of old records or anything; he just wanted me to meet two musicians that he knew, that he worked with all the time. He was just like, “I just think that you guys vibe so well. I don’t know what it is, but I just want you guys to meet, and sit in a room, and talk about music and see what happens.” So I was like, “Okay! I trust you.” Saying that for the first time in years just felt important. If I can say that I trust Jamey Jasta, and I mean it, that’s for reason.
So I went down to Connecticut and met up with them, and that’s what I met the Bellmores, and we just started talking about our influences, and they were familiar with what I had gone through. They didn’t know at that time what I wanted, so they had different sounds to show me, but when they realized that it was something totally brand new, that’s when the song “Revelation” came about. After that, it was just off to the races. They’re not just collaborators but kind of like soulmates in a way, like these guys just understand this. They understand what it’s like to grow up in the ’90s and admire bands like Nirvana, because Kurt Cobain is so aloof, you know? We grew up where our heroes were not overexposed on the internet, and you didn’t know everything about them, and there was a mystique to the music. We just loved that, we loved that about the alternative scene that we kind of grew up in, and we mixed that with the hardcore stuff that we had known, and I just felt like I was the third brother of theirs. It was really, really rewarding, and really magical.
Had you been writing any music on your own before getting together with them, or is all the stuff that comes out under Many Eyes written collaboratively from the start?
It’s all written collaboratively, and that’s what was so important to me going into it–I didn’t want this band to be an outlet for grievances, I didn’t want this to be something where people could go back and sort of put it together like a puzzle and figure out who I’m talking about. And I knew that at that time, I wasn’t in a mindset where I could avoid that… but as time went on and I got more into my sobriety, I realized that I could start writing about the positive things moving forward instead of the negative things behind me. I realized that that came with the patience of the divine timing; I don’t know why it took so long, but when the lyrics were needed, I was at a position where I could really convey myself in a way that explains that I’ve overcome things, and I’m only looking forward, as a way to help people and to move on. There’s nothing in my view that’s materialistic, I don’t care about trying to play a Super Bowl halftime show, I’m not putting a band together so I could do things that I’ve never done before. I just really feel like this is where I’m supposed to be, and these lyrics that I have that came out are all about positive change, and trying to get that across to other people who need to make positive changes.
Charlie and Nick have played together in so many people’s “solo” projects, but you’re presenting Many Eyes very much as a band, not “Keith Buckley.” Can you tell me more about that?
Yeah that’s just, I mean I don’t see myself that way. I see the way that [Charlie and Nick] are handled, and they get to do amazing shows and write amazing music, but these guys’ names should be known. It would be such a shame if such talent gets lost to history, and I can’t in good conscience front a band when I know that I’m nothing if the musicians aren’t there. I mean, I didn’t write the music, I didn’t put everything together on my own. They were willing to write it with me. If you don’t know them now, that doesn’t mean that they haven’t been worthy of being known; it means that you get to discover something really special. I think that the people that do know them in Connecticut are really excited that they finally are getting their their dues, because they’ve worked, you know? I see that their touring schedule was as fraught with difficulty as mine always has been. They played the little clubs, they rode in the little vans, and to never really feel like they were an actual part of something, but just some sort of background scenery, that’s a shame. I can’t do that to anybody in good conscience.
So you mentioned Nirvana, what were some other major influences on this project?
Charlie loves Alice in Chains so he was like, “I just want to be a Jerry Cantrell to someone’s Layne Staley.” He gets that dynamic because it’s like, Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell harmonies were strictly Alice in Chains, you know? You don’t hear harmonies like that anymore. It’s like Simon & Garfunkel, like those two, they have it. They have something where it doesn’t work unless it’s put together. That’s what I want too; I don’t just want me sitting on top of something and I don’t want anything sitting on top of anything else. I really want it to blend and merge so that it becomes something totally unique, because, you know, the more variables you can add into the music without just smashing them together like a melting pot of riffs, you really have the option to create some new, beautiful creatures with these songs.
For me, I still see Eddie Vedder as a hero because he survived that era and came out looking like a hunk who wear suits and plays the ukulele–I mean that’s just such a cool thing to do. And all the other ones that we love, like Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana. There are some really like, little ones, like that band Spacehog, they were fucking awesome. A lot of little deep cuts from the ’90s that we kind of pulled from. We took this energy from an era that has vanished–I mean the kind of overall theme to the ’90s was rebellion and anti-establishment and anti-institution, and they rebelled so well that they either died or are no longer culturally relevant, you know? And that’s such a shame, because the ’90s were like the last real decade. So I think that to find people my age and the age of Charlie and Nick, who understand that and are still here is rare, you know? I want to make sure that maybe we can sound a rallying cry for more people like us, who grew up on the same music and who miss that that sense of… the spirituality about it, you know? When you read lyrics from any of those those major ’90s acts, they’re talking about God–they may not like God, but they acknowledge him, and they talk about him, and it makes them accountable to something higher so the lyrics were a little more ethereal. That really struck a chord with me when I was little, so if anything, the lyrics live on through me for sure.
You mention the Jerry Cantrell/Layne Staley dynamic and there’s definitely–in addition to your sort of classic shouting style–these soaring clean vocals and harmonizes that really stand out here.
Yeah, that’s actually me harmonizing with Nick. He’s got an ear for it, and he put it all in after I recorded. Like I recorded all my stuff and did the kind of melodies and harmonies that I had come up with, and then he just took those and added in other ones. So I think that “more is more” in this sense, and these choruses I just.. I can’t pretend that I don’t love a huge chorus. There’s just something that’s anthemic, that makes the hair on your arms and the back of your neck stand up, that’s something that makes you feel connected to something larger–it’s gonna come through a chorus. I don’t know why, but if anything makes you feel connected to the universe, it’s a chorus.
How would you say writing and recording with Many Eyes compares to your experiences with Every Time I Die and The Damned Things?
It was more like The Damned Things, because that was very collaborative throughout, where Joe Trohman and I would sit in a room together and and go back and forth for hours and days and weeks, which is how we we did it with Many Eyes. It was me and Charlie in a room, but we only had like two days, and we ended up writing like five songs in two days when he came to Buffalo. I had never done that before The Damned Things. My experience with writing lyrics prior to that was always very isolated, and very personal, and very intimate–it never was bounced off anybody or anything else, it was just, “Okay here, I’m done, here’s the final product.” Nobody would hear it until the studio–that wasn’t for any reason other than it was just how I started to do things when I was 19 and I never got out of it, I just was like, “Ah, it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” But when I got in The Damned Thing and they really wanted to be a part of it, and I had to learn how to be vulnerable, that was a new experience for me. And so this is just more vulnerability. This is just me willing to be even more wrong, more often, because when someone who knows better than you can tell you why you’re wrong, that’s the most rewarding thing in the world, because then you learn something new and you move forward with that knowledge.
So the first single is “Revelation.” What can you tell us about this song and why did you choose it as the first single?
This one came about first, and the chorus really grabbed people. This was about me wrestling with the anger that I had, but not towards anyone specifically; it was about the idea of alcoholism and what it had done to my life and that it put all my relationships in jeopardy, and that eventually it just came to identify my relationships entirely. So I kind of anthropomorphized the vice of alcoholism, and then obviously because I was reading the Bible a lot, I used a metaphor of just seeing it as the devil itself, which, the more I came to think about it, the more it actually felt true. It really was the most powerful evil that I ever faced, and it had so many different forms and it was so sneaky and it was just such a liar. I felt like I could take all the anger and re-channel it into something that I could actually control and defeat, which was alcoholism, and it’s not just beating it and moving on; it’s beating it and facing it and showing it to other people and saying, “This is what it looks like. Just because I beat it doesn’t mean that everyone can, but you have to be aware of it first, and you really just need a loving support system around you, because it’s impossible to do alone.”
So that came out and I felt like, “Man, of all the things that I wanted to talk about, or that I thought or feared that I would end up writing about that would be taken the wrong way or put under a microscope, this feels like the truest way that it ever could have come out, because it’s a channeled righteous anger into a disease that has killed too many people that I know, and almost killed me as well.” So I feel like, it just so happened that it had a nice chorus behind it, because that’s the first foot that I want to put down, that this next journey is sober.
What else can we expect from the full record?
I think that it is the most modern interpretation of an alternative rock record that anyone will be able to find. I mean there’s songs on it that come from our love of Radiohead, there’s songs that come from our love of Stone Temple Pilots, Pavement, there’s Nirvana, there’s a lot of Alice In Chains. There are just so many things that we really went for on this record. It’s like a piñata full of different candies, but it’s all really confined to a very specific feeling of a very specific generation. And it obviously is coming from people who have a deep, deep rooted love and appreciation for hardcore as well. So to put those two together, this like alternative, kind of anti-establishment, pissy punk rock record, but with this very aggressive and assertive, like, proud hardcore feel to it, I think it just works somehow.
So next year you’ll be on tour with Thursday (playing War All The Time and Rival Schools. Are you excited about the tour lineup?
Yeah! I am. It’s nostalgic for me. I remember when War All The Time came out, we did some shows with Thursday when that record came out, and I remember there was a show with onelinedrawing and me and Jonah [Matranga] were stagediving to Thursday like crazy. Thursday has always held a very special place in my heart, and Rival Schools are just, I mean, total legends. I can’t wait to see those guys every night. I’m honored.
What’s Many Eyes’ live setup going to look like, is it you, Charlie, and Nick? Is anyone else involved?
Yeah no, it’s just me, Charlie, and Nick for now. We’ll have a bass player… the details are still being worked out.
One last question: At this point, how do you feel about the way Every Time I Die ended?
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and it only trends toward the greater good. I do think that at the time it was very confusing, and people get angry when they’re confused, but I think, as time passes and everyone looks back on it and we look back on it ourselves, I think that it will just make the most sense, considering who we always have been. I think that it was fitting, and I think that it was almost poetic. But I have no ill-will about it, and from now on, it is just the present into the future for me. But I am aware of how it impacted people’s lives, and all I can say is that I’m with you and I’m still here. And I promise we’re on this next leg of the journey together.
Thursday / Rival Schools / Many Eyes — 2024 Tour Dates
01/25 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
01/26 – Detroit, MI @ The Majestic
01/27 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
01/28 – McKees Rocks, PA @ Roxian Theatre
01/30 – Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
01/31 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
02/01 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
02/02 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
02/03 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
02/05 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
02/06 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
02/08 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
02/09 – San Francisco, CA @ August Hall
02/10 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
02/11 – Mesa, AZ @ The Nile Theater
02/13 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk (Outside)
02/15 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits
02/16 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution Live
02/17 – Orlando, FL @ The Beacham
02/18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
02/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
02/21 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
02/22 – Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage
02/23 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Elevation 27
02/24 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza