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It's no secret that Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckley is a diehard Glassjaw fan. The metalcore icon and his bandmates are quite transparently influenced by the Long Island group's soulful, chaotic and impassioned take on post-hardcore, and if that wasn't obvious on their first two albums, they squashed any doubts by inviting Glassjaw vocalist Daryl Palumbo to guest on their 2006 banger "Champing at the Bit."
As we noted in a recent list, ETID likely would not exist — or at least sound the way they do — without Glassjaw, so in celebration of the band's 20+ anniversary tours and the limited-edition vinyl reissues we've teamed up with them to release, we spoke with Buckley about how much Glassjaw means to him. From blowing a young Buckley's mind in the passenger seat of his friend's car to reconfiguring the way he conceived of hardcore songwriting, here's how Glassjaw changed his life.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER GLASSJAW?
KEITH BUCKLEY I was introduced to them through a kid named Jon I met at a show in the late Nineties. He had just moved to Buffalo from Long Island. In a winding, indirect way he and I became roommates and one day in my car on our way to work or something he showed me "his friend's band's demo." It was Glassjaw. I remember we were at the light at the corner of Breckenridge and Elmwood when it came on. I felt everything shift. The way Daryl used his voice as an instrument. The way Justin Beck just absolutely slathered his guitar all over the songs in an entirely new brilliant, sloppy way. Like Pollack at a canvas. It would prove to be a hugely important introduction.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU HEARD EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SILENCE AND ALSO WORSHIP AND TRIBUTE?
The aforementioned red light was the first time I heard Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence. The first time I heard Worship and Tribute was in Jon's sister's car under oddly similar circumstances. She had some early demos and opened her car doors and played me "Ape Dos Mil" while hanging out in a parking lot. I remember thinking, "What the fuck are they doing? Hardcore bands can't write songs like this." I wanted to sing it. I wanted to be responsible for it, to say that I was in the band that had written it. The melody was so fucking cool. I was so insanely jealous. That song alone — let alone the whole album — elevated them to god status in my mind.
WHAT DO THESE ALBUMS MEAN TO YOU?
Almost everything. "Almost" because I had known forever that music was about taking daring artistic/creative chances, but Glassjaw showed me you didn't have to be David Bowie to push boundaries. You could do cool, weird shit and push boundaries and discover or explore a sound and it didn't have to be a gimmick. It just had to be honest and unapologetic. Glassjaw set a bar for me in that sense. I began trying to find the least "expected" melody or cadence and chip away at it until it finally vibrated with me. And that's my instinct shortcut now. It tells me I'm onto something. It tells me, "Daryl would approve." [Laughs]
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TRACK FROM EACH ALBUM AND WHY?
I know without listening back that I was always a fan of "When One Eight Becomes Two Zeros," but I wonder now if that still holds true. At first listen, it stuck out because it was like the Porche of heartbreak, compared to the whiny, embarrassingly sentimental, tone-deaf Model-T that was the hallmark of late Nineties's post-hardcore. It had genuine pain. It had intimate personality. It had a voice and a tone that spoke to me. I don't know if I can explain why any better than that. It was just impactful.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SILENCE AND WORSHIP AND TRIBUTE AFTER ALL THESE YEARS?
They're still better than any record that tried to imitate them since the moment they came out. You can't touch Glassjaw because you cannot be Glassjaw. They are singular.
GLASSJAW WERE KNOWN FOR THEIR INTENSE LIVE SHOWS. DID YOU GET TO SEE THEM LIVE? WHAT DID YOU THINK?
What always stuck out to me was how effortlessly cool the band looked while playing. They didn't give a fuck about who was watching or what those people thought. It gave me the impression that I was seeing what each of the members envisioned when they all dreamt about being in a band. It was always just so pure and honest and cool. And that's the key. They are cool.
HOW, IF AT ALL, DID GLASSJAW INFLUENCE YOUR OWN CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT OR THE WAY YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WRITING MUSIC/LYRICS?
A year ago I literally texted Daryl to ask if it was OK that I wrote the "AWOL" lyric, "All good drugs go to heaven," because I'm aware of his "All good junkies go to heaven" [line]. and I don't ever want to fly too close to the sun. So they have influenced it very directly.