Keith Buckley Addresses ‘Heartbreaking’ Every Time I Die Split at U.K. Solo Show
Keith Buckley has returned to the stage after his recent exit from Every Time I Die. The singer was very forthcoming about the split during the launch of his "An Evening With..." tour at the Signature Brew brewery in East London Monday night (Feb. 7).
Buckley appeared with host Matt Stocks for a night of music and discussion, and it was during the discussion part that he offered a deeper dive into the schism that caused the split of his band.
According to Metal Hammer, Buckley told the audience, “The term ‘artist’ never came up in my family. We never referred to each other as artists, we just kinda existed. And it wasn’t until I got sober that I realized that that artistic spark is fundamental to every venture that you do as a human being, and if that spark isn’t there, then there’s no energy to push you into the next thing. So once I got sober and I realized that that spark in me had just been caked with resentment and anger and confusion and a lack of faith in anything, I saw it for what it was."
He continued, "It was this poor little thing that was inside of me from the beginning, that made me want to be a writer, that made me want to be a musician, that made me want to go on tour, that then made me figure out how to deal with life in the public eye…There’s been something that’s been driving me on. I think that it’s an objective fact that Every Time I Die existed for longer than most bands, so there was something in that formula that was alchemic, that was completely singular to us. And I think it was the rivalry… I think it was just those two forces constantly battling which kept pushing the band along."
Buckley said, "Once I got sober, and I realized that that was a very antiquated way to power shit… [I thought] we don’t need to push the band forward with negativity, we can talk about things now."
During the chat, the singer says that problems started when he sought to create a healthier environment within the group. “I went to the band, and I went to the manager at the time, and I said, ’I fucked up a lot.' A lot of it was because of my drinking, a lot of it was exacerbated by a co-dependent marriage, but I said I’m on to that now, now we can really just address the problems that aren’t coming in from any outside sources, now it’s us. That’s all I ever tried to do.”
The singer says that while he was changing his own behavior, he was not willing to demand that others in the band did out of respect for their own lifestyle choices. “I really felt that that was was a good thing good thing for everyone, because I knew that there was friction between Jordan and I. There were a lot of things that happened during the pandemic that still haven’t come out between he and I that led to this, there were multiple attempts at communication, therapy and everything. I love therapy… and I went to it, and I encouraged it for the band, but it was cut off, and I didn’t know why," stated the singer.
As Buckley continued, “I just feel like I was looked at in bad faith. And I understand that, because I was an alcoholic and I did a lot of terrible things, and so it’s easy to see someone who’s constantly fucking up their own life and just realize that every decision they make is gonna suck, no matter what… And I know that that bad faith filter had been put on for 20 years."
The singer then told the crowd, “All I hoped to do was get a clean start and say, take all those filters away and try to look at me now as someone who is totally changing the way they’re living and thinking and speaking and interacting and communicating, and give it a chance: just pretend that I’m not the guy that you got used to. And they couldn’t do it. And it broke my heart."
"On that [final Every Time I Die] tour…it was undeniable that I was performing better than i ever have. I was at the top of my fucking game. And I did not see this coming… I was led to believe that everything I was doing was working for the betterment of the band," said Buckley. “I wanted the band to come out of the pandemic shot out of a fucking cannon, Because I knew that [2021 album] Radical was going to do it for us, it was going to be the one that finally got us to a Mastodon level, or whatever… I’d come out of a marriage with a new approach, and a new confidence to life…and I just wanted the band to have their time to shine."
Reflecting on their split, he added, “It’s heartbreaking, heartbreaking. However, it is not the end of anything: I can’t even say what the state of the band is right now. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that, right now, this is exactly where I fucking want to be, and I’m very thankful to be here.”
The singer also spoke about his future during a Feb. 8 performance in Birmingham. Initially joking, Buckley offered, “Now I’m not in another band and I’m in Buffalo… I guess I'll join a polka band. At least that’s what every other 50-something year old man does here," before seriously stating, "I’m very open to making more music though and may even learn an instrument or two myself so I’m not so heavily reliant on other people to make creative decisions, have a little more control."
He added, “I just want to work with people who are in love with the music and do it for that reason, you know?. There are people I’d love to work with – [Cave In / Mutoid Man's] Stephen Brodsky, [Fall Out Boy duo and The Damned Things bandmates] Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley … I have options now where I’ve never had them before and so I’m just going to go where feels best.”
During one of the shows, Buckley performed an acoustic version of Every Time I Die's "Thing With Feathers," giving fans in attendance the first performance of a song off the Radical album in the U.K. Fan shot footage is posted below. The singer has four more stops on his current "An Evening With" run, playing Glasgow, Leeds, Belfast and Dublin over the next four days.
The first sign of trouble publicly in the band came in early December when it was revealed that Buckley was exiting the group's tour to focus on his mental health and prepare for their year-end 'TID the Season concerts. After the remainder of the band issued a separate statement, Buckley then opened up on social media about the divide, claiming that he had been ostracized from the band and that he had overheard discussion of his brother telling an outsider about a plan to replace him.
After some public back-and-forth, the band ended up canceling the final dates of their tour, privately working on their issues with the singer and later playing with Buckley at the TID the Season shows, which would end up being their last performance. By mid-January, the band split for good.